Introduction: 100% Food Safe Home Made Wood Finish.

Picture of 100% Food Safe Home Made Wood Finish.

Hello everyone, I made my first salad bowl on the lathe and was searching for a low cost finish. I found a few different types that are 100% food safe they are mostly in-expensive but I am giving this bowl to my fathers nurse as a gift and I wanted to send her something with the bowl that she could apply herself.
The ingredients are as follows
1 part Beeswax
5 parts Mineral oil (I used CVS brand (make sure you go with "orderless and tasteless"))

I used a metal bowl inside of a pot and made a makeshift double boiler. Temp is not important. just make sure that when the water begins to boil lower the heat to a little more than simmer and do not use too much water.
The bowl should only "slightly" float until bottoming out in the pot of water.
after the bar of beeswax is melted stir it until it completely dissolves. then let it cool
It will harden to the consistency of chap-stick and smells wonderful. 

To use the finish simply wipe on the butcher block or any wood product that you want to be "food safe", then wipe off.


mechagen (author)2014-03-07

If I don't have mineral oil could I use a vegetable oil of some sort

flamekiller (author)mechagen2014-10-27

This is a late response, but don't use vegetable, or any other food based oils (e.g. olive oil) as it will go rancid. Mineral oil should be available at most any drugstore or grocery store.

mechagen (author)flamekiller2014-11-05

Thank you I haven't tried anything yet because I didn't know so again thank you.

ole383 (author)2013-12-27

Wow. Cool bowl!

rimar2000 (author)2011-12-26

Beautiful bowl!

Thanks for sharing your recipe.

SlickSqueegie (author)rimar20002011-12-27

Thank you! and your very welcome. Hopefully more instructables to come.

rimar2000 (author)SlickSqueegie2013-06-17

I have a doubt: is that mineral oil the same for babies?

SlickSqueegie (author)rimar20002013-06-17

Yes, on the bottle it says its a "digestive lubricant." No taste, nor smell.

rimar2000 (author)SlickSqueegie2013-06-18

OK, thanks. Last week I needed to finish for foods a wooden turned piece, and did not remember this instructable. Searching the web found that egg albumen hardens with the light after dry, becoming insoluble. I tried it, and it works! It shines a bit less than wax, but is nice too. Preparing it is very simple, you can churn the egg whites until stiff, to dissolve little lumps it has, or use it "as is", in many thinner coats. Each coat lasts two or four hours to dry, depending environment and thickness.

SlickSqueegie (author)rimar20002013-06-18

I had never heard of using egg whites as finish.. This finish on a spoon will see much heat and pretty much melt the finish... I doubt my finish is good in high temp use...

broken board (author)2013-03-27

Nice bowl.
Pity about, Na ill keep my negative comments to myself.

Self control, see, you should try it some time.

This is the internet fella, don't hold back! Gimme all you got!

Laral (author)2013-01-13

Very good. I found similar on Chowhound. But you, like they, don't specify whether parts by volume or by weight. I assume you and they mean volume but it is better to spell that out. Big difference. One suggestion. Both materials are of different densities so they will tend to separate when hot. I always put a hot mixture like this in the freezer for 5 minutes and stir the mixture and repeat until it starts to 'gel'. Then it's all right to remove from the freezer. I only had to do two 5-minute 'freezes' with this. BTW I added additional wax (by volume). Also, I microwaved it a minute at a time.

SlickSqueegie (author)Laral2013-01-13

your correct, I should have specified the exact recipe... If you add more mmineral oil, it will be a softer cure. if its less oil, you will have a harder cure.
Whats the reason you freeze it?

Laral (author)SlickSqueegie2013-01-13

Yes, I added more because I wanted a hard, thicker finish. The reason for semi-freezing it and then stirring it as it coagulates is so it will solidify quickly so it doesn't separate. The wax tends to float on top and skin up otherwise and you have an uneven mixture.

SlickSqueegie (author)Laral2013-01-14

This finish is not a "hard" finish... It is more of a protectant from water and from drying out....
It is not meant to protect against scratches....
Yeah, your mix will seperate if you have to much of the mineral oil, but if you find that is is forming a skin and seperating i guess your freeze and mix method would work nicely.... When you buy the food safe finish from the shelves, they are very liquidy. They use more mineral oil than wax... I like the fact that i can pour this warm mix into empty paste sticks. After it has hardened is will hold its shape untill i need it...

Laral (author)SlickSqueegie2013-01-14

Yeah well I was just referring to your "harder cure" above. It is not really that "hard" but it goes on thicker and shallower. You still haven't stated whether your ratio is by volume or by weight. I used a ratio of about 2:1 oil/wax by VOLUME and it still hasn't gotten hard enough to use in stick form even at 65F. I used small pellets of beeswax that I got from a woman on eBay.

SlickSqueegie (author)Laral2013-01-14

as you stated it was by volume I guess... I eyeballed the entire thing. I didnt use any spoons or measuring devices. I don't even remember the size block of beeswax I used.. If your mix (after cooling) is too runny, re-heat the mix, add more wax, let it cool... If its still to runny, Repeat... But in either case, get it heated enough, that there is no color to the mix (it should be clear While hot))... The beeswax I used was from "woodcraft" right next to the register. they are small blocks and probably more expensive than buying from an online supplier. I think i paid 3 dollars for mine. but you can see that it is almost completely submerged in oil (also note, It is not floating). I didn't stir it at all after taking it out of the boiling water. I let it sit on the counter for about an hour... you can see (in the other pic that it hardened and did not separate at all..

SlickSqueegie (author)Laral2013-01-14

You might have gotten the mixture too hot too... I hve never used the microwave for this, but i find it notoriously uneven heat... Heat up a bowl of chilli for a minute... The outsides will be bubbling, but the inside will be cold... If you mix it you spread the heat throughout and hope for an even temp... I would stick with the double boiler system as you can stir as it melts and no need for overheating...

Laral (author)SlickSqueegie2013-01-14

With a carousel, the heating is much more even. I have never had a problem with uneven heating or overheating. I just microwave for one minute at a time and stop when the wax melts. Simple.

SlickSqueegie (author)Laral2013-01-14

maybe I'm not understanding you then... I didn't have any separation issues when I made mine, It melted and dissolved completely to form a clear liquid until it cooled down... When my mix is at room temp either summer or winter, it is the same consistency as chapstic. It didn't separate as it cooled either...

killbox (author)2011-12-30

I just used beeswax and a heatgun. after two applications my wood tray looks great after about 2 years.

garret72 (author)2011-12-29

I have used the same recipe for wooden spoons, but found it needed to be reapplied to often. I have taken to using flax seed oil, basically food grade linseed oil. After applying a couple of good coats, I "cook" it in the oven at about 170 degrees until all the wet spots disappear. Works great I've found.

SlickSqueegie (author)garret722011-12-29

The difference being, the spoons are going to see a lot more water and liquids as well as heat so I would think they will require much more care. As far as the "salad bowl" I think this finish will hold up well. I have had many people tell me that they need to re-apply the "beeswax/mineral oil" finish about once a year to salad bowls seeing regular use. I researched the finish for this bowl quite a bit before I chose this recipe.
If you look at the food grade finishes/conditioners out there on the market shelves, they are 10Xs the price and they are the same exact ingredients with the addition of some having orange oil added for a good scent.

Time will tell I guess... Thanks for your input. Its definitely something to consider and look into for future use.

garret72 (author)SlickSqueegie2011-12-29

Ah, yes well that's true. The spoons will see a lot more moisture and heat. As for other conditioners, they are a little pricey. It really seems that these more simple solutions work the best for such things. Keep up the good work!

SlickSqueegie (author)garret722011-12-29

:) thanks

SlickSqueegie (author)2011-12-29

I wanted to add that, If you take an empty children's paste stick and pour the melted finish in the stick it will harden to the same consistency of chap-stick for easy application. I made a few of them for future applications and for the new bowl owner for future applications to further protect the wood.

About This Instructable




Bio: I've built houses, decks, custom cabinets, furniture of all types. Ive done furniture repair and restoration, residential and commercial remodels, restaurant seating and tables ... More »
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