Could you please explain what naphtha is, and has it got any other names? I live in Australia and have not found a source for naphtha. What is the closest substitute?
Michael Dresdner: Naphtha is a brother to mineral spirits (also called paint thinner). They are the same basic thing; a soup of alkanes (aliphatic hydrocarbons) derived from petroleum. Depending on the balance of alkanes in the mixture, it will dry either a bit faster or a bit slower. Naphtha dries a bit faster than mineral spirits. They both work as cleanup and thinning solvents for oils and for oil based varnishes and paints, and for removing sticky goo from stickers and masking tape.
Turpentine is a slower drying solvent, usually distilled from wood. It is very different chemically than naphtha or mineral spirits, but it performs similar jobs, so many folks put it in the same category of solvents.