Hobbyist insistence on tailored products?

Even in the ever exciting world of cross stitch there are people who are adamant about which needles and floss are the only acceptable brands.
Heaven forbid a newbie shows up with Walmart no name floss and a regular sewing needle.

Oh, I wasn’t even getting into the ‘acceptable brand’ stuff; that’s its own bizarre animal.

I agree that it’s largely lack of knowledge. For painting models, Testor makes good paint. They also make a paint thinner/remover. This comes in a bottle about as big as two thumbs for around $10. Until a friend told me, I was unaware that I could buy a container of mineral spirits at Home Depot that was five times as big and cost the same.

Look up FireClean. But at least in the firearms world, there’s a lot of “just use whatever you have laying around” inverse snobbery – for example, using Mobil 1 motor oil instead of a labeled gun lubricant.

I like Testors paint but those bottle have basically not changed in 70 years and are terrible. The metal cap with cardboard insert screwing onto glass is not great with the many options today. Give me a larger container with smooth internal walls made of plastic with a plastic lid.

Sargent Art is a much cheaper brand and the paints aren’t as good but almost as good and the containers are so much better that the paints can last for many years. The better tubes of paint is also a great way to go though some the tubes or caps are too cheap and don’t hold up.

True. And the use of stuff like Ed’s Red* also is another example of the same thing.

But I’ve seen plenty of people saying you MUST use a lubricant made for guns, as if somehow any common semi-auto civilian gun puts stress on oil anywhere near the inside of an engine, or all sorts of industrial equipment that operates at sustained high temps, high RPM and high load. With the exception of some machine guns and the like, none of those are true of guns.

I found that VM&P Naptha works even better than mineral spirits on those old Testors paints.

Oh, the wonders of being 11, having a few bucks, and having lax regulation on organic solvents in the 1980s.

Maybe not quite what the OP describes but a former coworker is a Harley Davidson guy and he had a lot of Harley stuff that doesn’t really have anything to do with motorcycles like sunglasses, license plate frames (for his car), mousepads, light jackets, etc.

3 in 1 works OK for me. Never gave it much thought. I completely get what the OP is saying about “tailored products.”

Funny how Ballistol is touted by both gun shops and bike shops as the Very Best Oil for your guns / bikes.

It’s not just knowledge about their hobbies that’s important - in order to know whether specific bike, gun, sewing machine etc. oil is necessary, you have to know about something about oils.( which you may learn as part of your hobby) To give a completely non-hobby related example, I know that baby oil and mineral oil sold in a pharmacy can be swapped one-way. That is, if I want baby oil ( say for skin care) , I can use the food-grade mineral oil found in the pharmacy - but I can’t use baby oil to oil a cutting board. But can almost guarantee you my husband doesn’t know that- he certainly knows about mineral oil but I’d be shocked if he knew that baby oil is often mineral oil plus a fragrance.

How about a GMC truck?
(Link is a Doug DeMuro video) Worth it for the Harley nuttiness.

Curiously, I don’t see this a lot in game miniatures painting. There’s stuff you can buy, of course, but for every specialized painting handle I see, there’s a dozen people using pill bottles or corks with the miniature stuck on with blue tack. Instead of specialized shakers, people use nail polish bottle agitators or the bottle attached to a reciprocating saw. You can buy a wet palettes but a lot of people just use dollar store plastic trays with sponges and butcher paper. Racks of paints are kept on cheap nail polish display racks. Most people seem to gravitate to the cheaper home-made options.

The places were money is spent is usually where it does make a difference: “real” miniatures paint is heavier pigmented than Walmart craft paint, high quality brushes can make the difference over cheap synthetic ones, etc. You can work with the cheaper versions but the more expensive ones aren’t just a relabeled scam.

This thread about a “Pink Tax” mentions several examples like a Gilette-brand razor blade costing however much money, alongside the exact same razor blades with the packaging tailored sold as “women’s razors” for more money.

That is back to scammy underhanded marketing of products that are advertised as tailored for a specific application, but really aren’t. Some of the bicycle oils, baby oils, etc., surely fall into that category, whereas high-quality tailored products for certain applications do exist, proving there is no substitute for knowledge and experience.

But perhaps people are willing to pay a premium for reassurance in many cases. For example, a product labelled “baby powder” is presumably safe to use on a baby and contains no asbestos, whereas a plastic tub full of powdered talc that you picked up who knows where may not be.,

I hang out with photographers. One of them also shoots TV commercials, and he’s got a fashion accessory that we call his Tardis vest, because it clearly hold more than seems possible.

Over scotch one night, one of the guys asked him about what’s stored in which hidden pocket, and we got a tour. At the end he chuckled “This vest is $70 at B&H Photo… or $29.95 at Dick’s, where it’s a fishing vest.”

The vest example led to half an hour of bitching about how expensive any product becomes when it’s labeled “Photographic” or “Video”.

That’s a good explanation. I think a lot of people make a lot of assumptions out of ignorance, and those assumptions lead them to believe that there’s some kind of special secret sauce in gun/bike chain/sewing machine oil that makes it uniquely suited to that application.

Which may be so, but a little bit more knowledge lets you know that in general, neither bikes nor guns are particularly taxing on lubricants relative to other applications in the automotive or industrial world, and that generally speaking what’s going to wear your guns and bike chains down isn’t the lack of an effective lube, but environmental crud that gets caught by the oil and acts like a grinding paste. Put differently, if your bike or gun was being operated in a clean room, the choice of oil probably wouldn’t matter much at all, as nearly all would be more than adequate, considering the really light loads, low speeds and low temps that they typically operate at. And in the real world, frequent and effective cleaning are probably FAR more important than what you slick it up with afterward.

So by my thinking, the perfect gun or bike oil would be the one that attracts the least crud while still retaining adequate lubricating properties. Or for the more casual user, maybe one that has solvent properties to maybe dissolve and wash out old lube and crud as its applied would be a very handy property to have.

I don’t know if this happens, but an example from that world might be that if someone’s using a DSLR to shoot video, some people might get preachy about how you need some kind of specific DSLR video lens to shoot right, as if somehow, a still photo lens isn’t going to work.


As somebody who used to ride a lot and wrench a lot, I came to believe in keeping my drivetrain reasonably clean and reasonably well lubricated. Nothing more.

Which gave me great drivetrain life.

I eventually used nothing but 50/50 Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil and mineral spirits.

Which would probably have been dramatically more effective if I had decanted it into a Phil Wood Tenacious Oil bottle before applying it :wink:

My wife’s sewing machines are in the $5K-$10K price range. She is adamant about only using “sewing machine oil” in them (per manufacturer’s recommendation). A 4 oz bottle costs $5-10 and lasts a very long time. Seems silly fretting over the cost difference between that and a $3 bottle of generic household oil, especially when compared to the other costs of feeding a quilting addiction…

Sure, but at $5, why wouldn’t you use it on your guns and bike chains too? There’s nothing special about the vast majority of guns that would require different lube than a $5k sewing machine, assuming that the sewing machine doesn’t have some unusual (for sewing machines) lubrication requirements. Same for bike chains.

I mean, if there’s a good reason to use a specific product like that, great. But there’s often no reason to use specific labeled products for each use, just because they say “bike chain lube” or “gun oil” on the bottle.