The idea of wiping the piece with solvent to "pull some of the finish out" is not going to help, IMO. What I believe has caused the upset to your nose is, in fact, not the finish, but rather the solvent in which the finish was dissolved in order to facilitate application.
Have you checked lately to see if the piece still smells bad to you? Have you or the builder checked with the manufacturer of the finish for any helpful suggestions? Regarding the application of shellac: while shellac is a good sealer [with its own solvent], how would retarding the evaporation of the initial solvent serve any good purpose?
I agree it’ll be a bit delicate, thanks for the feedback. I’m thinking I’ll try that instead of making the tail smaller. It’ll look worse if it’s half an inch smaller than it’s supposed to be. Now I need to take a look at the rest of it and make sure whatever change I make won’t affect something else I’ve forgotten to thoroughly research!
It’s no wonder Latta said it was quite a joinery project.