View Full Version : Odd smell....

07-24-2005, 01:09 PM
After i had that pastel table built and installed in april, there was this odd smell in the house. Of course we didnt even think about it being the table til a couple weeks ago. It smelled like , well now that i think about it proccessed wood...........but at the time my husband said it smelled like vinegar.
Well Last night i got tired of it all and decided i was just going to get rid of my pastel table :crying: .
So i packed up ALL those pastels so we could dismantle the table today and throw it out. Well this morning i get up and come here (livingroom) and theres no smell :confused: :confused: ...
As soon as my husband comes in here, he said, hey, the smell is gone.
Its just sooooo odd! Surely that vinegar smell isnt coming from the pastels!? I left them all in their foam slots and my aunt said that maybe it was the foam but im not going to put MY nose up to it and find out lol, might as well stick a pastel up my nose lol.
My husband is gone for the moment but im hopeing that when he comes back he will have a "fresh" nose to smell with lol, and that he will indeed smell the table lol and NOT my pastels.
Anyway, i do want to ask if anyone else have all their pastels out in the open like i do (or did i should say), if they have experienced any odd smells around where they paint??
Every time my husband past by where i painted thats where he smelled the odd vinegar smell.
I know its not my house lol, this only started AFTER i got my pastel table in here, and ive cleaned around that area SO MUCH since the smell started.
So if anyone can lend any stories, help, advice etc..........i would be greatful :D


07-24-2005, 01:55 PM
d'you happen to know if your table was put together with any of that clear sealant stuff they use to "caulk" aquariums and stuff? That stuff has a very distinctive vinegar-y odor, and, especially in heat- will give it off even when "cured". In fact, a lot of the "fake" glues made now have that odor- as does some particle-type woods- I'd be willing to bet that's where it is coming from.

07-24-2005, 02:02 PM
The only thing i can think of that might have any type of glue in it is the table top. It is pine i think pressed and glued to some other type of wood that is in the middle. But the smell is gone (or so we think, we will find out for sure when the hubby gets home and "sniffs" the air lol). I packed away all my pastels lastnight in boxes and put them in drawers, and now no smell, im kinda worried. I cant use oils, and acrylics dry to fast for what i do. And i have spent SO MUCH MONEY (and time) on pastels lol, i dont want to have to give them up because of an annoying smell. Hell if that was the case there wouldnt be no art mediums lol, they all have some kind of smell or another.
I guess ill find out later if it is in fact the table or the pastels.

07-24-2005, 02:04 PM
my nose is usually clogged up- but we do have 10 cats that come and go indoors or out. they like to occasionally mark their spot from mice, dogs, other cats (and ALL are spayed/ neutered).... but I was just thinking- it is a very strong oder like that- do you have a cat who is jealous of the pastels? boy, it would be a huge shame to take away the table..... wonder if airing the foam outside in the sun would help?

07-24-2005, 02:20 PM
I have no pets for that reason lol and the fact that a year ago i found out that im allergic to certain types of fur (brother in law has a BEAUTIFUL husky that i just looove to pet but cant cause after about 10 minutes my skin starts to itch horribly and my eyes burn).
BUT, you may be on to something about airing out the foam that the sticks are in. Ill try that. and your right it would be a shame to get rid of the table , ive been wanting something like that since i started getting large amounts of pastels every month since febuary. But lol, im starting to wonder if this isnt the perfect excuse to get someone to build me a pastel CABNET like in the book by Leslie Harrison. Its kinda like a flat file cabnet but not so wide. She has all her pastels organized in seperate drawers by each manufacturer. Ive been wanting something like that too for the longest time. But those flat files are EXPENSIVE, but a friend that works for my husband said he would be willing to build it if i pay for all the stuff, which of course i would. Plus it wouldnt take up almost 6 feet of space in my livingroom lol.
Out of frustration lastnight, trying to figure out how to rearrange (once again) my apartment to accomidate my stuff AND the house stuff lol i told my husband "well i could just stop painting til we got the house". He of course laughed at me and told me not to be so drastic (and overdramatic lol) cause that would never happen and he wouldnt let that happen. So we are back to square one.

07-24-2005, 03:49 PM
Steph- I started out by buying some of those $49. 4-shelf cabnets to put the pastels in- they crunched them, but that is another story- I find that when I have things put away in any form- cabs., boxes, etc. they don't get used- I need mine out flat. Wish I had known that before going nuts and getting boxes, etc. for them all... have been working up the nerve to ask hubby for a pastel table like yours (have been thinking about it- I pile mine on top of bookshelves, etc.)- but since he did the physical part of the studio in record time, and I am in the dog house for my spending... at any rate, I am literally allergic to everything....I am just used to not breathing and sneezing all the time. Perhaps a goldfish in the studio- believe it or not they have personality...

Donna just got a craftsman to put things in- you might ask her how that is going... I love the picture of Sooz's layout of pastels. If I liked shopping i would go out and try to find some big shallow (cheap) wooden trays.

At any rate- the pastels should not smell- the foam can be washed out and sunlight dried unless you have goats to eat it ;) I have had stinky foam before....

BTW, perhaps you could ask one of the pastel makers about the smell- do you have mostly unisons? you might try to email them.....

07-24-2005, 04:13 PM
Well if you do get the ok about the table , DO NOT make the slant of it no more than 10 degrees (mine is at 15) i thought it to be a good idea according to my height and my reach. BUT after i started painting i realized that the lip that i made at the bottom of this table was not wide enough (because of the foam the sticks are in) so that pretty much made it pointless to have as a "catch" if any should roll to their demise (which a few have).
I would make it to where it fits your height and reach. I used a yard stick. And i am 5'6 or so , my table reaches about the heighth of my hips (that is at the shortest point), The back of it is about 10'' higher. I think its perfect myself, except for the whole rolling thing lol, which if i was to make the lip at the bottom wider and line it with foam it would solve my problem.
the frame that it is on, was NOT my idea. My idea was to have the supports of the legs on the inside, but the builder did not think of this and hence why their is a huge frame.

To bad you dont live close, whenever i have something that i cannot keep or do not have room for i HATE throwing it away, and instead try to find someone else that could use it. I would gladly find it a new home if i could lol.

07-24-2005, 06:50 PM

Sweetbaby must be referring to slicone ,which indeed has a kind of vinegar smell when fresh, but not when dry. At least the one I sell at work doens't. It's from Bayer.
Did you feel that smell right from the beginning, when you bought the table ?
Is it possible that someone may have put vinegar in the table because of mold ? Or injected some anti-mold product that would caused that smell in the future, like it happened ?
I think that you were too hasty (spell?) on getting rid of the table without trying to know the cause.
You could always try one of my « this will work for sure options » : put some gas over the table and ....does anyone have a match ? :-)



07-24-2005, 07:03 PM
well, I would love that table- hubby and I have a design 'war' constantly- I dream up something, he scribbles notes, then builds it the way HE wants- will not listen to me, then if it is not what I wanted, it is my fault... but it is nice to have someone who will at least try- (although I could do it myself just fine before getting married!!)...yes, Jose is right- if you get rid of the table too fast it is probably a mistake- and will likely hack off your hubby so he will not build another one!

07-24-2005, 07:23 PM
Hubby didnt build it, a friend of mine did. I bought the stuff, came up with the plans for it and had it build, husband doesnt build, only instructs from the sidelines, "watch out for that cord." " Hey your thumb is in the way" , you know that sort of thing lol.
I havent thrown anything out yet. Table is still here. Like ive been saying, ive been waiting for my husband to get home. And when he walked in the door over an hour ago, he said he didnt smell it. Sigh.
Well at least i now know its not the table.
Thanks anyways for you alls opinions, advice (and sarcasm, bringer lol).
Purples im gonna try your idea this week.


07-24-2005, 08:09 PM
oh, I know that role- I do that best- look out for the cord- basset- fingers- goat- you are not doing it right- etc. until both me and the kids are sent to our rooms ;)

07-25-2005, 01:05 AM
I have a lot of different brands of pastels and have never had a bad smell from any of them. I usually toss out all the foam that they come in since I have storage boxes for my sticks and they don't stay in their original containers for long.

If your table did have a glue that was drying, that could account for a smell. And when the glue or silicon dried, the odor went away. Could have been a varnish on the table that dried slowly too giving off an odor. If that's the case, once dry, the odor won't return :)


07-25-2005, 10:20 AM
I have all my pastels laid out on a table. The Sennelier are still in the boxes with the foam inserts but I haven't noticed any smell like that. Neither has my Mother & she smells everything! lol I hope it something that cleared itself up.

07-26-2005, 12:58 PM
Well, my family reclaimed part of my commendered studio furn., so I dumped all the junk out of the big craftsman thing and moved pastels into it- since I lost 2/3 of my table space- have not tried it out, as far as painting... still have to clean up all the rest of the mess and find a place for the empty boxes, etc.... but it LOOKS like it will work out ok....

07-29-2005, 01:04 AM
Well the table is gone and the pastels are stored in boxes on a fold out table, AND the smell is gone........im so bummed :( , dont get me wrong im glad the smell is gone, but so is my table and the whole point of haveing the darn thing built. Now im working on a portrait and i have to dig through boxes for all the colors. Oh well thats life in an apartment i guess. ..............sigh

Oh yea, and thanks for ya'lls advice and such :)

07-30-2005, 08:54 PM

I've used the silicone clear glue and it does seem strongly of vinegar when it's fresh, but it seems to go away after several days or more after it's been cured. You might try that Frebreeze stuff, because that works on just about all bad odors, except for a few. Maybe that will help.

07-31-2005, 02:09 AM
I used no glue in making the table, everything was store bought and just assembled. The smell was gone AFTER i had put away the pastels tho, not the table. But thank you for your advice. The table is gone however, and my husband is now in the proccess of commissioning someone to build me two pastel storage cabnets. :D Even if it is the pastels that is making the odd smell, it will be contained within said cabnet lol.