Creosote

When I was a child, one of the jobs I loved doing was painting things with creosote.

We used to have a lot of wooden things in the garden that needed treatment such as a couple of sheds, a garden bench and a few other bits and bobs.  I loved the smell of creosote.  It was somehow a very clean smell.  The best thing about painting on creosote was the philosophy of the more the merrier.  I used to just slosh it on and as a result it got everywhere.

I have installed some new woodwork in the garden.  It was a messy job and I don’t want to be doing it too often, so here was a job for the old creosote.  A good soaking in the black stuff will keep the wood going for a few years.

I went into town to the hardware store.  It’s one of those gigantic help-yourself supermarket type places.  In other words, a fucking nightmare. Even worse, there is never a staff member around who has a clue about what I am looking for.  I traipsed up and down the isles looking for creosote.  Then I traipsed left and right.  Eventually I found some stuff in a large can that was called something like Creo-Coat.  I was rightly pissed off with the place at this stage so I grabbed a can and went home.

I opened the can, and to all intents and purposes, it is creosote all right, but why the fucking name?  Then it hit me – brand something and you can whack a good 20% onto the price.  That still didn’t explain why the shop didn’t stock plain ordinary creosote though.

This morning, I was messing around on the Interweb and I looked up ‘creosote’.  What I saw explained everything….

That fucking EU is poking its nose into my affairs again.  Someone in his infinite wisdom has decided that I am incapable of using the stuff properly.   Apparently there is something carcinogenic about it and we all know that we are not trusted to use anything that may, but won’t, harm us in some far distant future. Apparently it is still on sale, but only to ‘professionals’.  The common man in the street cannot be trusted as he will probably drink the stuff by accident.

Is there any small corner of life left where we are treated like sensible adults?  Is there any facet of living that hasn’t got a raft of Nanny Regulations attached?

It would nearly drive me to drink creosote.

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Comments

Creosote — 14 Comments

  1. I still had some in my shed ,the black stuff and the lighter brown stuff.
    I only use the black stuff for the last 18″ of fence posts the bit underground concreted in.
    As a matter of interest they want to ban two pack paint as well it’s what makes classic and prestige cars last longer and look better .
    It’s far superior to cellulose ,tougher thicker being epoxy based but the EU even want to ban cellulose paint in favour of dreadfull water based paints.
    Yeah, the EUSSR strikes again.

  2. It’s largely been displaced by less obvious wood treatments. Clear oils that do the same job. Thompson’s oil is a good one. but you’re right, very expensive.

  3. Years ago, I bought a massive industrial sized ‘carpet cleaning machine’ and went into business for myself. As with all jobs, it wasn’t long until I wanted the tricks of the trade. A very helpful owner of an industrial cleaning business gave me a big container of clear liquid and swore that “this shit would lift tar off a shed roof”. The shit in question was called “trichlorethyne solvent”. I filled a bottle each day and added a smigeon of it to the water in the machine as it heated. It was the happiest ten months of my life while the stuff lasted. I would be inhailing the boiling steam from it as I put the suction lid on the machine. Trichlor, is in the top five list of carcinogens.

    A little of what’s bad for you, is good for you !!

  4. Akvivitix -  wonder where the European equivalent to Siberia is?  Iceland?  Bradford?

    C777 – [welcome, BTW] What the fuck are they at?  How many million gallons of creosote been used on telegraph poles, railway sleepers and the like?  The stuff is everywhere, but they have suddenly decided that it’s dangerous.  Now paint as well?

    John – We always had a couple of bottles of carbon tetrachloride [a close relative of your one] lying  around.  There was nothing like it for removing oil or tar stains from clothing.  Another one that the fucking Nanny State has banished without a fair trial.

  5. We always had barrels and barrels of fence posts and barn sill boards soaking in creosote on the home ranch.  Getting fences to last on 15,000 acres was an ongoing problem, and the creosote gave us a few more years of fence life.  Now, it’s difficult to find, if at all. 
    Everything is a carcinogin.   I’m off to the porch to have a night cap and cigar in the moonlight.

  6. I bought a can of creosote to paint my shed. I remembered the not unpleasant smell of creosote from my childhood. Well, apart from attracting millions of midges which stuck on the shed and died, it gave me a wheezy chest for a forghtnight! It might be good for preserving the woodwork but it’s horrible stuff. 

  7. Creosote? I used to spray-paint the stuff, once I’d thinned it enough with petrol! We had a farm with lots and lots of wooden bits and pieces which had to be protected from termites as well as the weather (we were in Central Africa). Can’t say as its ever done me much harm.
    As for trike … I was in Hong Kong until 2002 and the Chinese across the border used hundreds of gallons of the stuff to clean printed circuit boards. I used to take boxes full of engine parts to Shen Zen to get them cleaned up very nicely with the stuff which the electronic factories were throwing away. I’d have the outer parts of the engine sand-blasted then trike-cleaned before coating them with a clear, silicone-based, heat resistant ‘varnish’ which I got from the aero-industry. A profitable little side-line it was, especially for bits from the USA for classic cars which were being restored.

  8. The EU have made mincemeat of car paint. Only this week I was doing some tarting up on my old Triumph, and the so-called thinners, the only type I could get, is awful. Discoloured and blooms white even in dry conditions. Most of the good stuff that worked is now unavailable, the paint supplier where I used to get car paint no longer even sells celulose paint.
    Real creosote has been unavailable for years. I use the faux stuff then mix with paraffin and used engine oil. Basically if it isn’t poisonous then it won’t prevent mould growth will it!

  9. I was advised not to play pocket billiards if there were traces of diesel/engine oil on my hands”  Why not?  It’s a lot cheaper than KY Jelly?

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