mineral oil on wooden spoons?!

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for some reason folks around here get excited about my wooden spoons -- no idea why but it means i'm always hunting for offcuts (= i'm using a local type of hardwood which is used for house and fence posts -- consequently not too many trees left + i don't like cutting down trees for whittling anyway...) too keep up with demand.... well, it gives me something to do (in evenings), even though my assistant is missing since over four months :'(

in the past i used "spoon butter" to treat them but beeswax is rather hard to come by over here and goes mouldy in the jungle, so i need something different. would mineral oil work on food related objects?! (my research brought mixed results...)
 

John Fenna

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Oct 7, 2006
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I use Walnut Oil (salad dressing grade) or Flax Seed oil (food grade) but have not tried Mineral oil. Both are setting oils so should not mould....
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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It's interesting that we all have our own preferred concoctions and recipes for both wood and leather treatment. I, personally, have never liked hardening oils that have a tendency to sit on top of the wood and end up leaving a 'layer' - I prefer treatments that soak in. I admit I have never had any item go mouldy but that's probably 'cos all my stuff gets used and then thrown eventually :)

I'm a little surprised that you say beeswax results in mould; a combination of beeswax and olive oil has been used traditionally (possibly thousands of years) because it has antimicrobial properties - recent scientific studies tend to support that. Maybe it has no antifungal properties or maybe it depends on how 'pure' the beeswax is.

Anyway, I use a combination of beeswax, oil (olive oil or occasionally another vegetable based oil), and turps for all my wood and leather treatments with the turps only used for furniture polish.
 

TLM

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Both are setting oils so should not mould....
Where is our resident organic chemist? Hardening oils oxidize and polymerize because of the carbon double bonds in the fatty acid chains. The same points are used by different organisms for attacking and using it for nourishment. If I remember correctly some also break the triglyceride structure. So hardening oils should be reacted as far as possible if wanted to be biologically stable or use all saturated fats.
 

Paulm

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May 27, 2008
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I, personally, have never liked hardening oils that have a tendency to sit on top of the wood and end up leaving a 'layer' - I prefer treatments that soak in.

Hardening oils do soak into the wood, and won't sit on top and leave a "layer" if you wipe off any surplus after allowing to soak in for ten or twenty minutes ! :)

I make a lot of bowls, plates, kuksas, spoons etc and use walnut oil, or increasingly tung oil, both hardening and food safe. Don't like the smell of linseed oil unfortunately.
 

slowworm

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May 8, 2008
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would mineral oil work on food related objects?! (my research brought mixed results...)
What sort of mixed results? Food grade pure mineral oil is often sold for treating wooden chopping boards so I'd happily use it for wooden spoons. I'd guess after the first couple of uses most treatments will disappear anyway.
 

TLM

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Food grade paraffin oil is often used at treating wood, in small amounts it apparently hasn't killed anyone, in larger amounts it is a laxative. Vegetable oils that harden can be treated with a siccative if fast cure of the surface is wanted, some are not that toxic.

Tung oil seems to contain a fatty acid that is not necessarily healthy (eleostearic acid).
 
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What sort of mixed results? Food grade pure mineral oil is often sold for treating wooden chopping boards so I'd happily use it for wooden spoons. I'd guess after the first couple of uses most treatments will disappear anyway.
Google tells me untreated mineral oil is classified as carcinogenic by the W.H.O. ...

no beekeeping around here but a while ago i got hold of some wax from native bees -- despite rendering it twice to clean out impurities it got mouldy on top shortly afterwards :-(
no walnut oil or flax seed oil available here, the hardware stores here don't even sell boiled linseed oil (hardware stores in this country suck in general imho... :-( )
 
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Google tells me untreated mineral oil is classified as carcinogenic by the W.H.O. ...

no beekeeping around here but a while ago i got hold of of some wax from native bees -- despite rendering it twice to clean out impurities it got mouldy on top shortly afterwards :-(
no walnut oil or flax seed oil available here, the hardware stores here don't even sell boiled linseed oil (hardware stores in this country suck in general imho... :-( )
no idea why my reply appears twice -- my attempt to delete #2 fails... sorry for that
 

slowworm

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Google tells me untreated mineral oil is classified as carcinogenic by the W.H.O. ...

Yes, I wouldn't use any old mineral oil, but food grade, refined mineral oil isn't classed as carcinogenic and is used in some foods, medicines, cosmetics etc, etc.
 

Paulm

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Tung oil seems to contain a fatty acid that is not necessarily healthy (eleostearic acid).
That surprised me so did a quick google, and if I understand it correctly (I may well not be !), the opposite is true and tung oil with it's high eleostearic acid content has been shown to have significant anti-tumor properties

https://academic.oup.com/carcin/article/25/8/1417/2475889

Let me know if I've misunderstood though, it's hard going technical stuff and only had five minutes of my time ! :)
 

TLM

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I came across that but also that it causes apoptosis in certain type of fat storing cells. Also that in a test it did not replace an analog as nutritional fatty acid. So in my mind it is uncertain to be safe but not necessarily toxic, also when it hardens by polymerizing the end product has very different properties and as a first guess probably safer. A short search did not come up with any references to the hardened product.
 
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bobnewboy

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Jul 2, 2014
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I’ll stick with Sainsbury’s walnut oil, originally intended for salads. I apply it very hot from a microwaved ceramic mug, and it appears to sink into the wood somewhat. I give it an hour, then wipe the piece down, and leave it on a sunny windowsill. Walnut oil polymerises and hardens in sunlight and works for me.
 

Paulm

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May 27, 2008
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I came across that but also that it causes apoptosis in certain type of fat storing cells. Also that in a test it did not replace an analog as nutritional fatty acid. So in my mind it is uncertain to be safe but not necessarily toxic, also when it hardens by polymerizing the end product has very different properties and as a first guess probably safer. A short search did not come up with any references to the hardened product.
Yes, it seems likely the hardened or cured oil is pretty inert, different to drinking a mug of liquid oil !

I used to use walnut oil, still do on some stuff, but found tung gave a better sealed surface for kuksas and bowls that were going to have liquids in regularly.
 

Tiley

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I've tried a number of oils for my spoons and kuksas and my current favourite is Osmo Top Oil, which is food safe (apparently) and includes bees' wax, so I believe. It does produce a pleasing and durable finish but does need a number of coats (four or more...) to achieve this.

As for the chemistry involved in how it works, I haven't the first idea. All I know is that it seems to work and doesn't taste funny.
 

Paulm

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May 27, 2008
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I've tried a number of oils for my spoons and kuksas and my current favourite is Osmo Top Oil, which is food safe (apparently) and includes bees' wax, so I believe. It does produce a pleasing and durable finish but does need a number of coats (four or more...) to achieve this.

As for the chemistry involved in how it works, I haven't the first idea. All I know is that it seems to work and doesn't taste funny.
I wouldn't use that myself on food utensils, it's designed for worktops and similar and contains paraffin, white spirit, drying agents and other additives.

Not sure if being "food safe" extends as far as consuming hot foods and liquids that have been in contact with it for a period of time and possibly dissolved some of the waxes and other additives into your food.

I'm no expert though, just that it's a well aired topic on spoon carving and other similar groups and the advice is always, which makes sense to me, to use only drying, natural oils including linseed (not boiled, again it has chemical drying additives), tung or walnut, these oils oxidise and harden unlike other oils and unlike mineral oil which is also a petrochemical based product.
 

Tiley

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Oct 19, 2006
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I just had a look at the ingredients of my Top Oil and, yes, I think I'll revert to using walnut oil! Although they make the things sound relatively 'friendly', there seem to be some rather unsavoury parts! Perhaps I'll keep it for salad and bread-making bowls but leave well alone for eating spoons and kuksas. Thank you for the warning - a timely heads up!
 
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