Colorants: What's What?

Quick description of 824, 844, UTC, and Japan colorants, with tips on what they're good for. July 29, 2007

Can someone tell me the difference between 824s, 844s, UTCs, and Japan colorants? Do they all disperse equally in mineral spirits, naphtha, oil stains and glazes, water, lacquer? Are they all the same fineness? What does Home Depot use for their tinting needs? Which is better?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
824, long oil based, used to make stains.
844, acrylic based, superior for toners and universal in solvent based finishes. Best general purpose solvent based tint.
UTCs same as 824s in the Degussa nomenclature.
Japan colors in oil suck as they are in linseed oil and shouldn't be used in lacquers or urethanes.
Home Depot uses water based colorants like Degussa's 896 line as they almost exclusively tint water based paints.

From contributor T:
Japan colors are very heavy bodied pigments in an alkyd binder. (There is little or no carrier.) They can be used to tint anything for which mineral spirits is the thinner or cleanup agent, including varnishes and oil based stains. Adequately thinned with mineral spirits, they can be used as a stain, they make an excellent, very workable glaze, and are very handy for some touchup work. If you are looking for a good Universal Tinting Colorant, try Mixols. They can be used with virtually anything.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
I work in the coatings industry and I understand the colorants differently. I was always told that 844 are ether based and used to tint/shade very hot solvent based materials. I am unfamiliar with 824 and was searching out UTC myself. In my facility we use 844, BAC, and a glycol based system. The BAC are universal acrylic based colorants that are used in almost all applications of tinting architectural coating and some industrial lines.