Friday, April 14, 2006

Another one bites the dust-Pinova goes out

It has been reported that there is now no commercial source for turpentine produced in the United States, as the Pinova division of Hercules International has decided to quit the business. This was reported by Jon Kramer, maker of Kramer's Wood Improver, beloved of antique furniture fans all over the country. Jon is currently trying to negotiate purchases of turpentine from Brazil, but the quality and reliability of this source seems uncertain at best.

Kramer notes that at one time, there were varietals of turpentine, each with its own distinct characteristics and uses, but with the decline of the naval stores trade, this too may pass out of existence.

I remember as a small boy my father would take the entire family swimming at Crandon Beach. In those days, ships would swill out their bilges in the harbor, and it was normal to come home with specks of tar and bunker oil. Grandfather would say "OK, let's get you cleaned up." and would produce a quart of turpentine and some rags, and I'll never forget my first whiff of the resinous essence of southern pine stumps.

Let us fervently hope that some enterprising folks in our South can create a niche market for small scale turpentine production and maintain a great American tradition for the future.


At 7:27 PM, Blogger Leanne said...

Turpentine seems like one of those age-old things you'd expect to be around forever. I remember using it for the first time in an eighth-grade woodshop class (I refused to take home economics, thankyouverymuch). My mom's birthday was coming up, and what she really wanted more than anything else that year was a new cutting board. So my shop teacher helped me design and make one, and I think she still has it. I must have put seven or eight coats of turpentine on it, and I can still recall the smell. Weird.

Leanne (Saxdiva)


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