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Luis Sanchez
03-11-2019, 06:35 PM
Well, just what the title says. Is there any generic/cheaper alternative to Gamsol? In particular I am not looking for "generic" OMS which is produced by refining the same products which create the gasoline one uses for a car engine. Gamsol/Sansodor are made from refining mineral oil.


This might seem like being randomly picky but benzene is extremely toxic and has been shown to be carcinogenic at concentrations close to 0.01%. OMS of good quality should have around one part per ten thousand of benzene, which is a hundred times less, but still... Also, I'd argue that OMS is still smelly, not in the same league as mineral spirits but definitely smells.


Here gamsol is not sold anywhere but sansodor is, at about 8-9 times more than oms, at least in art stores. Hence, is there any alternative I can buy cheaper?

RomanB
03-11-2019, 06:49 PM
Look for Isopar solvents.

JCannon
03-12-2019, 12:39 AM
Right now, I'm using Utrecht's odorless thinner, which is pretty good, and a bit cheaper than Gamsol. List price for Gamsol, 33.8 oz is 24 bucks, vs. 19 bucks for 32 oz of Utrecht. Obviously, there are smaller sizes.

I've not used Sunnyside but it seems to be easy to find, at least in my area. I've found it at both hardware stores and art stores. The reviews on the Blick site are positive, with several saying that it is the only truly odor-free solvent. A 32 oz can is 14 bucks, list price.

The MSDS sheet is here. (https://www.sunnysidecorp.com/pdfs/SDS_70532.pdf) The flash point is lower than Gamsol's -- 120 degrees vs 144 degrees -- so take that point into consideration. Also, some years ago, Sid (a regular contributor here) said that he used a can of Sunnyside OMS which had a stronger smell than Sansodor.

These days, I use an inexpensive "green" OMS alternative from the hardware store for brush cleaning and Utrecht OMS in my metal medium cup. The best way to save money is to use the good stuff only for actual painting.

Harold Roth
03-12-2019, 07:34 AM
Shellsol T was recommended to me to use to make varnish instead of using Gamsol or buying Gamvar. It has less than 3 parts per million of benzene, which is way less than 1 part per 10,000. Kremer sells it. It's not cheaper--about $3 more. Here's the analysis:
http://www.b2bpolymers.com/TDS/shellsol.pdf

Pinguino
03-12-2019, 11:12 AM
As already noted: Be sure to pay attention to the flash point.

In the USA, and in some other nations, a flash point over 140F means "combustible," but a flash point below 140F means "flammable." There are many circumstances where a combustible liquid is permitted, but a flammable liquid is prohibited.

AnnieA
03-13-2019, 11:28 AM
Many manufacturers these days are making biocleaners to replace turps and OMS, and they're advertised as being able to do most of the things that turps or OMS can (I'm not clear on whether they work for varnishes.

I haven't received it yet, but have ordered some Sennelier "Green for Oil" thinner. As soon as I've tried it, I'll report on it here in the Tech forum. It's price seems to be a little less than Gamsol, at least in the U.S., and I think that Sennelier products are often available internationally.

Pinguino
03-13-2019, 12:01 PM
Many manufacturers these days are making biocleaners... some Sennelier "Green for Oil" thinner. ... Sennelier products are available in the USA, at least.

I looked at the SDS (safety data sheet) for "Green for oil". This is the EU equivalent of the US MSDS. Most of the SDS is not especially informative (as is typical for many substances that are not inherently hazardous). The flash point is 150C (Celsius), which is 302F (Fahrenheit). Definitely not flammable, and I'm not even sure whether this is considered to be combustible (if combustible, surely a very low risk classification). The product is more like a thin oil than OMS. I assume it evaporates eventually, but the rate of evaporation won't be fast. I very much doubt that it can be used with varnish.

Spike Lavender, such as from Art Treehouse, also has a higher flash point than OMS, but not as high as this Sennelier product. However, Spike Lavender has a distinctive (not unpleasant) scent, and I assume it contains some naturally occurring components that can present a health hazard to some people, in sufficiently high concentration (as can almost anything). It is not clear whether or not "Green for oil" and similar products have a distinctive scent, or can present health problems (such as allergies).

I for one am not impressed by whether a product is derived from natural, currently living plant materials, or from the remnants of what were natural, living plant materials millions of years ago (that is, oil and coal). There is no reason to suppose that bio-products are more or less toxic than derived or synthetic products.

In any case, I am intrigued by products (such as this one) that have a very high flash point and evaporate very slowly. Seems to me that they should function like an oil medium when painting (unlike OMS, which evaporates more quickly), then evaporate before the paint film begins to gel (unlike actual drying oil) so that the layer is less "fat". Let us know how you like the product.

EDIT: I see that Sennelier also makes "Green for oil" gel and liquid mediums, which (unlike the above solvent) are not intended to evaporate. But then ordinary drying oils are natural bio-products. Even alkyds are likely to be modified soybean oil, thus arguably natural. I wonder what distinguishes these Sennelier products from (say) Gamblin's Solvent-Free gel and liquid, other than the way they are advertised? The SDS for the "Green for oil" liquid medium shows a flash point of 101C, much less than for the thinner! Apparently the medium contains a small amount of a volatile substance.

AnnieA
03-13-2019, 05:19 PM
Pinguino, I've tried several other bio-based products and haven't had much success. One of them, Neutral-thin by Eco-House, made me incredibly nauseous with just a whiff. Even though there really wasn't much smell to it, just the fumes alone bothered me.

What I've been searching for, apparently like you are too, is an alternative solvent that can be used in alla prima painting for the first relatively washy layer. Spike lavender, although I love the smell, evaporates way to slowly to be of use, as any layers one tries to add while it's wet just pull up the paint already on the surface. Many of the other products marketed as solvent alternatives that one might try have advice from the manufacturer that they should not be used in first layers because of high fat content, and/or are alkyds, which I don't really like. It would be wonderful if Sennelier let artists know what was in their products, but no luck there.

So wish me luck with Green for Oil Thinner and I'll let everyone know how it turns out.

Luis Sanchez
03-15-2019, 11:00 PM
[quote=JCannon Sid (a regular contributor here) said that he used a can of Sunnyside OMS which had a stronger smell than Sansodor.
[/quote]



Yeps. I suspect it is more or less the same OMS that I can get hold off in art stores. I will look at Shellsol T, but I am sure one of the art store products is just a rebottled Shellsol. I don't know which one, tho. There's a wide spectrum of solvents produced by Shell. At any rate the solvent I use is actually that one, so I suspect it is already Shellsol T. It is definitely the less smelly solvent around other Gamsol/Sansodor but it does smell more. It is also way cheaper: 24 MXN for Pinto's OMS vs 160 MXN for Sansodor (and the local brand has 4 vs 3 oz of the small W&N flasks).


I am very curious about the sennelier stuff, although it is not sold here, but since it is sold as "airplane safe" I guess I can order some from Blick.


Also, if all you want is to clean the brushes there are few alternatives:



Cheap oil. Safflower or sunflower cooking oils can clean brushes and should dry. You can also use art store safflower oil but then it aint longer cheap oil. Avoid olive or avocado oils as they never dry and if you use them to clean in the middle of a paint session they will end up in your paint. I suspect linseed oil from your paints will dry around it but it will be a weak paint film. This leads us to...
Mineral oil. This never dries. So it is ok to use it to clean after you finish your paint session but not while you paint.
Soap? There's a famous brand of soap that's frequently recommended in this forums. As it aint offered here, I can't offer further comment. But beware, bristle brushes don't take much water.

Pinguino
03-15-2019, 11:33 PM
Safflower cooking oil will NOT dry, at least not in the time expected by artists, or in the film strength expected by artists. This is because safflower cooking oil and safflower artist medium are actually two different products, made from different sub-species of safflower plant.

You can clean bushes with the cooking oil, if you wish, provided that you do not carry any significant amount of the oil into paint. So, the cooking oil is not suitable for cleaning brushes in the middle of a session, only at the end.

I do not know about sunflower oil.

Harold Roth
03-16-2019, 05:33 PM
Yeps. I suspect it is more or less the same OMS that I can get hold off in art stores. I will look at Shellsol T, but I am sure one of the art store products is just a rebottled Shellsol. I don't know which one, tho. There's a wide spectrum of solvents produced by Shell. At any rate the solvent I use is actually that one, so I suspect it is already Shellsol T. It is definitely the less smelly solvent around other Gamsol/Sansodor but it does smell more. It is also way cheaper: 24 MXN for Pinto's OMS vs 160 MXN for Sansodor (and the local brand has 4 vs 3 oz of the small W&N flasks).
It might be incorporated into a brand OMS in Europe. In the US, it is not. It is only available as itself from Kremer, which, of course, imports it.