DIY wiping varnish formula - Router Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Default DIY wiping varnish formula

Hi all, looking for a little clarification on 2 points.

Some time back I ran accross a reference to making wiping varnish by thinning polyurethane 50%.

I recently did this using the thinners the manufacturer recommended, mineral turpentine. I've done a couple of jobs using both satin and gloss polyurethane with good results although the gloss had a slightly more subdued finish than I expected.

I then found that the original instructions I'd seen said to thin with mineral spirits.

First of all I can't say I've seen mineral spirits in the shops, not that I was looking, is it called something else down here ?

Secondly, before I run out and start adding to my collection of chemicals, can someone please tell me what practical difference, if any, there would be by using turps or mineral spirits.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 03:35 AM
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there are 2 differences mineral spirits (also called mineral turps, but really isn't as all turpentine is made for tree sap usually pine) if you use too much mineral spirits the binders in your paint varnish whatever won't work right. this might (i am not sure) because spirits dry way faster than turps. which is the 2nd thing that I know about the 2 is the drying time difference. this probably isn't much help but I tried to remember what my dad said about the 2 and this is the only things that stick out in my mind. later biloxi tom
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 07:12 AM
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Default Turps vs Spirits

Don't know about "down there" but up here we have real turpentine (tree sap product) and mineral spirits (frequently marketed as Varsol. It's a petroleum product.) As far as I know Varsol and mineral spirits are the same thing (I could be wrong, and frequently am) There is also paint thinner which is what I think you are thinking of re: mineral spirits. If this makes any sense.
I would stay away from artificial turpentine.
Good luck, David
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 07:16 AM
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Hi Mark - to get really confused, do a Google search! For what it's worth, here in SA we have Mineral Turpentine, which I suspect is the same as Mineral Spirits, a petroleum distillate, and then we have Genuine Turpentine, which is a lot more expensive being a tree extract product, and used extensively by artists using oil paints. This might be worth trying, to achieve a better finish.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 07:23 AM
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Hi again Mark - here is an old thread along the same lines, emanating from your part of the world.

Mineral spirits [Archive] - Woodwork Forums

By the way, how did you guys manage to beat us a week ago?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 09:18 AM
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Aloha Mark,
I could be wrong but turps is a product of distilling pine(? So a natural product) and mlneral spiirits is from distilling also but things from ( under ground, ect: oil, petrol.) Hope I remembered it right. Aloha from Oahu, from Mark, kohalabeeman
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 09:37 AM
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You might try mixing with boiled linseed oil. It works well for me as a wiping varnish. I've also used a product called Watco to mix with both varnish or poly. Also works well.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 09:58 AM
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Use Wikipedia:
Turpentine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
White spirit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Paint thinner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 10:55 AM
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Hi Mark - hopefully, the links have clarified the differences in terminology used in various parts of the world for these products!

I've used 2 'homemade' clear finishes over the years, i.e. the 'wiping varnish' concoction using 1/2 poly (or varnish) & 1/2 solvent (mineral spirits or naphtha, the latter another petroleum/gas distillate) - I prefer the naphtha for its faster drying time, but a personal choice.

The other uses the 'thirds rule', i.e. 1/3 poly (or varnish), 1/3 MS or naphtha, and 1/3 BLO (boiled linseed oil, which BTW is NOT boiled) - this is a common formula that has been around for years. If I'm doing a 'wipe on' clear finish w/ this material, I would typically use it for just the first coat (not sure the BLO penetrates much w/ additional coats & I don't like rags w/ BLO laying around the shop!) and then switch to the simpler wiping finish.

Good luck w/ your projects - Dave
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 04:17 PM
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I use the thirds method with a third each of poly, boiled linseed oil and 'Pure Gum Turpentine'. Lovely smell and available in most hardware stores in Australia - even B.... 's. Nothing critical in the proportions - just pour equal amounts into a jar. Dries fairly quickly - about 15 minutes.
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