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thinners for oil base paint - comparisons

10297 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Spencer
Hi Folks,

I'm looking to do some air spray painting with a quart/gallon of Rustoleum oil based enamel; NOT their rattle cans. I have an HVLP sprayer and want to use it to do a ULBPJ (abbreviated for Ultra Low Budget Paint Job) on a car. ha-ha-ha!!!

I realize Rustoleum may not be the best paint to use on a car but I literally have a zero dollar budget and want to make my old car look half-decent. I hate pulling up to customers homes to do an estimate and having them see my ratty old car. The car itself is physically old but has low miles so why sell it/buy new? Anyway...I've painted cars before so I have a pretty good idea as to how to do the right kind of prep and lay down the paint so it looks nice. I also plan on clear coating it with a GOOD urethane automotive clear I have laying around my shop. :clap:

The Rustoleum instructions (yes, I actually directions...I know, I know that's so against the Man code LOL) specifically say to use Acetone to thin out the paint when applying it via sprayer. I had always thought that you were to thin oil/alkyd paints with mineral spirits or paint thinner.

When I went to the box store to get the acetone, I particularly took notice that other thinners could possibly be used so this made me question what the heck is the difference between all of them.

Can anyone explain to me what the difference is between these chemicals? I would like to know how these chemical thinners compare between one another and what you can actually use them for:

• Mineral Spirits (I'll include paint thinner with this as paint thinner is made with Min. Spirits right?)
• Acetone
• Methyl Ethyl Ketone or MEK
• Xylene/Xylol
• Turpentine

I kind of have an idea as to what most of these are for but not 100% sure what they are or what they do. I also why would you use one over another? For example why use Acetone to thin Rustoleum instead of using Mineral Spirits, or MEK? ...and vice versa

Thanks so much! :thumbsup:
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Different solvents for different compounds. Chemistry. You don't really want to get into a chemical discussion, do you? So you gotta read the directions....or call the manufacturer for addl. info on the cans of stuff you have lying around.

It's like asking why you shouldn't put both milk and lemon in a cup of just doesn't work. Chemistry.
I've always used thinner with my alkyds. Never had an issue. I don't recall using acetone to thin anything. It seems to evaporate a little quicker. I need to be more knowledgable on my thinners as well. I just stick with what works.
Mineral Spirits is fine for the alkyd paint. However, a lacquer clear coat over it is NOT compatible (hotter solvent, by far).
I was just curious as to what was what! MEK says on the label "similar to acetone" and slower drying. I kind of assumed acetone and MEK are have similar chemical make-ups but one dries faster one slower!

As for the clear it's a 2-part urethane clear. It can pretty much go over anything at least that's what I was told a few years back when I bought it. It was also really expensive! Either way ill be testing my paints on some scrap sheet metal I already have. The whole point of my DIY auto paint is to get a decent look at a below affordable price and I want it to last!!! thanks for all the info!
Don't forget naptha. I use it to this kilz oil based primer. Makes it dry faster vs mineral spirits which makes it dry slower.
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