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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am curious to know which solvents you keep in your shop, and how you use them. Many solvents are banned where I live in Southern California, but I have old stock still on hand. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the solvents I have seen recently or in the long-ago past:

* Acetone
* Denatured Alcohol
* Japan Drier
* Lacquer Thinner
* MEK
* Mineral Oil
* Mineral Spirits
* Turpentine
* Water
* ... did I miss anything?

I might add "paint thinner", but I am not sure what that really is, and whether it is the same as one of the other solvents above (mineral spirits?), or a combination.

I use denatured alcohol and acetone for cleaning and removing grease. I use mineral spirits to wipe on the wood to see what the finished grain may look like.

I could be misusing those solvents, and I would like to know that, too. That is why I want to learn from you.

Which solvents do you keep in your woodshop? How do you use them?
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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I use Naphtha for almost everything except when I spray Nitrocellulose lacquer and then I use lacquer thinner. And I use Everclear when I do French polish finishes and I have a little bit of DNA for clean-up purposes afterward. If I have any paint thinner it's old and I'm not really sure if I have any now... I use mineral oil on cutting boards and trivets but it's not a solvent, not even close.

David
 

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I do not KEEP and solvents IN my work area, which is my garage.


Many years ago I built a metal cabinet where I store all/any flammable products.



sGeorge
 

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Nine Thumbs
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This excerpt from the family handyman site:

"Mineral spirits or paint thinner… which is better? For cleaning brushes, paint thinner is best since it’s half the cost of mineral spirits and basically works the same. Other than the price, the differences between the two solvents are subtle:

Both are petroleum products.
Both can be used to thin oil-based paints and varnishes and to clean paintbrushes.
Paint thinner is mineral spirits, but in a less refined form. It contains other types of solvents, which makes it a lot smellier and more volatile.
Mineral spirits is not as stinky. Because it’s more refined, it’s slightly more effective in smaller quantities than paint lacquer thinner."

I thought they were virtually the same thing but they are not. Learn something every day!
 

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I go through a lot of denatured alcohol because I like working with shellac flakes and I use alcohol stoves when camping.
 

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Acetone - unless I am working with fiberglass, I rarely ever even have it around.

Denatured Alcohol - Use it as a mild solvent for clean-ups

Lacquer Thinner - for thinning lacquer for spraying and sometimes as a quickee solvent for cleanin oil or grease mishaps. Also used to wipe on a surface to see what it would look like with a clear finish no stain. It is probably the most used chemical in my shop.

Water - usually set up some kind of sink arrange for normal stuff like wash my hands, rinse a minor cut injury, flush the potty and rinsing and neutralizing Methylene Chloride

Methylene Chloride - stripping off finish from furniture to be restored.


Thats all I can think of right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I do not KEEP and solvents IN my work area, which is my garage.
Many years ago I built a metal cabinet where I store all/any flammable products.
George
Okay, that's nice, but which flammable solvents do you have in that metal cabinet, and how do you use them for woodworking?
 

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I use
- acetone for cleaning most things sticky, I also use super glue a lot and this is just nice to have.
- MEK for thinning laquer and polyester resin. I'll use it when I do ink staining and stuff like that
- Mineral spirits for thinning paint and cleaning brushes and stuff.
- alcohol is strictly for analine dyes

I'll use mineral spirits or acetone to clean off exotic woods before glue ups.

I dont ever use chemicals to strip finishes, I prefer a mask and mechanical separation.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Where do you buy your EverClear? The only place I've found is the liquor store and it's REALLY pricey.
Had to do some searching because I haven't had any liquor or beer since 1976 and didn't even know what Everclear was. But Sandy found it at Kroger on a grocery trip and brought a bottle home. I don't recall the price but it was less than the liquor stores I called when I was checking around town. A little goes a long way, too.

David
 

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Everclear is the standard additive to party punch bowls! Lacquer thinner is mostly acetone, we use a little for cleaning. Alcohol is used for some cleaning. We stopped using lacquers many years ago due to health concerns. Almost all finishing in now done with waterborne.
 

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Ancient Termite
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Oh goodness!
There are two solvents that one can not live without. MEK and real Lacquer Thinner (Not the acetone loaded crap that is sold here in Southern California). The problem is that they are unavailable in Southern California. We do make frequent trips to both Arizona and Nevada every year so I bring the parts and use those solvents out of state. :vs_laugh:

BTW - Except for Gel Stains, I am gravitating more and more to water based finishes.
The only problem is that most of the water based finishes are too cold and do not depart the warmness to the wood that we all seem to like.
 

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I keep Acetone, mineral spirits, denatured alcohol and Everclear. All have their specific uses---Acetone for epoxy clean-up and Everclear for cleaning stems on smoking pipes I restore. We are fortunate in Texas that these products are readily available.
 

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Ancient Termite
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I keep Acetone, mineral spirits, denatured alcohol and Everclear. All have their specific uses---Acetone for epoxy clean-up and Everclear for cleaning stems on smoking pipes I restore. We are fortunate in Texas that these products are readily available.
Wait a minute! Is Everclear consumable? 120 Proof? 151 Proof?

Jeeze I have some Jameson Bow Street 18 year cask strength at 110 Proof. Just a couple of fingers will do some serious damage.
 

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The Everclear I use is a mere 95% alcohol. I don't get it near my face, and I use protective gloves because this stuff will dry and crack skin like other solvents. It has its place as it leaves no smell or taste in a pipe stem.
 
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