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I'm trying to finish a small piece with brushing lacquer, which I have not used before. The can says that I should not apply it if the temperature is below 55F (13C). The temperature in my area has hovered around 45-50F for weeks now, and this simple project is stuck in limbo. I'm working in an unheated garage, and I'm afraid of starting a fire if I bring in a space heater. How strictly should I follow this rule? I'm getting very impatient.

  • What kind of heater are you planning on using? I'd think that an electric resistance heater should be OK. A propane/LPG heater with an open flame probably would not be OK. Ventilation and airflow would also be important. – FreeMan Apr 23 at 14:49
  • @FreeMan That's the other problem: the only ventilation comes from opening the garage door, which makes the heater irrelevant. – crmdgn Apr 23 at 16:36
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    Temp (and other usage) guidelines are typically conservative, seeking to give the end user the best chance at a good experience. So it might be fine, but of course it's a try-it-and-see proposition. Patience may be the #1 thing that is needed in finishing.... worth holding on to that always. My generic advice for unheated finishing spaces is to do what I do, and that is to finish strictly according to season. So I finish nothing when it's too cold, use only finishes that aren't overly sensitive to cold when it's a bit warmer and then feel free to use anything during the warmer months [contd] – Graphus Apr 25 at 7:39
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    If you want to go ahead and try it do test on scrap rather than on the project! Alternatively, use another finish (such as wiping varnish) which can be reliably used at your current temps. The final look of the piece likely won't be significantly different, depending somewhat on the species you've used and the figure in the individual piece/pieces. – Graphus Apr 25 at 7:41

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