I sprayed a set of cabinet doors with Valspar conversion varnish over Valspar oil base wiping stain. Luckily, I did not have to install these doors right away because I now have noticed that they have not lost the CV smell after days of sitting in my shop. The only thing I can think of which may have caused this is that the CV is having some kind of reaction with the stain. Of course I allowed the stain to completely dry out before applying the CV, and the CV has dried normally and looks good. I did not use any thinner with the CV since it comes quite thin from the can, so there's no way I could have unintentionally adulterated it. I have previously used Sherwin Williams over oil base stain and had no problems. Has anyone else had this problem?
From contributor J:
All CVs outgas for a while - it's part of the curing process. Over catalyzing can make it worse. One thing about Valspar CVs is they do not all have the same catalyst ratio. The vinyl sealer, for instance, is 2%, not 3%. Valspar makes a number of different CV products, different VOC levels are given different names and product codes. Which products specifically did you use, and how were they catalyzed? Colder weather can slow down curing too, prolonging the outgassing. Another common cause is when cabinets are assembled after finishing but before full cure and doors left shut, trapping the gas and smell inside the cabinet.
If it was Valspar's Graintone Plus wiping stain, I doubt that had anything to do with it as long as the stain was used correctly and completely dry. This stain is meant to go under just about any Valspar topcoat.
It is unlikely that the stain has anything to do with the formaldehyde odor, as well as too much catalyst. Too little catalyst will slightly slow down the cross-linking of the co-resins, and the smell may linger a little longer. Too much catalyst will likely dissipate or form a slight haze on the surface. The catalyst is usually made up of nitric or sulfuric acid, or a blend of the two. The acid initiates the cross-linking of the hydroxyl function of the urea to the co-resins. These co-resins will likely be a combination of alkyds, lacquers, or acrylic. I have found that the CV that requires a diluted catalyst is easier to use because it lowers the error factor when measuring. It is easier to over-catalyze when measuring 2-3%, as compared to 10-12%.
As to cure, contributor J is correct - cold temps or humid days will slow down the reaction. I often will refrigerate leftover CV to use several days and perhaps a week later. You will find that good air movement and heat will cure this material quicker and minimize the residual odor. Time will eliminate this smell.
As to your comment to the level of catalyst, a 10% catalyst rate does not indicate a shorter pot life, it is just cut with solvent, most likely methanol. The value of catalyst is determined by the volume solids of the resin to be cross-linked. The pot life is not effected, because only a certain level of catalyst is required to complete the hydroxyl function. Companies that have a higher level of catalyst may not be trying to increase use. The catalyst is often cut in solvent to extend the shelf life and prevent the catalyst from oxidizing. Other reasons will include the handling of corrosive material, shipping restrictions, along with the selection of plastic containers capable of holding up to corrosive materials. Other issues may be the restrictions placed by other counties.
Okay, this may not be much for the end user in the per gallon scheme of things, but think what it amounts to in sales figures per year for a company with a 10% catalyst ratio. And if it's necessary to use more catalyst that's cut with more solvent and spray more coats, I don't see how this is environmentally proactive.