General Question

Seek's avatar

UK vs. American terms for furniture restoration/refinishing supplies?

Asked by Seek (34709points) October 15th, 2011

I’m reading a book written in the UK on furniture restoration. It’s an informative and fascinating read. However, I live in the US, and you guys apparently have a completely different hardware store than I do. ^_^

What the heck is “meths”? and what is “white spirits”?

I use mineral spirits and paint thinner regularly… I’m assuming that’s what the above UK terms refer to, but which is which?

And is a “burnisher” a wood file?

“Wire wool” = “steel wool”, right? Just like cotton wool = cotton balls.

…...I think that’s it.


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5 Answers

njnyjobs's avatar

meths is denatured alcohol
white spirit is mineral spirit
burnisher is a scraper, to scrape off paint or varnish from your furniture
wire wool could be steel wool
cotton wool is cotton balls

Seek's avatar

Denatured alcohol. Huh.


flutherother's avatar

Meths is ethanol which is coloured and made undrinkable with additives
White spirit is a clear solvent used to clean paint brushes
A burnisher is a tool used to make a surface smooth or give a polish.
Wire wool is the same as steel wool.

Response moderated (Spam)
The_Idler's avatar

As they said ^

btw, meths is so called, as an abbreviation of “methylated spirits”, because it has had the poisonous methanol added.

This is not actually to stop people from drinking it, but simply to exempt it from the usual (extremely high) duty on alcoholic products. Because it is considered “undrinkable”, it is not taxed in the same way.

If it was, the rate being about £25 per litre in the UK, the tax on a US “gallon” would be about $150.

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