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smellynans 05-29-2010 02:38 PM

Beautiful Old Farm Table Smells!!
Bought a wonderful old 7 foot farm table to use for our family. But, it was in someone's barn or garage and the top planks smell like fertilizer or something terrible. Have tried cleaning it with a water and bleach solution plus an odor eliminator spray. Even tried to seal in the ordor. No luck. Would so appreciate any help -- So great a table to waste ...

joybird 07-18-2010 05:56 PM

I was able to remove an odor from unfinished wooden drawers in an old chest of drawers by filling them with wadded up newspaper and putting each into a trash bag full of more wadded newspaper and leaving them for a month. I'm not sure how to translate that method to a large table. Perhaps you can buy a bag meant for storing a mattress and save up a LOT of newspaper. I'm surprised that sealing it didn't work. I'd expect varnish to seal in any odor. I've read that, in addition to wadded newspaper, you should add charcoal briquets, but I don't know that of my own experience.

smellynans 07-19-2010 10:15 AM

Thanks for your suggestion. We've been able to get a lot of the smell out by washing it with mild soup and water, drying it off and then leaving it in the sun. But, the smell is not completely gone. Maybe if I tape newspaper down over the most offending area -- I am willing to try everything. You are kind to write. Thanks again!

handyguys 07-20-2010 12:40 PM

sealing it should have done the trick. What did you use to seal it?

smellynans 07-20-2010 02:46 PM

My husband had put a layer of paint on it. Assuming now that paint is not enough. What type of sealant would you suggest? And thanks again for your post!

Nestor_Kelebay 07-21-2010 10:56 PM

Well, when a house has a fire and the smell of soot permeates everything, the standard procedure is to paint the walls with a product called KILZ sealer made by a company called MasterChem Industries.

However, the problem I have with this is that KILZ sealer is really nothing more than an ORDINARY oil based primer. People think it's alcohol based or that it's a totally different chemistry simply because it dries faster than other oil based primers, and that gives it magical powers in their minds.

The reason why KILZ sealer dries faster than ordinary oil based primers is because instead of using mineral spirits alone as it's thinner, it uses a mixture of 60% mineral spirits and 40% naptha. Naptha is camping fuel, and in order for a camp stove to keep a good flame going, the naptha has to evaporate very rapidly to provide fuel for that flame. Consequently, the only reason KILZ sealer dries faster is because what's in it evaporates faster... what's left behind is the same as any other oil based primer.

So, if it wuz me, I would just use any interior oil based primer, and then paint over that with an INTERIOR OIL BASED paint, and allow the paint a good week or more to cure before even using that table. That's because oil based paints get harder and harder at an ever decreasing rate, so you want to treat the paint with kidd gloves until it hardens. Since a table is a working surface, you need a hard surface to stand up to wear and tear. The harder the paint on your table, the less it will be scratched and marked by wear and tear, and the longer it'll stay looking good. Latex paints, even supposed "Porch and Floor" latex paints, simply aren't hard enough to provide good service on a working surface like a floor or table top.

smellynans 07-22-2010 10:57 AM

Thanks Nestor. I have heard about KILZ sealer but didn't really know the benefits or the lack of. My dilemma is first and foremost the smell but I would also like to keep the old, worn, shabby look to the table. I really don't want to paint it. (The layer of paint my husband had put on has been eliminated with all the washings of the table). I appreciate your knowledge on paints and sealers. Do you think just a sealer would solve the problem? And if so, which type? Thanks again for taking the time to write.

Nestor_Kelebay 07-22-2010 01:54 PM

Well, if you don't want to paint the table, then a coat of oil based polyurethane (varnish) would seal as well as a coat of oil based paint and dry even harder for better durability. You could use multiple coats of Min-Wax Wipe-On polyurethane to avoid brush strokes in the finish.

Maybe the reason why it was kept in a barn for so long was because it stunk to begin with.

Have you investigated the option of covering it with some plastic and using an ozone machine on it? When a person dies in a house, and the body isn't discovered until people start to complain about the smell coming from the house, it's an ozone machine that they use to eliminate the smell from the house. An ozone machine is the biggest gun in the arsenal when it comes to eliminating odors, and they can be rented from some of the places listed under "Janitorial Equipment & Supplies" in your Yellow Pages.

smellynans 07-22-2010 07:28 PM

Thanks again for the advise! That may be true about the smell being there a long time. But, I wlll investigate the ozone machine. Interesting how it's used. Good advise and I appreciate it!! Will let you know how it goes.

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