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  1. #1

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    Everclear substitute in collodion work

    I am setting up to do wet plate collodion work. Everclear or 95/5 ethanol/water is not a commercial option where I live (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan). I can get 95/5 ethanol/methanol without too much difficulty.

    (Don't worry about the OSHA and health concerns I am a professional art conservator and spend a lot of time in the spray booth, and fume hood doing very much fun but noxious stuff.)

    But, I want advice from you practitioners of arcane arts as to whether to expect chemical and photographic problems when substituting ethanol with 5% methanol for everclear.

    I will report back in any case but I would appreciate helpful advice in any case.

    Thank you

    Mark MacKenzie, M.A.C.
    Mark MacKenzie, M.A.C.
    Art Conservator
    Past Ink Publishing
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    S7H 2S6

  2. #2
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    I know that this isn't the answer you are looking for, but--

    If it is for a business purpose, you should be able to get ethanol without the tax stamps. I worked in a lab that used to get it in 50 gallon drums. They started out with tax-stamps, but we were able to prove it wasn't for mixing drinks, and got it cheaper. There was always a rumor that they used Benzine to remove some of the water, but I can't say that was the real case.

  3. #3
    JG Motamedi's Avatar
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    If you can not get grain alcohol, denatured alcohol will work. You may need to dilute the alcohol with distilled water by 5%, since the collodion does require a bit of water.

    Have you tried chemical supply houses? Having a visitor bring you a few bottles across the border?

    For other options, ask at one of the collodion forums. Other Canadian Ether-heads might be of assistance:

    http://www.collodion.com/forum/default.asp

    http://www.cwreenactors.com/phorum/index.php

  4. #4
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JG Motamedi
    ...For other options, ask at one of the collodion forums. Other Canadian Ether-heads might be of assistance:

    http://www.collodion.com/forum/default.asp

    http://www.cwreenactors.com/phorum/index.php
    Don't you just love the Ether-net?


    Joe

  5. #5

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    "Denatured" collodion work

    Ahhhh, the smell of ether in the morning.....Makes me want to go back to bed? The presence of so much high spirits so early in the morning is sooo hard to resist.

    Thank you all for your comments and advice. I will use something like Everclear should it be available to me.

    To those not familiar with the great white north, it is next to impossible to come by ethanol (not denatured) without paying excise tax unless you are a Federal laboratory and apply for an exemption under an existing clause. Now this is from when I ran part of a federal lab more than 13 years ago. Today I run a provincial art conservation facility and my local solvent suppliers don't even know that non-denatured 95/5 alcohol is/was available. Reagent and spec. grade suppliers will supply for a price but I can't justify the expense. Hence my original question.

    Ah, while not adverse to the occasional nip of poteen especially shared with my wife and Valentine's love I will come by my drinking stuff using the more usual ways and means.

    Having to add water to facilitate the reactions is a very good reminder, thank you.

    I have toyed with the idea of drying out drinking or over proof drinking (150 proof) which is available here but only as rum I believe. Rather than using some of the usual getter chemicals (usually reserved for trace H20 removal) I have read that you can pass the dilute alcohol through a bed of Zeolite resins and they will remove the water and give you pure alcohol. These are the resins usually found in water softener cartridges. (You didn't hear this from me, now did you?)

    If you thought this question close to "heresy" wait until the next one on ether substitutes!!

    Once again, thank you to all for the discussion and I hope there are more posts.

    Mark MacKenzie
    Mark MacKenzie, M.A.C.
    Art Conservator
    Past Ink Publishing
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    S7H 2S6



 

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