What Do You Do with Smelly Furniture?

Art Deco China Cabinet

Make sure you smell the inside of any piece of furniture you’re thinking of buying.

Have you ever inherited or purchased a piece of furniture that just didn’t smell right? I have, and I paid for my mistake in terms of money and time invested.

Early in my career as an antique dealer, I went to an auction and saw a piece of furniture that interested me. I carefully examined the book case with glassed doors flanking a drop leaf desk with two drawers below. I knew the item would sell easily, and, judging by the price I paid for it, other dealers thought so too.

I proudly took the bookcase/desk to the store and arranged a space to show off my new purchase. It didn’t take long that I started noticing a very odd smell anytime I passed the place where the new piece was. I truly had not noticed it earlier, but the odour became stronger and more powerful the longer I had it in the shop.

Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer. I took it to the back of the store and, in spite of the fact that the finish was excellent, I stripped it. I replaced the finish with new varnish and once again put it out on the floor. It still smelled. I put candles and room scent inside of it. Still smelled.

Smell everything -no matter how nice it looks!

Smell everything -no matter how nice it looks!

I returned it to the back of the shop and this time I stripped the inside of the piece. I’d never had to do this before – ever. I put new finish, and basically encased the furniture in varnish. It still didn’t smell great but the varnish overpowered it.

By then I just didn’t want it in the shop. I had invested lots of money and time in the piece but some times you just need to cut your losses – so I took it back to auction and lost more money there too.

Cased goods are most prone to holding smells.

Cased goods are most prone to holding smells.

I finally figured what probably caused the smell – moisture. It was the smell of mildewed wood, and I have since noticed it primarily at shops that import their furniture from places with wetter climates than ours.

It was a good lesson – one I’ve never forgotten. So, if ever you see me at auction, I’ll be the one with the head inside the furniture!

2 responses to “What Do You Do with Smelly Furniture?

  1. Great post. I once bought a brand-new handbag that smelled like skunk. But I never noticed it when I was buying it. I had to throw it out eventually, after trying all kinds of stuff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s