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Thread: Denatured Alcohol

  1. #1

    Default Denatured Alcohol

    I have been doing a fair bit of reading on drying green bowl blanks using denatured alcohol (DNA as the Americans say)
    Has anyone been using this method? Where can I buy this
    impatience potion in Canada?


  2. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    Freelton, ON
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    Default Denatured ethanol not readily available in Canada

    The denatured alcohol in Canada is basically Methanol, Wood Alcohol as it was once known and is toxic and makes you blind if ingested in sufficient quantities. I believe you can get denatured ethanol at Goudies in Toronto (the commercial lacquer suppliers), but it is a small fortune compared to what they pay in the US. I investigated getting it from Commercial Alcohols in Bramalea, but there are all kinds of regulations on shipping large quantities (=their minimum order quantity) in 5 gallon pails and they will not load into your car as it constitures a hazardous shipment. Ironically a lot of the DNA is blended by Record Chemicals in Brampton and shipped to the US! Our excise laws are off the wall regarding something like this, but they basically allow the free commerce in illegal drugs like Pot. Lab supply houses sell ethanol denatured, but they are really watching for the illicit drug manufacturing labs and generally will not sell to the public. After majoring in Chemistry, I worked in that industry for 35 years in my other life.

    Conclusion - turn lots of green blanks and pretty soon you have a reserve supply built up and when you get the urge, you can finish one. Lots of production turners have a reserve of a couple of hundred bowls drying. Unless they are very large bowls, they actually dry down very quickly, often in 30 - 45 days. Wood that has sat in log form in my yard for a year is often down to 25 to 35% moisture levels.

    It is a neat technique and apparently helps with splitting during the drying phase for many woods. I have even considered setting up a still, but fortunately have too many other things to do and about two dozen dry rough-outs that I never seem to get at!

  3. #3
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    Mar 2006
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    Miramichi N.B.
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    Default

    I have used Methyol Hydrate to dry bowl blanks and it seems to get the same results as DNA. When I am putting the blanks in or taking them out of th MH I wear heavy rubber gloves and face protection.After they have dried ,wrapped in newspaper ,for a couple of weeks they are good to go.
    I buy 4 liter jugs at the superstore here , about $12-14 if I remember correctly.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks to Mike and fred for gettng back to me.
    The guys in the US claim they pay $8 for a 5 gallon pail @ Lowes or HD... Pretty sick eh?
    My wife and I occasionally go to Buffalo for the weekend and I wonder if I can legally cross the border with a couple of pails in my trunk? It would be worth a try, worst case scenario it would get seized.

    Chris

  5. #5
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    Brian

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pickeringwoodworker View Post
    It would be worth a try, worst case scenario it would get seized.

    Chris
    Worse case would be you end up in jail for suspicion of running a meth lab.
    Salamat, Ingat

    Brian in Calgary

  6. #6
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    Default

    We've had this discussion a while back and Methyol Hydrate or Methanol, Wood Alcohol is not the same as DNA or Denatured Alcohol. It is Methal Alcohol while DNA is Ethal Alcohol Made from a grain product. Ethanol is basicly Booze... Prohibition in the 20s put a stop to production and sales unless it was made poison. Methanol is poison so a small amount is all it takes to contaminate the entire batch. Ethanol, made from grain, is much cheaper to produce than Methanol, made from wood, so the bulk of DNA is Ethanol and a small amount of Methanol is added to render it useful only in an industrial setting, not formulated for the Pallet.

    Each as different charastics, Methyol Hydrate, or Methanol, Wood Alcohol... evaporates at a different rate than Ethanol and different still than Isopropal Alcohol. Each of which (in the pure form) can be used to hasten the drying of green wood. Alcohol takes the place of water and in the process evaporates quicker leaving the wood in a cured state at a much quicker rate.

    Fellows who use Shellac all know the difference that each of these alcohols play in the spreading and curing time with a Shellac finish. Same hold true with the drying effect of Alcohol.

    Here in US we use DNA due to its cheaper price tag.
    Bill "Hickory" Simpson

  7. #7

    Default

    Bill,

    You have me really confused now!!!
    You are saying that in the US the turners use DNA due to its cheaper price tag, does that mean that other products work just as well or better?? What is the best thing to use?

    Chris

  8. #8
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    Waterdown
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    Default

    I had no problem bringing back 3 one gallon tins of DNA last summer. I would definitely call ahead to the nearest store and check stock. I'm sure they'll be more than happy to set some aside, or order it in if need be.

  9. #9

    Default

    I was at HD a few this am and they had Methyol Hydrate 99.9% pure. Less than $7 per gallon.
    Can this be used?

    Chris

  10. #10
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    Bill

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pickeringwoodworker View Post
    I was at HD a few this am and they had Methyol Hydrate 99.9% pure. Less than $7 per gallon.
    Can this be used?

    Chris
    It would work for the application but, and it is a big but, it is poisonous and attacks the central nervous system. It is also absorbed through skin. In other words, don't use it. I am continually surprised how this nasty stuff is so readily available for all purposes including fondue fuel without more severe warnings.

    Methyl Hydrate is the same as Methanol or wood alchohol.

    I know it doesn't help you but you can get denatured alchohol in Ottawa at BSC Chemicals for not much more than that. It is ethanol with a few percent of methanol added. Note that methanol is not the only chemical used to denature (drinkable) ethanol.

    billh

  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pickeringwoodworker View Post
    Bill,

    You have me really confused now!!!
    You are saying that in the US the turners use DNA due to its cheaper price tag, does that mean that other products work just as well or better?? What is the best thing to use?

    Chris
    Any of the three basic alcohols can be used as a dessicant and displace water from the wood cells... Ethanol, Methanol, & Isopropyl (in its pure form, not rubbing alcohol)

    In the Us Methanol is higher in price. DNA is by far the cheapest of the three, I believe in CA Methanol is cheaper. Each has their own charastics and the evaporation time is different for each (the shellac users have their preference based on the flowability and drying time) Methanol, wood alcohol, Methal Hydrate (whatever you want to call it) has some nasty side effects and is well worth bypassing, DNA does not have those problems.

    I prefer the DNA for my alcohol drying because it is handy, cheap, and fairly safe. I have had success so why convert....
    Bill "Hickory" Simpson

  12. #12
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    Default Wood alcohol

    Bill - Methyl alcohol is no longer made from wood. The origins of methanol were the destructive distillation (heating ) of wood in the absence of oxygen and capturing the vapours which off gassed. It is now made by reacting methane from natural gas with high pressure steam over a catalyst I believe.

    For others that are not up on the subject yet, Methanol will work as well in drawing out water, but you certainly do not want the vapours coming off in your house. If it is a salad bowl, would you like to tell the person using it or buying it that you used a poison to speed up the process of drying?

  13. Default

    I have turned lots of green bowls and have used gallons of methyl hydrate (gas line antifreeze) from Canadian Tire and also DNA which I pick up across the border. Both worked equally well for me.
    Sometimes it is nice to live 6 miles from the border like I do. I buy nearly all my thinners and finishing supplies there because I don't have to pay that eco fee that they charge in BC on top of the PST and GST. Matter of fact I don't pay any taxes at all when I bring it home from across the border.
    W.Y.
    http://www.picturetrail.com/willyswoodcrafting

    The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brazeau View Post
    Bill - Methyl alcohol is no longer made from wood. The origins of methanol were the destructive distillation (heating ) of wood in the absence of oxygen and capturing the vapours which off gassed. It is now made by reacting methane from natural gas with high pressure steam over a catalyst I believe.

    For others that are not up on the subject yet, Methanol will work as well in drawing out water, but you certainly do not want the vapours coming off in your house. If it is a salad bowl, would you like to tell the person using it or buying it that you used a poison to speed up the process of drying?
    Mike it doesn't matter how it is made, (For our use as a WWer) a chemical is a chemical (etc.) Wood Alcohol is a common name for the product. Each is Methyl Alcohol for sure, Methyl Hydrate as some call it is simply Methyl Alcohol in Solution (Hydrate, ...To put it simply, it just means that whatever you have contains water). So, If you are buying Methyl Hydrate, it is best to check to see the alcohol content. Similar to Isopropyl alcohol which can also be used as a dessicant. Common name is Rubbing Alcohol but that product is less the 70% by volume.
    Bill "Hickory" Simpson

  15. #15
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    Default

    I posted some info I found on Canadian denatured alcohol grades in thread
    http://www.canadianwoodworking.com/f...171#post128171

  16. #16
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    just what you thought :^')

    Default

    Snake-oil BS in my opinion, there have been all kinds of claims about this alcohol drying, the same with the dishwasher soap, claims only, none verifiable true. There was a believer on rec craft woodturning that after some heated opinions on it did a couple of bowls, from the same wood at the same time and dried in the same place and under the same conditions.
    Outcome on his test, first couple of days the alcohol bowl lost weight faster than the other bowl (probably because the alcohol evaporated quickly)
    Total drying time to a weight that didn't change anymore (moisture equal to the surrounding air) was the same for both bowls.
    My questions have always been, if you take alcohol with a coloring in it it never seems to go deeper in the wood than just the surface, no penetration.
    the other question is how is the alcohol going to move into the wood, the water/sap is already in there, you can't get both into the same place at the same time, just having alcohol surrounding the wood doesn't make the water inside the wood in closed wood cells, come out of the wood IMO.
    But WANTING to believe this does seem to be enough, it makes even the blind see and the deaf hear again, you can see it on TV about every day.
    I guess you can see I' am a non believer in this case :-)))
    Oh one more thing, wood alcohol by any other name will still blind you, and that's not a case of believing or not it is REAL.
    Oh and one more case I almost forgot, Weyerhouser did a scientific study to see if they could dry their wood quicker, also with alcohol as one of the studies, guess what, their outcome was the same as the above one.

    Have fun and take care
    Leo Van Der Loo

  17. #17
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    just what you thought :^')

    Default

    I tried to find the relevant posts on this, and was able to grab 2 of them as pictures, I just hope that this will work as I'm not sure it will.
    None of this is to shoot down anyones post or believes, but to try to bring out what's true, fables don't serve anyone, just my opinion.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
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    Leo.... It is a chemical reaction not BS.... It Do happen that the Alcohol will take the place of the water, It is a a desicant. IT do what nature tells iot to do , Chemically.... The alcohol based dyes do not pentitrate deeper because the dye matter is filtered out as the alcohol is absorbed in the flux of water in the wood.

    All you non-belivers have to do is try it. I was reluctant at first but as I released my inhibitions and tried the mix, I found it to be true. I have been quite successful with Alcohol as a dessicant in drying wood (w/o cracks, checks, or splits)

    I checked with my Retired Physic Teacher friend (we refer to him as Doc., because he is one) and he explaind the science behind the reaction. My Chemestry Teacher friend Concured. (He is also a Doc. but we refer to him as Butt Head... different reason)

    It is the nature of alcohol to substitute itself for water, then it evaporates, leaving a waterless substance.

    Try it, then believe it.
    Bill "Hickory" Simpson

  19. #19
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    just what you thought :^')

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    Good thing wine and whisky makers are non believers, or their alcohol and water would just disappear through the wood barrel staves, wouldn't you think Bill.

    Anyway I don't want to argue about this, just let's say I'm a non-believer

    It's just like in the quotations I put in my previous reply.

    Have fun and take care
    Leo Van Der Loo

  20. #20

    Default

    I respect both the opinions of Leo and Bill. The 2 of you have been woodworking long before I was even born so its fair that you both agree to disagree.
    Leo, after looking at your home page, you look like you have a 10 years supply of roughed out bowls anyway. You would never need this magic potion!!!

    I personally have my first alcohol soaked bowl (soaked May 17th, 2007) drying. Within the first 3 days it went from 36% MC to 16%. It is currently @ 12%
    I will wait another week and finish turn and I will assess at that point if I am a beliver or not!


    Chris

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