Denatured Alchohol?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Mastiffdog, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. Mastiffdog

    Mastiffdog Member

    Is it okay to use denatured alchohol and matte medium when ballasting and doing other scenery activities? Is there any difference using the denatured vs. the isopropyl?


  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    denatured alchohol (ethonal) is a stronger solvent than iso, and iso has better lubricity, as I recall. I would think either would be OK, but it would be a good idea to test it. Whatever they denatured it with should be pretty inert, but it or the alcohol itself could attack one of the materials, or just not work as well. At 50 cents a jar at any drugstore, I think iso is probably cheaper.
  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member


    Besides, The denatured stuff smells like heck!!!:eek: I'm just wondering what they use it for now. Only thing I can recall is thinner for shellac and that's not used much now considering all of the high tech stains and varnishes that are out and about.
  4. Chessie1973

    Chessie1973 Member

    Denatured Alcohol is primarily used in the electronics industry for cleaning of parts and to remove solder flux from soldering for the most part.

    It eveporates so quickly and leaves no residue so it is perfect for such jobs still.
  5. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Not to mention, it will take the paint right off a life-like locomotive! :D
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Is denatured acohol the same as methylated spirits or methyl alcohol?
    The Brits have a series of transfers they call Methfix because part of the setting process uses methyl. They may have been replaced by the pressfix type, but they went on well and stuck, except when the paint came off.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Often times denatured alcohol will thin water based acrylic paints, whereas isoprople will cause the acrylics to "curddle." For those who use brake fluid for paint removing might be interested to know that the primary ingredient of brake fluid is denatured alcohol.
  8. philip

    philip Guest

    who's using it

    The defense department is using DA for cleaning segment board/race rings on all combat vehicles with turrets. Lord knows I have used the crap out of it. Great cleaner for communication equipment. Probably works great on the rails. Just a thought.

  9. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    Denatured alcohol is simply straight grain alcohol with a toxic additive. The addition of the toxin allows it to escape the entire regulatory/taxation environment that surrounds alcohol. I'm not sure, but I believe DA was first marketed during Prohibition, because the industrial uses of alcohol, just like the libatious uses, weren't going to go away. Of course, "the powers that be" were more realistic about the industrial uses.

    Shellac continues to be used by many craftsman and women, as well as in the food industry. Of course, in the food industry, they don't use denatured alcohol as the solvent/thinner for shellac.
  10. pjb

    pjb Member

    David asks if MethyAlchohol is the same as Denatured Alchohol ?

    The answer is no, but methanol is part of many of the standard grades of denatured alchohol. SDAG-1 and SDAG-2 are 20 parts ETOH to 1 part Methanol and 2 parts of Methanol, respectively.

    The number of standard formulations in commerce are quite large , and there are some where Isopropyl alchohol is in the mix (e.g. SDAG-9 is 20 parts ETOH to : 1 part Naptha and 1 part Isopropy Alchohol).

    Denatured alchohol compounds are used as solvents( in most cases), or preservatives , somewhere in producing virtually any imaginable product ; or simply as a non mechanical cleaning agent.
  11. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Too Good To Waste

    Hmmm, Maybe I got it all wrong:eek: but I always thought that denatured alcohol was made from cellulose (ie: wood alcohol) and that methylalcohol was made from dextrose/grain (ie: sugar, better known as grain alcohol.):confused:

    Anyhow, when "Old Pappy" fired up the still:D it was fermented corn, yeast, sugar and water that went into making it:D It was too good to waste on laying ballast:D :D :D But "Granny" would sneak a fruit jar full every now and then to run her 1924 Maytag washing machine:eek: Always wondered why she was so happy on "wash day":D :D :D

    "Brother Clem" who lived down the road was too cheap to buy yeast for his "shine" :D so he would just throw a dead 'possum or two into his mash vat:eek: He said it did the same thing as the yeast:eek: :D That dang washer never did run right on his "squeezings":D :D :D
  12. Mastiffdog

    Mastiffdog Member

    So now that we got all the scientific rhetoric behind us, I will pose the practical questions:

    1. Can I mixed matte medium and denatured alchohol together and use it to bond ballast and other scenic objects on the layout?

    2. Can you clean tracks with the stuff without it attacking the plastic ties?

    3. Can you mix it with drops of india ink and acrylic tints to make a wash for plaster castings?


  13. Chessie1973

    Chessie1973 Member

    Re: Too Good To Waste

    The Answer should be yes to all three I would think. It shouldnt damage plastic as they esu it in cleaning electronic parts that are far more sensitive to such things. And just like nearly any alcohol it should mix just fine with anything that you can mix water with wioth no ill effects and faster drying times to boot.
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    To question #2 the answer is yes with a qualification. Denatured Alcohol will always disolve water based paint no matter how long it has been dry, so if you have weathered your track with water based acrylics, you need to use it very sparingly.

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