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  • Another finish question

    If I use plywood to make jigsaw puzzles for children what finish would be safe for them on 3/4" plywood?
    Diane
    Dragon
    Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
    Owner of a Dewalt 788
    PuffityDragon on AFSP

  • #2
    Diane, not being able to give you a good product but remember one thing about products. If it says non-toxic does not necessarily mean non harmful. There are a lot of products that should state non-fatal but will make you darn sick. I am sure that others can recommend some good products safe for children. You may ask Bob D if there any articles on this subject or scroll through some of the past articles in the finishing section. Steve
    If This HillBilly Can't Fix it Then it Ain't Broke!!!
    My Gallery
    [email protected]

    Comment


    • #3
      Diane:

      Textbook answer: Mineral Oil, from your local drug store; laxative shelf usually on the lower shelves. Apply like BLO, wipe off excess, 2 or 3 coats, allow to fully cure. Note: I said cure, not dry. To fully cure Mineral Oil can take as long as 90 days, sometimes even much longer. Will not pop the grain. Again, this is the textbook answer.

      Be aware there are very long threads on this subject here and on other forums: Just what do you mean by child 'SAFE'. The definition of what is child "SAFE" is not agreed upon since there is no agreement age of child, on just how much finish the child will actually ingest, and what is the "safe" level of the cured finish residue that will be ingested by sucking on the wood.

      My answer: Almost any finish, when fully cured is less toxic than the glue residue used to bond the plywood veneers together. Any wood puzzle has a greater chance of a splinter of wood being ingested and causing internal harm than receiving toxic harm from finish residue from most cured finishes. But that is my unqualified opinion.

      The above does not apply to 2 part epoxy type finishes, which no hobbyist should be messing with.

      But in the end, the call is yours to make.

      Be aware, there are also paints in Arts and Crafts stores that boast they are water based, and child friendly. I have not had good luck with these finishes.

      Phil

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you Steve
        I am not finished reading all the past postings yet. I try and read a few each day but there are so many good ones. Will eventually get finished.
        Diane
        Dragon
        Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
        Owner of a Dewalt 788
        PuffityDragon on AFSP

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Phil.
          I have used those water based paints and had great success as far as painting goes but it swells the wood.
          After doing a lot of reading I was thinking that maybe I should use spiral blades to make the kerf larger and then use those water based paints on them.
          Diane
          Dragon
          Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
          Owner of a Dewalt 788
          PuffityDragon on AFSP

          Comment


          • #6
            A finish that's totally edible (and is even high-protein) is shellac. You can use it as an undercoat for your paints, or stand-alone.

            Pete

            Comment


            • #7
              Shellac is the last thing I would have used. Always thought you could not chew on that.
              Thanks for that info.
              Diane
              Dragon
              Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
              Owner of a Dewalt 788
              PuffityDragon on AFSP

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dragon
                Thanks Phil.
                After doing a lot of reading I was thinking that maybe I should use spiral blades to make the kerf larger.
                Diane
                I know very little about cutting puzzles but it seems to me that the kerf from a spiral blade would be too wide. I cut a couple simple 3 piece ones for my grandson, who has a long ways to go before he can even handle these, out of 3/4" pine and used a #5 reverse tooth blade and it worked great. On my first ttempt I tried a #9 blade and everything was too loose. I then emailed Ben Fink at bensscrollsaw.com and he told me that most people use the #5 for these types of puzzles.
                Mike

                Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.
                www.picturetrail.com/naturephotos

                Comment


                • #9
                  I was cutting children's puzzles out of 3/4" pine but there are problems. If I paint with water based paint then the wood swells up. So I then I started painting those with acrylic spray paint. That's fine but then I've had puzzles crack and break and was told that pine is too soft for puzzles. So since I have a lot of plywood I thought they would last longer if I cut some out of that. I do use a no. 7 SR blade.
                  When I mentionned spiral it was to use with the water paint. I thought that the swelling would then fill the kerf.
                  So much to learn here.
                  Diane
                  Dragon
                  Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
                  Owner of a Dewalt 788
                  PuffityDragon on AFSP

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Diane, I cut the alphabet snake puzzle from 5/8" ply, painted it with Folkart acrylic paint and had no problem with swelling. I did sand the outer edges very well to prevent any splinters from the ply, and I also found once they were painted the splinters were non existent. Some types of candy are coated with shelac, so it's probably a safe bet for kids toys. I used varathane as a top coat on my puzzle, it takes about two weeks to fully cure and then it's safe for kids.
                    Marsha
                    LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks Marsha. I will invest in some shellac.
                      Diane
                      Dragon
                      Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
                      Owner of a Dewalt 788
                      PuffityDragon on AFSP

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Marsha and Diane:

                        IIRC, Shellac flakes are an organic substance from the Lac beetle, and yes many substances do use a shellac finish. But it is the solvent used that makes liquid shellac toxic or not. If you use Wood Alcohol, the poison added to bypass the drinking alcohol taxes, makes the liquid shellac in the jar or can a poison, period.

                        Read the label, and judge for yourself. And remember, when cured the finish is not the same as when it was a liquid in the jar or container.

                        Phil

                        PS: and yes, "White Lighting," as most any alcohol, can be used in making shellac, but I think it would be breaking the law.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          After all this advice I am still confused as to what I should put on the plywood as a finish. If I put one on it is possibly toxic if I don't then they get splinters!!!
                          I must use this plywood that I have before buying any other wood. Hopefully I can sell what I make and then have mad money for better wood.
                          a very confused Diane
                          Dragon
                          Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
                          Owner of a Dewalt 788
                          PuffityDragon on AFSP

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GrayBeard Phil
                            Marsha and Diane:

                            IIRC, Shellac flakes are an organic substance from the Lac beetle, and yes many substances do use a shellac finish. But it is the solvent used that makes liquid shellac toxic or not. If you use Wood Alcohol, the poison added to bypass the drinking alcohol taxes, makes the liquid shellac in the jar or can a poison, period.

                            Read the label, and judge for yourself. And remember, when cured the finish is not the same as when it was a liquid in the jar or container.

                            Phil

                            PS: and yes, "White Lighting," as most any alcohol, can be used in making shellac, but I think it would be breaking the law.
                            Thanks Phil, I read the label, very scary stuff there. I quess in the production of candy they use the flakes?
                            Thanks for pointing out the difference and setting me straight.
                            Marsha
                            LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Good catch, Phil, I hadn't considered whether the additives would evaporate or not. Perhaps they do, but I don't know.

                              How about this, Diane: Can you buy food grade alcohol at the drugstore? Mixing that with shellac flakes would be very safe.

                              Pete

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