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Old 04-12-2013, 15:13   #16
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

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A tin of Petit varnish costs about $35. A tin of their thinner costs about $20. The same amount of generic thinner would cost maybe $5, for the same amount. I am using the thinner at an average of 20% of the varnish.

4 tins of varnish + 1 tin of Pettit thinner = $160.

4 tins of varnish + 1 tin of generic thinner = $145

How much am I saving by using generic thinner? $3.75 per tin of varnish. Doesn't seem worth it, does it?

For cleaning brushes, that's a different matter - I use a 1 gallon container of the cheapest stuff.

I use the generic thinner for varnish, but I also use the thinner for cleaning up and lighting the grill (its charcoal) so only need to store one can on my little boat. Plus I'm thrifty
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Old 04-12-2013, 15:21   #17
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

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Having maintained bright a spruce masted, wooden everything but the hull cutter for 25 years and built out the interior on my current boat I gave up on brushes a long time ago and only use foam. Much easier to level than a brush and I don't have to clean up.

And, if dumping thinned varnish back in the can is a problem, I must have missed what it was after using about 50 gallons of the stuff.
I must try the foam this spring, when it's varnishing season.
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Old 04-12-2013, 15:25   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
A tin of Petit varnish costs about $35. A tin of their thinner costs about $20. The same amount of generic thinner would cost maybe $5, for the same amount. I am using the thinner at an average of 20% of the varnish. 4 tins of varnish + 1 tin of Pettit thinner = $160. 4 tins of varnish + 1 tin of generic thinner = $145 How much am I saving by using generic thinner? $3.75 per tin of varnish. Doesn't seem worth it, does it? For cleaning brushes, that's a different matter - I use a 1 gallon container of the cheapest stuff.
Amen!
Having been in the business for more than 20 years, I agree. The cost savings is minimal when using the brand thinner. For cleaning brushes - go cheap but be sure they're clean! Use a brush spinner and store your brushes (hanging). Mine are kept in clean diesel - my favorite brush is more than 12 years old.
Of course, you need to enjoy the process - but don't over do it with brite-work. Go sailing often!
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Old 04-12-2013, 15:32   #19
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

I use either Epifanes Thinner or Interlux 333 for actual thinning. Both products also seem to act as some sort of flow-out blender. I use regular mineral spirits for clean-up.

The correct thinner does make a difference. See for yourself. Mix a small amount of Epifanes Varnish in one small cup with Epifanes Thinner or Interlux 333 and do the same using mineral spirits. You could actually see the difference when mixing the two. In hot weather, the mineral spirits will evaporate out sooner and the difference becomes more evident.

I like to cheap-out when I can, but when it comes to mixing chemicals, that is not the time to cheap out. All woods are not the same, all metals are not the same and all varnishes and thinners are not the same.
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Old 04-12-2013, 15:55   #20
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

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Amen!
Having been in the business for more than 20 years, I agree. The cost savings is minimal when using the brand thinner. For cleaning brushes - go cheap but be sure they're clean! Use a brush spinner and store your brushes (hanging). Mine are kept in clean diesel - my favorite brush is more than 12 years old.
Of course, you need to enjoy the process - but don't over do it with brite-work. Go sailing often!
12 years? I use and throw away at least a dozen each year - 30 bucks! No cleaning and no mess.

If you pour the vanish into a small cup only what is going to be used, put lid back on can, there is no evaporting/drying out.
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Old 04-12-2013, 16:10   #21
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

I agree with Mark on questioning any real saving I not only us Epifanes on my boat but I also make bamboo fly rods and it is my preferred finish for that as well. I am convinced that their thinner is just better filtered turpentine but the small savings is not worth a failure on either boat or fly rods
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Old 04-12-2013, 16:18   #22
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

For the best finish, you should be filtering the varnish AND the thinner, every time you decant them for varnishing.

I bought a big box of Devilbiss filter cones that should last a lifetime.
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Old 04-12-2013, 16:36   #23
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

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I must try the foam this spring, when it's varnishing season.
Get good ones from a paint store. I buy them by the box, and they are dense foam with a round wooden handle. The more open foam with plastic handles aren't worth stirring your tea with, so don't bother. They are especially good for cutting in edges, since you can really see what you're doing.
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Old 04-12-2013, 17:16   #24
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

I try to follow the directions on the can very carefully and get fine results. It took me way too long to learn that they have way more experience with their product than I do. Especialy the spendy ones.
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Old 04-12-2013, 23:54   #25
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

Foam is good. For bulkheads and cabin soles you can roll and tip. Like noted above, be sure to feel the foam, needs to be the real dense black foam with wooden handle ( sometimes there are cheaper foam brushes mixed in with the nicer ones, you can feel the difference).
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:19   #26
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

FWIW I thin Epifanes with real turpentine, takes a while to dry but gives an excellent shine.

I tip any leftovers back into the paint pot for next time.
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Old 17-11-2014, 17:15   #27
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

I clean my brush with mineral spirits and save the used solvent in a dedicated can where the solids settle to the bottom. The next time, I reuse the same solvent and put it back in the can. For the final rinse I use new solvent and put it in the can. When the solids accumulate to about half the volume of the can, I start with a new empty can. Need I mention there's some Scottish blood in my ancestry?
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Old 17-11-2014, 18:24   #28
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

Pro Tip-

Do a search for whatever you want + "MSDS" which refers to the Material Safety Data Sheet.

This will give you all kinds of useful health and safety info for a product such as it's basic chemical composition, as well as it's hazardous components.

In the case of the Epifanes Brushthinner For Paint And Varnish we can see this product is actually expensive naphtha.

http://www.kelloggmarine.com/msds/ep...Brush_MSDS.pdf

I encourage everyone to read the MSDS's for every product they use! For safety's sake!
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Old 17-11-2014, 19:00   #29
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Re: Varnishes, Use Their Thinning Products or Generic Thinner?

I use Home Depot cheap mineral spirits. I have also learned that you can extend the life of an opened can a very long way by pouring a bit of the mineral spirits you used to clean the brush onto the top of the remaining material in the can & do not mix. I use about 1/4 inch to cover and seal it up. Next time - no skin!
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