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Old 06-02-2012, 11:22 PM
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Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

Hello everyone!

Maybe someone can shed some light on this issue. I only use small amounts of genuine Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine to make mediums, etc. As a result if I buy a can, it lasts quite a long time. Last time I bought one was 2006.

Yesterday, I returned to Home Depot to buy a new can that was labeled "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine". However I noticed that the smell was very different from what I'm used to.

Good quality, pure Turpentine should smell like a nice mixture of pine trees and licorice. This new stuff however did not smell bad...just very different. It smells like strong spearmint gum.

The problem, however is that the fumes from the new stuff seem to bother me much more than the traditional smelling turp. I have never been sensitive to turpentine, but this had an immediate effect. I didn't even pour any out...I just uncapped the can for about 15 seconds! Clearly this "new" turpentine is a different substance, however according to the can label it is pure, contains no additives and comes from tree resin.

Like, I said it doesn't smell bad, sulphurous or like decaying matter...just different...weird. Now I'm not sure what this stuff actually is or whether it can safely be mixed with damar and the like for art purposes. This new type is the only kind you can get from Home Depot or Lowe's now.

From what I understand you cannot legally label a can "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" unless that's what it is. Does anyone know anything about this or why this strange difference would be so? Are they making it from different trees or something? Any information would be helpful!

I guess it isn't really a problem except that to get what I would consider "real" turpentine, I will now have to pay expensive art supply prices, instead of $7 at Home Depot.

Jason
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:35 PM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

Quote:
I guess it isn't really a problem except that to get what I would consider "real" turpentine, I will now have to pay expensive art supply prices, instead of $7 at Home Depot.


Well, those of us who consistently recommend using only those materials obtained from art supply houses, instead of from grocery stores, health food stores, or hardware stores would politely say, a resounding.......YEP !:thumbsup:

Whatever it costs,.....it's worth it, in my opinion. Some things that are offered in art stores aren't suitable, either, in some instances, but the chances that you will buy something compatible with oil paint are by far greater than from a hardware store. Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine is definitely one of them.

The difference between Jose' Quervo, and Patron' is profound, although both bottles contain "real" tequila, and both of them are more consistent from bottle to bottle than the turpentine you buy in a hardware store seems to be, from can to can. That is the way turpentine is. Is the price worth it? Well, if you want the good stuff, it is. For washing brushes, the hardware store material may be fine, but for an ingredient in my favorite glazing medium, I'm recommending the "good stuff".
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Last edited by WFMartin : 06-02-2012 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:11 AM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

Thanks William!

I suppose you're right! Since it will last me a long time, I guess paying extra for the art supply store turp isn't that bad.

Still, I am so curious to know what is going on with this. I can't be the only one who's noticed it.

Jason
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:28 AM
sidbledsoe sidbledsoe is offline
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

Jason you are not the only one who has noticed this smell of death that turp has nowadays. Several of us have also noticed a difference in the smell even with the best artists grade turpentine. We were talking about this not long ago on the oily rag. Since Winsor Newton has started using the plastic bottles on the right instead of the glass bottles on the left, as shown here:

The smell has gone downhill. The turp in my glass bottle smelled great, the best I have ever had, now the one on the right has that smell of death that bad turpentine has. Hardware store turp is notorious for being the worst smelling, I can't even paint with that stuff, no way. Sunnyside brand is one that is particularly horrible and I can't and will not tolerate one whiff.
I think that in general all turp is smelling bad nowadays compared to the good old days. I can only guess that it is a matter of the makers obtaining cheaper and cheaper stuff as this world and everything in it goes steadily down the tubes. They even use plastic bottles now, gimme a break pls

Last edited by sidbledsoe : 06-03-2012 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:56 AM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

Jason,
I had the exact same experience, buying from Home Depot for 7$, and hating the smell and getting watery eyes/headaches from it. I've used 'art store' turp with no problems, I get this cheap can and I'm suffering with this stuff. It does say 'pure gum spirits of turpentine' but I couldn't believe how different it smells, not to mention how I react to it.

To make matters worse, my local art store (ASW) carries the good stuff but only in teeny, tiny bottles, when I'm looking for a gallon. They can't sell it in large amounts, some dumb California rule, so I'm resulting to getting quarts mail order. I use it to clean brushes only, but I seem to clean out my jar more frequently than most (plus I have to put a good 8 oz. in to clear the metal fence-thing you rub your brush against). I actually like the smell of WN turp (as pictured), but this hardware store stuff in my rinse jar stinks up the place and makes me feel crappy.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:32 AM
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Angry Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P. in OC
Jason,
I had the exact same experience, buying from Home Depot for 7$, and hating the smell and getting watery eyes/headaches from it. I've used 'art store' turp with no problems, I get this cheap can and I'm suffering with this stuff. It does say 'pure gum spirits of turpentine' but I couldn't believe how different it smells, not to mention how I react to it.

To make matters worse, my local art store (ASW) carries the good stuff but only in teeny, tiny bottles, when I'm looking for a gallon. They can't sell it in large amounts, some dumb California rule, so I'm resulting to getting quarts mail order. I use it to clean brushes only, but I seem to clean out my jar more frequently than most (plus I have to put a good 8 oz. in to clear the metal fence-thing you rub your brush against). I actually like the smell of WN turp (as pictured), but this hardware store stuff in my rinse jar stinks up the place and makes me feel crappy.

Alan: Don't EVEN get me started on that stupid California gallon law!!! I live in Anaheim and I shop at ASW all the time. I was so PO'd the first time I saw that sign!

For those of you who don't know...starting January of 2011, in California, paint solvent and thinners are no longer allowed to be sold in sizes larger than 1 liter. So while the rest of you get to save money by buying Turpenoid in gallons size, here in CA we would have to buy 4 separate quarts if we needed that much...and pay the four quarts price!

Alan, I'm glad to know at least I'm not crazy and someone else has had the same issues with the new turpentine! From now on I'm going to get the stuff from the art store. Don't buy those tiny little cans at ASW...they are old. There is a Utrecht in Fullerton, and their brand of turpentine is the good kind. I finally went and got some from there. I only use real turpentine for mediums and occasionally to thin small amounts of paint. For cleaning and in my brush tank I use Turpenoid.

Sid: I agree. It's so sad that everything has to be made cheaply and poorly nowadays.

Jason
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:27 AM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

http://www.utrechtart.com/BestTest-P...002182.utrecht
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:51 PM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

I generally don't play the "Turpentine Game", much any more. There seems to be so much inferior stuff offered recently, it's a crap shoot regarding what's good, and what isn't.

I've been using Oil Of Spike Lavender for several years now, as my solvent for use as an ingredient in my painting medium, and it performs extraordinarily well, and is extremely compatible with oil paint, much as really good Turpentine is.

I usually use Mona Lisa Odorless Mineral Spirits for cleaning my brushes.....very little smell at all.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:56 PM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

http://www.utrechtart.com/Utrecht-Gu...000350.utrecht
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:10 PM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin

I usually use Mona Lisa Odorless Mineral Spirits for cleaning my brushes.....very little smell at all.

Hey Bill,
I was under the impression that OMS doesn't dissolve Venice Turp. or Stand oil, or at least doesn't dissolve them very well. I remember about a year ago using OMS in my cleaning jar, and going to my brushes the next day and them being slightly 'sticky' or tacky-feeling. I replaced the OMS with turp and they felt clean again.

Since you use V.T. as I do (and I just started recently working stand oil into my...err...your medium) and OMS works for you, maybe it was some alkyd medium not being cleaned off of my brushes well enough (I gave several alkyds a try, but am sticking to my classic medium ingredients).
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:37 PM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P. in OC
Hey Bill,
I was under the impression that OMS doesn't dissolve Venice Turp. or Stand oil, or at least doesn't dissolve them very well. I remember about a year ago using OMS in my cleaning jar, and going to my brushes the next day and them being slightly 'sticky' or tacky-feeling. I replaced the OMS with turp and they felt clean again.

Since you use V.T. as I do (and I just started recently working stand oil into my...err...your medium) and OMS works for you, maybe it was some alkyd medium not being cleaned off of my brushes well enough (I gave several alkyds a try, but am sticking to my classic medium ingredients).

I believe you are correct Alan. OMS does not dissolve resins like damar, mastic or venice turpentine. It also has a very slight solvent effect on oil which could damage the paint film, whereas turpentine only thins the oil.

What I've always heard is use genuine turpentine to thin your paint and make mediums. Use OMS only to rinse/clean your brushes and in your brush tank.

As a friend of mine pointed out to me recently, if you think about it, turpentine may actually be more "green" than OMS. Mainly because turpentine is a naturally occuring tree resin and pine trees are a renewable and sustainable resource. OMS on the other hand comes from the petroleum industry. Food for thought...

Jason
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:03 PM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P. in OC
Hey Bill,
I was under the impression that OMS doesn't dissolve Venice Turp. or Stand oil, or at least doesn't dissolve them very well. I remember about a year ago using OMS in my cleaning jar, and going to my brushes the next day and them being slightly 'sticky' or tacky-feeling. I replaced the OMS with turp and they felt clean again.

Since you use V.T. as I do (and I just started recently working stand oil into my...err...your medium) and OMS works for you, maybe it was some alkyd medium not being cleaned off of my brushes well enough (I gave several alkyds a try, but am sticking to my classic medium ingredients).

Well, I think it's all a matter of relativity. You are correct when you say it is Turpentine that is the solvent of choice for dissolving natural resins (damar, copal, Venice Turpentine, Canada Balsam, etc.). In other words, if one wished to concoct a proper medium for oil painting, using a natural resin, Turpentine would most surely be the choice for a solvent. I would never consider using OMS as an ingredient in any medium containing any of these natural resins.

However, even though OMS does not do the dissolving job it should for anything containing natural resins, it does do somewhat of a job at cleaning a brush loaded with paint and medium containing a natural resin.

It may not do the best job at cleaning a brush full of Venice Turpentine, but it all becomes clean when I wash the brush with soap and water after cleaning the main paint out with the solvent.

And, face it, Turpentine does smell a lot more than OMS. It doesn't bother me much, but my wife complains when the odor permeates the house.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:22 AM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

I loved the smell of turpentine back when it smelled like it was supposed to. I bought some awhile back that I just opened yesterday and it's horrible. Nothing at all like it should smell. Granted, it's just the cheap stuff, but it still shouldn't smell this way. I can't stand it. I'm so disappointed.

But then when one of you said the artist grade stuff isn't like it used to be either, my heart sank. You mean I can't even count on it being okay if I spend all that money?
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:29 AM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

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Originally Posted by Grizabella
But then when one of you said the artist grade stuff isn't like it used to be either, my heart sank. You mean I can't even count on it being okay if I spend all that money?

After living with the Hope Depot garbage that passes for paint thinner for about a month, I went to the art store to investigate the 'good' stuff. I opened a bottle of WN turp, and it smelled delightful (in comparison).

Only problem the bottle was about as big as a shot glass, and that was all they had.

It may not be like it used to be, but it's a hell of a lot better than the crap I bought...
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:47 AM
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Re: Is "Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine" still real Turpentine?

alan is right, artists is still way better than cheapo turp. Natural pigments claims to have some really pure turp, I bought a can of Weber turp and it is fairly good. Stapleton Kearns posted a bit about this turp situation on his blog here.
"Gum turpentine smells sweet and piney, wood turpentine smells like benzene laced cadavers. If you open a can of turpentine at the hardware store today and smell it, it won't smell like Pine-Sol, it will smell like death. Don't buy that, and don't use it."

Last edited by sidbledsoe : 06-05-2012 at 07:50 AM.
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