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Old 01-25-2002, 01:07 PM   #1
Douglas Drenkow Douglas Drenkow is offline
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Relatively Safe Solvents & Mediums




NOTE: ALTHOUGH SAFE KLEAN APPEARED PROMISING, I WAS DISAPPOINTED IN ITS RESULTS. HOWEVER, WE CONTRIBUTORS DID COME TO SOME OTHER GOOD CONCLUSIONS, AS WITH HELP FROM SOME TOP EXPERTS IN THE FIELD. - DOUG

As someone who is quite sensitive (perhaps even allergic) to organic solvents and who is not satisfied with water-soluble oils (particularly the whites, not ground in linseed oil), I have a keen interest in safe, effective substitutes for turpentine.

Gamblin has a good chart comparing the advantages and disadvantages of oil painting solvents...

http://www.gamblincolors.com/materials/solchart.html

However, as you may see from that, none of those solvents -- including Gamsol, Turpenoid Natural
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Old 01-25-2002, 11:26 PM   #2
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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You have a great deal of good information here and I'm going to check it out. Thanks.

I am writing to tell you what I do, not to suggest what you should do/try...

I get terrible headaches if I am in a room with turpentine - even the "odorless" kind, and I've gone through a lot of substitutes and found the following....

"Turpenoid Natural" really messes up my brushes if I don't get every speck of it out when I'm done painting. If it gets mixed up in my paint, it prevents the paint from drying. I don't much like this product.

I do use a citrus-based thinner called Bio-Shield. It does not smell like citrus (thank heavens!) and it does clean my brushes. If it gets mixed up in my paint, it doesn't hurt anything. But basically I use it as a brush cleaner - seldom as part of a medium. The few times that I have mixed it with damar varnish and linseed oil to use as a medium, it has worked well....

I use "Silicoil" as a final brush wash. It is probably lethal stuff, but it does not give me a headache and it cleans my brushes easily and well. (I don't like to use soap and water as I feel it hurts my brushes). I leave the lid on the Silicoil until I am done painting and it is time to clean up. This product should never be mixed with paints.

I do use Liquin as a medium. It is also pretty lethal stuff, except that for some reason it doesn't bother me.

I have a well ventilated studio and can tolerate a lot of chemicals, but never turpentine (or hardware-store paint thinner) in ANY form!
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Old 02-05-2002, 02:23 PM   #3
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Is Safe Kleen archival?

I just started using Safe Kleen too and though I like the citrus smell and like the buttery feel that the touch of linseed oil gives, I wonder how it will hold up over time in my paintings.

I'd hate to think that in a few years my portraits might turn all green or something. I'd never heard of Safe Kleen before a few weeks ago and the bottle I bought does not list ingredients. It is labeled as an "artists" solvent and medium and I'm guessing the manufacturers would say it will not cause discoloration over time, but I'd just like to be sure. Anyone know what's in this stuff and how it might hold up over the long term?

Thanks!
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Old 02-05-2002, 02:26 PM   #4
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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One more thing about Safe Kleen

Oh, one more thing. I was wondering how this stuff might react with Liquin, since it reacted strangely with the Liquin that was left in the little metal cups I use it in. The Safe Kleen caused the dried Liquin to dissolve and bubble up in a way that never happened when I put mineral spirits in those cups. I wouldn't want to see what might happen if I use Safe Kleen in a layer of paint over top of a layer that has Liquin in it!
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Old 02-05-2002, 03:36 PM   #5
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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Heavens! If Safe Klean reacts with dried Liquin in a little metal cup like that...don't take a chance and use it over ANY dried surface containing Liquin!

ALSO

I use Liquin too and am glad to hear of something (other than blasting caps) that can actually dissolve the dried stuff...i.e., spills on clothing, floor...THANKS FOR THIS INFORMATION!
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Old 02-05-2002, 04:27 PM   #6
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Karin, I think I'll try your Bio-Shield. Dick Blick.com doesn't have it. Can you tell me where you get it?

Thanks!
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Old 02-05-2002, 04:59 PM   #7
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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I ordered BioShield's Natural Citrus Thinner from:
http://www.bioshieldpaint.com/22.htm

Luckily, there were so many requests from painters in my area, that a local art supply store now carries it. I love this stuff - it is easy on the brain cells...but still use the (lethal) Silicoil as a final brush wash as it is more powerful. (Note: Silicoil is NEVER meant to be mixed with paints).
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Old 02-05-2002, 08:25 PM   #8
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Thanks, Karin! I bookmarked their site and I'll check it out.
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Old 02-06-2002, 03:08 AM   #9
Douglas Drenkow Douglas Drenkow is offline
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Dear Michele & Karin (and our fellow artists),

According to the manufacturer (whose salesman and chemist I've contacted directly), the only thing left behind after SafeKlean evaporates is a little linseed oil, which will of course oxidize and harden as part of the layer of paint.

So unless they are not telling the truth, there should be nothing to "turn a painting green" over time (a prime concern of mine, too, of course).

I tend to trust the manufacturer, given that their Best-Test rubber cement has been a reliable standby for a great many years.

SafeKlean is also certified to be non-toxic and non-flammable. According to the BioShield website, that product is based on citrus peel; and according to that Gamblin Solvent Chart I referenced (http://www.gamblincolors.com/materials/solchart.html), solvents based on citrus peel have as their active ingredient d-Limonene (4-Isopropenyl-1-methylcyclohexene, according to my trusty old Handbook of Chemistry and Physics); they do dissolve apparently all artists' resins (like only turpentine and SafeKlean); they are used in making mediums (in addition to being used to dilute paint and to clean brushes); they have a flashpoint of 116
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Old 02-06-2002, 11:30 AM   #10
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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If the only thing left behind after SafeKlean evaporates is a little linseed oil (which eventually oxidizes and hardens) it would seem to me that you wouldn't want to clean a decent brush in this stuff and let it sit for 3 months or so afterwards...

If you are saying that you must clean up with soap and water after using SafeKlean Brush Cleaner, I'd say that it is a lot of unnecessary work to have to clean the brush cleaner out of the brush..

I found Weber's Natural Turpenoid to be an awful product that I once mistakenly used to clean my brushes. It wrecked the brush that the "oil residue" dried in. Also when I used it in my paint, the paint "didn't dry" correctly. Sounds like SafeKlean is of the same ilk...

As to the addition of d-Limonene to the BioShield citrus based thinner...I'm willing to trust the manufacturer of BioShield to tell me the truth when they say that this particular product is "non-toxic" and won't hurt anybody....

I get a headache in the presence of turpentine...(after awhile it actually makes me itchy too). I tried a lot of different paint thinners and about 4 years ago, I found BioShield. Because of the way I paint it really works well for me. Whew!
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