Smoke Smell On Furniture

Shellac is reputed to work for sealing in smoke odors when furniture has been through a house fire. December 29, 2008

I have a customer who had a house fire and she has some heirloom children's furniture she wanted to save. She had the furniture cleaned, however the smell of smoke remains on the wood. The pieces are not painted, but are stained and probably have a varnish finish on them. She wanted to know if sanding and putting on a new topcoat would eliminate the smoke smell.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor L:
Coat them with shellac. That should seal the smell in. You could re-varnish them after that.

From contributor K:
I just had this problem and borrowed an ozonator and sealed it in a large plastic tent for a week. The smell was gone, however I couldn't use my shop while the machine was running.

From contributor M:
Contributor L is right on the mark on this one. Shellac is well known to have the property of sealing in odors and also sticks easily to any surface. Use dewaxed clear shellac and then topcoat with whatever you want.

From contributor T:
Try ammonia and warm water.

From contributor C:
Shellac is a proven fix for this.