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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Compass Fluid, what to use?
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Thread: Compass Fluid, what to use? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-02-2012 08:52 PM
oysterman23
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

sounds good. will do
12-02-2012 07:03 AM
xymotic
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

Um, why not just buy the correct Ritchie oil at West Marine? They stock it at my local store and they will ship it online.
12-02-2012 01:52 AM
oysterman23
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

Would the k1 be a bit more volatile than the preferred spirit?
12-02-2012 12:26 AM
SloopJonB
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

What would be the actual effect of using the "wrong" one of these very similar distillates? Seals start leaking or something? I can't imagine there would be much effect on their damping properties.
12-01-2012 10:00 PM
hellosailor
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

"Stevenson odorless mineral spirit which is paraffin based"
What the UK calls paraffin, the US used to "paraffin oil" but now calls "kerosene". The top grade, water-white kerosene for indoor heaters and the like, might cost 1/3 of that in a US store. Art supply stores...I remember what I used to pay for some of the brand names there. What can you do, that's a convenience tax. Must be doubly so when it all has to be shipped in by ocean or air freight.

Isopar L is an ExxonMobil product, apparently similar to kerosene:

Isopar™ L Fluid - ExxonMobil
http://.exxonmobilchemical.com%2FChe...IQhjgAhPWJ0SPg

"Isopar™ L Fluid is characterized as a synthetic isoparaffinic hydrocarbon solvent ... Isopar L Fluid is a liquid solvent used in paints and coatings, consumer"

Of course, now you can decant off the extra two pints and sell them to other sailors in the same situation. (VBG)
12-01-2012 09:33 PM
Petar
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

Hi Guys,

I spoke to a local compass repair shop. As they do not usually sell that stuff but use it for repairs, they directed me to a local art store which is selling Stevenson odorless mineral spirit which is paraffin based and Ritchie are recommending to use it as an alternative to Isopar L which they sell. They have used the same stuff in their compasses from 1950 to 2000. I got a gallon for $30.
12-01-2012 08:09 PM
hellosailor
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

Baby Oil is generally mineral oil with added fragrance and other ingredients. If you want mineral oil, you buy plain "USP" pharmaceutical grade mineral oil at any pharmacy, at least here in the US.

Mineral spirits can be a blend of almost anything and when sold under that name, are best suited as paint brush cleaner only, because you don't know what the blend is. The primary and typical ingredient is naphtha, and several grades of naphtha are usually sold in any paint or hardware store. The cheap stuff leaves some residue, the better stuff is purer--and more expensive. Also sold in graphic art supply stores as "rubber cement thinner", and as "Ronsonol" and other brands of cigarette lighter fluid.

Ritchie can definitely ship "compass fluid", and under US law they have to make available an MSDS that also tells you just what the stuff is, more or less. If the fluid is classed as hazardous material (hazmat) it has to be shipped by ground, at a surcharge, but it still can be shipped.
12-01-2012 05:35 PM
Maine Sail
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgeissinger View Post
Well, my mistake, I guess. I just bought Odorless Mineral Spirits at the local Home Depot, by the way. It shouldn't be hard to find. (The compass I used mineral oil in was pretty darn old, and long gone by now anyway!)

Not a mistake. Some compasses used mineral oil and some used mineral spirits. Ritchie just happened to be on the OMS camp..
12-01-2012 03:12 PM
celenoglu
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

Kerosene is a good alternative
12-01-2012 02:38 PM
jgeissinger
Re: Compass Fluid, what to use?

Well, my mistake, I guess. I just bought Odorless Mineral Spirits at the local Home Depot, by the way. It shouldn't be hard to find. (The compass I used mineral oil in was pretty darn old, and long gone by now anyway!)
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