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Food Grade Finish Generic Question (wax)

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Forum topic by wastedalf posted 08-31-2013 05:31 PM 2206 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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wastedalf

57 posts in 1198 days


08-31-2013 05:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut birch maple finishing wax food grade food-grade

My next to projects are going to be for the kitchen. A bread cooling rack with Birch dowels that will be contacting the food, and a paper towel stand. My intention is to use George’s Club House Wax on the rack, and poly on the paper towel stand. I’ve been doing ok with poly finishes, but not sure if it would be strongly recommended that I steer away from that for the stand. The wax is another story though.

So here are my questions:

Do I prep the wood as normal for wax finish? That is, gradually sand up to 320 grit, wipe with tack cloth, apply finish.
and…
Do I only put one coat of wax on? Instructions are: use soft cloth to wipe on, leave on for 5 minutes, then wipe off. After that, is it ok to use for food contact?

Thanks in advance,
alf

-- If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed. - Ecclesiastes 10:10


12 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3043 days


#1 posted 08-31-2013 05:41 PM

Wax is not a finish ,I would shoot it with a good poly. Everyone is always so concerned about have a food safe finish but once poly is dry any harmful aspects of the finish is gone.

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=175.300

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1887 posts in 1601 days


#2 posted 08-31-2013 07:45 PM

Gorges Club House Wax, nothing more than bees wax & mineral oil mixture. Should not have a problem with food safety. Sounds like have your prep down too! Would only go one coat, and only recoat dowels as needed after that.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-to/article/food-safe-finishes.aspx

Wax is not normally a good finishing material for wood, in this case would have no problem recommending George’s product. It will add little luster to wood.

When turn bowls for food use only use mineral oil as a finish, and folks have to special order them from me and know about re-apply mineral oil as needed.

Many woodworker’s cite CFR-Title 21, claiming once a finish has cure now food safe. Do not find any mention of penetrating or film finish product for use on wood by name listed. FDA, will shy away answering questions or recommending a penetrating or film finish on wood.

-- Bill

View RobsonValley's profile

RobsonValley

26 posts in 1230 days


#3 posted 08-31-2013 08:36 PM

Preheat your kitchen oven to 350F.
Slather your birch dowels with good olive oil.
On a wire cake rack, on a cookie sheet and
into the oven for 3 minutes by the clock, no more.

When you pull it all out, you will see the sticks bubbling with the hot oil.
Allow to cool and wipe down. The food safe finish is done.

Here’s the simple physics: at 350F, the air in the wood expands dramatically.
Water in wood is also vaporized. As that wood cools, the olive oil is sucked way, way down into the wood.
Unless you reheat the wood to 350F or more, physics dictates that the oil cannot move.

I have hand carved, sanded, branded and baked 60+ kitchen sticks for sale. Mostly narrow-bowled spoons (because that is what my market research showed) and some big, 4-tined kitchen prep forks.
About 40 more to go. all 14” long, about 3/4” – 7/8” diameters, rounded with spokeshaves.
The simple fact is that the baked oil finish can’t wash off or wear off.

As a note added in proof: paint your wood work with olive oil at room temp and wait for it to “soak in”.
The very first hot soup and the air in the wood will expand and push the oil out into the soup. That’s a fact of physics, that’s why wooden spoons appear the dry out.
Now. The worst part is that the soup gets sucked down into the wood of the cooling spoon where it will decompose, the old spoon looks black like the bottom of your compost box.

Not in my kitchen, not in what I sell. The choice is yours.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1828 days


#4 posted 08-31-2013 10:58 PM

Real physics and chemistry says that three minutes at 350 will remove hardly any moisture from wood already at 6-8% moisture, and definitely will not create a condition that “sucks” (absorb really) any oil into the wood more than a few cells deep. Moreover, olive oil will turn rancid in short order. Better to leave the wood untreated, but mineral oil and bees wax won’t do any harm.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3043 days


#5 posted 08-31-2013 11:36 PM

Yes I agree Clint
There’s a difference between a finish and a treatment, wax,mineral oil, any most other oils derived from nuts are treatments at best, Mr.Jonathan Binzen’s FWW article seams to recommend products that are food safe but not necessarily products that protect wood or hold up well with general use of most types of products used in a kitchen or other places that food is in contact with wood. If the only concern is JUST the food safety issue why not just coat cutting boards or other wood products in the kitchen with peanut butter or mayonnaise,why not , because that would be absurd, they my be safe to eat but offer minimal protection for the wood just as wax and mineral oil does, unless applied and a very frequent basis. Although Mr. Binzen appears to be a fine craftsman I don’t think his finishing expertise holds up to a finishing expert like Charles Neil.

This post covers the subject very well

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/42936

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View RobsonValley's profile

RobsonValley

26 posts in 1230 days


#6 posted 09-01-2013 01:18 AM

I am so surprised at your reactions to a superior process.
I dare you to use it.
Have you used this process? How long does my choice of treatments last in your kitchen with daily use?
I offer the real physics as you will see your wood foaming when it comes out of the oven. I don’t have any more than 6 months daily experience with this. Do you?
Next, when those birch sticks, dripping with olive oil, come out of my 350F oven, I’d like you to pick one up in your bare hand and give it a kiss.
My point: heat treated is far, far superior to any mucking around at room temperature. Particularly to kitchen utensils subjected to simple food preparation up to 100C.

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3043 days


#7 posted 09-01-2013 01:45 AM

Robson Valley
I think your treatment is very innovative but it still uses olive oil ,that and vegetable oils are oils that are know to go rancid , not exactly what you want food to be in contact with. I feel the foaming you see in your process is simply a mixture of oil and water under heat. When looking at your profile I see you are a dendrology professor, so I know your education regarding the properties of wood far exceeds my own, so your use of olive oil as a wood treatment is really puzzling me.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11806 posts in 3154 days


#8 posted 09-01-2013 01:56 AM

Rancid Olive oil….yummy. I’ll stick with Mineral Oil , no matter how many times I might have to reapply it : )

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

View RobsonValley's profile

RobsonValley

26 posts in 1230 days


#9 posted 09-01-2013 03:41 AM

Please do not ever conclude that this is a practical process invented by me. Might be a thousand years old in Italy. Olive oil is practical. There is no air in contact with the oil (in the wood) for an oxidising condition to exist. That is what you might taste as a “rancid” condition. Does a full, sealed tin of olive oil go “rancid” over time. No. Not.
350F is a little warmer than room temperature. There is no finish that you can apply, to soak down into the wood to really seal it, that can match a high temperature application. That’s simple physics, not me.
What’s this rancid horse-puckey? If you never use your kitchen then, do NOT do this. If you’re in love with the wood as an object d’art, do not do this. I, myself, would pick other finishes.

Birch (Betula sp.) is a typical dicot angiosperm with diffuse porous, open, type IV vessels. The wood that I use seems ideal for this.

Rather that get really fussy, I recommend that you do some home-grown, kitchen experiments in proper wooden utensil maintenance.

Galileo has been quoted as once (or twice?) saying : ” Never refuse an old wine or a new idea.”
I try to follow that.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3043 days


#10 posted 09-01-2013 05:23 AM

I agree I would pick another finish.
Have a great weekend

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1887 posts in 1601 days


#11 posted 09-01-2013 12:56 PM

Due to green movement, oil finishes becoming more popular in woodworking as a finish today.

Just because manufactures label their products food safe, does not make them a green product. Better to check and see if there is material safety data sheet (MSDS or SDS) for that product.

Want to look at Section 2. Hazards Identification, Section 6. Toxicological Information, and Section 7. Exposure Control to see what if any PPE needed while applying product.

Mineral oil (laxative type) only kind want to apply to wood used to make or serve food. Will find an MSDS for MO laxatives products if look. Never found any information on MO MSDS that would stop me from using it.

You do not want to use industrial MO (machine lubricant) or baby oil for your woodworking projects they are not food safe.

Mineral oil is not a drying oil and will not polymerize into a film like other drying oils. Will require re-application over time.

Combination of Mineral oil & Bees Wax like Georges Club House product perfectly food safe and will preserve natural appearance of wood. Over time may or may not need to reapply.

-- Bill

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Wildwood

1887 posts in 1601 days


#12 posted 09-01-2013 01:00 PM

Robson Valley,

Flexner explains oil penetration of wood in his book, “Understanding Wood Finishes.” The longer you keep oil wet on wood the deeper it will penetrate wood soaking up oil through capillary action. Even if that oil dries hard (polymerizes) does nothing to protect the wood.

Olive oil is non-drying oil, heating the wood not going to increase OO penetration. Like all fruit, nut, seed, and vegetable oils can and do go rancid. Going green crowd advocates, many uses for OO, but wood finish not one of them.
http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/Uses-for-olive-oil.html

Only reason I use mineral oil on my bowls, know it will not go rancid even with frequent cleanings and re-applications. I do not put any finish on scoops or rolling pins I turn.

-- Bill

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