Reply by SteveRussell

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Posted on Tung Oil

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101 posts in 5208 days

#1 posted 10-26-2007 01:12 AM

Hello Karson,

Please accept my apologies for the long post. Chemistry is a hobby of mine, so I tend to get excited about it, although it’s a sure cure for insomnia for most folks. The post is excerpted from an article I wrote for the British “Woodturning” Magazine a few years ago. Since I’m a lousy typist (my wife says I type with my elbows… She types over 140 WPM :-o), I try not to reinvent the wheel if possible.

I wrote articles for Woodturning magazine for a few years. They were the ONLY magazine that would let me publish in-depth technical articles. Most magazines want you to write for an 8th grade education level, I think woodturners and woodworkers are smarter than that… So I rarely write articles for magazines anymore. Since I have a website now, I tend to publish my articles online now.

Dadoo… Apologies for putting you to sleep.

Steve – I like your name! :-) Usually, Mineral oil is recommended for cutting boards. MO will not cure as it is a non-drying oil and will continually leach out with every washing, requiring periodic reapplication. It will also leave a mess on your countertops if you apply too much… Ick! The problem with cutting boards is that you cut on them, so any type of film finish is pretty much out of the question.

If you cut raw meat on your cutting board, it’s a good idea to perform a salt rub every so often to insure a sanitary surface. Wet the board slightly and pour salt all over it. Let it sit for an hour or so and wash it off. Many folks have switched to plastic boards for meat, but some purists prefer still prefer wood. I have Walnut oil on my cutting boards, which I reapply periodically. I just don’t care for Mineral oil…

Hutch – It depends on the specific finish. Some finishes labeled as “Tung Oil Finish” do not contain a single drop of Tung oil. Some have a small amount of TO, blended with other oils. Some are “Pure” 100% Tung oil. You have to be careful though because manufacturers and re-labelers seem to be able to call their finish almost anything these days, without repercussion. It’s false advertising, but unfortunately a common practice with some finishing companies.

You can request an MSDS sheet and see if Tung oil is in a particular finish, but even that is not a 100% guarantee it seems. If you’ve got a gawalop of cash, you can order a GCMS test, with supplemental flash point testing. This is pretty expensive though… You would know for sure though… :-) Take care and all the best to you and yours! I’ll retreat to my laboratory now and refrain from posting long responses… :-)

Steve Russell
The Woodlands, Texas

-- Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

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