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Thread: Baby Safe for a crib

  1. #1

    Baby Safe for a crib

    I'm building a crib and changing table for a baby on the way. I'm trying to figure out a good safe finish, I would prefer a hand applied oil finish to lacquer or poly. The material is mostly walnut and it will have a few Cherry accents, finishing the wood "clear" rather than staining anything.

    What does the collective brain trust think?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    All the wood finishes you can buy in the US now are not toxic after they're cured. (Lead paint is poisonous after it is cured, but it has been banned in the US for decades.)

    Me, I like varnish on cherry and walnut. I like the color. Also, good ol' solvent-based varnish is just about the toughest finish you can apply without wearing hazmat gear. The reason that varnish is not used on production-line furniture is that a coat takes a day or so to cure, so multiple coats would pretty much kill the production line. I like applying varnish in the wipe-on technique. I think that would be what you mean by hand-applied. Minwax sells a varnish thinned to wipe-on viscosity called Wipe-on Poly. And Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish is also wipe-on viscosity.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Shy away from shellac.
    Shellac is 100% non-toxic when it's dry, but, it's very prone to fail when exposed to ammonia.

    Infants are little "ammonia factories".

    A barrier coat of wax won't do much good either since ammonia is tough on wax as it is on shellac.

    I've been very impressed with the MinWax Oil Based water cleanup poly.
    It "pops" the grain of Cherry and Walnut, but, it doesn't have the long dry times and/or odor of the straight oil based product.

    I've been using a foam brush more or less like a sponge and wiping it on instead of brushing it.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  4. #4
    Is Waterlox Original a finish that can be "touched" easily. From what I've heard junior will try to eat his crib.

    Thoughts on walnut oil as a finish? My primary concern would be if the baby is allergic to nuts and secondly, drying. It seams the times I've used walnut oil, it takes a good while to dry and in some instances always seems to leave a bit of a film that doesn't go away.

    Not horrible but noticeable I suppose.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Gaskin View Post
    Is Waterlox Original a finish that can be "touched" easily. From what I've heard junior will try to eat his crib.

    Thoughts on walnut oil as a finish? My primary concern would be if the baby is allergic to nuts and secondly, drying. It seams the times I've used walnut oil, it takes a good while to dry and in some instances always seems to leave a bit of a film that doesn't go away.

    Not horrible but noticeable I suppose.


    I don't know what you mean by a finish being touched easily. In a crib, any finish you use is going to be touched.

    Straight oil finishes don't provide a lot of protection for the wood. They're better than nothing, but if you leave water or baby-goo on the surface for hours, you may see damage. In contrast, a proper varnish finish would not be affected.

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