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Michael Kemp

Wood in the Kitchen - Torture Test Two

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I'm doing another Wood-in-the-kitchen torture test of various wood treatments. My goal is to have a "natural" feel to the wood - so CA glue and sending out to K&G for stabilizing are off the list.

I'm pretty settled on the following set of treatments, but yell at me if you think I'm missing something great and maybe I'll add it.

Safflower Oil (see below)

Canola Oil

Tung Oil

Linseed Oil

Linseed/Shellac

Linseed/Spar Urethane/Turpentine

Dragon Blood Resin/Pure Spirit of Turp/Cold Pressed Linseed/Drier

Waterlox

Johnson's Paste Wax

Meguiar's Gold Liquid Carnauba Wax

Permalyn

Tru-Oil

A couple of years ago I did a "Wood in the Kitchen" torture test of a number of wood treatments (http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=18853) - the winners in my mind were Safflower Oil, a mix of Linseed/Spar Urethane/Turpentine, Tru-Oil, and Permalyn. And NO! two years later the Safflower Oil blocks do NOT smell rancid - and they came through the test as well as the gun-stock treatments (Permalyn & Tru-Oil).

So yell at me in the next couple of days if you think there's something I should add to my latest test and I'll consider it!

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I've used walnut oil on cutting blocks & knife handles before, I'd be curious to see how it holds up in a torture test! Perhaps add some beeswax based finishes to the list as well.

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Pure tung oil, not the mixed stuff sold at the big box stores.

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Teak Oil (multiple coats)

50/50 mix of Beeswax and Food Safe Mineral Oil (salad bowl oil)

 

Not because I think they are great but, they are what I have and, therefore, use.

 

~Bruce~

Edited by B. Norris

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I am using a home made paste wax for my handles. Beeswax, carnauba wax and a little mineral oil to soften it up to a crayon hardness.

 

I'd also b einterested to see how beeswax and oil mix would do against the others.

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Looking forward to the results, thanks for doing this.

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OK! I'm liking this!

 

George - the Tung oil I've got on hand is Hope's 100% Tung Oil.

 

Bee's wax - I found an ancient block in a dark corner of the shop - but I'm not sure if it's pure or a paraffin mix - so I'll pick up some fresh wax from Glory Bee on the next town trip.

 

Walnut Oil - got a dab in the fridge, will buy more if my sweetie has designs on it.

 

Teak Oil - are we talking Watco or Starbrite or ???

 

Carnauba wax - hmmm I've got liquid and paste MIXES with carnauba in them. I'll have to see if I can lay my hands on pure carnauba wax on the next town trip. AKA Palm Wax AKA Brazil Wax. I'll have to call around - or order from Amazon.

 

I expect it will take a week or two to get the extra ingredients and get the test blocks treated - then another week to run the torture test - so don't expect any results until December.

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Hi Michael,

 

The Teak Oil I have is by Watco. I wouldn't put it on my cutting boards but, I figure for knife handles it is alright.

 

The Mineral Oil/Beeswax mix isTree Spirit - Bee's Oil. It is always around as I use a lot of Treenware in the kitchen and this product works better than just straight mineral oil to protect it from cracking. Seems to stand up to abuse by children who are supposed to reapply after every washing but, of course, never do. I love it but, my eldest son doesn't like the taste of it, not that I've ever noticed it had any.

 

~Bruce~

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I'm guessing there's a reason the car detailing guys think carnauba is the ultimate, hence seeing it in meguiars etc.

 

I got an oz of carnauba from a guy who had bought a lb on a now defunct forum. I'll see if I can email him to get you a little.

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Woodcraft sells pure carnauba blocks. It's rock hard at room temperature, though. It is usually applied with a buffing wheel. Use a loose flannel buff at around 1350 rpm to melt a tiny dab of wax, then buff it onto the wood. Or invent your own way that provides penetration, of course!

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I thought "Teak Oil" was just a marking term so as to charge more for linseed oil.

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Gerald,

 

Huh, it would figure wouldn't it? I did not know the answer but, this is what I found out.

 

 

Teak oils are primarily either linseed oil or tung oil, bolstered by resins to make them more durable. Linseed oil tends to darken the teak, but it is significantly cheaper. Tung oil doesn't darken the wood, and it is more water resistant than linseed oil--a notable advantage for boat use. However, a month or two after application, it may be hard to discern that much difference since both oils carbonize in the sun and turn dark. Proprietary teak oils address this problem with various additives, including pigments, UV filters, and mildew retardants. Some that perform admirably in one climate are reviled in another. If you are going to oil your teak, make your teak oil selection based on the recommendations of other boatowners in your area.

 

Also,

 

 

Oiling requires multiple coats. The wood will initially "drink" the oil, and thinning the first coat about 20% with mineral spirits or turpentine encourages it to penetrate the wood more deeply. By the third coat, oil will begin to stand in some areas. Wipe up excess oil with a cloth. Continue to brush on the oil and wipe away any excess until the wood is saturated. The wood should have a matte finish without any shiny spots.

 

The above was from this site: Boat US - Boat Tech - Teak Care The Teak Oil I have is by Watco.

 

~Bruce~

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Watco teak oil, if I'm not mistaken, is 5% linseed oil and the rest is various solvents. I looked at their MSDS, but they've started to only list the solvents. I doubt much Tung oil is ever used. It's too value of an oil for them to not sell it outright as Tung oil.

 

Both lidseed oil and tung oil work well for wood preservation. The downside to linseed, is it darkens over time. That's where the tung oil comes in, little darkening. I don't know about Tung, but linseed is food safe after it fully dries and cures. Tung oil is good for fireplace finishes, it's what I use.

 

I learned a lot of this stuff on wood finishes back when I sailed on wooden boats. Everything had to be perfect :-) or do it again.

Edited by Gerald Boggs

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Bruce - who told your eldest son to eat the stuff?!? :blink: I've got the components - so I'll mix up an approximation of wax/oil goop.

 

Alex - thanks but I already got some locally - I've built up quite a collection of oils and wax! I've dropped Briwax and Renaissance Wax from this set of tests because they performed so poorly in the first test.

 

Carnauba - the Woodcraft in Eugene carries Carnauba in flaked form - so that's what I've got now.

 

Watco "Teak Oil" - while I was at Woodcraft I went ahead and picked this up. We'll see if this Watco linseed oil & special secret solvents performs that much differently from plain old BLO.

 

OK - I'm up to 16 treatments :excl: I've posted my spreadsheet of the concoctions and process I plan to use here:

http://elementalforge.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/WoodKitchen2013.html

 

I need to cut up/sand/dry some more cherry blocks - hopefully this week. This afternoon is heat treating a couple of blades - tomorrow is computer work. yadda yadda yadda

 

I'm using cherry since I've got a monotonous board (uniform blocks) and in the test 2 years ago with cherry and oak, cherry checked and warped more often (better signals about what works and what doesn't work so well).

 

Anyway - check out my planned treatments in the link above - give me $#!+ about anything that looks way off base. I'll do 2 blocks of cherry for each treatment. And like the spreadsheet says - subject them to multiple cycles of hot soapy soak/wash/rinse/dry. We don't have a dishwasher (well, OK, we have two - one named Michael and the other named Danita) - but if several treatments hold up to hand washing I'll take 1 set of the blocks to the neighbors and run them through their dishwasher a time or two.

That's the plan! I should have results in early December.

Edited by Michael Kemp

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It's my understanding that linseed oil is too thick to apply as is. If you can find an old copy of Audel's 'Wood furniture, finishing and refinishing" It gives a standard formule to use in applying a linseed oil finish. First coat of linseed oil is thinned with turpentine 20/80. I never did, but you're also suppose to bring them to a near boil to achieve complete mixing. The reasoning behind the thinning is to enable peratration. If applied unthinned, it will only oil the surface, first scratch and the raw wood is again exposed.

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Gerald - good catch. Same probably applies to Tung oil. I will do a little research - I don't have the book you mention but I have an old gunsmith's book and a number of my Dad's woodworking references.

 

Heating turpentine & oil sounds like something to do outdoors in a double-boiler!

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I use a mix of turpentine/boiled linseed oil mixed 50/50, soaking the handle overnight on more porous woods... I picked this method up from Bo Bergman's book, it definitely soaks into the wood better, and also will soak into bone, antler, and horn to some extent. After a week or two of curing I give it a coat of Johnson's paste wax.

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George & Gerald - 50/50 boiled linseed oil/turpentine is what is also given in my Dad's "Fine Woodworking Techniques" as "The best general finish I have had experience with..." used in 3 applications over 3 days (the book was published 1978 - hmmm let's see, that would be when I was living in a Sufi community in an old Shaker village in upstate NY). Whereas "Gunsmithing Simplified" (published 1950 - when I was no more that a gleam in my parents' eyes) totally pans linseed oil but then extols 4 or 5 applications of a 50/50 mixture of boiled linseed oil and shellac - which I've already got as my "LS" treatment.

 

I'm looking for easy & effective - so I'm pondering a 50/50 mix for both Tung/Turpentine and BLO/Turpentine and immersing the block for 3 days in a Ziploc bag - like the vegetable oils.

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Just to toss one more bit into the mix about linseed oil. None of the stuff we get today is actually boiled. It's raw linseed with drying
agents added. I don't know how much effect that has on the quality of finish. I do know raw linseed oil never completely dries. That was the reason for boiling. Not sure what happened, but after boiling, linseed will dry. In the old days, when painters still mixed they own paints, on something that was going to expand a lot, raw was used, if a normal job boiled.

Having wrote all that, I don't think it will have any effect on how we use it.

As for the old recipe I read, it was a process of five coats of linseed oil, each increasing the ratio of linseed and then two or more coats of varnish. Not quite in the category of "easy & effective" :-)



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One hard-core longrifle builder I know (Brad Emig, look him up!) is really into period-correct ways of doing things. He forges the barrels from wrought, bores and rifles by hand with no electricity, and does all the woodwork by hand as well, including boiling linseed oil.

 

He used to sell it, but I think there was an issue with hazarous shipping charges...I don't remember the exact recipe, but he did it outside over a closed charcoal oven in an enamel pot using water-purified raw linseed oil (mix oil and water, let settle, siphon off the clarified oil at least three repetitions worth, and a big thanks to FoxCreek who told me how to do that back in 2001) and raise to around 300 degrees for several hours, when it will darken and begin to thicken, stirring frequently. The last step is what may be problematic for some folks: Add a few tablespoons of lead carbonate, then let cool.

 

Heavy metal drying agents :ph34r: ? Afraid of lead? Guess what heavy metal drying agents are in hardware store "boiled" oil: cobalt carbonate and manganese carbonate, along with assorted petroleum distillates. Cobalt is far more toxic than lead, and manganese causes symptoms similar to Parkinson's Disease.

 

That's why Chuck/WildRose and I both recommend using Tried and True brand linseed oil. It's the only commercially available linseed oil that is heat/vacuum-polymerized and has no heavy metal drying agents. It takes longer to cure and doesn't leave as glossy a finish without multiple coats, but you could also drink it with no ill effects. They don't pay me, but I prefer to be as safe as I can when given the choice. They also have an oil varnish that has copal resin in it for a glossier finish not unlike violin varnish. Good stuff! I doubt it would hold up to dishwasher duty, though.

 

Michael, thanks for doing all this. The world needs to know! B)

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Gerald & Alan - I was aware that BLO is no longer boiled but I was not aware that truly boiled linseed oil was still available - and I've probably looked right past the can at Woodcraft.

 

Good point about the driers. I doubt if the quantities in use - or the quantities that would migrate out of the cured wood - pose much of an issue (hey - I grew up in a household where cadmium red, cobalt blue, and other yummy looking oil paints were within toddler's reach and I'm fi-fi-fi-fine!).

 

But seriously - I think I'll pick up a can of Tried-and-True - and make up a new mix of the "Dragon's blood" without the cobalt drier... so I'm testing with things I'd be happy selling for kitchen use.

 

Also seriously - I was stunned on the first round of tests 2 years ago how well just soaking in safflower oil worked - so while I *will* be doing blocks in Permalyn and Tru-oil again this time around, it's more for comparison than a process I'm likely to adopt for myself. If the vegetable oil soaks again prove as effective as anything else - and 2 years later the safflower blocks have no tackiness nor any odor - that's hard to argue with from my point of view.

 

Dishwasher duty - I'm not expecting ANY wood finish to stand up to automatic dishwasher treatment - at least not over time - but I'm looking forward to seeing which of these treatments stand up to repeated worst-case hand washing.

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... got the extra cherry blocks hand sanded to match the earlier blocks - marked with treatment codes - stuck in the drying box. Did the final mixing on the new batch of Dragon's Blood.

 

Here's the updated list of treatments: http://elementalforge.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/WoodKitchen2013.html

 

This week is going to be very full. Next weekend I *might* get the treatments started - but unlikely as I'll need to get the local knifemaker group's monthly newsletter out.

 

Have a great Thanksgiving everybody!

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Treatments are in process - it topped out at 20 different treatments (see http://elementalforge.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/WoodKitchen2013.html)

 

I ran all the blocks through my drying box until my dryness tester read 0%. 20 treatments * 2 blocks of cherry each = 40 blocks.

 

002_Dryer.jpg

 

4 of the treatments are done. Others will be done tomorrow - stragglers by the weekend. Then I'll mount them on scrap steel bars and start the torture test! When I get them glued up to the steel bars I'll get some decent "before" photos taken in the light cube.

 

005_TreatmentProgress.jpg

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20 treatments - 2 blocks each - completed this morning (12/13/13). Sadly, I must cut code (programming) this afternoon.

 

006_TreatmentsFinished.jpg

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