Reply by Rich

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Posted on Finishing advice

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6525 posts in 1598 days

#1 posted 06-27-2018 04:44 PM

If going to have food contact see my blog and link. If merely decorative or constant use have lot of options.

- Wildwood

Here we go again…

I respect that some have passionate feelings about things like this, but it doesn’t make it true. I posted this to the Danish Oil thread where disinformation was also being spread about the dangers of solvents in finishes and contact with food:


They’re solvents. They evaporate. They are listed on safety sheets because they can be harmful to the person applying the finish. That’s why we wear respirators when we apply volatile finishes. They are not a danger once the finish is fully cured.

Don’t you think that if a mainstream product like GF salad bowl finish could cause any harm, we’d have heard about it? It’s been around for years. It, and products like it, are used on countless wooden food service products that are sold commercially.

Consider this from a well-known finishing authority:

In fact, all finishes are safe to eat off of or be chewed on once the finish has fully cured. The rule of thumb for curing is 30 days, but warm conditions make curing happen faster. With all solvent-based finishes, you can determine that a finish has cured sufficiently by pressing your nose against the dry finish and sniffing. If there is any odor, the finish isn’t yet cured. Only if you can’t smell anything is the object safe for food or mouth contact.

Flexner, Bob. Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select and Apply the Right Finish (American Woodworker) (p. 76). Fox Chapel Publishing. Kindle Edition.

And this:

■ No Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), required by the government to list all hazardous or toxic effects of a product, warns against contact with food or children’s mouths for any oil or varnish finish, or for any other finish.

■ The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists all common driers as safe for food contact as long as the finish is made properly— that is, as long as the finish cures. (The FDA doesn’t “approve” of finishes as some manufacturers claim. The FDA approves of ingredients and sets rules for testing that a finish cures properly.)

■ You have never heard of anyone (adult or child) being poisoned by contact with a cured clear finish. If someone had been poisoned, you can bet it would have made the news!

Let’s finally put this myth to bed and use other, more legitimate, criteria for choosing a finish.

Flexner, Bob. Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select and Apply the Right Finish (American Woodworker) (p. 76). Fox Chapel Publishing. Kindle Edition.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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