Plastic Glue Odors in a Cedar Chest

A furniture maker tries to understand why it's so hard to get the smell of polyurethane glue out of a cedar chest. May 5, 2007

I am a one man cabinet shop and recently a customer asked for a cedar lined chest, something I have no experience with. The chest is oak with aromatic cedar. The problem I am having is that I used pl200 to attach the 1\4 cedar and now the box smells like pl. I have aired the box out for days, but when it is closed for any length of time, the smell returns.

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor G:
Since nobody else has chimed in, maybe get some cedar oil and wipe it inside? Just my guess...

From contributor R:
Tip the chest on its side or end with the lid open. It will air out much better this way. Blow a small fan in it for at least a few days. Sand the cedar to bring its odor back out.

From contributor C:
Years ago I used aromatic cedar inside a drawered chest. I finished the non-cedar interior parts with an oil finish. I discovered that the vapors of aromatic cedar act like a thinner, so the oil finish became sticky any time the chest was left closed and the vapors could accumulate. Aromatic cedar contains a sap that is, I guess, something chemically similar to a natural naphtha. I have a feeling that your problem will persist, no matter how many times you air your chest, because this "naphtha" is reacting with your glue. (I removed my oil finish by wet sanding several times with turpentine and wiping dry and then had no more problems).

From contributor A:
Yes, pl200 is more for drywall or paneling, but it is sort of solvent based and has a lingering odor. I think contributor C may be right. It is possible a light wash coat of shellac may bury enough of the pl200 from coming through, but it may also keep the cedar from smelling nice too. If you can remove the cedar and redo it, I would. As a last resort, maybe try my idea.