Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

MEK rap sheet

4 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2006
  • From: ON, Canada
Posted by jgeratic on Friday, December 10, 2021 9:06 AM

Thank you all for responding, and explaining the 'myth'.  Even looking at the MSDS for the chemicals MEK, acetone and butyl Acetate - all have the same ratings in the hazard category.

Is interesting that the Tamiya extra thin cement is a combined paint stripper and lacquer thinner.  So it was curious too, during my searches, I came upon the suggestion that the Tamiya brand thinner with the yellow cap, can also be used as liquid cement.






  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, December 9, 2021 7:07 PM

I use MEK for thinning Tamiya primer, along with using it for cleaning the paint-contact parts of my Paasche H airbrush when I have run most lacquers and enamels through it.  There are a few acrylics that don't do anything but gum up when they come into contact with MEK, but its a really good all-around cleaner for most paints from airbrush parts.

I keep it in sealed relish jars for use at my bench, so the vapors aren't released in any large quantities...and only released when I open the jar for a few seconds.  When airbrushing with the Tamiya primer, I don't shoot huge clouds of it (or anything else I airbrush with) like I see a lot of guys do, so vapors aren't much of a problem there either.  I protect my hands from it when digging my airbrush parts out of the cleaning jar by wearing latex gloves.  They're simple and effective.

The relative dangers of MEK in comparison to other common solvents are only worse in urban legends.  They all require a certain degree of handling precautions, but one is not really any worse than the others.  The "MEK Substitute" they used to sell in hardware stores was a result of those urban legends, and actually turned out to contain materials that were even more toxic.  As far as potential physical damage to various materials goes, I have actually found Acetone to be the worst of all of them.  Tried various solvents once to try to remove a silk-screened placard from a 1:1 aircraft instrument panel, and none of them even touched it...including MEK.  Acetone, on the other hand, almost instantly removed the silk-screening, along with some of the grey epoxy powder coat underneath it.

So, count me in as one of those who are all for it.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Thursday, December 9, 2021 7:00 PM


I started using lacquer thinner for glue a long time ago, when the market didn't have all the fancy stuff we see today. I was lucky to find a bottle of thinner that had just the right stuff in it (ingredients weren't listed back then) and it lasted me for a decade or more. Some years ago when my old bottle finally run dry I started looking for replacement and I don't mean the fancy model shop glues that cost a lot of money for such a small bottle. It's no problem buying acetone, MEK and stuff like that. The thinners also have ingredients listed nowadays and it was quite interesting to note that lacquer thinner consisting of acetone and toluene or xylene was pretty useless for plastic glue. MEK is pretty hot but it evaporates so quickly that it isn't really helpful IMO. Butyl acetate was the eye opener here - it keeps the plastic melted for a considerable time and makes a very good glue. As I recently found out, on surfaces painted with certain paints it can also be used as extra strong decal solvent.

One thing that is different now compared to my old bottle of solvent - when I put too much of my old glue on plastic it didn't leave a mark unless I touched the spot - it evaporated without a trace. Pure acetate always leaves a mark on plastic. Now I read Jacks post maybe I'll mix some acetone in and see what happens!

But when it comes to safety considerations - keeping the stuff in a small bottle with a brush integrated in the cap - where the evaporation surface is small and the bottle is tightly capped most of the time - is the amount of vapour really such a great risk?

Thanks for reading and have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Thursday, December 9, 2021 6:46 PM

I'm far more concerned about aerosol clouds of solvent when airbrushing than I am about some vapor coming off an open bottle of TET.   I invested in a high quality booth that exhausts outside, but don't take any special precautions when gluing or brush painting.  

  • Member since
    April 2006
  • From: ON, Canada
MEK rap sheet
Posted by jgeratic on Thursday, December 9, 2021 6:37 PM

Reading past comments about the safe use of MEK, some modelers are all for it while others are quite the opposite.  Why?

Looking at the MSDS for this chemical and comparing to Tamiya's extra thin cement (containing a 50/50 mix of Acetone and Butyl Acetate), all three have the same rating of Category 3 for single exposure. 

Only for Butyl Acetate is there no mention of possible harm from prolonged repeated contact.





Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.