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Paint Thinner

Paint thinner or mineral spirits are solvents for oil-base paint.  They can have noxious chemicals so will sometimes need to be avoided or need extra caution on the jobsite.


There are many different grades and suppliers of this widely used product.  It seems like the prominent brand changes from state to state.  It’s best to use a product in the mid to upper range of quality.  The cheaper formulas often have noxious chemicals added to warn people of the poor quality.  It’s better to keep chemical odors down on the jobsites.

USAGE:  In decorative painting, we use paint thinner for the following instances:

  • to thin down oil paint / alkyd paint
  • to thin down oil varnish – although I prefer turpentine
  • to thin down paste wax to make it more liquid
  • to clean your soiled oil brushes before washing with soap and water
  • removing wax off furniture or walls
  • good, greasy cleaner for black scuff marks on baseboard
  •  for “opening up” oil glaze

Since paint thinner “eats” oil, it is very effective at dispersing glaze to create organic effects like fisheyes on shagreen or texture on certain marbles.

Fisheye look on Shagreen
Red griotte faux marble