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Eliminating smells from old oak bench


#1

To anyone with wood advice: I recently purchased a very old oak
jeweler’s bench which smells of tobacco and is quite dirty. The odor
bothers my COPD and I need to eliminate it and start working with
the bench. Someone suggested white vinegar and water but I am
hesitant. This is an antique bench with lovely oak grain. Any advice
on maintaining the integrity of the wood but thoroughly cleaning and
sealing this bench would be appreciated.

Regards, Bjeweled


#2

Murphy’s Oil Soap is very gentle on wood surfaces and might do the
trick. You may find it in the grocery store - if not, the hardware
store.


#3
very old oak jeweler's bench which smells of tobacco and is quite
dirty. The odor bothers my COPD and I need to eliminate it and
start working with the bench. Someone suggested white vinegar and
water but I am hesitant. This is an antique bench with lovely oak
grain. Any advice on maintaining the integrity of the wood but
thoroughly cleaning and sealing this bench would be appreciated. 

By tobacco I gather you mean smoke? (Whereas the aroma of unsmoked
tobacco is kinda pleasant…)

If you mean cigar or cigarette smoke, I’ve had good luck getting it
out of clothing, bathrugs, and curtains with one of the
bleach-for-colored-clothes liquid laundry detergents, after trying
many other products. I used it on all the soft good from my mother’s
house that were intended for the Goodwill store but were too
shamefully smelly to donate as is.

Then, after whatever cleaning you think the bench can withstand, I’ve
had excellent results with “sealing” leftover odors (even cat urine)
by applying a coat of polyurethane varnish. You can use the satin
finish instead of gloss if you prefer to keep that aged look.

Good luck,
Lorraine


#4

First give it a good washing inside and out with a strong degreasing
type detergent and rinse. Repeat until the rinse water is clean. If
there is still an objectionable smell 2 possibilities come to mind

  1. Seal the entire bench in, out, under etc with a varnish.

  2. Hire a company that does post fire cleaning. They have products
    that may be able to clean the smell out.

Or from way out in left field

  1. Find a company with a vacuum chamber that the bench will fit
    into. Vacuum for 24 hours, that will let the volatiles that you smell
    outgas.

Kay
PS somehow I think option 3 would cost more than a new bench…


#5

We once bought a 34 ft long sail boat with a solid teak interior
whose prior owner was a dedicated pot smoker. Along with years of
mildew and badly applied teak oil, there was a tremendous build up
of pot resin in the teak. We scrubbed down the teak with Comet
cleaner, scotchbrite pads and water. This got the gunk out (it was
amazing how much goo poured out of that teak). It also raised the
grain considerably, and bleached the wood somewhat. We then sanded
the teak lightly, and sealed with an appropriate marine sealer, no
stain because the teak would darken on its own. Although the process
may seem a bit harsh, it worked beautifully. (We always wondered if
there would have been a way to bottle that goo and resell it, LOL!)


#6
somehow I think option 3 would cost more than a new bench... 

Probably would! I do know someone with a chamber that big (NASA
engineer, chamber is his private property) though. Now while it
would do the job, the clean up of the chamber (and pumps) after wards
is what would cost the big $…

Cheers, Thomas.


#7

I have used “Oakite” for all cleaning in my shop - even diluted in my
ultrasonics. It is a chemical and you will order it from the same
place you get your acids. You will also need to have a license or
permit for your chemicals.

Stephen Wyrick, CMBJ
Gemmologist


#8

I just saw a commercial on TV for Febreze and its ability to spray
on anything that can’t be washed in order to eliminate orders. Don’t
know if it would work, but it reminded me of when my daughters were
teenagers and how they would “restore” clothing from their dirty
laundry baskets by using Febreze. In hindsight, it doesn’t seem like
as much of a crime as it did at the time. LOL.

Jamie


#9

First, find a truck stop.

They sell spray bottles of stuff designed to remove smoke odors from
all surfaces. “Odor Out” is one brand. (You think you’ve got problems
with smoke odors, imagine being stuck in the cab of a semi for 20
hours a day whose previous driver was a heavy smoker!)

Next wash your bench down with something like a vinegar solution.
Rinse, spray on the product and you’re done.

Great for cat box odors too.
RC


#10

Good tip, never heard of that stuf. I can only imagine how bad the
seats are after a bean fest!

I made all my benches and built them with rock maple tops and the
legs and skirts out of mahogany. Twice a year I will take denatured
alcohol and 4/0 or 5/0 steel wool and rub down the wood bench tops.
This removes old wax and cleans the grain and refreshes the smell of
the wood (FYI- steel wool tends to lift particles off the wood
surface and sandpaper tends to burnish particles into the surface).
Then I build up a good heavy layer of Butchers bowling ally wax. You
have to open the windows to do this, but it sure brightens up the
wood. Maybe for small shops or not good ventilation, try the
trucker’s friend that RC mentioned.

jthej
James F. Conley


#11
Great for cat box odors too. 

This got my attention, because I have a beautiful little rug that my
cat got while it was stored in the basement. The cat is dead and
gone, but the memory lingers on…

I have sprayed it (3 times) with Fabreze, works like a charm, then a
week or so later, when I walk over the rug, there it is again. I
know, get it cleaned, but money is tight, plus I don’t know where to
do that in my new area.

Noel


#12

This probably would be more work than you want to put into it, but
sanding it down and refinishing it would remove the smoke odor.

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
www.featheredgems.com


#13

I’d say… you can use a simpler method

firt clean the surface if it’s dirty, then mix a 50/50 solution of
water and vodka, and spray it on the wood, wai until it evaporates
then you should be free from smells…

vodka is one of the best natural odor neutralyzer known to man…

Simone


#14
I have a beautiful little rug that my cat got while it was stored
in the basement. The cat is dead and gone, but the memory lingers
on... I have sprayed it (3 times) with Fabreze, works like a charm,
then a week or so later, when I walk over the rug, there it is
again. 

There’s is a product sold at pet stores, including Pet Smart, called
Nature’s Miracle. You can use it on assorted surfaces, including in
the laundry. It really works! It also gets the smell totally out,
even to the cat, so those with a living cat, the cat won’t continue
to pee on that spot.

Another product for the bench in question – Bouna (something like
that) wood refresher. Short of refinishing, but pretty serious
cleaning for hardwood floors.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#15

white vinegar eliminates most odors. It eliminated skunk spray,
cigarette smoke and pet smells. Either put it in a bowl to absorb
odors or in a sprayer bottle