I'm new to wood stuff in general and I want to build a mini closet, but my wife is pregnant, I was wondering if I can sand, stain, varnish, etc. outside and wait for the fumes to disperse and then put everything together inside, this is because I don't have a shop or empty room where I can do this kind of work, or what do you recommend?

  • Once it's good and dry, you can drive off any residual odors by leaving it in a hot car for a couple of days. Cars get quite hot in the sun (hence dogs and babies dying). Regulate the temperature by cracking a window. Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 1:12

3 Answers 3


I just crafted an outdoor booth for spray painting kitchen cabinet doors. I have a pop-up tent (that we already had) for the roof and structure. I have hung 8 cheap ($5 ea.) plastic shower curtain liners around the perimeter and a cheap plastic tarp for the floor.


(upper gaps will be closed before spraying)

The goal is to keep the smell and spray from my finished spaces and have enough room to maneuver.

Drying is going to be on a portable coat rack (that we had) and I am using the European hinge hanger gizmos to create a drying rack that can return to conventional use after the project.

drying rack

(to be moved before actual use)

  • I do have all of that and will do it that way, thanks
    – Mario
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 21:54

Mario, I've been stripping paint off old doors, sanding, staining, and applying poly outside. It's more convenient in dealing with the mess and smells and more enjoyable than being cooped-up indoors all the time.

However, be aware that applying poly outdoors is best done inside a screened-off enclosure as every insect or airborne speck of dust, dirt, or pollen will choose that moment to land on your work otherwise. A single errant leaf or breeze-blown blade of grass can wreck havoc on a poly' job that's just become tacky to the touch. Also note: too much of a breeze can dry-out stain (before one has a chance to wipe the excess) and poly too quickly for the job to be done well.


You can do it outside, as the consensus shows. To add my 2 cents worth, you do not need an elaborate cover unless the process will take a number of days and you fear material getting wet from rain or dew. The insects will do you bad during the summertime, but this time of the year it will be as much of an issue. My personal experience is prefinishing a few hundred linear of crown that I stained and clear coated with poly, no bugs got stuck in the finish at all. When working outside do not work in direct sunlight, it will bubble the finish. At least it did on me when I was doing it in the summertime. my not be so bad in the fall.


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