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Substitute Lacquer Thinner Question

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  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • From: Milford, Ohio
Substitute Lacquer Thinner Question
Posted by Old Ordie on Thursday, July 12, 2012 4:16 PM

I want to broaden my painting arsenal by using lacquer sometimes (I usually use acrylics, and sometimes enamel), mainly to get into Alclad and metallizers.  I know to only use regular lacquer thinner to thin the paint, but I saw some stuff at Home Depot called Kwik Strip Green.  Can says it's a substitute for regular lacquer thinner, but that it has no petroleum distillate in it (there is a 'green' alternative of some kind), and that it contains 99% less air pollutant, whatever that means (sounds good, though).  Also says it can be used just like regular thinner for all purposes.  Price is about the same as regular lacquer thinner.

Does anybody know if this stuff can be used for painting models and cleaning up Mr. Surfacer, etc.?

Thanks!

Flight deck:  Hasegawa 1:48 P-40E; Tamiya 1:48 A6M2 N Type 2 ('Rufe')

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  • Member since
    July, 2012
Posted by rumple on Monday, July 16, 2012 3:23 AM

I used the non-green version or "Klean-Strip® Lacquer Thinner" .

I used it to strip paint off of styrene and it melted some of the plastic, and made it crack. It did get paint off though..

I tried thinning testors enamel with it, and it seemed to gunk up the brush, and separate away from the paint like oil and water. It didn't clean my brush either. I'm not sure why this stuff is recommended on modeling forums as a substitute to testors thinner, when it doesn't work. Maybe they changed the formula or it's too strong. 

Tomorrow I'll go back to Lowes and pick up some mineral spirits, and turpentine to try.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Monday, July 16, 2012 7:18 AM

Old Ordie

I want to broaden my painting arsenal by using lacquer sometimes (I usually use acrylics, and sometimes enamel), mainly to get into Alclad and metallizers.  I know to only use regular lacquer thinner to thin the paint, but I saw some stuff at Home Depot called Kwik Strip Green.  Can says it's a substitute for regular lacquer thinner, but that it has no petroleum distillate in it (there is a 'green' alternative of some kind), and that it contains 99% less air pollutant, whatever that means (sounds good, though).  Also says it can be used just like regular thinner for all purposes.  Price is about the same as regular lacquer thinner.

Does anybody know if this stuff can be used for painting models and cleaning up Mr. Surfacer, etc.?

Thanks!

I've not used the stuff,  but I've heard from others that their results were less than satisfactory.

It may have some uses in cleanup,  but probably not for thinning paint for spray.

Invest in a quart and run some experiments using scrap plastic instead of your current masterpiece in progress.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, July 16, 2012 8:44 AM

I have never had much luck using lacquer thinner with Testors enamels.  I know some folks who say they have, but I do not get that great a result.  I have never had to thin Alclad. It is thin enough for good airbrushing the way it comes.  I clean up with mineral spirits or turpentine that I use to clean the brush when I use enamels, and the Alclad cleans up easier than the enamels do.

I have not had any bad luck with hardware store enamel thinner, but have sure gotten some cruddy stuff sold as generic "paint thinner."  I now hold out for mineral spirits or turpentine, looking for that title on the cans.  I do know some folks who use acetone for thinning lacquer.  I use the (something) green stuffs for cleaning bottles, but have never used it to actually thin lacquer paint.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: Democratic Peoples Republic of Illinois
Posted by Hercmech on Monday, July 16, 2012 12:47 PM

I have used Klean-Strip Green from Ace and it works fine on clean up. It still stinks though


13151015

  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • From: Milford, Ohio
Posted by Old Ordie on Monday, July 16, 2012 3:47 PM

Don,

If I'm reading you and Rumple correctly, you would use turpentine or mineral spirits to thin and clean lacquer (as well as enamel), and stay away from lacquer thinner as much as possible.  Whould this be correct?  I saw a video (Swanny's) in which he thins his enamel with what he calls 'regular' lacquer thinner.  He says to avoid 'fast' lacquer thinner, because the solvents are too hot and melt plastic.  Unfortunately, the cans I saw at Home Depot didn't really say 'regular' or 'fast' on them, just the green one said it was a substitute for regular.  I'm going to use some metallizer (burnt iron) on my next project, which is lacquer, and am trying to get a little ahead of it, since I've never used a lacquer on models before, or ever, IIRC.  Also, I want to start using Mr. Surfacer, and understand that it cleans with lacquer thinner as well.

Thanks for the input, and thanks to all who answered - I read them all, and try to take all the info I receive into account.

Mark

Flight deck:  Hasegawa 1:48 P-40E; Tamiya 1:48 A6M2 N Type 2 ('Rufe')

Elevators:  Airfix 1:72 Grumman Duck; AM 1:72 F-4J

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: DFW, Texas
Posted by NervousEnergy on Monday, July 16, 2012 8:15 PM

You're better off getting the hobby lacquer thinners and using the bulk Home Depot stuff for airbrush cleaning.  That's somewhat counter to the usual advice... you can buy enamel thinner in bulk for one heck of a lot less than a Testors Label can, and it works every bit as well.  The hobby grade lacquer thinners, though, seem a bit less hot than the store can, and if you go with Mr Leveling Thinner it also comes with a retarder.  

You don't need any thinner for MM Metalizers or Alclad.  They're thinned for spraying right out of the bottle.  If anything alclad's a bit thin.  You go through a lot of it to get a good shiny coat down, but the results are fantastic if you follow the proper prep.  You can clean the AB with the pricey Alclad Airbrush Cleaner, but $5 Quick Klean from HD works just as well.

For Mr Surfacer, I love using the 1200 for primer, but never got any control with the aerosol can.  Get a bottle of 1200 or Mr Base White 1000 and thin it down 2-1 with Mr Leveling Thinner, and you'll have an awesome primer coat that can be sanded to baby bottom smoothness.  Not sure it's any better than Tamiya Fine Surface Primer, though, which many on this forum love.  I've just never used it.

  • Member since
    July, 2012
Posted by rumple on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 2:09 AM

I wanted to edit this post, as I've learned a little more and don't want to be spreading false info. The problems I had with klean-strip laquer thinner all had to do with it melting a lot of my ship deck. I know now, that even testors airbrush thinner, will do the same..  When I used KSLT to clean my brush, it must of still had a bunch of plastic goop in it or something..  I've used it to clean since and works better than the white spirits (stronger). I also know now that people are usually talking about airbrushing when they mention this. I've decided to use all enamel, pretty much. I'm also using an airbrush for most of my painting. I'll have to experiment more with this stuff..

Original post:

I picked up some turpentine and mineral spirits made by the same brand, klean-strip. These both work a lot better for thinning and cleaning for my testors enamels. I should have mentioned earlier that I don't have and airbrush set up, and use brushing and spray cans.

I've got to say, I like the mineral spirits better than turpentine. The turpentine smells terrible, and seems a little oily, or there's something off about how it feels being brushed on. I think the turpentine might make a good vehicle for a wash. Maybe it wont strip the layer underneath like the testors thinner did. I'll have to experiment with the turpentine more..

The mineral spirits feel very close to testors, but maybe better. It seemed like the thinned paint stayed wet longer in the pot, but dried quickly enough when on the plastic.

So..  Unless you have a brand of "lacquer thinner", that you know works for you, be careful, and maybe only get "mineral spirits", or "turpentine", like Don said.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 3:47 AM

Old Ordie

I saw a video (Swanny's) in which he thins his enamel with what he calls 'regular' lacquer thinner.  He says to avoid 'fast' lacquer thinner, because the solvents are too hot and melt plastic.  Unfortunately, the cans I saw at Home Depot didn't really say 'regular' or 'fast' on them, just the green one said it was a substitute for regular.

My understanding is that lacquer thinners come in three grades "slow","medium" and "fast" in terms of volatility and how "hot" they are. Hardware stores are likely to sella  generic all-purpose lacquer thinner. You may need to check out an auto-paint supplier to find more specialist products.

As far as enamel thinners are concerned, "turpentine" can sometimes be a little suspect as many forms of it are distilled from tree resin. Turpentine is often used with artists oils, but you may need to compatibility test with your favourite enamels.

Here in Australia, we have a product called "mineral turpentine", a petroleum distillate which is quite similar to mineral spirits. We also have mineral (white) spirits, which seems somewhat less oily than mineral turpentine.

  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • From: Milford, Ohio
Posted by Old Ordie on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 3:32 PM

NervousEnergy

You're better off getting the hobby lacquer thinners and using the bulk Home Depot stuff for airbrush cleaning.  That's somewhat counter to the usual advice... you can buy enamel thinner in bulk for one heck of a lot less than a Testors Label can, and it works every bit as well.  The hobby grade lacquer thinners, though, seem a bit less hot than the store can, and if you go with Mr Leveling Thinner it also comes with a retarder.  

You don't need any thinner for MM Metalizers or Alclad.  They're thinned for spraying right out of the bottle.  If anything alclad's a bit thin.  You go through a lot of it to get a good shiny coat down, but the results are fantastic if you follow the proper prep.  You can clean the AB with the pricey Alclad Airbrush Cleaner, but $5 Quick Klean from HD works just as well.

For Mr Surfacer, I love using the 1200 for primer, but never got any control with the aerosol can.  Get a bottle of 1200 or Mr Base White 1000 and thin it down 2-1 with Mr Leveling Thinner, and you'll have an awesome primer coat that can be sanded to baby bottom smoothness.  Not sure it's any better than Tamiya Fine Surface Primer, though, which many on this forum love.  I've just never used it.

Thanks!  And thanks again to all who answered.  You've given me plenty of info, and I think I've got a handle on it now.  I'll go with the mineral spirits for enamel, and get some hobby lacquer thinner for thinning lacquer, when needed ...

Flight deck:  Hasegawa 1:48 P-40E; Tamiya 1:48 A6M2 N Type 2 ('Rufe')

Elevators:  Airfix 1:72 Grumman Duck; AM 1:72 F-4J

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:03 AM

Yes, I sometimes clean the airbrush bottles with lacquer thinner.  I know some folks who do thin enamel with lacquer thinner, but I have not had good luck with it.  It sometimes clumps the enamel.  I only use mineral spirits or turpentine for thinning, except when I can get actual Testors airbrush thinner.  I have been using mineral spirits instead of the Testors thinner because I am finding it difficult to find lately.  I find I have to use a bit more thinning with the mineral spirits.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August, 2012
Posted by JMorgan on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 10:50 AM

Hi Don. I have found, to my surprise that the generic lacquer thinner from Walmart works well for thinning Testors enamels. I don’t use it just for cleanup anymore. Somehow Testors enamel thinner for airbrushes isn’t working for me!

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 8:02 PM

Just my experience with thinners, I find more consistent and predictable results when using paint store brands, as opposed to the "one size fits all" types often sold at the hardware stores. Using lacquer and enamel thinners that I buy at an auto body supply store, they work as the product is intended. Out of habit, I buy quart cans of DuPont.

I once tried a can of enamel thinner from a local hardware store, on opening it at home I saw it was white, when trying to use it for enamel thinning it just resulted in a stringy, viscous reaction.

Patrick 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, March 28, 2019 9:00 AM

One thing I missed in the original post was referring to Alclad.  Alclad comes premixed to airbrush needs- there is no need to thin it.  I usually use my enamel thinner (turpentine) to clean up for a quick cleanup, but sometime soon afterwards I do run some lacquer thinner through it.

I have no idea how one picks lacquer thinner for speed.  I have never seen cans labeled with anything other than the term "lacquer thinner."   I do know some folks use tricloro for thining it, but I have not had as good a results with that.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November, 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Thursday, March 28, 2019 11:43 AM

Don Stauffer

One thing I missed in the original post was referring to Alclad.  Alclad comes premixed to airbrush needs- there is no need to thin it.  I usually use my enamel thinner (turpentine) to clean up for a quick cleanup, but sometime soon afterwards I do run some lacquer thinner through it.

I have no idea how one picks lacquer thinner for speed.  I have never seen cans labeled with anything other than the term "lacquer thinner."   I do know some folks use tricloro for thining it, but I have not had as good a results with that.

 

The Kleen Strip lacquer thinner we have around here at Home Depot is medium ( the speed is rate of dry), I found it in the small print someplace, you know the print you can barely see with even glasses on. Just fwiw.

  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Friday, March 29, 2019 3:07 PM

Don Stauffer

I have never had much luck using lacquer thinner with Testors enamels.  I know some folks who say they have, but I do not get that great a result...

I'm in your boat, Don.  I have tried to use lacquer thinner-Auto Zone's store brand-to thin a jar of Testor's enamel, Gloss Copper.  It turned the paint to cottage cheese; the pigment just clumped up.

I can use lacquer thinner to clean Testor's paints off brushes or to clean the threads of the jar lids.  But I don't use it to thin their paints.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

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