Foodsafe stain/oil

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Forum topic by Boon posted 02-05-2008 08:18 AM 11461 views 2 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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65 posts in 4023 days

02-05-2008 08:18 AM

Ok, i bought some food safe stain for salad bowls and things of that nature, but i am curious if after i use this oil on a project if i can cover it in polyurethane and it will keep the great finish?

-- - more crap coming soon!

13 replies so far

View WoodworkersResource's profile


33 posts in 4176 days

#1 posted 02-05-2008 10:11 AM

It’s been my experience that even as tough as poly is, it will still start to chip and peal after repeated use. I would just stick with the oil. After a few washings, when your bowls start to look faded and worn, simply wipe some more oil on them and let them cure. You’ll know it’s cured completely when you can’t smell any oil on the bowls.

Hope this helps.

-- Craig, (Where Information meets Inspiration)

View Boon's profile


65 posts in 4023 days

#2 posted 02-05-2008 05:49 PM

i should have been more explanatory. i dont need to wash the things i use the oil on, its just more convenient for me to use the oil. also the oil i bought at lowes isnt dark, like at all. i couldnt even tell i put anything on it. did i buy the wrong stuff?

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View WoodworkersResource's profile


33 posts in 4176 days

#3 posted 02-05-2008 06:09 PM

If you’re just looking for protection for the bowls (and they’re just for show), then oil is a fine choice. Depending on the species of wood used, oil won’t change the color of wood dramatically. If you want a darker color and still use oil you might try one of the colored danish oils that you can find at Lowes or Home Depot.

As far as using polyurethane over top the oil, that’s fine as well. Just make sure that the oil has cured completely (you won’t be able to smell the oil at all) and use a oil based poly instead of water based. Some might argue that if the oil is cured it doesn’t matter if you use water or oil based poly, but I just don’t like mixing oil and water.

Hope that helps.

-- Craig, (Where Information meets Inspiration)

View Boon's profile


65 posts in 4023 days

#4 posted 02-06-2008 04:03 AM

I saw on a recent woodsmith show the host used a very dark, all natural oil that looked fantastic with only one coat. im curious because the fumes from stain is bothering me a lot and i dont think i should use it anymore. so im looking for something more natural that is very dark.

-- - more crap coming soon!

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 4138 days

#5 posted 02-06-2008 03:39 PM

Boon, I’d guess that the dark, natural oil you mentioned above could be dark tung oil. Here’s a website that offers it:

I’ve not bought the dark oil, but I have used their light tung oil with good results.

-- Robb

View Piskin's profile


12 posts in 3984 days

#6 posted 02-07-2008 04:26 AM

Tung oil is the way to go, most spray finishes are not safe to eat off of.

View odie's profile


1691 posts in 4044 days

#7 posted 02-07-2008 04:57 AM

Your first choice should be ... What is this bowl going to be used for ????

If for looks (display, etc.) Tung oil is the way to go with a spun on wax finish after the tung has been on 24 hours.

If you want to use this bowl and want to give a great first impression … sand to 2000 grit then put on a lemon oil wax mix sold by turners catalog. I sell these a lot this way. They can just look at them or use them … their choice.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View aaronmolloy's profile


123 posts in 3984 days

#8 posted 02-08-2008 10:16 PM

Linsead oil is a food safe oil for cutting boards , bowls and much more hope this helps

-- A. Molloy

View Joe Connors's profile

Joe Connors

4 posts in 3964 days

#9 posted 02-08-2008 11:32 PM

My first post here. This looks like a great forum. Heres my .02 worth:

All finishes are food safe once they are cured. An oil finish is the way to go for food use because some surface finishes will tend to wear and flake with repeated use and washings. HTH!

-- The new Golden Rule .... those with the gold make the rules!

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 4092 days

#10 posted 02-09-2008 12:22 AM

Joseph Connors is right (according to “Understanding wood finishes” book). The trouble with linseed oil is that it takes a long time to cure completely. Raw linseed oil is safe for consumption but “boiled” linseed oil is not (they add heavy metals to aid in faster drying, which make it toxic).

Boon, an oil will usually bring a nice color to the wood. I use oil regularly as the first coat on any finish. There should not be any problem to put polyurethane on top of an oil like linseed oil or a “tung oil” (mix of oil and polyurethane usually). The polyurethane will give it a plasticy look though (I personally do not like it). You can get a very nice finish with a “tung oil” like Watco oil or the “salad bowl oil” made by “General”. Should you have doubts that the polyurethane will adhere to the oil, put a coat of shellac. All finishes are compatible with shellac. When you apply polyurethane, you should sand between the coats. Polyurethane is a “mechanical finish” that adheres to the previous layer by drying into the small imperfections. The sand paper creates imperfections. If your piece does not get abused (e.g. tabletop) you can probably go with just a “tung oil” finish.


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3994 days

#11 posted 02-09-2008 01:06 AM

If it’s food contact I use Salad Bowl Finish from You have to wait about four days for it to completely cure. It looks great and slightly darkens. It’s more like a deeper look.

If it’s not contacting food I also like the tung oil and then a good paste wax rubbed in with the finest steel wool you can find.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

View Butcherblockgal's profile


2 posts in 2869 days

#12 posted 02-07-2011 11:12 PM

Hey everyone,
I just bought a large piece of maple butcher block and want to restore it—needs to be food safe, of course. Looks like it has a light coat of something shiny on it. The guy said he ‘sealed’ it and did use it for food prep. He was not sure of what he used—some kind of oil that did not go rancid.

I’ve read about beeswax and different colors and kinds of tung oil. I can see that his color came out kind of ‘honey’ colored—but I don’t want it to look like that.

Could I tape off the natural “stripes” in the wood- alternating dark and light tung oil- to manipulate and create the look I’m going for? Then when its all done- use a beeswax on the top to seal it even more?

I’ve read that I need to not only oil the top and sides but I need to sand and oil the bottom of the board heavier (more oil) than the top- part of the restoring process.

Any tips or ideas would be appreciated.


View Butcherblockgal's profile


2 posts in 2869 days

#13 posted 02-07-2011 11:13 PM

Of course I am sanding the whole thing—didnt mention that but assume you know I am

Thanks again

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