Would You Like to Smell my Strobus?


I don’t wear cologne. But I might start if I could buy cologne that smelled like fresh-cut Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) or American white oak (Quercus alba).

However, Katy, my 13-year-old, thinks l’eau du alba smells like Starburst candy. Others report that the oaks smell like urine. So either I’m going to attract young girls or hobos while I’m sporting that scent.

Some woodworkers have told me their favorite wood smell is huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii), but that smells a little too spicy for me, like a hippie using patchouli to cover up some wicked B.O. Another much-loved smell is aromatic cedar, but that will only bring you attention from hamsters in heat. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

In any case, if I ever do come out with my own line of wood-smelling cologne, I know what I’ll call it: Studley.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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33 Responses to Would You Like to Smell my Strobus?

  1. jonathanszczepanski says:

    You need to checkout the “Man Candles”, specifically “2×4”.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. jonathanszczepanski says:

    And for what it’s worth, my favorite lignin-based scent is ash.


  3. I believe that everyone would buy my favorite scent. Smoldering Hickory. Who doesn’t like the smell of Bacon…


  4. toolnut says:

    This post stinks.


    • Here’s a review of that scent:

      The Smell Of Happiness And Rainbows And First Summer Loves
      by LMP
      I stumbled upon this AMAZING scent while staying at the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore – they have the soaps in the public restrooms. As soon as I got home I purchased a bunch for me and a bunch for friends. No matter what kind of day I am having, a sniff of my hands after washing or moisturizing with Quercus makes me smile. It is not overtly masculine or feminine, it just smells like, well it smells like happiness on a beautiful spring day. Try it, you will fall in love, but out your local store, and then order more online!


    • tpier says:

      So this is pretty much the same as Tom Ford’s Neroli Portifino. (Yes I hang my head. Where do I turn in my man card?)


  5. You could make a mix of essential oils. Pinus strobus, Juniperus virginiana, Cedrus atlantica, Black spruce, Abies balsamea, Santalum album, Boswellia carterii and the like. But you’ll smell like a fancy spa.


  6. I get comments all the time from people when I go out in public after sawing EWP on the mill all day. I rarely smell it anymore, but people seem to really like it. As long as I don’t smell like a populus species!


  7. Thomas Scott says:

    Instead of hobos, more likely stray dogs!
    My vote is for Port Orford Cedar which is decidedly different from “aromatic” cedar, and is yet, very aromatic.


  8. I vote for the smell of freshly cut rosewood, which smells a bit like roses. (Please note: some folks have an allergic reaction to the smell.)


  9. Balsam Fir is my favorite. We had one in the front yard a the old house and I always liked to pick off a few needles and rub them in my hands.
    I’ve run across piss oak before and it does smell terrible. Best used for Mother In Law Spoons.


  10. tsstahl says:

    I’m partial to fresh cut sassafras. Though it is not as strong as pine.


  11. richmondp says:

    I used to run into a lot of Alaskan yellow cedar in old fishing boats and have often thought I’d like my coffin made from it, primarily because I like the smell of it so much. I like Port Orford scent also, but mostly because it has become such a rare wood; I love taking a shaving off some suspect recycled plank and discovering, through its unmistakable kerosene scent, that I have hit upon a piece of Port Orford Cedar.


  12. Ham Salad says:

    When I worked for Home Depot I had an attractive young woman tell me she loved the smell inside the store. Not sure which part she liked. My own lovely bride likes the smell of freshly cut wood, which is why my shop is in the house. My mother-in-law doesn’t, much to the dismay of my father-in-law. His is in the garage.

    Not sure on attracting hamsters, but cedar will keep the moths away. I use pine shavings for the rodents, cedar is not good for them.


  13. mcdara says:

    I think this is SO much funnier than The History of Wood!


  14. Jeremy says:

    Walnut for me


  15. I’m partial to white ash, it reminds me of my first real project.


  16. shavemaker says:

    I have to say fresh Rosemary… maybe not a tree, but certainly ‘woody’.


  17. nrhiller says:

    I notice that you carefully avoided the equally appropriate title for this post “Would you like to smell my pinus?” At the all-girls high school I attended in London during the 1970s I had a painful crush on my Latin teacher, and I will never forget the day our class was reading passages of Virgil aloud. Glancing ahead, I found with horror that I would have to read the word “pinus,” which in Latin is pronounced almost exactly like the English word penis. Talk about blushing. (That was then.)

    My favorite wood scent is English brown oak, which will always remind me of my first experience of falling head over heels in love–with one of my former fellow students in a City & Guilds furniture making course. Here’s what he is up to now: http://www.thecarpenterscompany.co.uk/pages/news_and_events/default.aspx?itemid=743FA62D-8591-404C-A2D1-A19B01147AA6


  18. Reblogged this on From a Perspective of Gratitude….. and commented:
    Sounds wonderful!


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