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Thread: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

  1. #1
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    Default why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    I have a painted wooden hull sanded down as far as I'm going to take it, with small strips of bare cedar showing intermittantly. After finding the best way to sand inside the centerboard trunk, I'll be cleaning paint dust off the survace. All my reading states to vacuum, then use a tack cloth. Instead of vaccum, I plan to blow off with air. I've already sent a lot more dust out through ventilation than I've emptied from the sander. Then, why not wipe down with a cloth wet with mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?
    It seems like this would be effective, faster, and easier. The only negative I could dream up is perhaps the mineral spirits is too much of a drying agent. However, that seems insignificant and there is very little wood exposed.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Evening,

    Would you mind telling us a bit more about your project? How big is the boat? What kind of primer and enamel do you plan to use on the hull? Are you working in an outdoor shop or in your basement or what?

    Will you be spraying or brushing or roll and tipping the finish?

    Are you expecting a professional finish or looking for coverage?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    I have had good experience with denatured alcohol with a lint free cloth.
    Live and let live

  4. #4
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Tack cloth is cheap. And, it works, without leaving behind anything.

    But, there is more than one way to do it...
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens, and Sh!t happens more than Should happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

  5. #5
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Inside of a centerboard trunk?
    Just work the brush around alot in there.
    mix in any surface dust. sticks better. use a clapped out brush .
    anyway, tack cloth is for the final coats , not for the sealer and primer.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Depending upon the quality of mineral spirits (which seems to be deteriorating lately) it can leave a residue... contaminating the substrate. You can likely get away with a rag very slightly dampened with mineral spirits, but I wouldn't recommend a damp rag.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Tack cloths have always been a part of good painting practices. They work. Spraying a light coat of spray varnish on a piece of cheese cloth works well if you don't have any store bought tack cloths. Even with compressed air, you still need a cloth to get the surface dust off, so it might as well be a tack rag. There is oil/water in air compressors and without proper traps and clean lines, you would be more likely to get contamination from that source than just about anywhere.

    Solvent rags can leave as much behind as they pick up. You would have to keep turning a clean surface of the rag with every wipe. Most paint systems advocate using their proprietary solvent as a wipe down anyway, even with tack cloths, to cover a more broad range of contaminants. Some of that dry particulate that would otherwise be picked off by the tack rag, could become a more problematic contaminant when exposed to or perhaps dissolved by a solvent and allowed to soak into the substrate.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    I've used mineral spirits on a rag to remove dust, after vacuuming, when it is suggested as a thinning or cleanup solvent on the can of coating I will be applying (usually alkyd enamels or polyurethane varnish). I've also used alcohol and acetone, and even a rag damped with tap water.

    Vaccuming removes dust from your shop; compressed air just moves it around, unless you can move the boat outside to blow it off.

    Brian

  9. #9
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Tack cloth holds the dust. Mineral spirit soaked rag will move the dust around, and leave it behind as a fine haze of hardened dust slurry.
    You can make your own with bee's wax, cheese cloth, and turpentine..... But why?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Thanks to all for the good tips and info; and to John Boone, I'm trying to add pictures.
    - Strib

  11. #11
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    In my years here on the WBF I've come to believe that 'minerals spirits' is what we buy here as mineral turps and 'denatured alchohol' is what we buy as methylated spirits.
    If I'm correct , the reason you don't use turps is that it contains oil in some base form and that interferes with anything else you might want to stick to whatever you've just cleaned. Its good for thinning oil based paint.
    Meths is fine for general clean up, and is also great for cleaning up epoxy.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?






    For two bucks, you get 17" x 36" of tack cloth, which, if you learn how to fold it properly (read the instructions) will give you eight and a half square feet of tacking surface. As said, mineral spirits on a rag only moves the dust arouind and doesn't pick it all up. A tack cloth will pick up every speck of dust. If you are super-cheap, you can make your own. Buy cheesecloth and dip it in raw linseed oil thinned with a bit of turpentine so it doesn't glop up on the cheesecloth, and hang it out to dry until it is tacky. (outside, in the air... it can combust spontaneously.) ... But why would you bother. A tack rag is one of those things you buy along with your masking tape and paint thinner whenever you stop by the paint store.

    Now, just curious, but before you asked your question, did it ever occur to you to wonder why twenty-seven different companies make tack rags and sell them in professional paint stores?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    I don't use mineral spirits to thin paint either...... I detest the stuff. Turpentine is much easier on the olfactory system as well..... (For me)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Bob Cleek:No. I sell lumber, building materials, hardware, and paint. I just know I dislike using tack cloth, even though I get a heck of a deal on it.
    Last edited by rharwood; 11-11-2012 at 07:07 PM.
    - Strib

  15. #15
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    16.5' cedar lap strake. still shopping for the primer and paint, probably use an expensive product found on the shelf at a locally owned paint store or industrial supply. I keep it under carport and keep the car in the elements. I live inland. She'll get regular lake and river outings in fresh water only. It's a beautiful boat and I may take it to a show next fall. I'll brush only and I'm doing enough prep work to expect a professional finish, with the advise of this forum.
    - Strib

  16. #16
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    I been using microfiber glass cleaning cloths for a while now instead of tack cloths. Works a treat. When it gets too dusty just take it outside and give it a good shake.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    I have been doing auto body work for allmost 40 yrs. and would not even think of painting without a tack cloth wipedown. We use a solvent based cleaner first but it is a wipe on wipe off to remove any film left from the solvent. Then the surface and cracks ,seams or crevaces are blow off with an exaust fan running. after waiting for at least 10 minutes for any airborn dust to settle the surface is wiped down with a tack cloth before painting. A tack cloth can be used over and over if you clean the surface before tacking. I store the tack cloth in a baggy and actually prefer a used one to a new one. I paint at least two or three times a week and buy about one package of tack clothes a year.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Thanks to everyone. It's been a good lesson. I've decided to blow after checking tank, vacuum, then tack. David G is right. Mineral Spirits price has escalated and quality has degraded. Even in good o;' days it would leave a residue you would not want to paint over for long haul performance.
    - Strib

  19. #19
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Mineral spirits is fine for oil based paints and varnish. Mineral spirits still seems much the same as it was, it's Naptha, another good solvent, that has changed more than anything. It's getting more difficult to get straight Naptha, which is essentially the same as Zippo lighter fluid, and you will find in it's place, varnish makers and painters (VM&P) naptha, which is a lower strength version of it. I prefer naptha to mineral spirits as a cleaner and a thinner. Mineral spirits I use mainly to clean brushes, or when I want a solvent that doesn't evaporate as quickly as naptha does.

    Naptha was a good cool weather thinner for heavy alkyd paints. Still workable with the brush but flashed a bit faster which helped eliminate sags and runs, or paint that might otherwise stay wetter longer in cool, humid weather.
    Last edited by pipefitter; 11-14-2012 at 12:07 AM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    There are all kinds of variations for both Naptha and Mineral spirits. Some will smell to high heaven and some are odorless.
    I used to do restoration work on old (17th century) furniture and we used to use Coleman camp fuel as a cleaning solvent. This is essentially a deodorized, more refined Naptha.
    For painting I wipedown with an automotive dewaxing solvent and while the surface is still wet I follow with a clean ragwipe wiping that off. Then follow lightly with a tack cloth. The whole procedure takes mabe ten minutes? I keep the tack cloth in a baggy and reuse it many times.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Another thing to consider -

    Use microfiber towels available at Costo by the small bail. They don't leave lint and you can use a liquid cleaner of your choice.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Solvents are for degreasing/de-waxing, tack cloth is for 'de-dusting'.
    Steamboat

    I get by with the judicious use of serendipity.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: why not mineral spirits instead of tack cloth?

    Thanks, Steamboat. I've been correctly trained by this thread to think in your terms.
    - Strib

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