Archive: The Practical Sailor “Foundational Four” solvent list

Posted By on September 13, 2021

SolventListPhotoPSWho wants to even look at their home or boat shelf of solvents. I’ve bought different ones for different tasks and the cans just sit there since I never know which ones to use for which purpose. Is it possible to just stick with four?

The Foundational Four

Mineral Spirits. Good for thinning varnish and enamels, cleaning brushes, wiping up stray polyurethane sealants, and general cleanup.

Xylene. Reduces most topside paints, bottom paint, removes smudges, and is just the thing for removing fender and black heel marks from the topsides and deck.

Acetone. Nothing dries faster, works well with polyester resins.

Vinegar. Don’t use epoxy without it. This is very effective at cleaning up tools and skin. It may take few minutes of soaking to soften the epoxy so it can be cleaned away with scrubbing.

From a Practical Sailor 2021 update


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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