Olive Oil For Food Safe Finish?

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Forum topic by phonewired posted 07-10-2008 02:32 PM 32731 views 3 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 4973 days

07-10-2008 02:32 PM

I made several breadboards and wanted to do a food safe finish. The lady I sold my first one to said she always uses olive oil on her food safe wood. Well, I have olive oil already, so would it work as well as a product that I would have to purchase for a food safe finish? I will be selling some of these to the public. What little I know about food safe oils is they need to cure for seveal days? Also, could the oil be cut with mineral spirits. Thanks again for all the help, Noel.

-- Noel, Iowa

21 replies so far

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4646 days

#1 posted 07-10-2008 02:45 PM

Vegetable oils can and will turn rancid over time. Contrary to belief, almost all finishes sold in America today are food safe after they have cured. The sniff test is the best way to check. Sniff the finish and if it has a chemical odder, it is not cured. If it has no odder, it is cured and food safe. If you check the label for butcher block or food safe finishes, most all contain varnishes of some sort. The manufacturer’s package it this way to create a “premium product” and turn a profit.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View BroDave's profile


107 posts in 4693 days

#2 posted 07-10-2008 02:58 PM

Mineral oil is the way to go on any wood that will come in contact with food. It is natural, edible and safe.
If you use anything thing else you are taking a chance on making someone very ill or killing them.

-- .

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4646 days

#3 posted 07-10-2008 03:25 PM

Check out this article and related links.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4647 days

#4 posted 07-10-2008 03:42 PM

don’t use olive oil because it would turn rancid. your best bet is to go with a salad bowl finish like this one from General Finishes. its more durable than mineral oil too.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4749 days

#5 posted 07-10-2008 03:54 PM

In my opinion mineral oil and olive oil are not finishes…they wet the wood ..about it…mineral doesnt turn rancid…unsure about the olive…a good drying oil..with some resin..seals the wood…thats what ya want..and it cures it is food safe…good drying oils are Arm R Seal..WAterlox..minwax polyoil..formbys tung oil..several coats and you are done..try this ..put mineral oil on a section .and a drying oil on another..wait 2 days..then wipe it with a water based dye ..or food color…see which one you think..I did a thing on youtube about this…not sure of the link..but its there .just do a charles neil search..and its called cutting board can see the test….....mineral oil is cheaper and easy to get….it just doesnt do anything as a finish..

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4749 days

#6 posted 07-10-2008 04:07 PM

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4870 days

#7 posted 07-10-2008 04:33 PM

I’ve been using Waterlox with great results. It penetrates & seals wonderfully.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1522 posts in 5003 days

#8 posted 07-10-2008 04:44 PM

Walnut oil doesn’t go rancid and cures hard. At least in my experience. If you serve to people with nut allergies you might have an issue, but I don’t have any evidence either way on that.

I use walnut oil on my food finishes rather than mineral oil because of the curing issue.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4566 days

#9 posted 07-10-2008 05:05 PM

I have used Mineral oil exclusively for about 15 years now….No problems at all with it and it is very inexpensive…About $2 / pint at my local WalMart pharmacy…..I always apply it at least four times over a week to ensure that the wood has absorbed what it will before giving it to my customer. Pay attention to the end grain as it sucks up the finish very quickly. I have been told to try some Waterlox sometime , but at $21 / quart @ WoodCraft , it might be a very long while : ) The main difference is that the Mineral Oil does not dry and is so easy to reapply as needed .( My customers can do it themselves as Min Oil is readily available , versus trying to have them find Waterlox , etc.. ) FOOD SAFE / Does not turn rancid : ) NO ALLERGIES as with Walnut Oil ….I can’t even smell that stuff with out having an asthma attack : (
Happy Boarding to you and be sure to post your projects : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4700 days

#10 posted 07-10-2008 05:33 PM

I agree with Trifern. Any finish you put on projects that comes in contact with food, once cured out, will be just fine. This includes varnishes, polyurethane, shellac, tung oil and mineral and the various other penetrating oils. I would ten to avoid natural oils, such as vegetable oil, due to the fact that they will decompose and become rancid with time.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View blackdogwoodshop's profile


72 posts in 4606 days

#11 posted 07-10-2008 05:52 PM

Looks like you have all covered this well. Olive oil will eventually turn rancid. Use mineral oil for great results!

-- Daniel, Southern Indiana -- "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." --

View Joey's profile


276 posts in 4694 days

#12 posted 07-11-2008 03:55 AM

i build cutting boards and cooking utensils, i started out using mineral oil, but i always got complaints that the “finish” wouldn’t hold up. Mineral oil washes off when you wash the utensil. I’ve found that salad bowl finish is very durable, and you can get it at woodcraft. It’s a type of poly that is food safe after it has cured for 3 days.
I’ve used tung oil and walnut oil, both are good products, but when people here the word nut they associated that with nut allergies.
I’ve talked to a doctor friend and people that have nut allergies, usually peanut, aren’t allergic to walnut or tung oil. Peanuts are not really nuts and are not even in the same family as walnuts.
but to cure the problem, i’ve stuck with salad bowl finish. 2 coats and it holds up.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms

View Rob 's profile


216 posts in 4546 days

#13 posted 07-11-2008 04:21 AM

I use mineral oil on my cutting boards. It does need to be reapplied frequently, about once a month or so. I don’t believe it is a natural product but rather it is made from petroleum. I’ve not used shellac but I hear it is fine with food and in fact they will coat produce with it as a preservative of sorts.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5205 days

#14 posted 07-11-2008 04:34 AM

this one has come up before, and it looks like we’ve paid attention. Olive oil is great for the kitchen, but not for woodworking, it doesn’t even hold up well to high heat in cooking. (Don’t bother cooking with Extra Virgin, it breaks down, use regular olive oil to cook, but break out the extra virgin for dressings, sauces, or just to drizzle on after, but I digress).

Walnut oil is the only food oil that will cure, and it won’t go rancid. Great for turning…

the allergy thing shouldn’t be a problem, turns out the allergens in peanuts aren’t found in peanut oil (hence the movie theatre near me that uses peanut oil for it’s popcorn – delicious!)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View phonewired's profile


43 posts in 4973 days

#15 posted 07-11-2008 04:48 AM

Thank you all for all the information!! Great, Noel.

-- Noel, Iowa

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