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Old 09-13-2019, 04:12 PM
Andrulis Andrulis is offline
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Hardware store mineral spirits

We've all heard that hardware store solvents are not artist quality and if you use them for a medium they will turn your paintings yellow or cause cracking. As a student at the American Academy of Art the school rule was to use mineral spirits only as a medium. Since it was student work, I bought hardware store mineral spirits. After 35 years my student paintings show no signs of yellowing or cracking or anything adverse. There was also a book by Shepard Paine who claimed there was no substantial difference between hardware store mineral spirits and turpentine that are marked pure and refined and artist's grade. I'm wondering if we have all been duped.
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:37 PM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Do you represent a brand of mineral spirits in particular?, hardware store grade maybe?.

If Mr. Shepard Paine said what you said he said, maybe he was high on drugs at that moment.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:18 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrulis
We've all heard that hardware store solvents are not artist quality and if you use them for a medium they will turn your paintings yellow or cause cracking. .......... There was also a book by Shepard Paine who claimed there was no substantial difference between hardware store mineral spirits and turpentine that are marked pure and refined and artist's grade. I'm wondering if we have all been duped.

First of all I have never heard that using hardware store OMS is bad for your paintings, through 4 years of art school as well as 40+ years as an artist.

Shepard Paine on the other hand if they said there is no substantial difference between them when it comes to interaction with the paint is probably right, but they are/were incorrect as far as VOC levels and toxicity. KleanStrip brand as well as Sunnyside OMS have quite a bit more off gassing off of toxic fumes than does Gamsol OMS. I can tell the difference from 15 feet away from the headaches and respiratory irritation in a ventilated room. Gamsol on the other hand is one of, if not the lowest VOC / toxicity / irritating OMS products on the market with significantly less chance of health issues if the headaches and breathing problems associated with the industrial OMS that are absent with Gamsol are an indicator. For what its worth, inhalation over many decades of industrial / hardware store OMS was most likely a contributing factor to the death of my Printmaking professor. He breathed that stuff in for 50 years. You need to have good ventilation with either one, but positive fan driven ventilation is vital with the industrial type of OMS in a closed space.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:13 PM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrulis
There was also a book by Shepard Paine who claimed there was no substantial difference between hardware store mineral spirits and turpentine that are marked pure and refined and artist's grade. I'm wondering if we have all been duped.

This is the most wild claim I have heard in a long time. Mineral spirits are petroleum derived. Real turpentine or pure and refined artist's grade is distilled from trees. Mineral spirits cannot dissolve resins such as Dammar, Amber, etc., however, turpentine does.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:11 PM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

It might be important to note - and a possible cause for misinterpretation - that the terms turpentine and mineral spirits are used differently in different English speaking countries. In America, turpentine and mineral spirits (and OMS) are different products made from substantially different things. Folks from England and Australia can chime in to give more precise definitions, but I believe we have had this type of confusion before as the term turpentine is sometimes used for both types of solvent, if I am not mistaken.

As mentioned, OMS (odorless mineral spirits) is substantially safer than mineral spirits and turpentine - and even different brands of OMS can differ substantially. I haven't used turpentine in many years, but their are always different grades and levels of refinement.

The question isn't whether it is hardware store or art store, it is how pure and refined it is.

So, no, you are not being duped if you understand the choices.

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Old 09-14-2019, 03:23 AM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

I think, that industrial grade of White spirit is high quality pure product intended for many purpose including solvent extraction of food grade oils and for coating industry. The same for artistic White spirit. Gamsol is Exxson Mobile petroleum distillate with lower aromatic content. Not useful as a solvent for any lacquers, but said to be not very wrong as a painting medium ingredient.
In the other hand, hardware store "Turpentine" is is a wast product of cellulose manufacturing. It has terrible quality, terrible odor and probably high toxicity.
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:18 AM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrulis
As a student at the American Academy of Art the school rule was to use mineral spirits only as a medium.
I am happy to see a school that taught the use of only solvent, which I agree with.

Last edited by sidbledsoe : 09-14-2019 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:04 PM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Some solvents can have unique non-toxin and aromatherapy smell. Artists grade materials can have fer better smell than their hardware store counterparts and artists prefer to pay a lot more money for pleasant smelly solvents than to waste a little money for hardware store stuff. Everybody like to think, that $100 low odor turp petroleum distillate has ten times better smell that less turp, but more of petroleum distillate product in housepaint grade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidbledsoe
I am happy to see a school that taught the use of only solvent, which I agree with.
I also tried to use pure solvent as a painting medium, but I was disappointed with the quality of dried oil paint film. It was matte and weak. I am sure such paint layers can degrade after a short period of time. And I can't control paint because solvent dries like crazy. Even 1:1 oil/solvent medium can give matte result. Then, I tried 70% oil 30% solvent formulation and it performs better. Add only a very small amount of such medium into paint and it will become fine fluid and useful.

Last edited by Gigalot : 09-14-2019 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:52 PM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigalot
I also tried to use pure solvent as a painting medium, but I was disappointed with the quality of dried oil paint film. It was matte and weak. I am sure such paint layers can degrade after a short period of time. And I can't control paint because solvent dries like crazy.
I have none of those issues, and I oil out any matte areas. When using only solvent, you must use very little solvent, and from your symptoms, I would have to say that you used too much.
anyway, I am told by the experts that the only thing that solvent does, it to just simply evaporate, it doesn't change anything, the oil to pigment ratio remains the same, and what you are left with is the same thing as neat oil paint
But I think not.

Last edited by sidbledsoe : 09-15-2019 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:10 PM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Duped is different from some teacher using the best information he or she has at the time.
After all 35 years ago they did not know what would happen 35 years into the future. To do that, they would have to be time travelers. So, okay they were wrong. Duping is a negative term for sending someone astray for nefarious reasons. As a person who has been to teaching school and has taught, I honestly can say that teachers do not try to "dupe." Life is not static, it is not straightforward. How could an art teacher know what hardware store mineral spirits would look like after so many years? There is also the concept of technical advisories. I work with silicon rubber molding materials. I am told it is good for 6 months. Guess what, it is good for like 3 years!
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:16 AM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Church said in his book:
"A third variety boils between 130° and 170° and is available for many of the purposes for which turpentine-oil is employed. It is not advisable, in my opinion, to use fractions having a higher boiling-point than 170° C. as additions to the pigments and vehicles of oil-painting, for, though their slow drying is sometimes an advantage, there exists the danger of their incomplete evaporation from the painted surface. If they remain even in traces in the finished work after it has been varnished, they may give rise to the same accidents as are caused by the treacherous though seductive asphaltum.

It should be remembered that the various petroleum liquids just described do not resinify, nor do they leave any permanent stain or mark upon paper which has been moistened with them."
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:19 PM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Quote:
Originally Posted by contumacious
First of all I have never heard that using hardware store OMS is bad for your paintings, through 4 years of art school as well as 40+ years as an artist.

Shepard Paine on the other hand if they said there is no substantial difference between them when it comes to interaction with the paint is probably right, but they are/were incorrect as far as VOC levels and toxicity. KleanStrip brand as well as Sunnyside OMS have quite a bit more off gassing off of toxic fumes than does Gamsol OMS. I can tell the difference from 15 feet away from the headaches and respiratory irritation in a ventilated room. Gamsol on the other hand is one of, if not the lowest VOC / toxicity / irritating OMS products on the market with significantly less chance of health issues if the headaches and breathing problems associated with the industrial OMS that are absent with Gamsol are an indicator. For what its worth, inhalation over many decades of industrial / hardware store OMS was most likely a contributing factor to the death of my Printmaking professor. He breathed that stuff in for 50 years. You need to have good ventilation with either one, but positive fan driven ventilation is vital with the industrial type of OMS in a closed space.

I give this two

Just the smell that can be worrisome, but there again, if you can smell it then it probably means you should have a lid on it. OMS actually seems more dangerous to me since I cannot smell it as easily, usually I detect it by the lack of other smells as the volume of the gases released fill my work area (well, that and my head starts feeling a bit lighter while a pain begins behind my ears).

On a side note, someone once told me to put the Turpentine from the hardware store in a glass container instead of leaving it in the metal can that it came in and it would smell less bad. They were right... no clue why leaving it in the can makes it smell more like death, but maybe there is some kind of chemical exchange going on between the metal and the solvent that results in a more foul smell.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:09 PM
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Re: Hardware store mineral spirits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delofasht
On a side note, someone once told me to put the Turpentine from the hardware store in a glass container instead of leaving it in the metal can that it came in and it would smell less bad. They were right... no clue why leaving it in the can makes it smell more like death, but maybe there is some kind of chemical exchange going on between the metal and the solvent that results in a more foul smell.
Yes, I have had old cans of hardware turp go off, turn dark brown, smell awful.
I used it to kill some grass and weeds.

Last edited by sidbledsoe : 09-16-2019 at 05:12 PM.
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