Who is old enough to remember the smell of an old Victrola cabinet, especially on a rainy weekend in Castlewood? Some unique combination of shellacked wood, musty old felt, and Guy Lombardo. I was bowled over by this aroma yesterday when I pulled out an old traveling salesman’s case* and opened it to check on the contents. [Correction: it’s a “machinist’s cabinet”]
Jim bought the case some years ago to store some of his Civil War tintypes. It has tongue-and-groove drawers and closes up securely. It’s covered in a dull black leatherette, but is overall pretty nifty. But OH! it smelled. And the felt lining was totally gross. At first I thought the felt was rotting and was about to pitch the whole thing as a biohazard, but it seems to be just dirty and disintegrated.
Running a drawer under warm water dissolves the old glue and, with the help of a razor scraper, the felt is coming out. I’m not sure what I’ll do for the top compartment, since I suspect the felt was attached with the same glue as the exterior leatherette. Maybe it wouldn’t be a tragedy to soak that off too. Not sure yet how much of a project I want to make it.
Anyway, now that a couple drawers are dry, I can tell that it is the wood that carries the nostalgic aroma — not cedar, but a soft wood. Wish I knew more. It is sweeter without the horrid felt, but it still gives me kind of a headache.
*Photo on the right — that is me caught in the mirror.