Did I ruin a few of weeks work?

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Forum topic by awsum55 posted 01-14-2021 01:20 PM 692 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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835 posts in 1480 days

01-14-2021 01:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: briwax danish oil

I made some candy dispensers and I really liked they way they came out. I made them as Christmas gifts but they are still sitting in my shop. I made the mistake of using Danish Oil and then after a few days I waxed them with Briwax.

I thought all worked well and just to be sure I filled a jar with M&M’s and told my wife and son to use it to make sure everything worked as expected. They used it maybe a half dozen times and all seemed fine. The next day my son went to get some M&M’s and he said they smell terrible.

The fumes from the oil or wax got trapped in the jar overnight and the first handful of candy smelled awful. I figured maybe the finish isn’t really cured so emptied it and I let them sit for another week, but they still smelled bad.

I had my wife put them in the oven to speed up the curing process. She first did them for an hour at 175º because that was the lowest setting on the oven. They still smelled, so a couple of days later she did it again, but it didn’t get rid of the smell. One more shot, but no go. So now it’s been over 6-8 weeks since they were finished, spent a few hours in the oven and the smell is still there.

The last thing I tried was to use alcohol to wipe down everything I could reach, thinking that it might remove the Briwax if that was what was causing the smell (because it contains toluene), but that didn’t take away the smell.

Not sure what I was thinking, I should have used mineral oil. At first I thought about using lacquer, but I was afraid the finish could chip off, so I figured oil would be safer. I just thought what ever I used would eventually dry and the smell would go away.

I attached the top and bottom with screws in case I had to take them apart to make sure they worked correctly. However I then covered the screws with a diamond shaped plug that sits proud of the top. I can always drill out the plug and remove the screws, but putting it back together without damaging anything will be difficult.

Does anyone have any ideas that might save these things.

-- John D, OP, KS

19 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2818 posts in 1135 days

#1 posted 01-14-2021 01:47 PM

photos in situations like this will always get you the most accurate replies.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Redoak49's profile


5025 posts in 2961 days

#2 posted 01-14-2021 01:51 PM

For something like this, I use shellac.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6737 posts in 3465 days

#3 posted 01-14-2021 01:59 PM

The Briwax isn’t causing your problem, it’s the linseed oil in your finish. You might let them sit until next Christmas and then try them (seriously) and you might possibly be able to seal it with shellac. Mineral doesn’t cure and I’m not sure I would want it in contact with hard candy coatings, it might dissolve them a little. That’s a guess and you could try it and see. But in their current form, I’d say you ruined a few weeks work.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Lazyman's profile


6339 posts in 2359 days

#4 posted 01-14-2021 02:02 PM

If I had to guess, it is the Briwax that is the problem? It can take a long time for the smell to dissipate. I would try using alcohol to remove the wax. To go full food safe use Everclear or some other consumable alcohol. Then sand it, wipe it one more time with alcohol and then apply shellac for the finish. Mix your own shellac. Shellac is sometimes used in food. In fact, I would not be surprised if the M&Ms have a coat of shellac on them to make them shiny. It is sometimes called a confectioners’ glaze.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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4383 posts in 2194 days

#5 posted 01-14-2021 03:29 PM

That is a common statement about drawers too. Any oil will leave a lingering odor forever when closed up like a drawer, so shellac is the simple solution.

You might be able to seal the oiled surface with shellac (after removing the wax with most any solvent).

Shellac will make wood grain/color pop much like oil so not knowing the amount of work involved, i’d consider really giving them a good wash down with lacquer thinner to remove as much oil as possible. Let them dry (indoors) for a few days then apply shellac.

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8258 posts in 1684 days

#6 posted 01-14-2021 03:50 PM

the Danish oil is the problem you would be better to make them over and use shellac :<((((

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View stripit's profile


128 posts in 3016 days

#7 posted 01-14-2021 04:02 PM

Hi, I use watco on evething I make, including candy dispendencer, and never had a problem. I thin it maybe the bees wax. I have had boxes that a smell in them beffore finisning, I sprayed them with Febreze and the smell went away.

-- Joel, People ask what I make. I tell them I make sawdust, and now and then a nice box or frame,or clock, or lamp pops out.

View OSU55's profile


2714 posts in 2961 days

#8 posted 01-14-2021 04:08 PM

I use oil based poly in similar situations. Thinned 1:1 and applied the same as do. It does take a month or so for the smell to dissipate. The poly cures faster than the do. Using an oven or cardboard box with light bulb and vent holes, does help oil or poly finishes cure faster. Shellac resolves the smell issue but isnt as durable which may not be as issue. Another option is one of the hardwax oil products – no driers so they are foodsafe before cured, and some have a nice smell.

View SMP's profile (online now)


3189 posts in 878 days

#9 posted 01-14-2021 04:19 PM

Briwax with toluene can take a few months to off gas enough where it doesn’t make me nauseous. I actually had to stop using it because of this.

View CWWoodworking's profile


1344 posts in 1151 days

#10 posted 01-14-2021 05:26 PM

Sand it all off and don’t use any finish on the inside. It’s not like it will rot without it.

View awsum55's profile


835 posts in 1480 days

#11 posted 01-15-2021 06:34 AM

I want to thank everyone for the suggestions and it seems shellac is the answer to my problem (well one of my problems anyway). I’ve never tried shellac before and after watching some videos it looks like that might do the trick. It seems very easy to use and it drys fast, that sounds good to me.

I guess I’ll rub them down with lacquer thinner the best I can. Most videos mentioned using dewaxed shellac in flake form or premixed.

I read that it doesn’t leave brush marks and it can be reactivated with more denatured alcohol if necessary. This really does sound like I might be able to save them. Thanks and I’ll let you know if it works in a few days.

-- John D, OP, KS

View Lazyman's profile


6339 posts in 2359 days

#12 posted 01-15-2021 03:26 PM

Note that the Zinsser Shellac is not dewaxed, though the natural wax in it is not the same as the paste wax you applied so may not be a big deal. You have to find their shellac based SealCoat for the dewaxed version for a dewaxed product. Note that they seem to be ramping down or maybe discontinuing the shellac based SealCoat. I cannot find it in my area and online it is extremely expensive. They now sell other types of product under the SealCoat trademark/brand. Your best bet may be to mix your own from flakes.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Ocelot's profile


2796 posts in 3610 days

#13 posted 01-15-2021 03:39 PM

I was going to suggest shellac as well. I’ve heard it’s also good for the insides of furniture that has been fouled by mice in storage – seals all the bad odors in.

As for the price of shellac, the flakes are maybe $30/lb but go a long way and last a long time.

It is an old-fashioned product, like silk, made by insects, so you can imagine the production process is labor intensive – not counting the labor of the lac bugs.


-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View awsum55's profile


835 posts in 1480 days

#14 posted 01-15-2021 04:47 PM

I found these and I think they are the same product but it’s always hard to tell because the descriptions don’t match. One says oil based, but I thought that because they tell you to use denatured alcohol to thin shellac, it should be alcohol based.

-- John D, OP, KS

View tbone's profile


320 posts in 4656 days

#15 posted 01-15-2021 05:03 PM

As a side note—Can you guess what is used to make that candy coating for many of the popular candies?

The answer is shellac

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

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