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tung or danish

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  • tung or danish

    I have never used oils to finish my projects. Which is best tung oil or danish oil? Are any of these safe for kids puzzles where they might put the pieces in their mouths? I have always used polyurethane before on my projects.Thanks for any input.

  • #2
    Here is a quick article on food safe finishes that I found - Food-Safe Finishes - Fine Woodworking Article
    Douglas Fraser
    Eagle River, Alaska

    My Gallery - Aurora Wood Crafts


    • #3
      Douglas, thanks for the link very useful, but tell me is Mineral Oil the same as Mineral Spirit, the stuff used to thin paint?
      Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.


      • #4
        Mayo Farmer, I believe mineral oil is the same as baby oil without the perfumes. Like a runny liquid petroleum jelly.




        • #5
          Thanks Doc
          Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.


          • #6
            Correct Doc, Mineral spirits is used to dilute other products like tung oil and danish oil.
            "Still Montana Mike"

            "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
            Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC


            • #7
              The problem with the terms "Danish oil" or "Tung oil" is that there are no clear definitiions of just what these products are. Finish manufacturers call their products a variety of names and they can often be misleading and contradictory. For example, products called "tung oil finishes" may not contain any actual tung oil at all. Same goes for Danish oil. I'm pretty sure they contain no actual Danes.

              The products that are called Danish oil or Tung oil finishes may be either of these of two "formulas". It could simply be a wiping varnish, which is nothing more than a regular varnish or polyurethane that has been thinned approximately 50% with mineral spirits. OR it could be a mixture of mineral spirits, poly/varnish and boiled linseed oil (or possibly tung oil, but not likely), in aapproximately equal parts.

              What the finish actually contains will vary by manufacturer. Different manufactuers may both name their product a tung oil finish, but one could be a thinned varnish and the other an oil/varnish/thinner blend. Generally speaking, Danish oils are usually an oil/varnish/thinner blend, but again, there are no hard & fast rules to guarantee that.

              The practical differences are relatively minor. A wiping varnish will provide a little more protection because it can be built up with multiple coats and dries slightly harder than the oil/varnish blend. An oil/varnish blend is intended to be applied, then the excess wiped off, to give more of an old fashioned, hand rubbed appearance. The oil soaks into the wood a little more and doesn't build on the surface. This is the simplest way to tell which is which. If the application instructions on the can say to wipe on, let set for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess, the product is probably a oil/varnish blend. If the instructions say to wipe on and allow it to dry, then it is probably a wiping varnish. Oil/varnish blends usually don't recommend more than a couple applications. If you apply too many coats, the finish may remain soft and gummy, because of the oil content. OTOH, you can apply as many coats of a wiping varnish as you wish.

              Sorry for the long, drawn out explanation, but this can be a really confusing issue and the finish manufacturers don't help the consumer much with their misleading marketing. Hope this helps.
              Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


              • #8
                That is great article about finishes. I was wondering would lemom oil also be safe to use for cutting boards, children's toys, etc?
                The love of God is like the ocean,
                you can see its beginning, but not its end.


                • #9
                  According to several well regarded finishing experts (Bob Flexner and Jeff Jewitt among them) any finishing product sold in the US is safe and non-toxic when fully cured. That's fine for toys and it's up to the individual how much confidence they want to place in that statement. Aside from the safety issue, there are finishes that are just inherently better for wood items used in food preparation. Film finishes won't hold up, so even though they might be safe, they aren't a good choice. Most folks use mineral oil and/or beeswax for cutting boards, bowls, utensils, etc. They're cheap, readily available and easy to apply. Just reapply them periodically and they'll do fine.

                  With lemon oil, again it's dependent on the product. Some products that call themselves lemon oil finish are just mineral oil with a lemon scent added. Some lemon oil is simply furniture polish that contains silicone and other man-made ingredients. Not sure if real lemon oil, made from actual lemons is even available as a finishing product. I can't imagine how many lemon peels one would have to squeeze to extract enough oil to fill a pint bottle.

                  Bottom line is, to really know what you are getting, you need to read the MSDS for that specific product.
                  Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


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