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Re: [medievalsawdust] sealants

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  • James Winkler
    ... I had a similar question a while back. Shellac is also non-toxic. Buy the flaks. not the pre-mix. Pre-mix often has other junk in it that is not
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 25, 2003
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      > is there any type of sealant that can be put on wood that >
      gives it a shine and is still non-toxic?
       
      I had a similar question a while back…  Shellac is also non-toxic.  Buy the flaks… not the pre-mix.  Pre-mix often has other junk in it that is not particularly desirable.  Cut it with alcohol and apply.  As the local guru down at the hardwood shop I frequent said to me when I asked him, "Hey… why do you think M&M's don't melt in your hands…"   Cool.
       
      There are also some beeswax/linseed oil mixes (again… check the labeling to make sure that the mix contains ONLY pure beeswax and pure linseed oil and no 'hardeners' or other additives).  It gives a nice finish but doesn't ever completely dry… this means you'll have to refinish every once in a while…  and grain will rise eventually if you use your object for liquid containment.  (Makes a nice soft 'glow' of a finish and brings the grain out nicely.)
       
      The last not one this…  my understanding (but get second and third opinions on this) is that MOST finishes are non-toxic once they are dry and hardened.  Most of the toxic attributes are contained in the suspension liquid of the finish…   Now… THIS IS A GENERALIZATION and should be checked…  one possible way to do this is to e-mail the manufacturer of your desired finish and ask them about ingestion toxicity after the finish is dry…  they should be able to provide that information to you…
       
      Chas.
    • Joseph Hayes
      ... Here s a link to the Salad Bowl Finish that s sold by Woodcraft:
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 25, 2003
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        --- Shadow Hawk <hghlnder@...> wrote:
        > is there any type of sealant that can be put on wood that gives it a
        > shine and is still non-toxic?

        Here's a link to the Salad Bowl Finish that's sold by Woodcraft:

        http://shop.woodcraft.com/Woodcraft/product_family.asp?family%5Fid=752&gift=False&Gift=false&mscssid=20054D4E2EA842C19FB6323166D26983

        Ulrich


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      • Tim Bray
        ... This question does come up quite often, and no wonder. Finish manufacturers have tried to keep their products mysterious, and this (coupled with the
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 25, 2003
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          >is there any type of sealant that can be put on wood that gives it a
          >shine and is still non-toxic?

          This question does come up quite often, and no wonder. Finish
          manufacturers have tried to keep their products 'mysterious,' and this
          (coupled with the growing paranoia about toxics) leads to much
          confusion. Some manufacturers are feeding on this confusion and paranoia
          by marketing, e.g. 'Salad Bowl Finish' and the like.

          Basically, all wood finishes are essentially non-toxic when fully
          cured. Some of them do contain minute amounts of heavy metal salts (called
          'driers' because they speed curing), but the quantities involved are not
          sufficient to make the finish 'toxic.' Given that _wood dust_ has just
          been declared a carcinogen, one has to wonder if the concern over the
          finish is really justified.

          >is polyeurothane
          >recommendable.

          For a good discussion about oil and varnish finishes, what they are and how
          they differ, see:
          http://www.popularwoodworking.com/features/finish2.html
          Polyurethane is fine, especially if you thin it for good penetration, and
          don't build too thickly. (Polyurethane is an aesthetic issue, not a
          toxicity issue. The appearance of a thick polyurethane finish is contrary
          to a medieval aesthetic... IMHO.)

          >i use oils now but i wanted to know if there is any
          >sealant that keeps the wood useful in utensils, cups, mugs, bowls and
          >such.

          Now that is a completely different issue! First, I would say that relying
          on a 'sealant' to keep such objects useful is the wrong approach. Start by
          selecting an appropriate wood, that is hard, non-porous, and naturally
          rot-resistant. Next, keep them clean and dry between uses. Finally, use
          an oil and/or wax to enhance the appearance and improve the moisture
          resistance. Just don't rely on the finish as a 'sealant,' because it will
          inevitably let you down.

          In fact, a really good sealer-type finish can actually be
          counter-productive, because it will prevent the wood from drying out when
          moisture does penetrate. Think of the finish as simply an improvement of
          the natural properties of the wood, not as a perfect barrier against
          moisture. Particularly in tableware, some moisture is bound to get in,
          sooner or later; it must be allowed to get back out again, or you will get
          mold spots under your finish. (This happened to the West Kingdom thrones.)

          My recommendation would be to use linseed oil, and then wax the object
          periodically to maintain the appearance. Note that this has the _lowest_
          moisture resistance of any finish! If you want a shinier look and more
          resistance, use an oil-varnish or polyurethane, but don't build a thick finish.

          Cheers,
          Colin



          Albion Works
          Furniture and Accessories
          For the Medievalist!
          www.albionworks.net
          www.albionworks.com
        • Tim Bray
          Forgot to include the URL for Flexner s rant about the toxic finish non-issue: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/features/finish3.html Colin Albion Works
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 25, 2003
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            Forgot to include the URL for Flexner's rant about the "toxic finish"
            non-issue:
            http://www.popularwoodworking.com/features/finish3.html

            Colin


            Albion Works
            Furniture and Accessories
            For the Medievalist!
            www.albionworks.net
            www.albionworks.com
          • Tim Bray
            Since the subject comes up frequently, I just created a folder on the Links page for articles about finishing. I put in links to two of the late Bob Flexner s
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 25, 2003
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              Since the subject comes up frequently, I just created a folder on the Links
              page for articles about finishing. I put in links to two of the late Bob
              Flexner's articles, and also to Tom Rettie's and Gary Halstead's pages on
              this subject. Please add any relevant links you know about.

              Colin


              Albion Works
              Furniture and Accessories
              For the Medievalist!
              www.albionworks.net
              www.albionworks.com
            • vinlandar
              Hawk, You have already recieved a lot of very good, knowledgeable advice on this, please let me add one bit more. What I ve been using and what has been
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 27, 2003
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                Hawk,

                You have already recieved a lot of very good, knowledgeable advice on
                this, please let me add one bit more. What I've been using and what
                has been working well for me is to finish the outside of wood bowls
                with tung oil, and the inside with mineral oil which can be found in
                your pharmacists section. The mineral oil in the pharmacy is
                intended for human consumption (old time laxative) so it most
                certainly will not be toxic, and the tung oil in several coats gives
                the outside of my bowls a beautiful sheen that is entirely consistent
                with finishes of the period in my opinion. On spoons I use just
                mineral oil.

                I would not take pieces finished in this manner and stick them in the
                dishwasher, as it would damage the finish and crack the wood, but in
                normal soapy water the 'old fashioned way' this finish is not
                harmed. Like others mentioned, it has to be 'refreshed' every now
                and then, but I believe the oil is really good for the wood, and
                looks very nice. Another reason I like the mineral oil is that being
                mineral, it is not prone to supporting bacteria like like olive or
                vegetable oil might be.

                I can't say whether wood cups subjected to hot beverages would fare
                well with this finish, but I am not sure wood vessels with any finish
                would fare well under those conditions. I use pottery pieces out of
                which to drink, especially when drinking warm beverages.

                Good luck! You've got plenty of techniques to test and find what
                suits you best.

                -Charlie

                --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Shadow Hawk" <hghlnder@y...>
                wrote:
                > this is probably an old question but since i am new i need to ask.
                > is there any type of sealant that can be put on wood that gives it
                a
                > shine and is still non-toxic?
              • logan
                although i am no expert on wood working or wood finishes i do have a degree in culinary arts so i am an authoritative commentator on mineral oil on food
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 27, 2003
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                  Message
                  although i am no expert on wood working or wood finishes i do have a degree in culinary arts so i am an authoritative commentator on mineral oil on food surfaces.
                   
                  that said, wooden cutting boards (although not good for professional use as they do get surface cuts that will harbor bacteria unless they are cleaned very frequently) are sealed using mineral oil.  pour it on thick and rub it in.  then let it stand for a while (an hour or two).  wipe off any surface oil with a clean rag and then buff the board with a new clean rag.
                   
                  to clean, use hot water and kosher salt.  rinse the board (or bowl in this case) with very hot water then pour kosher salt over it.  take a nylon scrub brush and scrub it well.  let it stand for 10 minutes then rinse it with very hot water.  let it air dry, then you can (if it needs it) apply a little more oil. 
                   
                  this method is sanitary and safe for the wood.  the tung oil on the outside of a bowl, in this case, should not be harmed by the salt.
                   
                  regards
                  logan
                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: vinlandar [mailto:vinlandar@...]
                  Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2003 6:05 PM
                  To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [medievalsawdust] Re: sealants

                  Hawk,

                  You have already recieved a lot of very good, knowledgeable advice on
                  this, please let me add one bit more.  What I've been using and what
                  has been working well for me is to finish the outside of wood bowls
                  with tung oil, and the inside with mineral oil which can be found in
                  your pharmacists section.  The mineral oil in the pharmacy is
                  intended for human consumption (old time laxative) so it most
                  certainly will not be toxic, and the tung oil in several coats gives
                  the outside of my bowls a beautiful sheen that is entirely consistent
                  with finishes of the period in my opinion.  On spoons I use just
                  mineral oil. 

                  I would not take pieces finished in this manner and stick them in the
                  dishwasher, as it would damage the finish and crack the wood, but in
                  normal soapy water the 'old fashioned way' this finish is not
                  harmed.  Like others mentioned, it has to be 'refreshed' every now
                  and then, but I believe the oil is really good for the wood, and
                  looks very nice.  Another reason I like the mineral oil is that being
                  mineral, it is not prone to supporting bacteria like like olive or
                  vegetable oil might be.

                  I can't say whether wood cups subjected to hot beverages would fare
                  well with this finish, but I am not sure wood vessels with any finish
                  would fare well under those conditions.  I use pottery pieces out of
                  which to drink, especially when drinking warm beverages.

                  Good luck!  You've got plenty of techniques to test and find what
                  suits you best.

                  -Charlie

                  --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Shadow Hawk" <hghlnder@y...>
                  wrote:
                  > this is probably an old question but since i am new i need to ask. 
                  > is there any type of sealant that can be put on wood that gives it
                  a
                  > shine and is still non-toxic?



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                • vinlandar
                  Kosher salt, huh? Thanks, Logan, that s great! I am very glad you shared that. That d make kosher salt a very good thing to have along on demos. Do you
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 27, 2003
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                    Kosher salt, huh? Thanks, Logan, that's great! I am very glad you
                    shared that. That'd make kosher salt a very good thing to have along
                    on demos. Do you know whether salt was used in Medieval days to
                    clean with? I know that it was not a common comodity, and I know
                    they were unaware of bacterial properties per se, but I do believe
                    salt was used for some things medicinal and preservative.

                    -Charlie


                    --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "logan" <dukelogan@b...>
                    wrote:
                    > although i am no expert on wood working or wood finishes i do have
                    a degree
                    > in culinary arts so i am an authoritative commentator on mineral
                    oil on food
                    > surfaces.
                    >
                    > that said, wooden cutting boards (although not good for
                    professional use as
                    > they do get surface cuts that will harbor bacteria unless they are
                    cleaned
                    > very frequently) are sealed using mineral oil. pour it on thick
                    and rub it
                    > in. then let it stand for a while (an hour or two). wipe off any
                    surface
                    > oil with a clean rag and then buff the board with a new clean rag.
                    >
                    > to clean, use hot water and kosher salt. rinse the board (or bowl
                    in this
                    > case) with very hot water then pour kosher salt over it. take a
                    nylon scrub
                    > brush and scrub it well. let it stand for 10 minutes then rinse it
                    with
                    > very hot water. let it air dry, then you can (if it needs it)
                    apply a
                    > little more oil.
                    >
                    > this method is sanitary and safe for the wood. the tung oil on the
                    outside
                    > of a bowl, in this case, should not be harmed by the salt.
                    >
                    > regards
                    > logan
                  • logan
                    not sure if kosher salt was a thing of the day but it is far better than regular iodized salt. its also very cheap. it is suggested for sterilizing as it is
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 27, 2003
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                      Message
                      not sure if kosher salt was a thing of the day but it is far better than regular iodized salt.  its also very cheap.  it is suggested for sterilizing as it is slower to dissolve, is much more pure, and has some grit to it.
                       
                      for cooking or seasoning there really is no sense in using anything but kosher salt.   8^)
                       
                      i was under the impression though that salt was not too cheap (that would be my very stringent research watching the movie warlock!!!) nor too common.  ok the warlock snip was a joke........
                       
                      regards
                      logan
                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: vinlandar [mailto:vinlandar@...]
                      Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2003 9:35 PM
                      To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [medievalsawdust] Re: sealants

                      Kosher salt, huh?  Thanks, Logan, that's great!  I am very glad you
                      shared that.  That'd make kosher salt a very good thing to have along
                      on demos.  Do you know whether salt was used in Medieval days to
                      clean with?  I know that it was not a common comodity, and I know
                      they were unaware of bacterial properties per se, but I do believe
                      salt was used for some things medicinal and preservative.

                      -Charlie


                      --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "logan" <dukelogan@b...>
                      wrote:
                      > although i am no expert on wood working or wood finishes i do have
                      a degree
                      > in culinary arts so i am an authoritative commentator on mineral
                      oil on food
                      > surfaces.

                      > that said, wooden cutting boards (although not good for
                      professional use as
                      > they do get surface cuts that will harbor bacteria unless they are
                      cleaned
                      > very frequently) are sealed using mineral oil.  pour it on thick
                      and rub it
                      > in.  then let it stand for a while (an hour or two).  wipe off any
                      surface
                      > oil with a clean rag and then buff the board with a new clean rag.

                      > to clean, use hot water and kosher salt.  rinse the board (or bowl
                      in this
                      > case) with very hot water then pour kosher salt over it.  take a
                      nylon scrub
                      > brush and scrub it well.  let it stand for 10 minutes then rinse it
                      with
                      > very hot water.  let it air dry, then you can (if it needs it)
                      apply a
                      > little more oil. 

                      > this method is sanitary and safe for the wood.  the tung oil on the
                      outside
                      > of a bowl, in this case, should not be harmed by the salt.

                      > regards
                      > logan




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