Removing varnish odour


How can I get the strong odour of stain and varnish out of an ash cupboard so it can be used. I'm using vinegar in a dish but it doesn't seem to be doing much. Opening the doors doesn't help either or does it just take time?
Thanks Lori
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Warmth, ventilation, and time. The solvents have to evaporate. I never heard of the vinegar trick, although it might cover up the smell.
Don
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Hi Lori, For the next time you may want to finish the inside with shellac or some of the WB finishes to circumvent that problem. Even then a hybrid WB varnish took about 5 weeks (open) for the odor to vanish. I have not noticed any odor when using WB urethanes or acrylics after a week. For some of the oil based products it seems that clothes will pick up the odor for years. Hopefully yours is not one of these. JG
Kayla wrote:

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Vinegar isn't going to make any difference at all. Leaving the doors open will certainly allow the odor to dissipate, but it takes time. A lot of time.
Activated charcoal is your best bet. Any pet store will have that - it's used in aquarium filters. It isn't cheap, though. Regular charcoal briquettes work, too, but not as well as activated charcoal. (If you use briquettes, make sure *not* to get the kind that are pre-saturated with lighter fluid.)
Next time, for the inside of the cabinet, use alcohol-based dye and shellac, instead of oil-based stain and varnish. The odors dissipate within hours instead of weeks.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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used
work,
sure
Haven't tried it out, but I've seen a number of TV ads recommending an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to remove odours. Wonder if it might help the same way with the stain/varnish odour. One other thing I've done to remove odours in an enclosed location is to put in a scented dryer sheet. Works great.
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wrote:

Probably, but not nearly as well as activated charcoal. There simply isn't anything better. Best thing about activated charcoal is that when it's "full", you can restore its ability to absorb odors with a few hours in a hot oven.

Actually, the scented dryer sheet does nothing to *remove* undesirable odors. It merely covers them up with a stronger, more pleasant scent, while the undesirable odor dissipates. It won't help the OP's problem at all: she'll have a cabinet that smells like varnish *and* Bounce.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Time and ventilation. A bit of warmth too (don't heat it, but don't leave it outdoors in winter either).
As a cheaper alternative to activated charcoal, try fuller's earth. This is the main ingredient in the grey dusty cat litter (not the red clay, sawdust or plastic sorts). Grind it a little finer (pestle and mortar) and spread it out on a shallow tray, then shut it inside the cupboard.
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On Wed, 20 Apr 2005 02:03:26 GMT, the inscrutable Kayla

Is this old varnish? If so, get some shellac and put a thin coat of it on the inside of the cabinet. It will kill the smell.
If it's fresh varnish, let it sit open for a week to finish curing. Then put a coat of shellac on it.
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I did a chest last year, finished with the Sam Maloof stuff from Rockler. There is still a strong smell inside the chest. It does look great though.
It was suggested that I hit it with a quick coat of shellac, but we aren't storing any blankets in the chest, no clothes, so the smell is not a problem. But after 14 months, it still stinks.
-Dan V.

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The vinegar isn't helping except perhaps to replace one odor with another. You may not like this but leave the cupboard doors wide open and wait for the finish to cure a full two weeks.
Good Luck.

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It takes time. You can speed it up a little with open doors and more air movement (ie, use a fan). You can remove the doors temporarily. The odor will greatly decrease after one month. It can take that long for varnish (and paint) to fully cure and harden.
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Fart in the room you've installed it. No one will notice the varnish odor.
Barry
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