BLO question

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Folks -
Is Boiled Linseed Oil food-safe for use on a cutting board? The label doesn't say either way... There is no "ingredient list" other than that it says "Pure Linseed Oil" - no listing of dryers or additives.
I haven't used BLO before, so if'n y'all have any tips - I already know that you are supposed to keep the soiled rags tightly wadded up in a confined area, preferably a small box filled with woodshavings to absorb the vapors and undried oils. (Kidding!)
John Moorhead
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I'm pretty sure that it will contain metalic driers which may or may not be food safe when cured. This link http://www.canadianhomeworkshop.com/diy/everything_finish.shtml says to use walnut, tung or mineral oils for food contact surfaces.
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For cutting boards you should just use mineral oil but I suspect this whole thing is a troll.
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SP -
No troll, I thought it was a fair question... The can makes no mention of it not being food safe, or of having additives such as metallic driers. The label says "Pure Linseed Oil, Boiled" - but have no other info.
So, straight up question: is pure linseed oil, boiled or otherwise, safe for food surfaces use?
I may not be the most attractive fellow, but I am *not* a troll. I accept your apology in advance.
Cheers,
John Moorhead

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Pure linseed oil takes forever to dry and would probably end up flavoring whatever was on it. Boiled linseed oil has metalic driers so probably isn't safe for food contact. To be safe, I would say no but then I'm posting through deja.com so you probably aren't even seeing my response.
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You'll not be able to get enough of the cobalt - siccative - out of the embrace of the cross-linked oil to be detected unless you eat the whole board.
That said, why bother, when walnut oil cures, giving some protection from water, and doesn't collect trash like the forever uncured mineral oil. Linseed stinks, but it's good for prostate health - in rats, anyway.
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Another option is walnut oil. Available at your local market or health food shop. Just as safe as eating walnuts. Disclaimer: some people get extreme allergic reactions to nuts and nut oils.
If you want a premium walnut oil that has been heated to cause it to dry harder and possibly faster, you can get some here: http://tinyurl.com/d2enc No additives at all.
Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with the above product or it's manufacturer, but I've met him and he seems like a trustworthy guy. I don't receive a cut on any of his sales.
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I have read that any commercially available finish is safe for food contact. Of course, we read lots of things... Email the manufacturer and ask them.
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A few months ago I ask the question about BLO being non-toxic safe for children's toys. Send E-mail to manufacture of BLO I found in local BORG.
Reply was very emphatic; NO, don't use our product on toys. (Sounded like an insurance / lawyer thing to me.) If the maker states not to use for toys, I think "food safe" is right out.
Anyway, there are many who claim you must let BLO cure (that is cure, not dry) for a couple of weeks and it becomes OK for toys. However, IMHO, that does not remove the metallic dryers used in BLO manufactured by today's factory process. On the other hand, these metallic dryers are such a low density and are probably bound tightly to the cured BLO finish as to pose no "truly significant" health risk. All bets are off if someone uses BLO finished wood piece as teething toy for toddler.
What convinced me was the cheep price of mineral oil purchased in the local drug store when compared to the messing around with BLO, long cure time, and problems with the rags.
Phil
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Another Phil wrote:

Unless the manufacturer had explicitly had the product checked for food safety (expert opinion, etc) and cleared with their lawyers, there is no way in hell they are going to recommend it.
Now, the comparsion of toys to food safety isn't really fair. Children naw at things, suck on them and possibly swallow. A child could get a *lot* more finish internally then you could ever get from a cutting board unless you have taken to shaving you board and placing the shavings in your food.
PK
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If you do decide to use BLO, warm it to 130 degrees and it will absorb quite quickly. I recently finished a box with it and was able to apply it warm, let it stand for 30 minutes, wipe off the excess and then let sit for 24 hrs. Repeat twice more and finish with Butchers. Makes for a nice finish.
SteveP.

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says...

once a year forever."
OK, maybe that was raw linseed oil :-).
--
Homo sapiens is a goal, not a description

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The way I heard it was once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, once a year for life.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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I always thought that was for workbenches that you wanted a tougher finish on.
SteveP.

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on Monday 25 April 2005 12:54 pm:

You got a lot of 'no' answers. The correct answer is 'yes' ... with the condition that it be allowed to completely cure before use.
Here are some of the results I found googling with "food safe wood finish' for bait:
http://www.waterlox.com/faq.cfm?categoryid=4 Are Waterlox Original finishes food safe/non-toxic? Once Waterlox Original finishes are completely dry (30 days), they are non-toxic. Many customers use Waterlox Original finishes on items such as butcher-block counter tops and cutting boards, salad bowls and bowl turnings, knife handles and eating utensils, childrens toys and furniture, etc. This does not apply to urethane products.
http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/standards.htm How safe is it,really? All Tried & True Wood Finishes comply with the inner most circle of product safety established by the FDA: "safe for food contact surfaces" (FDA 21,Sec 175.300). Beeswax and natural varnish resin are FDA approved as non-toxic and non-allergic. Non-hazardous. Our products, and or any of their ingredients, are not regulated under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (Title 40) or the EPA Resource and Recovery Act(Title 49). Our oils are non-toxic and non-flammable (Although common sense and our label should be consulted for disposal of wiping cloths). The use of these finishes in commercial applications is not regulated by OSHA. No heavy metal driers. These metallic salts of cobalt and manganese are a health risk to those who manufacure them. In use they areconsidered a health risk only in long term exposure. Fume Free - Zero VOC.No solventsor petroleum distillates are present in Tried & True Wood Finishes. Therefore, there is nocompromise in environmental impact, worker health and safety, or indoor air quality.
(note the VERY LIMITED health risks associated with metal driers)
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/althea/FinishingAtoM.htm CRYSTAL COAT Get a sophisticated high-gloss finish that?s also water-and wear-resistant. Quick, easy and no-mess! Perfect for turned pens! Can be applied to wood pens and other turnings right while they?re on the lathe! Easy to use 6 ounce bottle. Designed as a final finish coat. Food safe when dry. u.s.a. only
And last, but far from least: www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/finlines/knaeb98c.pdf
If you only read ONE of these, this is the one.
Bill
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Bill C. wrote:

And that it is in fact linseed oil that has been boiled and not some chemist's nightmare that is sold under that label. Don't assume--make sure.

Note "only in long term exposure". So how many salads _are_ you planning to eat out of this bowl? Note also "No heavy metal driers" regardless of their risks.

And it says, under "precautions", "Also be sure the finish you select is recommended for use with food or is described as food grade."
In other words, don't just assume that a finish is safe, _check_. The one time you don't Murphy will get you. Don't assume that because the can says "boiled linseed oil" on the outside that that is the only thing in it.

--
--John
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J. Clarke says...

BLO has always had metallic dryers. It's just that the lead dryers of the old school BLO have been replaced by less toxic cobalt and manganese. Boiling was necessary to dissolve the lead dryer. Manganese and cobalt aren't toxic at low levels. Even cyanide isn't toxic at low enough levels. At high levels over long periods of time cobalt can cause an enlarged thyroid and manganese can interfere with iron uptake. By far the greatest danger with these metals is breathing the dust in a work environment where exposure amounts are off the charts. Ingesting small amounts or even handling it in its pure form occasionally is not dangerous. Finishes contain tiny amounts of the driers and when it cures the driers are locked into the finish, but even if you tipped the can and chugged it, the metallic driers wouldn't be what made you sick.
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Tried and True BLO brand is touted as being prepared the OLD way without chemical driers. This is contrary to your "BLO has always had metallic dryers. It's just that the lead dryers of the old school BLO have been replaced by less toxic cobalt and manganese." Comment?
On Tue, 26 Apr 2005 11:47:35 -0500, Hax Planx

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nospambob says...

I don't see a BLO listed on their web site. I see Danish Oil, Varnish Oil and Original Wood Finish. They say their products are based on linseed oil polymerized in a traditional way, but don't explain what that process is.
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Hax Planx wrote:

From <http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/ : "No Heavy Metal Driers" From <http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/products.htm "Danish Oil is pure, moderately polymerized linseed oil."
Seems pretty clear that their "Danish oil" is functionally boiled linseed oil and it also seems pretty clear that they do not use metallic driers.
--
--John
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