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MEK - hard to find

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MEK - hard to find
Posted by jcopilot on Sunday, September 15, 2019 8:16 PM

I've been using MEK as a liquid cement for a few years and the quart can I've been using finally evaporated and I need more.  I've been to Lowe's, Home Depot and Walmart in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  None of the stores in MD have MEK at all.  In PA, all they had was MEK Substitute.

I've looked online at those three stores and Ace Hardware, True Value Hardware and Sherwin-Williams Paint.  Either they don't have it or only have it in gallon cans (enough for 3 lifetimes).

Has MEK been 'blacklisted'?  Restricted?  Banned?  Why can't I find quart cans of original MEK?

As a side question:  Does anyone know if MEK Substitute also works as a liquid cement?

Jeff

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing twice.
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, September 15, 2019 8:18 PM

Just from a standpoint of safety concerns, I am glad it is getting hard to find.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, September 15, 2019 8:45 PM

It is a potentially dangerous chemical. I use to use it.

Google MEK issues as a start.

Google MEK substitute.

Research is always useful.

Rich

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, September 15, 2019 8:57 PM

Tamiya extra thin cement has worked well for me after my supplies of Tenax vanished. They offer a fast and a super fast grade.

https://www.tamiyausa.com/shop/finishing/extra-thin-cement-2/40ml/

Sometimes I'll use the slower acting but thicker Faller cements, they also offer two thicknesses.

https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/faller-170490-expert-super-fast-setting-plastic-cement/?ne_ppc_id=1079742151&gclid=CjwKCAjwwvfrBRBIEiwA2nFiPdznbonLAH4wpI42Bef_W0fgvLSH6UkuJl1pYurhxLqXSM9NOxLl_RoCOY4QAvD_BwE

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, September 15, 2019 9:38 PM

Where in Maryland are you, I bought a gallon and you are right about the 3 lifetimes.

Henry

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By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by jcopilot on Sunday, September 15, 2019 9:46 PM

BigDaddy - north/central MD.  Carroll County.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, September 15, 2019 9:47 PM

In WI., I can get the real MEK, but the substitute is also on the shelf.  Not sure how long that will last, probably until the "old"stock of real MEK sells out.

From the north woods of WI,

Mike.

 

 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Sunday, September 15, 2019 9:49 PM

I buy my MEK substitute from a local sign shop.  I don’t have any idea what it is but it works as good as if not better than MEK and if you leave it uncapped it’s gone in 5 minutes.   
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
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I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by jcopilot on Sunday, September 15, 2019 10:12 PM

RR_Mel,

Thanks for the reply - that's what I wanted to know.  The substitute works on plastic as good as if not better than the original.  It appears to be a bit more expensive, but still way cheaper than buying the hobby cements.

Jeff

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Posted by carl425 on Sunday, September 15, 2019 10:20 PM

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 15, 2019 10:29 PM

I originally used lacquer thinner as a cement for styrene, but when the powers that be decided to bastardise the original version into something useless as a solvent cement for styrene, switched to MEK.

I get mine at a nearby Sherwin-Williams wholesaler, but it's available only in gallon cans.  While it works well-enough, it evapourates faster than the old-style lacquer thinner, which I much preferred.

I've used only a half-gallon-or-so of it in the couple of years since I bought it, a good thing, I guess, as it cost almost $40.00.  The "good" lacquer thinner was around $16.00/gallon.

I doubt that most (perhaps all) hobby-type solvents are much safer to use, if safer at all, and I'm certainly not paying the prices asked, as a gallon's-worth would likely surpass $100.00.

Wayne

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Posted by jcopilot on Sunday, September 15, 2019 10:35 PM

DoctorWayne,

I know you live in Canada.  I wonder if the change to lacquer thinner is limited to Canada.  Or have the deep thinkers in the U.S. followed suit?  Lacquer thinner is available in quarts, but if it doesn't do the job .....

MEK at a Sherwin-Williams?  I checked online, but I'll call the local store tomorrow. Thanks.

Jeff

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, September 16, 2019 8:34 AM

jcopilot

RR_Mel,

Thanks for the reply - that's what I wanted to know.  The substitute works on plastic as good as if not better than the original.  It appears to be a bit more expensive, but still way cheaper than buying the hobby cements.

Jeff

 

The first time I bought the stuff from the sign shop they charged me $8 for about 6fl oz and that included a very nice bottle with a 2” long very thin steel nozzle.
 
The refill cost $6 almost a year ago and I still have about ¼ bottle left.  I think I’ve lost about a half bottle to evaporation.  A very tiny amount goes a long way with either Acrylic or Styrene.  It really gets after Styrene quickly.
 
The sign shop is also a great place to get small sheets of plastic reminits, much cheaper than the hobby shop.  I get my Styrene and Acrylic for scratch building there too.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by garya on Monday, September 16, 2019 9:41 AM
I use both MEK and Xylene as plastic cements. Xylene is not as fast as MEK, but it seems to produce a better joint.

Gary

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Posted by mikeGTW on Monday, September 16, 2019 2:42 PM
Two different Menards stores near me have both MEK and Xylene on the shelf in stock
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Posted by jcopilot on Monday, September 16, 2019 7:02 PM

DoctorWayne,

I just tried using lacquer thinner to bond two pieces of styrene, flat pieces, one laying on top of the other, not even an edge joint.  The bond seemed to hold but with a little pressure, came apart.  The two surfaces showed no sign of crazing or melting.

I guess American lacquer thinner is as worthless as a plastic cement as Canadian lacquer thinner.

Jeff

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Posted by jcopilot on Monday, September 16, 2019 7:03 PM

MikeGTW,

Unfortunately, there are no Menards in MD or southern PA.  But thanks anyway.

Jeff

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing twice.
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Posted by jcopilot on Monday, September 16, 2019 7:04 PM

Garya,

If I can't find real MEK, I'll try xylene.  My lacquer thinner test failed.

Thanks,

Jeff

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Posted by davidmurray on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 10:12 AM

richg1998
It is a potentially dangerous chemical. I use to use it. Google MEK issues as a start. Google MEK substitute. Research is always useful.

Also wise to get WPHIS sheet, Work place health information system.  Not good stuff unless in WELL vintilated area.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by garya on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 4:11 PM

jcopilot

Garya,

If I can't find real MEK, I'll try xylene.  My lacquer thinner test failed.

Thanks,

Jeff

 

Usually with the paint thinners.  Sometimes called Xylol:

Gary

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Posted by tloc52 on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 4:23 PM

Since you posted this on 2 different forums you are aware by now MEK is available both in original and substitute. As written and a photograph of MEK on the not allowed good forum to be mentioned I purchased 2 weeks ago from a Sherwin-Williams store direct. Is it hazardous, I use a fan with all glues, you don’t have to. YMMV.

TomO

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Posted by Medina1128 on Thursday, September 19, 2019 9:57 AM

The last time I purchased MEK was at Ace Hardware in a quart can. This was a couple of years ago since that amount goes a LONG way.

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Posted by dbduck on Thursday, September 19, 2019 11:35 PM

According to the label on the Plastruct Plastic Weld it contains MEK

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