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Re: [medievalsawdust] sealants

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  • Joseph Hayes
    ... Here s a link to the Salad Bowl Finish that s sold by Woodcraft:
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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