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Thread: Salve for Wood Bowls

  1. #1

    Salve for Wood Bowls

    I have always used 4 parts mineral oil to 1 part beeswax. Is the mineral oil really necessary, one additional cost to skip? I have also heard of a mixture of beeswax and coconut oil. So, I would appreciate comments on firs the use of mineral oil and second what formulation you use - components and ratio. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Norristown, Pa
    Posts
    248
    Howard,
    I use bees wax for salad bowls from leevalley. It is a mixture of oil and wax. I have also used plain mineral oil from drug store. Made a cutting board for friend and they used straight MO from DS. Just needs refreshed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    FINGER LAKES AREA , CENTRAL NEW YORK STATE
    Posts
    59
    have a look at this stuff. I use Tried & True Original Traditional which is linseed oil and bees wax. We bought a quart it was around $40.00 I think but it looks like it will last for a million bowls as it takes very little finish to cover a large bowl. Food safe , 3 simple coats and a little buffing with a soft cloth and you get a buttery soft smooth finish that is almost fool proof.
    They have several finish choices here is the home page link https://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com and a you tube link from a bowl turner who demonstrates the product https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQazOEwCPEg&t=45s
    mike calabrese

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    11,774
    Quote Originally Posted by Howard gorm View Post
    I have always used 4 parts mineral oil to 1 part beeswax. Is the mineral oil really necessary, one additional cost to skip? I have also heard of a mixture of beeswax and coconut oil. So, I would appreciate comments on firs the use of mineral oil and second what formulation you use - components and ratio. Thanks
    Might depend on your application and the type of wood. For example, for things made from eastern red cedar I often use pure beeswax from my hives and apply with or without heat from a small heat gun. The heat will gently melt the wax and cause it to be absorbed deeper into the wood, changing the color to darker at the same time.

    With heat:
    cedar_bowl_figured.jpg

    Without heat:
    bottom_IMG_4687.jpg

    Also, some info from others. The first is from a gentleman who experimented with various formulas after I sent him some beeswax:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    B.W.: His final formula
    Mixed the wax with BLO
    40% wax/60% BLO.
    Added a splash of EV olive oil to retard any drying from the BLO.
    Mixture seems to be top notch.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    K.B.: Friction polish

    4 oz -- Zinser Bullseye clear Shellac
    2 oz Denatured Alcohol
    of a small bar of bees wax. The bar of wax is about a 1 inch square by 4 inch long (heat and let cool to warm before adding) I usually heat this I a small glass dish in a pan of water for a double boiler. Heat till was it melted and let cool to just warm condition before adding.
    2 Tablespoon of clear mineral oil

    Mix and shake well.
    I usually make up a double batch of this in a large mason jar and I will let this mixture sit for a week and shake it each day before using in on wood. This will allow for the wax and the solvents to combine and even

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    P.F.: Here is one to try, I have been using it for almost 10 years now with great success. Food safe and the Walnut Oil from the Food Store is apparently not allergenic.

    In a small pot on low heat:
    add 8oz of Walnut Oil, 3oz Bees Wax and about 1/2oz of Carnuba Wax. Let it dissolve and cool a little, then pour into a wide mouth (jam jar). Let cool completely and it should be a little harder than Vaseline in the jar. Adjustments are easy if you want another consistency.

    Apply with a small square of terry towel to bowls, cutting boards, DropSpindles etc. for a nice soft sheen, natural feeling and safe.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    JKJ

  5. #5
    What is the objective? Sorry, not familiar with "salve" in discussion of bowl finishes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, Australia
    Posts
    227
    ~

    For salad bowls - straight pharmaceutical grade mineral oil. Gloss will increase with successive coats. More suited to pieces that are expected to come in contact with water, but can't be handled until dry, so take up more workshop space/chucks, etc. than wax finish.

    For everything else - beeswax + a sprinkling of carnauba wax + enough pine turpentine oil for your preferred consistency + 1/2 teaspoon of rotten stone (tripoli) in a small jam pot. The carnauba leaves a harder durable surface. The pine turpentine allows the mix to penetrate and is volatile so very quickly evaporates to allow the wax to set. The turpentine has a pleasant smell but don't get too high on it! I wear an mask when using it. The rotten stone is an abrasive that is finer than the grit levels most of us go up to (+ #1,000) and helps to cut back and spread any prematurely setting wax during application and polishing.

    That beeswax mix leaves a slightly glossy finish that gallery customers prefer, but the gloss does come down over time. I personally prefer a more matt/matte finish, but I'm not buying my own pieces!

    I've been using that mix for decades and haven't felt the need to change it. I turn the outside of a piece with a completed foot, apply and polish the wax finish on the outside and immediately re-chuck to turn the inside. When the polish is done on the inside... the piece done!

    The mix sets quickly so you need to work quickly with it,
    but you can juggle the mix to suit your own preferences.

    The main advantage of this wax finish is that it is very quick to get to the stage where it can be handled.
    It's major disadvantage is that it marks with water spots and that is why I use the mineral oil on pieces that are expected to come in contact with water.


    IMG_3940.JPG
    Mineral oil finish
    two coats



    Qld Maple - 12in.jpg
    Wax mix finish
    one coat



    103b6.jpg
    The wax mix can be
    adjusted for a more
    matt finish


    Last edited by Neil Strong; 05-28-2022 at 11:18 PM.
    Neil

    About the same distance from Steve S heading East or West.

    It's easy to see the Dunning-Kruger Effect in others, but a bit of a conundrum when it comes to yourself...



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    3,024
    The mineral oil is there mostly to make the wax easier to spread. Depending on which molecular weight range of mineral oil you are using it will, sooner or later, evaporate-- longer chain (labeled as "heavy mineral oil") oils will last a lot longer. I'm not sure where the drug/grocery store oils fall in the range of volatility, I think they are generally on the light side.

    Anyway, after a few years what is left is the wax.

  8. #8
    Only used mineral oil and bee's wax for the first year or two of bowl making. Now I use the walnut oil mix from The Doctor's Woodshop. Heat processed walnut oil and 'microagregated' carnuba wax. Mineral oil soaks in and then kind of disappears. Bee's wax does leave a fair finish, but offers almost no protection, and if you don't wipe off the excess, it leaves finger prints. The walnut oil soaks in and cures and hardens, though it takes a week or two to do it. The carnuba wax is far harder than bee's wax and the way the Doctor makes it, you don't need heat to get it to spread. Far better than mineral oil and bee's wax. I, as per the Doctor's instructions, use a heat gun when applying the final coat on cutting boards. The walnut oil sold in the salad dressing sections of the stores is not quite the same thing. Mike Mahoney also makes a good walnut oil mix.

    robo hippy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Adelaide Hills, Australia
    Posts
    227
    As good as they may be, the issue for me with a walnut oil finish here in Australia is that it is a legal requirement to label any food that contains a listed allergen and that list includes walnuts.

    The requirement to provide a warning if there is a risk of cross contamination from equipment/utensil to food is less clear, but the food industry has widely adopted the practice of including a warning on any product that 'may contain traces' of the listed allergens. If I was to use a walnut oil finish on my bowls I would probably have to include a warning about the risk, however small.

    However, it is one thing to add a small statement along those lines on a food packaging label, but a challenge to add it to the small, already information dense, ticket that goes out with each of my pieces. Warning: Do not eat your breakfast cereal from this bowl if you are allergic to walnuts. Hmmm.... I don't think so!

    Furthermore, I'm not sure that warnings about the health risks of using my pieces is quite the message I want to convey to potential purchasers.

    I presume that the situation in relation to allergen warnings is different elsewhere.
    Neil

    About the same distance from Steve S heading East or West.

    It's easy to see the Dunning-Kruger Effect in others, but a bit of a conundrum when it comes to yourself...



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