Everclear alcohol


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That is what I use. More expensive but a bit safer, I think. Seems "hot" compared to the denatures stuff when I polish.

 

And by "a bit safer" I mean that you can drink 190 Everclear-it makes wonderful vanilla-and not go blind or die, and what ever is used to denature the ETOH is absorbed through your mucous membranes, so enough ETOH will kill you, be it rum or Bourbon, but at least it is consumable and has no deliberate poisons.

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Here in Italy denatured alcohol have a pink dye added to distinguish it from food grade alcohol, so using everclear is a must if you don't want a pink synthetic shade in your varnish.

Of course the food grade alcohol is much more taxed and therefore costs a lot more, but it is also much less toxic (it is toxic, but less.....)

These days some manufacturers have gone through the pink dye problem by producing a low-cost white alcohol that works well as varnish solvent but remains more toxic than everclear.

It's isopropyl alcohol that is low cost because it has less tax charge.

In short, everclear is always better.
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There are brands other than Everclear available that may save you a few dollars. There's Gem Clear 190 proof from Kentucky, a few bucks cheaper than Everclear. There's also a Polish import sold at Binny's here in the Chicago area for a few bucks less as well. Works fine for my simplified 1704 spirit I use for retouch, dissolving shellac and general cleaning. The owner of the shop I work at buys denatured, but I spring for the grain alcohol as it's what I choose to use. I also stay away from the xylene as well.

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5 hours ago, duane88 said:

 

And by "a bit safer" I mean that you can drink 190 Everclear-it makes wonderful vanilla-and not go blind or die, and what ever is used to denature the ETOH is absorbed through your mucous membranes, so enough ETOH will kill you, be it rum or Bourbon, but at least it is consumable and has no deliberate poisons.

Really? I know you can drink 190 proof alcohol, but why would you?

I really don't understand what you mean by everclear being safer than "rum or Bourbon".  Seriously curious.

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15 hours ago, arglebargle said:

O.k. Could you tell me the difference between ETOH (what I understand to be ethyl alcohol, or booze) and 190 proof grain alcohol. And why one is safer than the other? Honest question.

Try reading Duane's posts again. My impression is that he was saying that ethanol intended for drinking is safer than forms of ethanol which have had poisons purposely added.

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If you are drinking it, it is Ethyl Alcohol. If your distiller didn't bother to remove the fusel oils, acetone and other alcohols, you'll get sick. I cared for one patient who used a 69 Impala radiator as his condenser coil. I saw him with lead poisoning.

Bourbon must be at least 51% corn. I prefer Rye made like a Bourbon. Vodka can be anyting that is fermentable, potatoes giving you gluten-free Ethyl Alcohol. Grain Alcohol is made from grains, of which there are many.

 

It all comes out of the still clear and the impurities, also called the "heads" should be mostly discarded. I say mostly because a bit of the imputities are what give it the charachter that you can charge extra money for. Well, that and age.

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On 8/16/2017 at 4:42 PM, Mike_Danielson said:

Everclear is all I use.  $16 In Oregon liquor stores for a 750 ml bottle of 190 proof (95%).  Much lower water content that the stuff you buy at the hardware store.  

Mike D

That's cheap.  It's $8.50 a quart or $16 a gallon for the untaxed garbage they're passing off as denatured alcohol.  It's 50% methanol, plus various denaturing ingredients.  It was really unpleasant using it as a stripper.

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18 hours ago, arglebargle said:

O.k. Could you tell me the difference between ETOH (what I understand to be ethyl alcohol, or booze) and 190 proof grain alcohol. And why one is safer than the other? Honest question.

They are the same.  You can't distill alcohol to higher than 190 proof (95%) because you can't remove the water without special procedures.  Should be safe for general or food use, but too concentrated to drink straight.

And beware of those special procedures.  One way to do it is by distilling with benzene (powerful liver toxin, and carcinogenic).

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28 minutes ago, La Folia said:

They are the same.  You can't distill alcohol to higher than 190 proof (95%) because you can't remove the water without special procedures.  Should be safe for general or food use, but too concentrated to drink straight.

And beware of those special procedures.  One way to do it is by distilling with benzene (powerful liver toxin, and carcinogenic).

You can dry ETOH with molecular-sieve pellets and get very close to 100% (200 proof) alcohol.  However, as soon as you take the cap off your bottle and start making varnish the alcohol will absorb water from the air bringing you back to 95%, so not really worth the effort.  Molecular-sieve pellets can be dried and reused so they might have a use if you find your bottle of alcohol has condensation and want to dry it out.  I would be more inclined to move the bottle to the bar for mixing drinks and get a fresh bottle for varnish. 

-Jim

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2 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

You can dry ETOH with molecular-sieve pellets and get very close to 100% (200 proof) alcohol.  However, as soon as you take the cap off your bottle and start making varnish the alcohol will absorb water from the air bringing you back to 95%, so not really worth the effort.  Molecular-sieve pellets can be dried and reused so they might have a use if you find your bottle of alcohol has condensation and want to dry it out.  I would be more inclined to move the bottle to the bar for mixing drinks and get a fresh bottle for varnish. 

-Jim

You could work with your arms in sleeves into a sealed environmental cabinet filled with an inert dry gas, but I think you are right, probably not worth the effort.

 

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7 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

 I would be more inclined to move the bottle to the bar for mixing drinks and get a fresh bottle for varnish. 

-Jim

You could divy it up: 1 shot for the violin, two shots for the maker, one shot for the violin... wait- let's start this over again; I lost count.

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I've been using the high %  isopropyl alcohol for several years, buying it in 5 litres. It's water clear, supposedly flashes off slightly slower than ethanol. In use I can't notice the difference whether brushing or french polishing. Don't know what the health problems are, wear a glove when French polishing, use a well ventillated area.

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3 hours ago, Michael.N. said:

I've been using the high %  isopropyl alcohol for several years, buying it in 5 litres. It's water clear, supposedly flashes off slightly slower than ethanol. In use I can't notice the difference whether brushing or french polishing. Don't know what the health problems are, wear a glove when French polishing, use a well ventillated area.

There are health issues associated with inhalation, ingestion, and prolonged skin contact.  Sounds like your fine with the safety procedures you use.  Definitely don't use Bill's suggestion with isopropyl. :P

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I use 190 proof Everclear for any varnish I might spray at one time or another (in other words, pretty much all of it).  I have to go 2 states over to get it, but hey... Capone and the Purple gang had a bootleg route between where I live and Chicago during prohibition... so I guess I'm just providing historical support. :)  If the feds catch on, though, I may have to borrow David's car.

There is one brand that's slightly stronger... Spirytus Rektyfikowany (a Polish product) at 192 proof, but I imagine once the cap is off the first time there's very little difference between the two... and it's more expensive.

Behkol or hardware store alcohol are fine for cleaning airbrushes, etc., but I'd avoid breathing the fumes long term... and some of the hardware brands have strange additives (like sulfur, I believe).

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