Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Lacquer and d-limonene

Q: I need to know if d-limonene will harm cured nitrocellulose lacquer. I want to use it as a solvent in a 25% mixture with mineral spirits.
A: No, d-limonene will not harm lacquer. It is one half of the racemic mixture called dipentene, and for all intents and purposes as far as finishing and cleaning are concerned, it is completely interchangeable with mineral spirits. There’s no difference in how they behave. The only real difference would be price due to derivation; inexpensive mineral spirits comes from petroleum, while the decidedly more expensive dipentene is extracted from citrus fruit peel.
In case you were curious, the d-, which stands for dextrorotatory, or right hand rotation, is generally lower case in chemical notation. It’s fellow traveler in the racemic mixture is l-limonene, for levorotatory. Racemic mixtures contain equal amounts of left and right mirror image versions of the same molecule.