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Thread: Mineral spirits, paint thinner, turpentine, which and why?

  1. #1
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    Mineral spirits, paint thinner, turpentine, which and why?

    Lately I have been using mineral spirits for varnish thinning and final brush cleaning, but in past times I have used regular paint thinner, turpentine (smells wonderful) and even kerosene just for cleaning brushes. Anybody use anything other than mineral spirits? Are there other similar products? On my shelf I have Acetone, MEK, brush cleaner (real nasty but it brought back a badly abused rock hard latex pro brush) and denatured alcohol for cleaning and shellac. And of course lacquer thinner which seems to be a combination of many of the above.

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    Most "paint thinner" is all or mostly mineral spirits. For all intents and purposes they are the same and can be used interchangeably. Some paint thinner contains a dollop of naphtha in the mineral spirits. By itself, naphtha can be used to thin paint or varnish but it will cause the finish to become dry to the touch more quickly. However, this will also mean that the finish may not flow out or smooth as well.

    Old timers frequently used kerosene for brush cleaner as it was cheaper than turpentine. There is little use for turpentine these days.
    Howie.........

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Acheson View Post
    Most "paint thinner" is all or mostly mineral spirits. For all intents and purposes they are the same and can be used interchangeably.
    Thats good info Howard, I did not know that!!
    A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station.

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    Interesting, I just went to my local hardware store for a gallon of thinner/MS. Paint thinner was $10/gal and was labled as 100% low odor mineral spirits. A gallon of low odor "mineral spirits" was $14. Same brand (Sunnyside). Go figure.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Anderson View Post
    Interesting, I just went to my local hardware store for a gallon of thinner/MS. Paint thinner was $10/gal and was labled as 100% low odor mineral spirits. A gallon of low odor "mineral spirits" was $14. Same brand (Sunnyside). Go figure.
    They are the same but low odor ms sounds better so it costs more. HD used to do the same thing.

  6. #6
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    I thought it was because "mineral spirits" has more letters than "paint thinner". HD usually charges about a buck per letter.
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    Alan could be right
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  8. #8
    Odorless MS doesn't clean brushes when I use Behlen's Rock Hard varnish. I find I have to use stripper each time. Anybody else have this problem?

  9. #9
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    Odorless and Low oder MS are not a strong as regular mineral sprits yet they charge MORE!

    Behlen's uses a different thinner in their varnish and I like their thinner better to thin the varnish; reg MS to clean is fine.

    Make sure you soak your brush in mineral spirits or the Behlen's thinner BEFORE you use the brush, it conditions the bristles; makes the finish flow better and the brush cleans MUCH easier.
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  10. #10
    Thanks, Scott. I also need a better brush. I'm using a 1" Purdey, but the varnish doesn't go on as smooth as I'd like. It's not easy to get full coverage on a gunstock without getting sags. Or, at least, I find it so. I think a better brush will help.

  11. #11
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    OR thin the varnish more and wipe it on.

    If you're lookng for a good brush Gramercy brushes are some of the best.
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  12. #12
    I've thought about that, but am concerned about ghosting when I rub out a top coat applied by wiping in on. I saw a thread on brushes, but can't find it. I'll look for a Gramercy. Thanks!

  13. #13
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    BTW, if you haven't seen Scott's video on brush cleaning / care, it's great. Definitely changed how I care for my brushes, and they look and work much better now.

    What do you use for citrus cleaner, Scott? The only stuff I found at home was Goo Gone. I'm going to find something better in the supermarket, but I was wondering if you had a favorite.

    I went and bought a Grammercy brush, and it's soooo much better than the Purdy or Woodcraft brushes I was previously using.
    There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

  14. #14
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    Just any citrus clean; it's sole function is to help get the mineral spirits out of the brush so you can get the soap and water to suds faster.
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  15. #15
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    While we're on the subject, I recently bought a gallon of Odorless MS. Was shocked to see that it looked as if someone had cleaned a brush full of white paint in the stuff leaving a heavy white sediment. Shake the can and it almost looks like white paint. I could not bring myself to clean a varnish brush with this stuff, yet alone thin varnish with it. What on earth is this crap?

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