Masking Lacquer Odor

      A spray operation near a residential neighborhood seeks ways to improve the smell of its exhaust. June 10, 2006

I have a friend who has a commercial spray booth in a residential area. New neighbors just moved in and they object to the smell every time he sprays, particularly pre catalyzed lacquers like Campbell and KemVar. Now the Board of Health is involved and they suggested he filter the smell out. Is this possible? He's currently running a conventional booth with conventional filters with exit air to exterior. I don't think there are any filters capable of scrubbing the smell. He only finishes once in awhile, not daily.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor H:
Commercial spray booth in residential area? Sounds more like a zoning issue. Vent to the other side of the building or vent out on to the roof. If he is within his zoning the new neighbors are not going to be able to do much. A charcoal filter might remove some of the smell.

From contributor S:
Mark, is his exhaust stack above roof line (10') to catch prevailing wind? If he must spray solvent lacquers, adding a vanilla or lavender extract can help some. If he is residential he may be forced to use water base lacquers.

From contributor S:
I would be afraid to add things to the lacquer, especially a food product. You know what happens when you add mineral spirits to lacquer, or even too much retarder. That's just me. The stack needs to be 1.5 times the roof height, per code in our area. 20' roof = 30' stack.

And Mark, to be quite blunt, I have had the same problem in a business park, zoned for manufacturing. It is going to cost me a lot of money to resolve this issue. If he is making money I have little sympathy for him. This is the cost of doing business. And again, quite bluntly, if he has a family, he does not need to be subjecting his family to these fumes.

I have had to face these same issues myself. Regulations make it difficult for the small business to be profitable. Your friend might want to do what many of us do - find a place where he can spray and comply with codes.

From contributor B:
Gemini makes a line of precats and post cats that come with the "cotton candy" or "vanilla" smell already in the bucket. It really helps with finicky sprayers and may help with the neighbors.

From contributor J:
One suggestion would be trying a water bath booth.

From contributor W:
I had suggested an elevated stack too as that seems to be the commercial solution. Adding a scent sounds temptingly simple but can it really be effective? As for the related issues, yes, it is a zoning issue but he's lived and worked there his entire life and he has no real choice, he's barely making it as is. He's just a one man show.

From contributor G:
Mark the two easiest smells are "vanilla or lavender". Get these from your coating distributor and charcoal filters. Filters work, but are cost prohibitive and somewhat work sporadically. As far as a water wash spray booth they are expensive. They are somewhat outdated also because of added issues of maintenance cost and local disposal.

From contributor E:
I think the neighbors complain about the smell because that's the only legal complaint they can make. They would probably prefer he wasn't there. As said above, the Gemini has a nice smell to it. My wife says it smells like fresh cookies. I would try to spray at night late or when the wind is blowing away from those neighbors.

From contributor H:
The best shot is to elevate the stack and bump the motor on the exhaust fan if necessary. I have heard about putting velocity cones on booths that jet the air up further in to the atmosphere. Charcoal filters can get costly.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: General Wood Finishing

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2018 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article