Gum Turpentine Overview


Gum Turpentine is made from distilling the resinous gum from pine trees. Gum turpentine usually contains a small amount of sticky residue, which can be imparted to a painting if this kind of turpentine is used in large quantities. It may remain in the layers of paint, inhibiting proper drying and, in time, causing discoloration. Unless cost is a serious consideration, I do not recommend using gum turpentine with artist-grade paints and media. It is, however, perfectly acceptable for cleaning tools and brushes.

Turpentine is double distilled to remove the last bit of residue from the pine-tree gum. This thinner is ideal for oil paints and media because it does the job and then evaporates from the paint film without a trace. Artists often buy the finest paints and media and then use the cheapest thinners. This is like buying a Rolls Royce and putting kerosene in the gas tank. There are areas where compromises can be made, but they should be made with common sense.

Turpentine (also called spirit of turpentine, oil of turpentine, wood turpentine, gum turpentine) is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly pine trees. It is composed of terpenes, mainly the monoterpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. It has a potent odor similar to that of nail polish remover. It is sometimes known colloquially as turps, but this more often refers to turpentine substitute (or mineral turpentine).

The word turpentine is formed (via French and Latin) from the Greek word terebinthine, the name of a species of tree, the terebinth tree, from whose sap the spirit was originally distilled.


In 1648, the newly formed NorrlSndska TjSrkompaniet (The Wood Tar Company of North Sweden) was granted sole export privileges for the country by the King of Sweden. As Stockholm grew in importance, pine tar trading concentrated at this port and all the barrels were marked “Stockholm Tar”. By 1900, NorrlSndska TjSrkompaniet had lost its control of the pine tar export business, and other exporters were again working out of other ports and marking their product accordingly. Nevertheless, over the centuries “Stockholm Tar” has come to mean a high quality light colored wood tar.

Gamble describes one of the earliest Swedish methods of making tar in Norrland (Northern Sweden). The peasants dug up and cleaned the roots of Swedish pine trees (Pinus silvestris) in the late summer. They then transported the roots to the burn site where they were split and stacked to weather during the winter.

The ‘dale’ or burning ground, was built of logs in a scientific manner. It was built on a slope which sometimes forms one side, in the shape of a funnel, with a spout at the lower end of the slope. The outer walls of the ‘dale’ were built with logs split in two, and a layer of earth was then placed thereon before the interior was lined, either with clay, iron sheet, or thick cardboard.”

In the summer, the split roots or fatwood were stacked in the kiln and covered with peat and turf. Brush wood was used to provide heat, but the heat was controlled so that the remaining fibers were not burned and the roots give up their liquid. This tar was high in turpentine and was in great demand.3 By the turn of the 20th century , this traditional way competed with more modern methods of production. Although it produced higher quality tar, it was labor intensive and could not be competitive in the world market.



The two primary uses of turpentine in industry are as a solvent and as a source of materials for organic synthesis. As a solvent, turpentine is used for thinning oil-based paints, for producing varnishes, and as a raw material for the chemical industry. Its industrial use as a solvent in industrialized nations has largely been replaced by the much cheaper turpentine substitutes distilled from crude oil.

Canada balsam, also called Canada turpentine or balsam of fir, is a turpentine which is made from the resin of the balsam fir. Venice turpentine is produced from the Western Larch Larix occidentalis.

Turpentine is also used as a source of raw materials in the synthesis of fragrant chemical compounds. Commercially used camphor, linalool, alpha-terpineol, and geraniol are all usually produced from alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, which are two of the chief chemical components of turpentine. These pinenes are separated and purified by distillation. The mixture of diterpenes and triterpenes that is left as residue after turpentine distillation is sold as rosin.Turpentine is also added to many cleaning and sanitary products due to its antiseptic properties and its “clean scent”.


Used in making papers, varnishes, paints, adhesives, and some soaps.Modified products with turmeric and malefic acids (or anhydrides) are used in manufacturing alkyds.Other uses include sizing for paper products, paint dryers, plasticizer in rubber, waterproofing, emulsified oils,production of fungicides, antislip agents for floors and shoes, violin bows.

As a source of oil of turpentine and gum rosin.
As a constituent of stimulating ointments.
As a solvent for waxes.
In the production of synthetic camphor and shoe, stove and
furniture polishes.


  • Can be dissolved easily in many organic solvents.
  • Has special chemical activity.
  • An important raw material for the production of paper, coatings, inks, rubber, soaps, electronic industrial products, food grade ester gum, and rosin ester resins


Synonyms : Oil of turpentine, terpene, dipanol, gum spirits, wood turpentine, turps.
CAS No.: : 8006-64-2
Molar mass : 136 g/mol
Chemical Formula : C10H6


MELTING POINT : -60 ~ -50 °C
Boiling Point : 50-180 °C


APPEARANCE : transparent, anhydrous, no foreign matter, no suspension
Color : Not deeper than water-white & water-clear
Density D20/4 : 0.870 max
Refractive Index N20/4 : 1.4670-1.4710
Initial Distilling Point °C : 150 min
Distilling Volume below 170°C : 90 %
Acid Value mgKOH/g : 0.5 max


PACKING : in galvanized iron drum of about 150/175kgs net each, 80drums/14mt or 120drums/18mt per 20’ft container.
Must be kept away from heat and flame.
UN NO. : 1299


Synonyms : Oil of turpentine, terpene, dipanol, gum spirits, wood turpentine, turps.
CAS No.: : 8006-64-2
Molar mass : 136 g/mol
Chemical Formula : C10H6


After contact with skin : Wash off with plenty of soap and water.
After contact with eyes : Rinse thoroughly with plenty of water. If symptom persists, seek medical advice.
After ingestion : When swallowed, allow water to be drunk.Seek medical advice immediately.


Handling : Wear safety glasses or goggles,rubber gloves and apron.
Storage : Use refined steel containers is not allowed to be stored in high temperature, keep away from heat, sparks and other sources of ignition


Stability : This product is chemically stable
Reactivity : No information
Boiling Point : 153º – 175º
Flash Point : 35º