Food Grade Oils

steve ramsey

Member
Messages
367
Location
Lafayette, IN
Wanting to try a food safe finish on a few bowls and the neighbor has asked me to make a cutting board for his wife. I know there is walnut oil & butcher block oil out there. Probably going to get answers from one end of the spectrum to the other but curious about your recommendations.
 

fred hargis

Member
Messages
1,089
Location
Wapakoneta, OH
I'll quote Flexner from his 3rd revision of "Wood Finishing" (page 76).
" No myth is wood finishing is more ingrained in the psyche of qwoodworkers than the belief that oil and varnish finishes containing metallic driers are unsafe to eat off of.....in fact, all finishes are safe to eat off or be chewed once full cured. The rule of thumb for curing is 30 days....

The issue of metallic drier safety begins and ends with lead......when lead was removed by law from pigments in the 70s, it was removed from driers.....

To demonstrate further.....
No MSDS ....warns against contact with food or children's mouths for any oil or varnish finish, or any other finish.

The FDA lists all common driers as safe for food contact....as long as the finish cures."

I wouldn't probably use a film finish on a cutting board, but it may be acceptable on a bowl..in fact the salad bowl finish is simply wiping varnish. Cutting boards, cheese boards, and stuff that sees a knife I use mineral oil with renewal/care instructions. But per Flexner all oils on the market are safe.
 

Dave Hoskins

Member
Messages
4,327
Location
Parker County, Texas
I have to say "ditto" to all Fred said. I think it was the late 70's when they had to remove the lead from all finishes and paints. For my oil I prefer walnut oil. And, not all walnut oils are the same. I have tried different ones and just love Mahoney's walnut oil. Not trying to plug his stuff, but he is a world renown turner and should know what he is doing. I like the viscosity of his over others. I buy it by the gallon.
 

Dan Noren

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
7,479
Location
falcon heights, minnesota
save your money, use mineral oil. it can also lead to some humor (humour, for our british friends), when you walk up to the cashier, with 3 bottles in your hands. case in point, earlier this year, i needed to modify the opening in the gear of my m&m machines, to accommodate the requirements of a customer, who wanted to use mini m&m's, but only wanted it to dispense 10-15 of them. well, i was picking up some prescriptions at the local store, and walked up with a bag of mini m&m's, and a couple of bottles of mineral oil (since they also ring up small orders at the pharmacy). the pharmacy tech knows my sense of humor, asked what's up with the items, and (any time i am working with wood is a good time), i just smiled, and told her, good times adjacent. she just lost it, laughing, turning red, etc., and i accused her of going straight to the gutter, and explained what the customer wanted. so you see, mineral oil is a very good, food safe finish, and it is darned funny too.
 

Mike Stafford

Member
Messages
1,107
Location
Coastal plain of North Carolina
I love using a mineral oil/beeswax mixture for kitchen items. It is easily renewed and very pleasant to the touch. I usually include a little bottle with the item so that the customer can touch it up as needed.

My recipe: Mineral Oil and Beeswax

To make it, warm the mineral oil in a saucepan over low heat, and melt a chunk of beeswax in it equal to about one-fifth or one-sixth the volume of the oil. (At high heat, there's a potential for fire. Be sure to keep the heat low, and consider using a double boiler.) As the wax begins to flake apart and dissolve, stir frequently. When the mixture is blended, pour it into a jar to cool and solidify. It should form a soft paste when cooled.

To apply, wipe on an excess of the soft paste, let it dry a bit, and then wipe it off. If you want to apply it as a liquid, you can reheat it. Like any mineral oil or wax finish that will take a lot of abuse, this one will need to be reapplied often to afford decent moisture protection. But applying this fragrant finish is such a pleasure that you may find yourself looking forward to the task.
 

Vaughn McMillan

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
33,951
Location
ABQ NM
Ditto what all the other guys have said. Also, "butcher block oil" is simply mineral oil with a fancy label and sold at a very inflated price. ;)
 

David Johnson

Member
Messages
2,327
Location
Carthage,Mo
Yup the mineral oil/beeswax is cheap and simple. Also very available in your local dollar General Walmart or where ever. No need to run out. Yes you do get some fun looks when you get 2 or 3 bottles. I just let the clerk think what he wants.
David
 

Mike Stafford

Member
Messages
1,107
Location
Coastal plain of North Carolina
Yup the mineral oil/beeswax is cheap and simple. Also very available in your local dollar General Walmart or where ever. No need to run out. Yes you do get some fun looks when you get 2 or 3 bottles. I just let the clerk think what he wants.
David
I prefer to use coconut oil for extracurricular events. I mean if you are going to get naked and roll around on a tarp coated with oil and popcorn kernels, then dance naked in front of the fireplace until you look like a snow man, use coconut oil. :ROFLMAO:
 

Chuck Ellis

Member
Messages
6,004
Location
Tellico Plains, Tennessee
I use the mineral oil/beeswax mixture with an portion of diatomaceous earth equal to the beeswax as a base under my sanding sealer and polyurethane.... the mixture is very similar to the product Yorkshire Grit from the UK... it acts as a final grit to my sanding and if I were to stop there does leave a nice satiny finish... I use the poly finish as once cured, it can be washed with warm water, rinsed and dried with no harm to the wood and no re-oiling is necessary.
 
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