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Michael Kemp

Wood in the Kitchen - Torture Test Two

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OK - well I don't know if anybody's listening to this thread, but I'm mainly doing this for myself anyway - and sharing in case any of it is useful to others.
 
I've completed the first 30-minute soak, scrub, rinse & dry cycle and none of the treatments have flat-out failed. Several are looking pretty good. And for myself, a few are dropping off my "keep that in your tool kit" list. Here's the link to my updated detail notes:http://elementalforge.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/WoodKitchen2013.html
 
Here's the short version:

 

Code Initial Treatment After 1st Soak/Scrub/Drying
Can Canola Oil Darkens wood, some luster. Good, some luster.
Saf Safflower Oil Darkens wood, some luster. Good, some luster.
Wal Walnut Oil Darkens wood, some luster. Good, some luster.
Cnt Food grade coconut oil Darkens wood, some luster. Good, some luster.
Tng Tung oil Darkens wood just a little, some luster. Good, some luster.
Lin Chemically "Boiled" Linseed Oil (the common variety) Darkens wood, not much luster. Good, a little luster.
Tea Watco Teak Oil Darkens wood, nice luster. Good, some luster.
Wat Waterlox Original (from Tung oil) No darkening, nice luster. Good, some luster.
LS 1 part "Boiled" Linseed Oil, 1 part Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac Very little darkening, light shellac sheen. Good. Some luster/sheen.
LUT 2 parts "Boiled" Linseed Oil, 2 parts Helmsman Spar Urethane Clear Semi-Gloss, 1 part Turpentine Darkens wood, light urethane sheen. Good. Some luster/sheen.
LCT Dissolve 1 part falked Carnauba Wax in 2 parts Turpentine, then add 2 parts "Boiled" Linseed Oil Darkens wood, nice luster. Good, some luster.
LB Tried & True Original Wood Finish - this is traditionally boiled (polymerized) linseed oil Little darkening, very nice luster. Good, some luster.
Drg 1/2 oz Rattan Palm Dragons Blood Rezin, 1oz Turpentine, 1oz Cold Pressed Linseed Oil. Dissolve the Rezin in Pure Gum Spirits (1-2 days) - strain through cheese cloth. Linseed Oil. A little darkening, some luster. Nice. Good luster.
BMO 1 part Bee's Wax, I part Food Grade Mineral Oil A little darkening, some luster. OK, a little luster.
BCM 1 part Bee's Wax, 1 part Carnauba Wax Flakes, add Food Grade Mineral Oil for crayon consistency at room temp. Note: I flaked the Bee's wax to make approx. equal to Carnauba volume. A little darkening, nice luster. Nice. Good luster.
Jhn Johnson's floor wax No darkening, nice luster. OK, a little luster.
Meg Meguiar's carnauba plus No darkening, nice luster. OK, a little luster.
Prm Permalyn Gun Stock Finish No darkening, very nice luster. Nice. Good luster.
Tru Tru-oil No darkening, very nice luster. Nice. Good luster.
WOU General Finishes Wipe On Urethane A little darkening, some sheen. Good, some luster.

 

Interesting note:

In my first kitchen torture test in 2011 I used Loctite E-120HP epoxy to glue the blocks to the steel straps. After 3 rounds (11 treatments - one Oak and one Cherry block each) 3 of the 11 Cherry blocks had popped off the steel - all of which showed signs of warping.

 

This time I used West System G/Flex and after the FIRST round 36 of the 40 Cherry blocks popped off - with no noticeable sign of warping. And in most cases the glue remnant stayed with the wood - not the steel?!? So I re-sanded the block bottoms and the steel to 120 grit and re-glued with G/Flex - being more precise with my mix ratio (I used calibrated syringes this time) and we'll see how the 2nd round goes.

 

Here's a photo - the 3 straps in back are from 2011 (E-120HP) and the 4 in front are the current batch (G/Flex).

 

009_Cycle1_LostBlocks.jpg

 

I'm afraid my photography skills are less than professional - you can't see the detail I'd want... but here are a few of the "after 1st cycle" shots... for the full set go to: http://elementalforge.com/blog/?p=53

 

I'm liking the Dragon's Blood mix:

010_Cycle1_5.jpg

 

And the Bee's Wax/Carnauba/Mineral Oil:

010_Cycle1_6.jpg

 

And Permalyn (and this is Permalyn with a handicap because I didn't use the Permalyn sealer before using the Gun Stock Finish):

010_Cycle1_7.jpg

 

And the Tru-Oil:

010_Cycle1_8.jpg

Edited by Michael Kemp

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I am totally paying attention to this thread so you have an audience of at least one. I am very curious, not so much for kitchen knives, but for camp and general outdoor use knives. I figure if they wood can stand up to soaking, and scrubbing, then it should fair decent in the elements.

Thanks for sharing this by the way.

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Wes - In the round of tests I did in 2011, Permalyn & Tru-Oil (gun stock finishes) did very well. They both take a several individual coats for a proper treatment. I'm expecting them to do well again & included them as a sort of benchmark. The wood is drying today after the 2nd cycle of soak/scrub/rinse. Unless there is dramatic change this round, I'll wait until after the 3rd cycle to post more photos. That will probably be after Christmas.

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Boiled linseed oil has to my knowledge been added siccatives all the way back from the start of BLO paint, at least 1700's. I buy the purest stuff I can get (Allbäck Sweden), but I think even this has some siccative.

 

If I wanted a kitchen-grade low maintenance solution, I wouldn't be building finish at all, I'd rough out the wood in the green, and put it in a bath of heated oil for hours or days depending on temperature (60-100 C, maybe higher if it's less likely to crack and warping is less of an issue), maybe a mixture (raw linseed, tung, walnut). Then after some weeks/months of curing I might build a finish with something that builds a harder film, or I might just leave them as is.

Edited by Steffen Dahlberg

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Steffen - yes but while driers /have/ been added for a long time, flax seed oil aka linseed oil, is available without them. Most of the treatments in my current batch which use linseed oil have the common version with driers. Two do not - the "Dragon's Blood" mix uses Gamblin artist cold pressed linseed oil (http://www.gamblincolors.com/drying.oils/), and the "Linseed-Bee's Wax" is Tried & True Original Wood Finish which has polymerized linseed oil and no driers (http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/original.html). Flax seed oil is also a heath food thing, but I don't know if that form would be refined enough for wood treatment or not.

 

I like the heated oil bath idea. Some of the best treatments I'm testing in this round are vegetable oils. And I *had* to heat the coconut oil to get it liquid.

 

FWIW - the 2nd cycle only degraded a couple of the treatments. 3rd cycle is drying as I type. The rest of the week will be a little crowded - so I might not update again until the weekend.

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I like that idea of soaking the wood in a heated oil for some hours. I would imagine that it would take some time to cure though; weeks and months as Steffen said.

 

Looking forward to round three.

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I took that from what I've read on treatment of wagon wheels from "Moelven Bruk", and for wood that is frequently in contact with water it makes perfect sense to impregnate it.

A mere surface finish will let moisture through. If it's waterproof enough that it won't, then water will still eventually find a way, and since the majority of the film finish is intact and highly diffusionproof, a small amount of heat will make the moisture that got through blow the film finish off.

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The 3rd wood-in-the-kitchen testing cycle is done (the 4th cycle is in the drying stage now). Treatments I'm counting out (this is just me): "Boiled" Linseed Oil all on its own; Watco Teak Oil; BLO/Shellac; BLO/Urethane/Turp. The plain kitchen oils are all holding up well. Tru-Oil is looking very good, as is the Dragon's Blood mix and the Bee's Wax/Carnauba/Mineral Oil mix. Permalyn is failing - I blame it on my skipping the Permalyn Sealer coats.

 

The plain kitchen oils are obviously nice and "food safe" (excluding folks with allergies) - as is the Dragon's Blood mix and the Bee's Wax/Carnauba/Food Grade Mineral Oil mix. Those last two mixes have a little more shine to them than the seed and nut kitchen oils.

 

As for "curing" - I'm not sure things like Safflower oil ever really "cure" - I just gave them a few days before starting the testing.

 

As an aside, another block popped off the steel strap - with the G/Flex releasing from the steel but sticking with the wood. So the G/Flex is still popping off of 120grit sanded steel - where the Loctite E-120HP that I used on the test 2 years ago did better on 400grit sanded steel.

 

Anyhoo - here's my updated notes: http://elementalforge.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/WoodKitchen2013.html

 

and the latest batch of photos - from the 3rd cycle:

 

030_Cycle3_1.jpg

 

030_Cycle3_2.jpg

 

030_Cycle3_3.jpg

 

030_Cycle3_4.jpg

 

030_Cycle3_5.jpg

 

030_Cycle3_6.jpg

 

030_Cycle3_7.jpg

 

030_Cycle3_8.jpg

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How did you mix up the dragons blood resin? Did you use actual dragons blood resin like used for incense or something else?

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DKLabs - I believe this resin is also used as incense.

 

The "Dragon's Blood mix" is as follows: 1/2 oz Rattan Palm Dragons Blood Resin, 1oz Turpentine, 1oz Cold Pressed Linseed Oil. Dissolve the Resin in Pure Gum Spirits (1-2 days) - strain through cheese cloth - add the Linseed Oil.

 

This is Dietrich Podmajersky's mix - he insisted on artist grade cold pressed linseed oil - and with all the variations of linseed oil I've included in this test, I'm leaning toward the attitude that standard Boiled Linseed Oil is not the best choice. The exact linseed oil I used was Gamblin's "Cold Pressed":

http://www.gamblincolors.com/drying.oils/

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Update for the 4th cycle (5th cycle is drying today & tomorrow - update and photos Monday).  


Treatment 1st Cycle 2nd Cycle 3rd Cycle 4th Cycle
Canola Oil Good, some luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, very little luster.
Safflower Oil Good, some luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster.
Walnut Oil Good, some luster. Good, some luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster.
Coconut Oil Good, some luster. Good, some luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster.
Tung oil Good, some luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, very little luster.
Linseed Good, a little luster. Mikey doesn't like. Dull. Mikey doesn't like. Dull. Mikey doesn't like. Dull.
Watco Teak Oil Good, some luster. OK, a little luster. Mikey doesn't like. Getting dull. Mikey doesn't like. Getting dull.
Waterlox Original Good, some luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster.
Linseed-Shellac Good. Some luster/sheen. OK, a little luster. Mikey doesn't like. Getting dull. Mikey doesn't like. Getting dull.
Linseed-Spar Urethane-Turpentine Good. Some luster/sheen. Good. Some luster/sheen. Mikey doesn't like. Getting dull. Mikey doesn't like. Getting dull.
Linseed-Carnauba Wax-Trupentine Good, some luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, very little luster.
Linseed-Bee's Wax Good, some luster. Good, some luster. Good, some luster. OK, a little luster.
Dragon's Blood Nice. Good luster. Nice. Good luster. Nice. Good luster. Good, some luster.
Bee's Wax-Mineral Oil OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster.
Bee's Wax-Carnauba Wax-Mineral Oil Nice. Good luster. Nice. Good luster. Nice. Good luster. Good, some luster.
Johnson's floor wax OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster.
Meguiar's carnauba plus OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster.
Permalyn Nice. Good luster. Good, some luster. Starting to fade - I really should have done the sealer coats. OK, a little luster.
Tru-oil Nice. Good luster. Nice. Good luster. Nice. Good luster. Good, some luster.
Urethane Good, some luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster. OK, a little luster.

 

Edited by Michael Kemp

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Tru-oil it is for me then. Considering that it has held up so well over 4 cycles, and comes pre-made, I will buying some and coating my outdoors handles with this.

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I'm done with the test - and here's my Take-Away:

Kitchen vegetable oils are real contenders. They are obviously food-safe (barring individual allergies). Canola came in last in this group. I’d put Walnut and Coconut first. I gather Coconut is all the rage these days – and if you gave out a little container with a “hand rub in when shine fades” note I think you’ve got a winner.

Tung, Linseed, and Linseed mixes: I’m not impressed by straight Tung or Linseed oil, though Tung is the nicer of the two. Dragon’s Blood mix (artist quality cold pressed linseed oil) wins. I’ll put Waterlox second, with Watco Teak Oil and Tried & True Original tied for third place. Waterlox held up as well as the kitchen vegetable oils but I’d hesitate to call it or the teak oil “food safe”. I give the Dragon’s Blood mix a slight edge on the kitchen oils.

In the Wax On-Wax Off group of treatments, I’ll pick Bee’s Wax/Carnauba/Mineral Oil (BCM) for first – with Bee’s Wax/Mineral Oil (BMO) coming in close behind. Tried & True Original should also be mentioned in this group – I’d give it a close third.

In the final group – let’s call them Not-In-The-Kitchen TreatmentsJohnson’s Floor Wax and Meguiar’s Gold Class Carnauba Wax Plus both came through five cycles of the test almost unchanged. They did not darken the wood and ended up with as much luster as the kitchen oils (though they started out a bit less shiny). Tru-Oil came through with as much luster as the Dragon’s Blood mix – with Permalyn close behind (I really should have done the Permalyn Sealer pre-coats). The Wipe-On-Urethane didn’t do badly but I’d put it at the tail end of this pack.

So where does that leave it? You can choose your own favorites, but given my personal leanings, I’m liking Coconut Oil for it’s health market cachet and ease with which the customer can do touch-up. Dragon’s Blood is worthy and a little better than coconut oil – and who can resist the name? So I’ll keep it in my tool kit. I’ll also keep Bee’s Wax/Carnauba/Mineral Oil in my bag of tricks. For non-kitchen knives, I’m going for the gun stock treatments – I’m keeping both Tru-Oil and Permalyn in my tool kit – but really, the Dragon’s Blood mix did just as well… so as I run out of Tru-Oil & Permalyn I expect to phase in Dragon’s Blood mix for non-kitchen knives.

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Again - I'm not a professional photographer and I wish I could get a better representation of the level of luster in the blocks. For the full description of the treatments and my take on how they held up - here's the table of notes:

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

 

But with that said - here's the final set of photos:

 

050_Cycle5_1.jpg

 

050_Cycle5_2.jpg

 

050_Cycle5_3.jpg

 

050_Cycle5_4.jpg

 

050_Cycle5_5.jpg

 

050_Cycle5_6.jpg

 

050_Cycle5_7.jpg

 

050_Cycle5_8.jpg

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Good stuff Michael! Nice little reference chart going forward so I don't have to fart around and buy tons of different stuff. Many thanks for doing this!

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Ha! Yah now I have to decide which of the less-than-optimal treatments I'm going to set aside for household projects and which I'm going to try to give away: "Hey - I don't like the way this stuff works - you want it?"

 

There's a reason I never went into sales & marketing.

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Thank you for your work and sharing the results. I might be changing my methods, or at least doing some experimenting on my own. My only concern that I feel could have influenced your results is that it takes about 2 weeks for 'boiled' linseed oil to cure (as opposed to 10 months for the virgin linseed oil).

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GEzell - excellent point. There were only a few days between the treatments and the start of the testing. Interestingly enough, the Tried & True (polymerized linseed oil without dryers/bee's wax) did rather well - and the Dragon's Blood mix (including artist's cold pressed linseed oil - no dryers) was one of the most successful.

 

But again - you raise an excellent point - I did these tests with my level of patience in mind. And my aesthetics: I don't like a shellack type surface - so CA glue was not even included in the testing, and only one shellack blend.

 

For my level of patience and my aesthetics, I'm satisfied and ready to move on. I trust that my testing notes will be useful for others - as a reference for their own testing at the least.

 

Keep Well!

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I'm glad to hear the Dragon's blood recipe held up well, considering that was one of the goals I had in mind while researching finishes.

 

I really believe the quality of ingredients is important here. The flip side is a little goes a long way.

I'd still like to eventually get a hold of some lead napthanate and see how it differs as a drier.

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