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  • Member since
    February, 2017
Question
Posted by Leopard1 on Monday, May 01, 2017 5:35 PM

What is the difference between mineral spirits and lacquer thinner?

 

thx and sorry for the noobish question!

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Monday, May 01, 2017 8:41 PM

Leopard1

What is the difference between mineral spirits and lacquer thinner?

 

thx and sorry for the noobish question!

 

It's a good question, not noobish. I'm not all that up on it, but in vague terms mineral spirits are by-products of refining crude oil to such as gasoline, very thin, no color, often associated with petroleum jelly, baby oil and many lubricants. I believe they are used as paint thinners and cleaning of things like brushes.

Lacquer thinners are sometimes called cellulose thinners, formerly composed of such as methyl ethyl ketone, (MEK,) toluene and others. I gather that the formulation is changing progessively, due to government research and regulations. No idea whats in it now, my latest can has no ingredients listed.

But I treat all of these paint related items with great respect and care, gloves, positive ventilation, mask, spray booth removing fumes to outside.

Not much help from me, but there are many on FSM that are very well acquainted with these products. Hopefully some of them will stop by with more details. I'd like to know more.

Patrick

  • Member since
    October, 2010
Posted by hypertex on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 7:27 AM

Patrick is right. You can look up specific ingredients of lacquer thinner on the manufacturer's website--they often have MSDS sheets online. Aceteone, toluene, MEK, are still common ingredients in hardware store brands.

The practical difference is that lacquer thinner is more toxic, has more solvent power, and evaporates faster than mineral spirits.

But don't be fooled by Tamiya brand lacquer thinner. That stuff has nothing in common with hardware store lacquer thinner. It has much lower solvent power than hardware store brands. It won't dissolve styrene like "normal" lacquer thinner will. I don't know if it is less toxic or how the evaporation rate compares.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 9:27 AM


While the term mineral spirits (spirits refers to distillation) has a broader meaning, in terms of paint thinners it usually refers to thinning (or cleaning brushes used for) enamels.

Lacquer thinner is pretty self explanatory.

I do know some folks who thin enamel successfully with lacquer thinner, but it is not the normal thinner for enamels.

There are now widely sold some enamel thinners sold with the name paint thinner that are not mineral spirits.  I have had very bad luck with it.  It frequently contains incompletely dissolved solids which parcipitate out.  So now I will not buy any thinner for my enamels that does not say mineral spirits or turpentine (a particular mineral spirit).

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 9:34 AM

Interesting Question ;

 Mineral spirits used to be distilled from the same stuff Paint Thinner was made from .Tree sap !

 Lacquer Thinner is a derivative from the distillation process remaining when oil is refined .

 Same idea , One natural and one truly Chemical . There are Esters in oil that can be made into many things .

 The refining of natural saps into such things is still done , But not to the degree it once was . If you think about it , the low odor Mineral Spirits do smell like very strong pine sap ! . Weak on the smell , but good on the performance .i still do a final brush cleaning in the stuff .

 Some of my brushes are over twenty years old !  T.B.

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 2:35 PM

Don and Hypertex -

I have bought stuff called paint thinner, white, thicker than clear thinner, did nothing at all useful, but did cause plastic to swell. Wally World took it back, now I buy only major brands, labeled "lacquer thinner" or "enamel thinner." My local auto body supply shop carries the Du Pont brand among others, for me it has been 100% reliable in terms of use.

I know many use lacquer thinner in enamel paint, but when I consider what lacquer does over enamel, I have to wonder about compatibility and reactivity. Maybe as Hypertex says, it's just "hotter." Being curious I tried it, it worked well and nothing seemed out of sorts, but the paint did seem to dry faster. That can be helpful.

I normally use X-20A for Tamiya acrylics, sometimes use Tamiya lacquer thinner also. The LT seems to help the paint "flow" out better, then lay down with a truly flat and smooth surface. They must use a slow dry agent, or flow aid of some type. But I agree, it's nothing at all like my other LT.

Personally, I think the naming and labeling of these hobby finish products is often rather vague. Lots of experimenting to find out what something can, or will not do. And how can one be sure the ingredients are not harmful to us?

Thanks for the info, gent's, very helpful.

Patrick 

  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 6:47 PM

As a kid, growing up on a farm I used regular gas for paint thinner. (maybe it was unleaded....or ethel ? ) Town was over an hour away so we usually only went once a month.  Had to get "creative" with hobby supplys. It worked pretty good for cleaning brushes and great for "battle damage"!  Had to be carful when weathering tho.... theirs a fine line between rust and rumpled fenders!

                      Dont worry about the thumbprint... paint it rust and call it "Battle damage" !

  • Member since
    February, 2017
Posted by Leopard1 on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 8:55 PM
wow, i didn't know my question would generate such interest! Thank you all for your inputs. So, what should i use to clean my brushes and which should i use to thin enamels? i'd like a natural and safe product, if such a thing exist.
  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 9:18 PM

Tanker - Builder

... Mineral spirits used to be distilled from the same stuff Paint Thinner was made from .Tree sap !

I think you're confusing mineral spirits with turpentine.  Mineral spirits are a petroleum distillate, not made from pine resin.  Turpentine is made from pine resin (tree sap).

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v233/HansvonHammer/Humor/th_MonogramMafia.jpg?t=1296972087

  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 9:24 PM

Leopard1

...So, what should i use to clean my brushes and which should i use to thin enamels? i'd like a natural and safe product, if such a thing exist.

 
Well, they're all natural, in that they're all derived from naturally-occurring compounds.
 
I use both mineral spirits and lacquer thinner to clean my brushes, and I use both to thin enamels.  It all depends.  I can get a dead-flat matte finish if I thin a color with lacquer thinner for airbrushing.  That's especially true with Tamiya acrylics and lacquer thinner.
 
But if I'm applying paints by hand, I'll use mineral spirits to thin enamels as necessary, because lacquer thinner is "hotter", that is, the lacquer thinner will tend to dissolve any paint that is already on the piece.
 
But it is very good at dissolving paint residue left in the brush.  I just make sure that once I have cleaned the bristles, I coat them with an oil to protect them.  I will often just rub my nose to pick up skin oil, then use my fingers to coat the brush and shape it to a point.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v233/HansvonHammer/Humor/th_MonogramMafia.jpg?t=1296972087

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, May 03, 2017 9:06 AM

Tanker - Builder

Interesting Question ;

 Mineral spirits used to be distilled from the same stuff Paint Thinner was made from .Tree sap !

 Lacquer Thinner is a derivative from the distillation process remaining when oil is refined .

 Same idea , One natural and one truly Chemical . There are Esters in oil that can be made into many things .

 The refining of natural saps into such things is still done , But not to the degree it once was . If you think about it , the low odor Mineral Spirits do smell like very strong pine sap ! . Weak on the smell , but good on the performance .i still do a final brush cleaning in the stuff .

 Some of my brushes are over twenty years old !  T.B.

 

Natural products are chemicals too.  I object to this newfangled notion that all chemicals are non-natural, artificial things.  Since lacquer thinner is distilled from a natural substance, it is natural also.  Distillation does not make a new substance, it merely purifies/extracts a single substance from a mixture.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: Winamac,Indiana 46996-1525
Posted by ACESES5 on Wednesday, May 03, 2017 10:01 AM

Here is another one for consideration I have a bottle of the water clean up Mineral Spirits its not clear but a white milkey color.                   2 cents           ACESES5              

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • From: texas
Posted by DESooner on Wednesday, May 03, 2017 10:04 AM

https://smile.amazon.com/General-Pencil-Company-Masters-Preserver/dp/B0009RRT9Y/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1493823597&sr=8-3&keywords=paint+brush+cleaner 

I would try both for cleaning and see which you prefer. Make sure you use the normal precautions.

One product I have grown fond of is a brush cleaner/preserver that really works well for me - I do a lot of brush painting instead of airbrush, and this stuff really saves brushes, especially the epxensive Windsor & Newton series. I inserted a link to Amazon, where I buy it.

 

 

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Wednesday, May 03, 2017 5:15 PM

There is such a variety of these products, general commercial brands, then those produced by the hobby manufacturers. You could easily drive around with a truck load of cash and buy a bunch of it, (I did that,) now I've simplified the inventory to something more manageable.

I have real lacquer thinner and enamel thinner, 100% mineral spirits and three alcohol formulations.

For Model Master enamels I use the red can of their thinner, 1/2 pint, #8824.

For Tamiya acrylics I use their X-20A and their lacquer thinner.

Lacquer thinner keeps my brushes and airbrushes clean following use. Mineral spirits also keep the brush clean while it's in use, every few brush loads I stick it in a small cupfull, press it up and down on the bottom a few times, wipe excess away and continue. Easier to keep it clean as you go, rather than to clean up a semi dried wad after use.

Alcohol is my choice for keeping brushes used for acrylics clean as I go, every few brush loads work it around in a cupful, wipe dry and continue, lacquer thinner to clean at end of paint sessions.

Acetone is a strong cleaner, but I use it on the minimal side, kind of a disagreeable product for me.

I don't know that it's essential, but it seems logical that products might work better using the additives made within the manufacturers line. I often stick with that, but not always and the stuff works OK.

Patrick

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, May 04, 2017 8:36 AM

Well !

 Hey I got these mixed up .Thing is I still use only Mineral Spirits to clean and thin paints .  T.B.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, May 04, 2017 8:39 AM

Okay , Okay ;

 I give up ! I didn't mean to screw things up . All are natural of course .It's just that more comes out of Oil , than Tree products . Don't even think about that milky stuff ! It don't work for what we need .  T.B.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, May 04, 2017 8:48 AM

Hi Again ;

 I often get these two confused , Except when buying them . I use Turpentine as a brush cleaner too .When finished with the three step process I also do something I was taught years ago .The three step process first gets the paint off the brush .The second process gets the paint out of the base of the bristles . Third is lacquer Thinner for really clean brushes .

   The fourth step is this .Years ago I was taught to use spit . Yes , Spit ! To soak and shape the brushes .Yes , this makes them stiff ! They then keep their shape that way . When taking a brush to paint I gently wave my finger through the bristles to free them up . No globs just a well shaped soft brush , ready to go .

   If you don't want to spit on your brushes .Then , after the Lacquer thinner , wash them with a drop of Dawn Dish Soap , rinse well , shape and put away , bristles up and out of harm's way . Same result . Make sure you rinse in lukewarm water to get all the soap out ! T.B.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, May 04, 2017 8:54 AM

Don ;

     The key word , which all of you missed was " Used "  As in they don't do that much anymore . Everything pretty much comes from Oil or its derivatives .That's why I use W.D.40 as a Wasp , Hornet and Yellow Jacket killer .

It's cheaper and if you look at the ingredients on the "RAID" can , it is over 90 percent petroleum distillates .     T.B.

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