Turpentine and linseed oil have different aspects, are made differently, and both serve overlapping purposes in the world of paint thinning and cleaning. They are both produced through natural methods. Turpentine is generally referred to as the product that results from a honed process of distilling the resin harvested from pine trees. Linseed is generally made from dried flax seeds. Here’s some differences, and uses for these two oils.
Turpentine is really common, and you will pretty much always see it when you see someone painting anything. Well, nearly always. There are exceptions to every rule, but turpentine is a very commonly used oil in paint.
Turpentine has always been used as a paint solvent. For the past one hundred years or so, it’s also been used in the start production of menthol and camphor, two ingredients found in a lot of cough and cold medicine.
Turpentine has even been used in the smallest quantities in chewing gum, and food and beverage flavoring. Only the minutest amounts are used because the oil is very poisonous! It is kind of funny how much poisonous material we actually consume.
Children have been known to die after ingesting just 15 mL of it. Some signs of turpentine poisoning to be aware of include insomnia, coughing, vomiting, headaches, blood in urine and coma.
Turpentine also has been used for a lot of medical purposes throughout history. There was once a traditional Chinese medicine that used turpentine in its gum to help relieve toothache pain, according to http://www.doityourself.com/stry/turpentine-vs-linseed-oil.
Supposedly, turpentine was used as a really common medicine for sailors around Columbus’s time, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turpentine.
Turpentine, as I have said, is still mostly used as paint thinner, but some medical experiments with the oil resin have shown it may be effective in the treatment of sclerosis, and some other uses.
Linseed is indeed another oil with uses similar to Turpentine, but has quite different properties. It hardens/evaporates upon contact with the open air. Because it dries and hardens in a non-brittle way, it is really good to use as a wood finish. I have used this to finish a lot of outdoor wood furniture. My grandmother’s entire wooden deck, with wooden furniture, is very old. Last summer I finished it all with linseed oil.
To do this, all you need is a container of the stuff, and a rag. Just get the rag a bit wet with some oil, and rub it on to the wood in a circular motion. It helps to protect against the natural forces of the world, as well as others.
The oil also makes the wood look a whole lot newer and fresher.
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linseed_oil, linseed oil can polymerize and spontaneously combust if it is soaked in rags. This can be dangerous, so keeping this oil under control is a must. It is best to use small amounts on rags, instead of soaking the whole rag. I recommend only putting it on a small portion of the rag you are using for wood polish. It doesn’t take much oil to polish a fairly large portion of wood.
This oil can also be used to make putties for various uses, as its drying properties make it into a good paint binder and chalky type of putty.