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Customers perception of a food safe finish.

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Glenn Lefley, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    We’ve all heard the line that all finishes are food safe when they have fully cured. Even nitrocellulose lacquer. But for all the makers and sellers out there, what do your customers perceive as a food safe finish. Is it strictly a finish you could actually eat while wet ie walnut oil, or do they actually really believe they can eat there cereal out of an epoxy coated bowl? Do they really believe Mulroney walnut oil will not give them a nut allergic reaction.

    what do you use as a food safe finish on turned goods.

    and secondly, woods such as cocobolo, that have natural oils in them that can cause severe reactions, what finish would you put on them to be food safe? Shellac? Or do you just steer clear of those woods. I’ve heard A story of a duck call maker getting sued by Client for a cocobolo call which was waxed and when wore off. The hunter had a severe reaction.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  2. odie

    odie

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    Similar questions about "food safe" finishing, wood types, and nut oils, used for bowls and utensils come up from time to time........and, it appears as though there isn't a way to produce wooden food bowls and utensils that are completely safe for absolutely everyone.....completely without risk of any kind. o_O

    There is a market for salad bowls, and kitchen utensils. From my POV, this is especially true among the vegetarian and vegan crowd......but, not exclusive to that group. There is a certain appeal to wooden bowls and utensils, that other materials don't have, and that's what creates the market for them.

    That being said, and in answer to the question.....I am using fully cured Danish oil natural for my salad bowls, plus a lemon oil preservative over that. I make very few salad bowls, and I feel vulnerable when I do, specifically because of the risks involved. My intentions are to eventually phase out salad bowls completely, but I do have a few blocks of wood that would make great salad bowls......so, will make a limited number of them in the future.

    Too bad about all this......but, some people feel the courts can be used to sue and get rich quick......:eek:

    -----odie-----
     
  3. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    Nitrocellulose (like shellac) is on the FDA GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list as both a packaging and food ingredient, so it's not just in the category of "all clear dried finishes are safe", but rather in the much smaller group of things explicitly approved for food use and even consumption. (A higher standard than your morning breakfast cereal meets).
     
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  4. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    So how do you market something that the state of California has banned , but we know it is food safe?
     
  5. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    I doubt there is any finish (or wood) that does not carry a Prop 65 warning, so I expect it's a pretty level playing field. If you look closely your lathe and turning tools probably also carry a Prop 65 warning.

    If CA has banned something it's probably the solvent it's dissolved in, not the nitrocellulose per se. (I haven't looked it up)
     
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  6. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Well, some times it can depend on what you put in the bowl or on the platter. Just about every thing that is 'cold' will probably be fine. However, hot and wet foods can pick up stuff from the wood, including wood toxins, like with the cocobolo or even walnut. Also, I was chatting with a woman at a show once who was sensitive to the driers in the Danish oil type finishes. They are supposed to be 'food safe' after 10 or so days, when most of the off gassing is done, and at 30 days, there is pretty much no off gassing happening. She said that she was still sensitive to those finished after that time. Hard to tell some times, but I will stick with walnut oil. I figure if you can eat it straight out of the can/bottle, it is probably fine. If you can't, I won't put it on my products.

    robo hippy
     
  7. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    I use walnut oil on most of the bowls I make and give away for kitchen use. We use bowls all the time for salads, hot and cold cereal, etc. I tell folks how to refresh with walnut oil. Gosh, if we couldn’t use the bowls... I’d hate to make wooden bowls and then rely on pottery to eat from. Sometimes I feel ambivalent when my wife asks me if she can serve something from a bowl that I think of as particularly beautiful, but then I think of the wooden bowls that have been in the family for generations - we have a bread dough bowl that was her grandmother’s- and I say go for it. Bowls I think of as just showpieces I’ll danish oil and then wax.
     
    odie likes this.
  8. Joe Kaufman

    Joe Kaufman

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    As a CA resident I frequently see the stick on labels with the Prop 65 warnings. I have 2 plastic containers of Mahoney’s WO Finish that were purchased at Rockler or WoodCraft. They have the stick on Prop 65 labels. My last purchase of WO was a direct purchase from Mike Mahoney and does not have the stick on labels or any warning as part of Mike’s product label. Four bottles of Stick Fast CA Glue and one has the label. My perception is that the local retailer determines the need for the stick on Prop 65 labels.

    Three Lumber Yards that I use have the warning ‘wood dust is known to state of CA to cause cancer’ and describes how to avoid it as part of the invoice. At other retailers I have occasionally noted individual boards with the stick on labels.

    In the case of using Mahoney’s WO finish on a bowl that you are selling, do you follow the manufacturer of the product or the retailer?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  9. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    I use walnut oil and when asked tell them what I use and that it's food safe. I encourage folks to use my bigger bowls as salad bowls and smaller ones as cereal bowls. I tell them natural edge bowls are still food safe but not intended for that use - who would? When I ask just about all of them have a wooden cutting board and use it all the time so I tell them to treat it the same way. It takes maintenance over time unless it's on the mantle with fake apples in it. I sometimes make wooden utensils - spatulas, big forks, spoons, etc and tell them the same thing. Again, they probably have one already that they bought at WalMart so using wooden utensils is something they should be used to. My web and Etsy site as well as the care pamphlets I give all customers explains that it's wood and can be used and requires care. Very very low risk in my opinion. Net, I don't fret over it.
     
  10. Joe Kaufman

    Joe Kaufman

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    I carefully read the full Prop 65 stick-on label on the Mahoney's WO.

    WARNING: CANCER AND REPRODUCTIVE HARM - www.P65warnings.ca.gov

    I had assumed the label was addressing the contents of the container - walnut oil.

    In the body of the text - WARNING: Drilling, sawing, sanding or machining wood products can expose you to wood dust a substance known to the state of California to cause cancer." Following with the personal protection to use.

    Was curious about sandpaper. I have several 20 job packs of Norton 3X sandpaper. No warning on box or or individual sheets. I have one box of 3M sandpaper and the warning is on the box. Now I know why I preferred Norton 3X.;)
     
  11. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    So if you live in California, use norton 3x your whole life and get cancer. Your wife could get rich? Is that what your saying!
     
  12. Dave Landers

    Dave Landers

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    Wood is a lot tougher and durable than we generally give it credit for. Humans were eating and and drinking from wooden ware since long before there was a store where you could buy a can of finish.

    I don't worry about the finish on a bowl or plate that I use. Just use it and wash it by hand. (And be aware of what you're putting in it - like don't use a wormy-ash bowl for salad with dressing unless you want to spend an hour cleaning out the worm holes). A used piece will develop a character and patina from it's use: scratches, dents, colors, etc. It becomes part of the history of that piece (as does any "refinishing" that you might do).

    I use walnut oil (Mahoney's), and tell my customers that. Also tell them that I made the bowl with the idea that they'd use it. And that they can refresh it occasionally with walnut oil from the grocery store... if they want to.
     
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  13. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Everything causes cancer in California.
    How about furnishing the MSDS info with your turning that is coated for food use? Old wooden ware wasn't coated, I don't think. Just had to worry about splinters and termites.
     
  14. Joe Kaufman

    Joe Kaufman

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    No just trying to be funny. The label is addressing wood dust. Someone has decided that the application of walnut oil may expose Californians to wood dust. Roger Wiegand is probably correct in that everything associated with woodworking could be labeled. Maybe I should post a large Prop 65 label on the garage doors to try to protect from lawsuits. "Entering may expose you to wood dust a substance known to the state of California to cause cancer."
     
  15. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    Will walnut oil from the grocery store go rancid. I thought mahoneys walnut oil was a heat processed oil to remove the proteins so it can’t go rancid, and the grocery store stuff will go rancid. Is this correct or is all walnut oil safe to use on turnings?
     
  16. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    Walnut oil is a polymerizing oil. like tung oil. It doesn't get rancid. Rancidity is primarily caused by free radical induced oxidation of double bonds in unsaturated fatty acids resulting in ketones and aldehydes with unpleasant odors and flavors. Presence or absence of proteins is pretty much irrelevant to the process, though you probably want to remove proteins for other reasons. I believe most food oils are processed in a way that does that to preserve clarity and reduce bacterial spoilage.

    A big problem with grocery store oil in the US is knowing what is actually in the bottle since our food purity laws are so lax. Just as much of the fancy olive oil sold in the US is counterfeit, I wouldn't necessarily trust that any more expensive oil hasn't been cut with or completely substituted with a cheaper oil.

    I've used grocery store walnut oil for decades on our big butcher block island top without problems, when I get a new bottle every few years I test it to be sure that it dries before using it. Smear some on a piece of glass and let it sit for a couple days out in the air and it should dry down (or at least get very sticky); corn or canola oil won't do that over that period of time.
     
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  17. Dave Landers

    Dave Landers

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  18. R Henrickson

    R Henrickson

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    A crucial aspect of this question is "customer perceptions". These may be contrary to fact, but they are 'facts' to the customer. Trying to change those convictions may well be a pointless exercise.
     
    odie likes this.
  19. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I think the grocery store 'salad' walnut oils are heat treated, but not the same way as the bowl finish walnut oils. I am pretty sure there are a number of different heat treating methods, and some are even pasteurized.

    robo hippy
     
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  20. Claudio Feler

    Claudio Feler

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    I have been using walnut oil followed by walnut wax....but being a newbie this may be too simplistic....
     
  21. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    Is polymerized tung oil safety similar to walnut oil in the sense they're both nut based?
     
  22. Lars Hansen

    Lars Hansen

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    Nope! Tung is not a nut (sic!)
    Lars
     
  23. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Not sure I understand your post

    should I trust Siri?

    A4CBB1FD-83DE-4C3D-8AA2-DF9DF92474E7.jpeg
     
  24. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    It's not really a nut, from what I understand the oil comes from the seed inside, which is actually not a nut like a peanut a walnut, more like a pit, like you'd find in a peach or plum.
     
  25. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I’m with Robo, if the intended use is food I use Walnut oil from Mike Mahoney. Then I do not have to explain my theory that everything is safe when cured.
     
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  26. Lars Hansen

    Lars Hansen

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    @hockenbery.
    Russel's got it right. The tung tree or shrub is a nut only by (popular) name. Not related to peanuts, walnut etc. and the allergy issues associated with nuts.
    My step daughter's name is Siri and she's the only Siri I trust.

    Lars
     
  27. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    I thought this was interesting, and new information to me. I'm glad the oil extraction and purification process works as well as it does!:

    "The tung tree is poisonous in all of its parts, including the fruit and the seeds, although some parts of the tree have been used for medicinal purposes in the past. According to the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, just one seed from the fruit can be fatal, and other symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, and slowed breathing. The leaves can also give a rash similar to that from poison ivy.[9]"
     
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  28. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

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    I have used Mahoney's Walnut oil for decades and have made and sold literally thousands of bowls for food use. Have not had one complaint yet
     
  29. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Hmm, well, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes, but we still call it a nut.

    I prefer the walnut oil products from the Doctor's Woodshop. I like his wax mix better, and he is from Oregon. I don't really know if there is any real difference between his and Mike's. Probably not enough difference to matter.

    robo hippy
     
  30. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    It's interesting that there once was a thriving tung oil industry in the south. I wasn't aware of that. https://www.waterlox.com/tung-oil/what-is-tung-oil
     
  31. Lars Hansen

    Lars Hansen

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    @Roger: Scary.
    I use pure Tung oil as a finish but according to rumours, the process of extracting the oil involves some nasty chemicals and agressive solvents. Can't confirm or link to solid facts, but my next supply will be bought where I can read trustworthy documentation.
     
  32. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    Wiki. Says tung oil is extracted from the seed of the nut of the tung tree!
     
  33. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    No rumours. It’s extracted by using acetone and methanol. And then the solvents etc are distilled back out to have tung oil left. A nasty non environmental friendly process for sure.
     
  34. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    Ok. You be right and I'll be me.
     
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  35. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    I never disagreed with you. I said wiki said! It’s amazing all the info out there in wiki, Siri etc that people take to be the bible that is not totally true. Also, I believe lee valley sells a true Tung oil that is totally pure and not derived from the patented solvent extract system.
     
  36. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    So is polymerized tung oil from Lee Valley comparable to walnut oil regarding safety? My same question without the nut part. :)
     
  37. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Once it has cured it is food safe.
    Walnut oil is used as a salad dressing so you can eat the walnut oil you get from the grocery store.

    I would not recommend ingesting the lee valley tung oil while it is a liquid.
     
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