Varnish Fumes! - SailNet Community
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 16 Old 07-22-2009 Thread Starter
zAr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 139
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 7
 
Varnish Fumes!

Ok, so I just bought a new 30 foot boat, my first, two weeks ago. I'm having a real problem with it because the previous owner put so much varnish on the interior wood the fumes are driving me nuts! He did this probably 4 weeks ago and I was sure the fumes would go away, but they just don't seem to. The can is some really old antique wood wax varnish, complete with poison symbol and "use only in ventilated area, do not inhale".

It's so bad that if I sit in the boat for an hour, even with hatches, companionway and portlights open, I get a headrush and the rest of the day I'm dizzy and spaced out.

What can I do to get rid of the darn fumes?! Any advice?

Thanks!

PS: I should mention I'm moving aboard next week, so I'm desperate.

Last edited by zAr; 07-22-2009 at 11:24 PM.
zAr is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 16 Old 07-22-2009
Senior Member
 
timebandit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 928
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 13
 
A big fan??

Maybe some fabreeze on the fabrics.

I dont consider any paint or stuff to be cured untill all the solvents have evaperated and the smell is gone.

Rick
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Mac 25
Copernicus
Southern California
I am not a prejudice racist sexist bigot. I just hate stupid people.
timebandit is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 16 Old 07-23-2009
Senior Member
 
mitiempo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Victoria B.C. Canada
Posts: 7,512
Thanks: 0
Thanked 96 Times in 87 Posts
Rep Power: 8
   
Crack the hatches and leave an electric fan/heater or just fan if it's warm out running 24/7. That should accelerate the solvent evaporation. My guess is that the boat has been closed up pretty airtight since varnishing.
Brian
mitiempo is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 16 Old 07-23-2009 Thread Starter
zAr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 139
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 7
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Crack the hatches and leave an electric fan/heater or just fan if it's warm out running 24/7. That should accelerate the solvent evaporation. My guess is that the boat has been closed up pretty airtight since varnishing.
Brian
Yeah, if only it would stop raining.

What do you think about using a blow dryer or heat gun on the varnish to accelerate the curing? If I'm careful I won't cause any fires, but I wonder about cracking...
zAr is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #5 of 16 Old 07-23-2009
Senior Member
 
mitiempo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Victoria B.C. Canada
Posts: 7,512
Thanks: 0
Thanked 96 Times in 87 Posts
Rep Power: 8
   
Heat guns are a good way to remove varnish so I wouldn't. If it's raining crack hatch and use canvas to keep rain out.
Brian
mitiempo is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #6 of 16 Old 07-23-2009
Senior Member
 
Freesail99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 4,507
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Send a message via Yahoo to Freesail99
This past winter I thought I would varnish the plate holders and magazine racks, all the different items mounted to the inside of the boat. I brought them home to my apartment and sanded them to prepare to varnish. I had 7 items and I put the first coat of varnish on. Holy crap batman, I got such a bad headache from the smell of the varnish. I did everything to get rid of the smell. Opening windows and doors, sprays, nothing seemed to work but time. I feel your pain.

S/V Scheherazade
-----------------------
I had a dream, I was sailing, I was happy, I was even smiling. Then I looked down and saw that I was on a multi-hull and woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Freesail99 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #7 of 16 Old 07-23-2009
Member
 
JimMcGee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Barnegat Bay, NJ
Posts: 1,816
Thanks: 62
Thanked 51 Times in 48 Posts
Rep Power: 11
 
Lots of ventilation

Zar,
Varnish can be VERY slow drying, especially in humid conditions. If the boat is in a slip crack the forward hatch and rig some plastic or canvas to keep out rain. Rig a box fan in the companionway, also covered with canvas or plastic to keep out rain. Set the fan so it's blowing out the companionway and pulling air through the boat. Now go get a beer, some pizza, watch a movie and come back in 12 to 14 hours. That may be enough air movement through the cabin to dry it out (this assumes the boat is in a location where you're not worried about someone breaking in). .

That's the simple solution. There are lots of different varnish types. Some of the old ones have some nasty chemicals, and some when they get old and outdated won't dry properly - meaning you'll have to strip the varnish off to get rid of the smell, or seal it with a coat of shellac.

Depending on what he used and to what extent it did or didn't dry, stripping could be anything from wiping it with rags soaked in thinner to using chemical strippers.

What brand and type of varnish did he use?

The good news is rigging a fan has a pretty good chance of drying the varnish, but you'll probably have to wash the cushions and carpet to get rid of the residual odor.

Don't even think about moving aboard if there is still a strong odor. Solvent fumes can make you VERY sick or even kill you in high enough concentrations. Long term exposure will definitely cause long term problems.

Jim

95 Catalina 30 Island Time

The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective." - Henry David Thoreau
JimMcGee is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #8 of 16 Old 07-23-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Seattle
Posts: 267
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
Varnish takes a long time to cure. The smell will go away, but it can take a long time. I wonder if part of the problem is the soft stuff in the boat like cushions, curtains etc. have ablsorbed some of the stench. Perhaps pulling all that out and ventilating it will help.
baboon is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #9 of 16 Old 07-23-2009
Senior Member
 
pdqaltair's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
Posts: 2,604
Thanks: 1
Thanked 53 Times in 53 Posts
Rep Power: 7
 
It could also be a wood preservative like Cuprinol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by baboon View Post
Varnish takes a long time to cure. The smell will go away, but it can take a long time. I wonder if part of the problem is the soft stuff in the boat like cushions, curtains etc. have ablsorbed some of the stench. Perhaps pulling all that out and ventilating it will help.
Creosote, bitumen paint and cuprinol wood treatment products

if it is a wooden boat. Some of this stuff is POWERFUL and takes 6 months to fade inside. It smells outside for months.

(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

"Well, I just climb up to them."

by Joe Brown, English rock climber




To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
pdqaltair is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #10 of 16 Old 07-24-2009
Telstar 28
 
sailingdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,290
Thanks: 0
Thanked 15 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 14
         
Solar powered vent fans will help a lot.

Sailingdog

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
sailingdog is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.


User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Choosing a suitable Varnish Gaffrig Gear & Maintenance 13 11-23-2008 06:19 PM
The Art of Maintaining Brightwork Sue & Larry Her Sailnet Articles 0 12-31-1998 07:00 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome