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I have a model steam engine (several years old) and it has a glossy finish, presumably some kind of varnish. It certainly smells like that kind of oily varnish smell when one gets close it. Should I be concerned about leaving it in the room and possibly inhaling something bad ? Is it possible to get rid of the smell ?

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    Hey, John, welcome to Arts & Crafts. Smell questions are almost impossible to definitively answer on a Q&A site because nobody else is in a position to smell and identify it. The sister Home Improvement site gets a lot of those and it's explicitly listed as off-topic for that reason (we don't get enough smell questions here to explicitly list it). The problem is that there are endless possibilities for what could be causing a chemical smell (various issues with the underlying paint, various issues with the finish coat, interaction between those two, (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Jan 8 '21 at 21:22
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    original use of materials that were deteriorated with age, additives, etc. If the finish is completely hard, you might be able to seal it in with another clear finish coat (can't hurt to try). You might be able to strip all the finish and repaint it. If it's several years old, there probably isn't enough volatile chemicals to actually be harmful, even though you can still detect an objectionable odor (noses are pretty sensitive and can detect some odors at much lower concentrations than would be harmful).
    – fixer1234
    Jan 8 '21 at 21:22
  • You are likely smelling the chemical fuel pellet residue. I had a steam engine and those things stink, in a unique and chemical way. I do not know what solvent would work and probably it is permanent... but washing with soap and water in the fuel area might help. Assuming it is that kind of steam engine.
    – rebusB
    Jan 23 '21 at 21:44

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