Repurposed Demolition Trunk

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About This Project


I had an old chest I had gotten from the Army many years ago that was used to pack explosives. I had been using it to store some tools until I built a new tool shed. I went ahead and power washed it and then stripped it. I gave it a good sanding and then applied 2 coats of Minwax Antique Maple gel stain. I then top coated it with 2 coats of Minwax fast drying polyurethane. It turned out better than I expected. One of my sons uses it to store his book bags from school.

Required Skill Level: 
Starter Project
Estimated Time Investment: 
Weekend Project (10-20 Hours)
Finish Used: 
2 coats of Minwax Antique Maple stain. 2 coats of Minwax fast drying polyurethane. I applied the stain with a brush. After 15 minutes I wiped it with a cotton cloth. The poly was applied with a brush. I used 320 grit sandpaper between coats. I stripped the old paint off with a cheap paint and varnish remover I purchased at Walmart. I did have to power wash it first because it had quite a bit of oil/grease that was in the wood. I dried the trunk by placing an electric heater next to it over night.
Estimated Cost: 


Just wondering, I always use 3 coats of Minwax fast drying polyurethane on my furniture builds or refinishes. The trouble that I have is the lingering odor. I recently built my son a bed and then finished it and he cant stand the smell and refuses to sleep in it and it has been about 2 weeks or more. Any ideas on how to get rid of the smell quicker. Everything that I have read says it just takes time but surely there has to be a quicker way!! Any suggestions from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

At least, that would be my suggestion for him. The smell will dissipate when the smell dissipates, and that's all you can do. You can speed that if the bed is stored in a very well ventilated space for a while, but it's just a matter of the urethane needing to fully cure. That manufacturer estimates four weeks for full cure.

Urethane has a distinctive smell. You can avoid it by using an acrylic finish instead (the water-borne finishes), but acrylic has its own smell that's probably equally offensive.

It does take a little time to cure and eliminate the odor. Any oil based finish; poly, paint, etc. does have a little stronger smell than water based. Try an open box of baking soda. An open window also works wonders. Ever notice how wonderful sheets smell whenever you dry them outside?