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The smell of my home shop, is it odd?

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  • The smell of my home shop, is it odd?

    Is it odd that I like the smells? Makes me comfortable. And it depends on the weather sometimes.

    Warm weather will bring out certain smells and the cooler weather will let some of the trace odors present.

    Tonight I got a whiff of old 1950s wire insulation when I fired up the old 10ee. It brought back some memories when I would sit next to my Dad in the living room while he worked on the back of our old tube TV.

    Then other times if its warm in the garage I get the scent of some old but not rotten smells from my old bridgeport and the oils it had when I bought it 15 or more years ago.

    Im prolly a bit of an oddity but I love certain smells and they bring me back. Umm? One? Raw oil. Like whats pumped right from the ground. It has a certain organic smell. Some say rotten eggs, some say sulfur and gas. I LOVE that smell.

    Brings me back to my childhood I guess when Long Beach was still moving oil. And walking the beaches and seeing globs of oil.

    Dunno, I like the smell of raw crude right out of the ground.

    So anyway. I smelled the common scent of hot 1950s wire insulation just now and brought me back and love it. I think Ill fire up the old monarch just for the smell. Odd right?

    But old time smells are some of our basic memories. I think they can invoke some deep seated memories that vision and sound cant. Then they bring up ALL the additional parts of that time.

    I shouldnt get into it but a "smell" memory still hits hard and strong for me. Its the time when my Dad (and my parents were still married) took me and my Sister fishing at the local reservoir. He set us up and left. I didnt know where he went, he was just gone. It seems like a couple of hours past and he was back. I was prolly 7 or 8 and my sis was 1-1/2 years older.

    The only thing I remembered was the smell of Ketchup. He was gone and I was afraid and the smell of Ketchup (as in eating fries) was all I remember.

    Yeah sure, he was prolly cheating on my mom. But I was young and didnt get all that. What I did get was Dad left us to fish and I was afraid and when he came back all I remember was the smell of old ketchup in the car. Weird RIGHT... Smells will bring you back. Yes? I dont like the smell of ketchup if you were wondering.

    So?????? Is this the place to go to air my deepest issues? YUP!!! I cant deal with going to a professional. So my next best avenue is YOU guys. Got to spill the beans to someone right?? Cant hold it ALL in forever.

    The beans? My Dad was an alcoholic (so am I) and he died driving while drunk. But thats besides the point.

    Smells? Do you ever get out into the home shop and get some "remembrance" of some history? I DO and love it. It actually motivates me to cut some metal and make something.

    Solly for the family history downer. Sometimes I NEED to vent. JR
    My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group

  • #2
    I don't know about aromas from 1950's wire, but the TV went blooey the other day and there was a strong odor of "oh crap now I gotta gen another one". Frank


    • #3
      Smell is a very powerful thing, psychologically. At one time in the history of the human race it was a very necessary thing to have in order to survive. It's still important today, but mostly for different reasons.

      Things that are committed to memory usually have several factors present which become part of the memory, and smell is one of them. Stimulating the olfactory sense (I think that's right) can and does evoke memories of things seemingly unrelated, although a person can piece together the factors present and thus improve the recall.

      I suppose you could list the 'classical' odors that we might generally associate with things in our lives- the list would include old car interior smell, dusty air smell after a shower, various solvents including gasoline and oils, cooking smells, mold and mildew, etc. One that took me back just today was the dusty air smell. It reminded me of how fresh the air was way back when there was so much less pollution. You could actually take a full breath of air and it felt clean.

      Freshly cut wood also is strong for me, and so is electrical arcing. For some reason I also like the smell of burnt toast.
      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


      • #4
        Originally posted by Frank46
        I don't know about aromas from 1950's wire, but the TV went blooey the other day and there was a strong odor of "oh crap now I gotta gen another one". Frank
        Funny how the magic smoke out of electronics always smells expensive.
        Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit


        • #5
          Smell of cutting oil as it gets hot. Takes me back to being a kid at school on the lathes of the machine shop doing shop lesson. No pressures, no work, no taxes to worry about and a big room full of well maintained machines to do with how we wanted provided our design called for it.
          Still use water based flood coolant, as much for the smell as any other reason...


          • #6
            i never thout about how smells bring back memories but your right they do. Good post,Thanks!


            • #7
              I added citronella oil to all my machines oils..about 1/2 a teaspoon to a gallon ratio .

              that's what they add to 3in 1 oil.

              So my whole workshop smells of that, nothing else .
              if smelled something like old tv's smell i would be worried ........that to me, would be something arcing and making ozone ..or a transformer burning out .

              all the best.markj


              • #8
                I always like the smell of a bodyshop. Fiberglass bondo, and paint. Reminds me of high school days hanging out with a bunch of guys and we would do bodywork on cars drink beer and not a worry in the world.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Frank46
                  I don't know about aromas from 1950's wire, but the TV went blooey the other day and there was a strong odor of "oh crap now I gotta gen another one". Frank
                  That was the smell of the 'magic smoke" that makes the TV work. If you were there to capture it, you could have put it back in and the TV would work just fine.
                  Bricolage anyone? of lifes fun games.


                  • #10

                    Good Post. It reminds all of us that confession is good for the soul. No I'm not Catholic (Southern Baptist actually). I gives us a chance to reflect on things and sometimes work out solutions.

                    Sorry about your father, but I'll tell you about mine. I've never met the man and tell people "I wouldn't Pi$$ on him if he were on fire". My mother went with her sister to act as a chaperone to a drive in theater. There was another man there 6-7 years older than my mother. One thing led to another. My mother had me when she was 13 years old.

                    I was told when I was 8 that my father was my adopted father. I've suffered with depression and migraines since 20. I think a lot of it can be laid at his feet.

                    My mother passed about 10 years ago, and lately I've been thinking about contacting the Authorities and seeing if they can find the SO* and press charges for rape, child molestation, etc.. I don't even know his name or if he's alive. My mother and grandmother both wanted to tell me his name before they both passed, I wouldn't let them so they told my wife.

                    Thanks for the post, and my opportunity to vent a little also.



                    • #11
                      smells trigger memories for me too. Many are mixed up with my dad too but in a good way. He taught me a lot of what I know. And is a big reason I am who I am today. And he's still around to bs and go fishing with.

                      The woods was my second home so the smells of spring and winter and fall there have strong memories attached.

                      The smells of cleaning solvent grease and starting fluid bring back memories of working in the Garage on motors go karts and cars sometimes with my dad and sometimes without.

                      Fresh cut grass and new mown hay. hoppes #9 and gun oil. line dry laundry

                      Ahhh yea I think i'll confess to memories and smells being connected



                      • #12
                        Well here I am thinking of smells and how my wife likes Wd-40 and also the combination of chainsaw smoke and alder sawdust. I like the smells of certain plants when cut, dislike others, maple is acrid. All that was fine, happy.

                        Ken - Hey guy, that's the toughest spot to be in. I unfortunately know....Here is something that really helped me, it hits all relative points, and there is no fluff and psychobabble.


                        My 'no stone left unturned' attempt at justice failed. There is law and there is justice. It can be somewhat(?) healing to take a swipe at those who have harmed you. Attacks against male children by male adults was unfortunately quite common. Males are less likely to talk so it was kept more secret and these perpetrators instinctively know this. This helps no-one, and most importantly does nothing to protect the next little boy. The negative effects are often life long. I understand why prisoners kill child molesters, the anger can be all consuming. Child sexual abuse is about inflicting harm. Many get caught up by the sexual nature of it and miss the 98% bigger point - abuse.
                        The 1 st rule in talking to survivors is to never give advice, I hope I have not broken it.


                        • #13
                          My sniffer doesn't work like it used to. I guess it's been around to much diesel fumes and other shop fumes that has damaged it. If the odor is strong enough I can smell it and shop odors are pleasant to me. I also love fresh cut grass of all types, a wood fire, food cooking on an open fire and good whiskey and beer. There are many other odors that give me pleasure but those top the list.

                          Oh, one more, I especially love the odor of the old tube type radio and TV that is given off while they are operating. It's not strong and you have to stick your face into the cabinet to smell it but it's a pleasant odor.

                          I sure miss having a good nose to enjoy all the faint pleasant odors. We ignore the unpleasant odors.
                          It's only ink and paper


                          • #14
                            I love the smell of a freshly opened up motor after it has been beat on in a race for hours on end! Race gas, and red loctite!


                            • #15
                              As I walk through the shop this morning, memories spring out.

                              I can still smell the acrid smoke that came from the cutoff saw,
                              when the Phosphorus Bronze Bar stock locked the old blade into a pretzel shape .

                              I smell the cutting oil by the old Bridgeport, left over when the quill return spring failed in a boring job
                              and the cutter sat at the bottom of a counterbore for 2 minutes and forced the part to send forth smoke signals
                              like a Indian communication center.

                              The fragrance of tar eminates from the pedistal grinder where my neighbor used the wheel
                              to fix his kids rollerskates.

                              The Maple top workbench has the aroma of Laquer Thinner that spilled onto the wood
                              when I was cleaning my wifes sewing machine drive.

                              My lathe has that distinct smell of nylon plastics ,
                              which came from last weeks efforts in fixing my friends swimming pool pump.

                              The belt sander still smells like varnish from the furniture repair.

                              The trash can eminates the sweet smell of a half eaten Snickers bar that fell off the mill table,
                              and the delicious scent of coffee grounds

                              The still cool air in my Wisconsin shop, conveys excitement and the tang of mosquito repellent as I recall the battle
                              that occured last night when working late on a rush job, only to find others also at work----on me

                              Ah Yes, you have two choices..The smell of cosmoline and protective oils,
                              The smell of every day shop enjoyment !

                              Thanks for the wake up call JR !

                              Green Bay, WI