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There are many different products to finish your projects with. What types are food safe and what should one look out for when finishing a project that needs to be food safe?

  • Why are you asking this here? Are you trying to get another approach? – Matt Apr 26 '16 at 19:56
  • @Matt did I ask it on WW? It was one of my example questions I had for this proposal. – bowlturner Apr 26 '16 at 19:58
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    I feel like the question exists on WW but I have not looked. I just figured it is a better fit for WW so that is why I was curious. – Matt Apr 26 '16 at 19:59
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    This question is related, but there are enough hits for food safe on woodworking to make me wonder if it might have been useful as a tag there. I think the question is too broad with the woodworking part edited out. Keep in mind that, just because a question is a good fit elsewhere, doesn't mean we can't welcome it here. – JTL Apr 26 '16 at 20:11
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    @JTL as far as I know, meta has been up as long as the main site. – Catija Apr 28 '16 at 13:00
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There are many different kinds of finishes that are food safe. It turns out most finishes once dried or cured are food safe to one level or another.

Most finishes that cure are only food safe after they have finished curing which, sometimes can take quite a while, days, weeks, for some months.

Many of the food oil finishes are very food safe, peanut and walnut oils for example. However, these are not hypoallergenic, since people with nut oils can react to the finish in the wood. Though people with extreme allergies could even react to the walnut wood itself.

Natural waxes are excellent food safe finishes that are also hypoallergenic. Bees wax is a good one and apparently paraffin is also a good one, even recommended for cutting boards, which means with the knife in contact with the top it, you are sure to get some mixed in with the food.

My favorite wax is Carnuba wax, it is claimed to be the most hypoallergenic wax out there and it is also the strongest/toughest natural wax known.

4

Most waxes and oils are, in themselves, food safe in indeed may of them are in fact food ingredients. The complication is that products used for finishing may contain additives and solvents which are potentially toxic although solvents, which by their nature disappear once the finish is cured tend to be less of a issue than drying agents.

The best advice is to look for products which are specifically sold as being food safe this can be confirmed by checking their safety data sheets.

Solid waxes are generally fine as are are unadulterated plant derived oils such as tung oil and linseed (flax) oil.

Paraffin and carnuba waxes are routinely used as coatings and release agents for confectionery etc.

You get food grade finishing ingredients in raw (eg oils and waxes) form fairly easily from craft and catering suppliers as they are widely used in confectionery and cosmetics and blend these to make the type of finish you want.

Alternatively many wood finish brand have specifically food safe products as there is clearly a high demand for fruit bowls, chopping boards etc.

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When turning wood, I use paraffin blocks to finish the projects. I hold a solid block against the turning piece and make sure that everything is coated. Then I take a clean cloth and buff the turning piece up. The only downside in my opinion is that it doesn't penetrated the wood very deep this way.

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    The other answer already mentions several waxes that can be used. – Matt Jun 23 '16 at 14:13
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    This answer might be better as a comment on the existing answer as a show of agreement from somebody with experience. – BeaglesEnd Jun 23 '16 at 15:21
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    @BeaglesEnd While the other answer mentions paraffin, it does not explain anything about how to use it or the possible downsides. This seems like a reasonable answer on its own. – Catija Jun 23 '16 at 15:36
  • @Catija Point taken. Maybe the practical application of the paraffin wax could be expanded, and formatted, to differentiate from the current top rated answer? – BeaglesEnd Jun 23 '16 at 15:42
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    @BeaglesEnd Certainly :D Improvements to existing answers are always welcome. – Catija Jun 23 '16 at 15:48

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