Re: Tangent Tank Car Paint Removal

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford <mallardlodge1000@...>

Allen, Daniel and Friends,

Some "lacquer thinners" are pure acetone. I buy a house -brand of fingernail polish remover sold by my local supermarket (Care One brand, sold by Giant, and probably other related east-coast chains like Martin's; I found the same product as a house-brand at Walgreens). According to the bottle it is 100% pure acetone. However, on the back it says the stuff also contains denatonium benzoate, which Wikipedia tells me is something used to make the acetone bitter so it isn't ingested. On the front of the bottle it says "Contains Bitrex", which is suspect the aforementioned denatonium benzoate. The supermarket sells about a half-dozen other varieties of nail polish remover with all sorts of supposed health-giving chemicals (like colagens). Because these might turn into a gooey mess, I only buy the pure stuff.

I understand that I can buy acetone fairly cheaply at big-box DIY stores. Due to possible evaporation issues from larger cans, and the ease of handling, I prefer the small 16 oz. size nail polish remover.

Anyway, this stuff is pretty good removing inks and paints. I use it when restoring archery bows. It has slightly softened some plastics, even some so-called "fiberglass" (which may be a pretty broad term). Once evaporation ended, the plastics were firm again. It will also remove varnish, but that's what I want when I'm doing restorations. When used sparingly, it probably has uses for removing lettering on model trains, but I would test it first on an unexposed part of a model. Other than for very small cleaning applications, I only use this outdoors as it is quite volatile. For example, when I'm building arrows I use acetone (out on the patio) as a wipe-down after sanding to remove both sanding dust and any surface pitch. A 30" arrow shaft treated with acetone will be dry to the touch before I've finished wiping down the next one, and without smell by the third. Just in case, I let them dry overnight before applying any paint or varnish. I do wear nitrile or latex exam gloves because acetone's rapid evaporation can dry out skin, and do who knows what other damage to living tissue.

As an aside, when I walk past nail salons I see the ladies inside using nail polish remover on customers. The ladies wear what are essentially dust masks, no real protection against volatile chemicals. It makes me sad to think what they may be doing to their lungs by breathing this stuff daily, but here in Virginia there apparently are no relevant regulations.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff  🦆

On Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 4:04 PM Daniel A. Mitchell <danmitch@...> wrote:
Just one word of warning … There’s no such chemical as “Lacquer Thinner”.

What’s sold under that generic name is any blend of acetone or other ketones, alcohols (many different), petroleum distillates like tolueneacetates, ethers, plus who knows what. Every brand is DIFFERENT.  Some “lacquer thinners” curdle some lacquers causing the entire mess to turn to Jello. Their relative effects on various model paints is anyone’s guess. Many lacquer thinners will violently attack some plastics like styrene.

USE CARE, and experiment first on some hidden or unimportant area.

Dan Mitchell

On Jun 30, 2020, at 10:10 AM, Mont Switzer <MSwitzer@...> wrote:

I learned the hard way just last evening that lacquer thinner will remove the Tangent lettering almost immediately with little effect on the bae paint color.
Montford L. Switzer
(765) 836-2914
From: <> On Behalf Of Allen Cain
Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2020 7:46 PM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Tangent Tank Car Paint Removal
First off, if this is the wrong list for this please let me know and any suggestions for another list woU\Uld be appreciated.
I am seeking advice on the removal of the paint/ink that Tangent Scale Models applies to their GATX 1948+ tank cars and their Cosden 3 Dome tank cars.
Bought some ICG Decals and plan to strip and renumber them.
Allen Cain

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