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Thinners for Paint, Lacquer and Dyes

Stock Details
Stock Status:
   Only ships to UK and Europe.

Product Description

Thinners are used for diluting and cleaning up various paints and lacquers used in the finishing of cars, furniture and instruments such as guitars.  Different thinners are compatible with different paints, lacquers and stains.  Thinners are also used for dissolving dry power and flake dyes, stains and finishes prior to application.

We also stock a number of other solvents useful for preparation and application of finishes such as cellulose retarder and surface degreaser.

The thinners and solvents we stock are:


Many uses! Typically used for adhering cellulose-based plastic bindings, and as an additive to aniline dye solutions before mixing with lacquer to prevent the formation of dye solids within the lacquer.

Cellulose Thinners (Standard)

Thinners for diluting and cleaning up after most cellulose paints and lacquers, such as nitrocellulose lacquer, cellulose paint, and cellulose sanding sealer.  The notable exception is Clear Nitrocellulose Lacquer, which requires Premium Cellulose Thinners.

Cellulose Thinners (Anti-Bloom)

Thinners for diluting and cleaning up after most cellulose paints and lacquers including Clear Nitrocellulose Lacquer.  Premium Cellulose Thinners are slower drying than Standard Cellulose Thinners as they contain an element of retarder, which helps to prevent blooming in clear top coats.

Cellulose Thinners (Retarder)

Solvent for cellulose products (cellulose paint, nitrocellulose lacquer, etc) which slows the drying time.  The more standard thinners are mixed with lacquer the faster the lacquer dries.  Sometimes, for example in humid or hot conditions, this is not desirable as fast drying can trap moisture in the finish (aka blooming) or cause the lacquer to crack once dry (the lacquer does not have time to adhere properly to the coat below).  Cellulose Retarder can be used in conjunction with Standard or Premium Cellulose Thinners to slow drying and help to prevent these problems.

Professional Acrylic Thinners

Solvent thinners for our Professional Acrylic Lacquer, both for mixing before spraying and for cleanup afterwards.

Wood Dye (Lightfast) Thinners

Alcohol thinner for diluting our lightfast spirit based wood dyes, for cleanup or to create a less intense colour.

Shellac & Aniline Thinners

Alcohol based thinner specifically formulated for dissolving shellac flakes in the preparation of French polish.  Totally clear, it will not affect the colour of the final finish. Also dissolves our alcohol aniline dye powders ready for application as a liquid dye, or for mixing with nitrocellulose lacquer.

Below is a table showing which thinners and solvents are used for the dilution and cleaning of various finishes:

  Thinning Recommended Ratio Cleaning
Clear Nitrocelulose Lacquer Cellulose Thinners (Anti-Bloom)** 20-30% Cellulose Thinners (Anti-Bloom)*
Tinted Nitrocellulose Lacquer Cellulose Thinners (Standard)* 20-30% Cellulose Thinners (Standard)*
Cellulose Sanding Sealer Cellulose Thinners (Standard)* 20-30% Cellulose Thinners (Standard)*
Cellulose Primer Cellulose Thinners (Standard)* 20-30% Cellulose Thinners (Standard)*
Cellulose Paint Cellulose Thinners (Standard)* 20-30% Cellulose Thinners (Standard)*
Metallic Cellulose Paint Cellulose Thinners (Standard)* 20-30% Cellulose Thinners (Standard)*
Professional Acrylic Lacquer Professional Acrylic Thinners 5% Professional Acrylic Thinners
Waterborne Lacquer Water 5% max Water
Aniline Dye (Water Soluble) Water As required Water
Aniline Dye (Alcohol Soluble) Shellac & Aniline Thinners As required Shellac & Aniline Thinners
Shellac Flakes Shellac & Aniline Thinners   Shellac & Aniline Thinners
Lightfast Spirit Based Dye Wood Dye (Lightfast) Thinners As required Wood Dye (Lightfast) Thinners
Water Based Dye Water As required Water

*Wherever Standard Cellulose Thinners are recommended, Premium Cellulose Thinners can also be used.  However, Standard Cellulose Thinners should not be used where Premium Cellulose Thinners are recommended.

**In humid or particularly hot conditions Cellulose Retarder can be used (in the ratio approximately 70% lacquer:20% Premium Cellulose Thinners:10% Cellulose Retarder) to slow the drying of lacquer, helping to prevent blooming and cracking.

It is worth noting the effect of thinners on the colour and intensity of the final finish.  For wood stains and dyes (such as our lightfast spirit wood stain, aniline dyes, etc) the more thinners the less intense the colour.  The a weaker, paler version of the same colour simply add less of the finish, or if the finish has already been mixed simply add more thinners.  This approach doesn't work with finishes such as nitrocellulose lacquer, though.  Nitrocellulose lacquer shouldn't normally be thinned more than about 30%.  Assuming that it needs to be thinned 30% for easy spraying, it should therefore not be thinned any further for the purposes of weakening the intensity of the colour.

To make the colour of tinted nitrocellulose lacquer less intense the tinted lacquer should first be mixed with clear nitro to the desired colour, and then thinned appropriately for spraying.  For example, if a colour of half the intensity is desired, then it should be mixed 50/50 with clear lacquer, then this mixture thinned up to 30% with suitable thinners.

Product Reviews

  1. Does What It Says

    Posted by Mike on 13th Sep 2016

    Thinners worked very well with the lacquer. Good for keeping everything clean too.

  2. R&F getting high mannn

    Posted by Ian White on 28th Feb 2015

    yes it does just what it says on the bottle I would recommend as a good product to use

  3. Very good

    Posted by JJ on 23rd Feb 2015

    Excellent for thinning and the cleaning ur paint station well thought out offering it in the volumes they do.

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