Treat Wood with Cooking Oils – Pay Attention To This

Most of you know that wood should be treated for visual and tactile reasons. The industry offers us a wide range of products – from wood oil and hard wax oils to paint. More and more people are now also using simple cooking oil to let wood in. But in this area, in particular, many statements are incorrect or can even damage the wood. That’s why we want to bring you closer to wood treatment with cooking oils in this article.

The Advantages of Treating Wood with Edible Oils

Let us first come to the reasons why it can be helpful to treat wood with cooking oil.

  • You can’t beat the price. While wood oil in the hardware store can cost over $ 12 per liter, you can get cooking oil in the supermarket for a fraction of that. In addition, it is immediately available everywhere.
  • Edible oil is 100% food safe. (Tip: treat wood in a food-safe way) With ready-mixed oils, you don’t know what’s in it. According to DIN EN 71-3 (approved for toys), certification only states that limit values must be observed. In this article, you will find the exact explanation of DIN 71-3. This standard does not guarantee that it is wear-resistant on cutting boards or heat-resistant on the wooden spoon. Therefore, you should not use these oils on wood to contact food unless they are directly approved for food.

Disadvantages of Treating Wood with Edible Oils

Of course, where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. Of course, we don’t want to withhold this from you.

  • The main disadvantage is likely to be the curing process. Because there are no siccatives (drying substances) in the cooking oil, the oils need several weeks to harden completely.
  • The surface is usually nicer with wood oils. The ready-mixed products consist of different waxes and oils. This makes the character a tad nicer and more robust.
  • Edible oils are entirely unsuitable for outdoor use. Since there is no UV protection in salad oil and the drying process takes too long, these oils cannot be used on wood outdoors.

Are All Cooking Oils Suitable for Treating Wood?

Now we come to the crux of the matter, where many untruths are floating around. One often hears in the woodworking scene about treatment with olive oil, sunflower oil, or rapeseed oil. In most cases, however, these are unsuitable for wood treatment.

Why Is Olive Oil and The Like Unsuitable for Wood Treatment?

The oils mentioned above are not hardening or drying or only semi-drying oils.

That means: These oils do not form a resin layer with oxygen and will never fully harden. Then, the bad thing is that these oils can become rancid in contact with oxygen or even develop mold in the worst case.

A common counterargument is that I’ve been oiling my cutting board with olive oil for years, and nothing has ever happened. This may be a good thing because the board is rinsed more often, and the non-hardening parts of the oil are washed away.

But the board is then not as protected as if you had taken a hardening oil right away.

Which Edible Oils Are Suitable for Wood Treatment?

As we have just learned, it is essential to use hardening oils for wood treatment. These are primarily all nut oils such as peanut oil, walnut oil, or hazelnut oil. There is also the classic linseed oil (no linseed oil varnish because it contains drying substances), safflower oil, poppy seed oil, or tung oil.

But there are also differences. We personally have found that walnut oil takes too long to harden. This is why it can occasionally happen that the oil goes rancid.

Hazelnut oil, pure linseed oil, poppy seed oil, or tung oil are simply too expensive for us, so that we do not use them in practice.

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