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Thread: Solvents in the shop (I hope not too geeky)

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    50,174
    I try to keep a minimum of "solvents" around in my shop...DNA, Mineral Spirits...although I'm now leaning to Naptha to lose the greasiness and Acetone. I also have white vinegar. I really don't need more than that because I use water borne finishes and shellac 99% of the time. As has been noted, any of these solvents (other than the white vinegar) are flammable so care needs to be taken. Mine are stored in a metal cabinet and I always make sure that the containers are sealed before putting them away.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #17
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    Apr 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Barstow View Post
    As a former lab organic chemist, I basically bathed in acetone. (We used it for the final rinse of small scale glassware.) It is still my go-to universal solvent. It leaves no residue, evaporates quickly, and is an effective solvent for a wide array of stuff. It is relatively non-toxic and is not carcinogenic. It is naturally produced by metabolic processes so it isn’t a completely foreign substance.

    BUT

    It is extremely flammable so you have to be careful. Don’t use it in a sink because the vapors can accumulate.
    Do you know if mineral spirits leave residue?
    “Pay no attention to what you cannot control..” Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  3. #18
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    Mar 2003
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    Upland CA
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    I will give you a couple examples. I was a fireman for a large metro department for 34 years.

    There was a large structure fire in a phone company building, where it turned out there were numerous transformers which had exploded, and/or leaked. The guys were wading about in water laced with PCB's. Last I heard, almost 20 years ago when I retired...eight of those firemen had died of cancer, and more were suffering.

    We had a fire mechanic, one of a dozen, who used to wash parts in diesel fuel because it was easily available. He started to have trouble with his hands swelling by the end of the day. The doctor told him to wear gloves, which he did, but the swelling got worse, and he had to retire early because his hands would react to any grease.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  4. #19
    Good mineral spirits does not leave a residue.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
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    Since the workshop here is inside the envelope of the building we live in I don't use solvents unless water counts. For woodworking I haven't found it necessary, I don't even need mineral spirits except when I'm varnishing canoes which I do outside. My finishing is mostly Tru Oil for instrument work which again I apply outside, or mineral oil/beeswax for food grade jobs. Occasionally I use linseed oil or Danish oil on furniture out of the building, but I put it on with a rag which I let dry and throw away, so no solvents are needed.

  6. #21
    Interesting thread -I don’t want to divert this in another direction but my question is one of fire safety. So far only Jim Becker mentioned keeping solvents in a metal cabinet- is it fire “safe”? What about gasoline for the mower, gas oil mix for the (sigh) snow blower, all the flammable stains, paints, varnishes etc. I know there are standards re this for businesses but what about the average guy in his garage/ shop? Hate to think of what an insurance adjuster might say.....

  7. #22
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    Sep 2015
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    I read on the SMC finishing section that DNA was outlawed in California earlier this year.

    I periodically use DNA with BLO and shellac. Also, I thin my shellac with DNA as a sealer.

    I guess that I'll need to find some substitute like pure isopropyl, everclear, methanol, etc.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    MA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Clode View Post
    What about gasoline for the mower, gas oil mix for the (sigh) snow blower, all the flammable stains, paints, varnishes etc. I know there are standards re this for businesses but what about the average guy in his garage/ shop?
    I do not store gasoline in my attached garage, nor shop. I leave the cans outside, away from the structure by a few feet. I do not put mowers inside for somewhat the same reason, and some of these I switched to electric (in part due to hassles of gasoline, combined with having to clean the carbs all the time due to ethanol/water accumulating and rusting out the bowls.).

    Having said that I do have a number of cans of solvents in my shop. 'Most' are in a metal cabinet but not all.... I should rearrange and clean that up.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Clode View Post
    Interesting thread -I don’t want to divert this in another direction but my question is one of fire safety. So far only Jim Becker mentioned keeping solvents in a metal cabinet- is it fire “safe”? What about gasoline for the mower, gas oil mix for the (sigh) snow blower, all the flammable stains, paints, varnishes etc. I know there are standards re this for businesses but what about the average guy in his garage/ shop? Hate to think of what an insurance adjuster might say.....
    My particular cabinet isn't a special "fire retardant" cabinet, although those do exist. There's no gasoline, diesel, etc., in my shop. What little I keep is in the garage bay (separate from the shop, albeit in the same building) where the mower lives during the warm parts of the year and where the tractor lives in the winter so it's accessible if needed.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #25
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    May 2005
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    Highland MI
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    The metal cabinet in my shop is an old legal file cabinet with four drawers. Each one can hold four gallon cans of paint or many more quart cans.

    Probably not safe, but I keep three 6 gallon plastic gasoline containers in my garage along with many small saws and trimmers, a zero turn mower and two vehicles. Living on the edge baby! My house looks across a canal. 15 years ago my neighbor across the canal pulled her car into the garage to unload groceries, even though it had a gas leak. There is now a new house there. I cringe every time I visit my BIL. Their bedroom is over the garage and there is no firestop drywall on the ceiling above their cars.
    NOW you tell me...

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    78
    Naptha is a miracle solvent when working with laminates and melamine. It does a great job removing contact cement (CC) and glue. I've found that it "balls up" the adhesive rather than smearing it.

    I wipe the CC/glue with the wet part of the rag, then as it begins to dry I wipe with the dry part of the rag. This is a very fast cleanup method.

  12. #27
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    Apr 2019
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    Phoenix AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Good mineral spirits does not leave a residue.
    Okay, so the inevitable follow-up question- how do you tell good from bad?
    “Pay no attention to what you cannot control..” Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  13. #28
    Buy it as "odorless mineral spirits" or "pure mineral spirits".

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Okotoks AB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Buy it as "odorless mineral spirits" or "pure mineral spirits".
    I've heard lots of bad things about the orderless mineral spirits. They're fine for clean up, but not to be trusted as a thinner. Never used them myself though.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Buy it as "odorless mineral spirits" or "pure mineral spirits".
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pratt View Post
    I've heard lots of bad things about the orderless mineral spirits. They're fine for clean up, but not to be trusted as a thinner. Never used them myself though.
    Boy I hope that latter comment is incorrect. I am in the middle of refinishing some plantation teak outdoor chairs with a sludge caviar called Epifanes. I have been using Odorless Mineral Spirits to thin it. Just applied coat #2, haven't really noticed a problem. I wonder if I should be using Naptha instead.

    BTW, I always thought of injury in woodworking being an immediate type of thing i.e. cut or kickback. Until this discussion I never considered dying of cancer years later from solvent exposure. So today I started wearing a respirator while applying varnish. Seems to me if the poison can get you through your skin, breathing it in through your lungs is probably not good either. Better to be safe I guess.

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