Booze safe finish?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by Kreegan posted 01-14-2013 07:31 PM 1529 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2113 days

01-14-2013 07:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question turning finishing

A friend of mine has asked me to turn a pair of goblets for him and his wife with the intention of using them to drink wine, mead and other forms of alcohol out of them. What sort of finish would you recommend that’s not only food safe, but alcohol safe? I’ve primarily been using mineral oil and beeswax on things I want to be eaten or drunk out of, but I don’t know if that will hold up to alcohol. Thanks!

4 replies so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19597 posts in 2642 days

#1 posted 01-14-2013 07:39 PM

I’ll finish off all the alcohol, this way the “finished” project will be safe from alcohol!!! Lol.

Sorry Rich, I haven’t a clue, but couldn’t resist! My apologies!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3075 days

#2 posted 01-14-2013 09:03 PM

One of the few definitive, no bs, responses, I found online. The source is here. It is a forum response but the response makes perfect sense to me.

“I have recently been answering several similar questions about the Woodturning Fundamentals answer about food safe finishes. I’ll post a portion of that reply which interestingly was on the same topic about finishes useable with an alcoholic beverage:

The issue of what to finish turned vessels with if it is known they are to be used with wine, beer, mead, spirits, etc. comes up repeatedly over the years on various internet forums. Historically, either no finish was used (bare wood), or in some cases wax (e.g. beeswax) was used to line the vessels, and might have to be re-applied periodically. When making wine goblets, beer steins, mazers, etc. I would not advise using a shellac finish (it is too easily damaged or dissolved by alcohol solutions, potentially even with dilute ones). Using polyurethane has been successfully accomplished, as has the use of epoxy to line some drinking vessels (I know of other homebrewers who use epoxy-lined turned wooden beer mugs for drinking beer and mead at SCA festivals). Both of these surface reactive finishes will polymerize to a water- and alcohol-resistant “plastic” film, and should stand-up to most liquids which are meant to be consumed. The major challenge will be to assure that the normal wood movement with humidity (and to some extent temperature) does not create problems with stresses and cracking if a rigid “plastic” liner of applied poly or epoxy coats the inside of the vessel without a corresponding surface treatment on the outside of the vessel (remember the old woodworking adage to finish all sides of the piece similarly). Once the surface finish is polymerized and “done curing”, before use I would be certain it was washed thoroughly to remove any unpolymerized epoxy resin or polyurethane. A surface wash with denatured alcohol, followed by a thorough cleaning with soap/detergent and water should prepare it adequately for beverage use.

If you elect to use “no finish”, I suggest sticking to hard, dense woods like hard maple or beech, or perhaps even cherry or poplar. I have been told walnut vessels can impart a flavor into the beverage/food, and should be avoided. If no finish is used, expect the inside of the vessel to be stained from red wines, etc., thus adding some ‘character’ to the vessel.

In any vessel meant for drinking, I also would be careful with using exotics, especially woods known to be toxic, such as cocobolo. I could only imagine what kind of pain and suffering would ensue if the toxic chemicals (dalbergene and related chemicals) were dissolved in an alcoholic beverage and ingested. Alcoholic beverages would have an increased likelihood (compared to water) to dissolve extractive chemical compounds from the woods used, so caution is advised here.
I hope this helps!

Good luck!

Rob Wallace

Ames, Iowa
President, Ames Area Woodturners Chapter
Member, Board of Directors – American Association of Woodturners
Secretary/Treasurer, Ames Woodworkers Club
Member, Des Moines Woodturners Chapter
President, Board of Trustees, Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, Iowa –”

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Loren's profile


10269 posts in 3615 days

#3 posted 01-14-2013 09:13 PM

Another way to do it is turn the inside to hold a
replaceable glass or ceramic insert.

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 2200 days

#4 posted 01-14-2013 09:21 PM

A guy who sold wood mugs at the Rennisance Festival poured hot wax in his mugs ,swirled it around and poured out the excess. Shaved off the lip and waved a torch over the cut to melt it. He would re- coat one of his mugs for free. My neighbor got one and takes it every year to be re-coated.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics