I've just finished sanding a 12" x 12" x 1/2" piece of mesquite that I want to
turn into a cutting Board. Would Tung oil be safe to use as a finish. Tung
oil would certainly bring out mesquites unique grain pattern.
Ron in Hereford, AZ
Cured Tung is non-toxic. So is cured linseed, walnut oil ....
Since tung polymerizes, it will not to collect oil-soluble dirt and become a
haven for bacteria like non-curing mineral oil, and is therefore never
"rancid," though I personally don't like the smell. Vegetable oils which go
rancid do so from incomplete oxidation, a condition easily avoided by
providing surfaces free access to the air.
Best thing for the board is nothing, second a curing oil, third, a
non-curing oil. Nothing needs no renewal, curing oil only to hide cuts, and
non-curing every time the detergent washes away the oil (and what's trapped
in it, temporarily protected from detergent).
Be SURE to get PURE tung oil. Most tung oil finishes I've run across
have heavy-metal driers added to them, but you don't want heavy-metal
driers added to your diet.
Or just cut fatty meats on it. The fat soaks in, and if you wash it and
let it dry properly the chances of bacterial infection are just about
nil, but there is residual fat soaked into the wood, so it looks oiled.
"If I knew what I was doing, I wouldn't be here"
Mineral Oil is what the butchers used on their old blocks, often after
they scrubbed the surface with corse salt and a stiff bristled
(steel???) brush. I've been doing that for years. Also lets you get any
gunk out of any cuts in the wood from knifes, choppers, etc.
"The measure of a man is what he will do
This former meatcutter used what every other meatcutter I know used - tallow
and lard from the meat cut on it, salted to lyse bacteria after scraping the
big chunks off with what looked like a horse comb, the name of which escapes
me at the moment.
Mineral oil would have been superfluous, and would never have penetrated.
On 11-Oct-2004, of_the email@example.com (todd the wood junkie) wrote:
Wouldn't this be the same thing as Flax Seed oil that you get at
a health food store to eat? That would be one way of getting the
stuff without any risk of hydrocarbons or driers in the mix (as
might be the case with hardware store linseed oil). Do they add
other stuff to flax seed oil (like other oils that might go rancid
That's the stuff. "Lin" as in linen - made from flax. And it's
hydrocarbon, with some acid ends.
As to metallic siccatives, you don't have enough stomachs to extract the
metallic ions bound in the polymer structure. It's a red herring.
Oh yes, the medic needs to mention that walnut oil at the health food store
is cold pressed, and may contain the proteins which can cause allergic
reactions in 1 in 10,000 people. Solvent-extracted oil does not, and is
safe for ingestion by the sensitive.
(todd the wood junkie) wrote:
I've never purchased it at a health food store, so I'm not sure. To
be sure, check the can or contact the manufacturer for exact
composition. I definately wouldn't use anything with vegetable oil
added because it may go rancid. I re-googled the subject since it's
been a while, and found lots of info (search on 'FLAX and LINSEED' and
you'll find further edification).
I have finished several cutting boards with RAW linseed oil and have
had no ill effects from myself or guests(after many salads). I kinda
like the smell (reminds me of grandpas oil paintings), but think I may
be in the minority on that one. One thing to keep in mind is this: I
usually give out a cutting board or two at xmastime, but try to finish
them in June or July to let the linseed fully cure. It's pretty much
usable after a few weeks, but I like to make sure when I give one out.
I've made a fair number of cutting boards as presents (as well as one for
myself) and I've almost always used mineral oil. It seems to work well from
what I've seen. If you can't find a cheaper or more convenient source you
can get it from Williams-Sonoma (a cooking store common in fancy malls).
What I also like about this is when I give the cutting board to someone I
can tell them a place to get more oil for it without sending them to a
specialty woodworking store they've never heard of.
Bringing out the grain is in pretty futile in a cutting board because if you
actually plan to cut on it you will quickly dull the surface of the board
anyway. I've had people "complain" that my cutting boards looked so nice
they did not want to cut on them, so bringing out the grain too much can
inhibit people from using the board for it's intended function!
Another option, if you want a really pretty finish, would be "Salad Bowl
Oil". It's sold mostly for finishing turnings (bowls and suchlike) but it
should also work fine on a cutting board. I used it once for that purpose
but I decided that it was too glossy to be practical on a cutting board. It
is FDA approved for food contact.
Like others, I would be concerned about metallic driers in things like
linseed and tung oil.
Hereford? HEREFORD? I didn't even know you guys had phones down there
much less internet access. ;)
My wife grew up in your neck of the San Pedro. Jeez that's lovely
country. We talk of retiring down there somewhere - maybe Wilcox area.
Though we live in Oregon, we're both native 'Zonies to the core. Can't
beat that azure sky dotted with snow white clouds.
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
The problem in this country is that the bar is constantly being lowered;
My sister, a fourth generation Californian, has been in Wilcox for 12-14
years now. While she's happy, they are looking to retire FROM Wilcox. I
guess it depends on your perspective. And desire for change.
I was born in Cottonwood/Clarkdale area - after college, lived almost a
decade in Flagstaff; my mom lives in Sedona. When I courted my wife and
visited her stomping grounds I enjoyed the rural feel along with the
scrub oaks, knee-high yellow grass, the ruggedness of the Chiricahuas
and the Dragoons and the eerie, desolate ghost towns of deep southern
Arizona. I haven't been back for almost 10 years so perhaps the same
thing that happened up north has also happened down there.
Thirty-five years ago I'd have stayed in the north but it's been
inundated by crystal peddlers, calyfornicators, mcmansions, resorts and
outrageous costs of living. Gone are the prospectors: those colorful
souls who made their homes from local rock, looked for income where they
could find it; strived for the good life - sometimes grasping and living
it, sometimes having it slip further out of reach - all the while
becoming part of the landscape.
I want to be a hermit: To let the world pass me by and just absorb the
sun and heat to the point my skin turns the color and texture of the
sandstone; To revel in the awe and wonderment at the snaking flash and
deafening clap of advancing thunderstorms that permeate the earth upon
which I stand; To cease all activity for each evening's performance as
our star slips below the horizon, releasing it's grip on the land and
all creatures thereon. There's something about the desert Southwest that
lives within. The starkness, the extremes, the abundance of life which
appears nonexistent. Arizona has always beckoned me home. Third time
will be for good.
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
"To know the world intimately is the beginning of caring."
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