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Heavy or Light Mineral Oil

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Forum topic by danofpaco posted 416 days ago 2914 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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danofpaco

116 posts in 516 days


416 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finishing question mineral oil

My wife works in a pharmacy where I can get a good deal on mineral oil for finishing things like butcher blocks. I guess it comes in two varieties though – heavy and light.

Does anyone know which I should be picking up for wood finishing? Does it matter? She says the light stuff has more the consistency of water, where the heavy stuff is more viscous. My assumption is that the heavy stuff is probably what I need but I thought it worth asking in case anyone here knows better.

Thank you!

-- Dan :: Minnesota


12 replies so far

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pintodeluxe

3271 posts in 1412 days


#1 posted 416 days ago

I steer clear from straight mineral oil for butcher blocks / cutting boards. Mineral oil takes forever to dry, and an oily residue lingers. I prefer Howard’s butcher block conditioner, as it dries in short order, and leaves the surface feeling velvety smooth. Available at Home Depot.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Charlie

1001 posts in 885 days


#2 posted 416 days ago

Howard’s (or probably most any) “butcher block conditioner” or “butcher block oil” is just mineral oil and wax. If an oiled board still feels too oily a couple hours later, then simply rub it with dry paper towels and it’ll be fine.

If you WANT a waxed board, then by all means spend your money. I guess I get anal about boards that get heavily used (because I actually use them daily). A “pretty board” that sees little use and/or gets displayed but rarely used, ...then I could see waxing it..

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danofpaco

116 posts in 516 days


#3 posted 416 days ago

Thanks for the input, guys. Any idea on the heavy vs light question?

-- Dan :: Minnesota

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pintodeluxe

3271 posts in 1412 days


#4 posted 416 days ago

Charlie,
I guess what I meant to say is mineral oil never wipes clean. The oil/wax/dryers combined in products like Howards wipe easily, and dry within a day. Howards is non-film forming, and really leaves the wood nice to the touch.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Charlie

1001 posts in 885 days


#5 posted 416 days ago

danofpaco,
Mine just says mineral oil. I would think the light mineral oil would be easier to deal with. Any way you can get a sample of each? I mean… “light” and “heavy” are such subjective terms. If it’s “heavy” like liquid dish washing detergent, then I’d look at the “light”. Mine is pretty watery.

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Toolz

1003 posts in 2341 days


#6 posted 416 days ago

I only use “Mineral Oil USP” that is pharmaceutical grade i.e. safe for human consumption light mineral oil. Used it as a mild laxative in the Navy many many moons ago. Get it from your local pharmacy.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

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ellen35

2557 posts in 2031 days


#7 posted 416 days ago

I bought some animal grade mineral oil one time and it was too thin. I think that is the light grade.
I now only buy regular mineral oil at Target or one of the discount stores. It is cheap enough to use plenty and a little goes a long way… I think that is the “heavy” stuff you are talking about. I think Toolz is correct. You probably want to use the pharmaceutical grade as it will come into contact with food…maybe!

I’m sure the butcher block oil works well, but if you are oiling a lot of stuff, it can get expensive.
Ellen

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

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RogerInColorado

286 posts in 553 days


#8 posted 416 days ago

From the MSDS for Howards, the sum total of all ingredients:

INGREDIENT: CAS # % VOL
White Mineral Oil 8042-47-5 100%weight
Di Alpha Tocopherol (Vitamin E) 59-02-9 <1%

So the difference between food grade mineral oil and Howards is vitamin E added to the mineral oil, less than 1 % by volume.

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Dusty56

11638 posts in 2287 days


#9 posted 416 days ago

Walmart Mineral oil , less than $2.00 pint. Been using it for years , no issues. It is the light grade , which soaks into the wood fibers very quickly , whereas the heavy grade takes longer and doesn’t soak in as deeply in my experiences with it. You can always warm the Heavy stuff up to make it thinner , but why bother unless it is the only grade available.
I’ve yet to find anything specifically made for cutting boards or chopping blocks that doesn’t have Mineral oil as the main ingredient in it.

Get the light weight stuff and be happy : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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Clint Searl

1388 posts in 960 days


#10 posted 415 days ago

Mineral oil is a laxative. Use raw tung oil.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

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Grandpa

3047 posts in 1274 days


#11 posted 415 days ago

Mineral oil is a laxative. Use raw tung oil.

That means it really won’t hurt you unless you dip in it. Is Tung oil safe to consume and is it handled properly for consumption? I vote for the mineral oil. I have never had an adverse side effects from using it. Just my 2 cents.

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Dusty56

11638 posts in 2287 days


#12 posted 415 days ago

Clint , how many licks on your cutting board would it take for the “laxative” effect to occur ?
Is it like a Tootsie Roll Pop ? LOL

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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