Hope you have had a good week. Terry is on his holidays and left me with the keyboard (again!) – he really doesn’t learn. Thankfully, the heat of our very hot summer has given way to the first throws of Autumn and I hope you are enjoying a more comfortable time in the workshop – certainly the factory floor is a more pleasant place to be!

As is my wont, the usual Q&A with Terry is suspended, and I thought we could look at our different Oils and how, and where, are the best applications for them.

So we are probably best to start with our Food Safe Finish, which is the ideal product for any of your creations that is likely to come into contact with food. It is a clear, food-grade, low build oil which will give a soft sheen finish, and will not harm any food stuffs that will come into contact with it. 3 coats is good for an initial finish, but it is advisable to wipe over with the oil periodically to maintain the chopping board or bowl that you have made. Some enhanced protection could also be applied to bowls with a coat of the Microcrystalline Wax, which is also a Food Safe product. Using this product doesn’t make timber waterproof, so if used on items such as goblets, they will, sooner or later, leak, as wood is prone to do.

Our Lemon Oil is also a low build oil based on Lemongrass Oil which dries to a matt finish. Again, up to 3 coats can be applied. It has been designed to have the pleasant aroma of Lemon (naturally) and is great for coating the inside of boxes and drawers, etc. It will alter the colour of the timber very slightly, which many users like, so it could be used as a decorative finish but would benefit from a coating of wax for added protection (this will, naturally, negate the lemon aroma).

Tung Oil is very much a traditional finish, and is a solvent-free pure oil produced from the seed of the Tung Nut tree. It is a high build oil with very good water resistance, and will finish to a high gloss, making it an excellent choice for outdoor items as well as interior finishes. It also has a subtle amber hue enhancing the beauty of the wood. You have to be patient with this one – the oil is very slow drying (potentially 3 days) and full curing can take up to 4 weeks. It also has a good resistance to yellowing so the finish will last, although with outdoor items it is always advisable to give an annual ‘top up’. Other manufacturers will label this product as Food Safe, but we do not. Whilst it is a completely natural product, and produced from a seed rather than a nut (botanically different), we are not comfortable that someone with a nut allergy wouldn’t have a reaction.

Finishing Oil is one of our most popular oil finishes. It is a blend of oils (among them Tung Oil) and will build to a high gloss finish with an amber hue. Unlike pure Tung Oil, it has a faster drying time, so projects can be finished more quickly. It also has a good weather and water resistance and is great on outdoor furniture and the like, as well as interior applications on both large and small items (very good for kitchen worktops as well as small vessels). It also has the advantage of containing UV filters which prevent the oil weathering and breaking down over time. As with all the other oils, 3 coats is ideal as an initial finish, and outdoor items should be good for many years with an annual top-up. Other manufacturers, again, will say that their similar products are food safe. The benefit of the UV Filter in ours is one of the reasons our oil is not (anyone making such food safe claims should be able to back their claims up with relevant documentation). Once hard dry – usually 3-4 days – this product can also be burnished with our Burnishing Cream to really enhance the brightness of the finish.

Finally, our newest oil – Hard Wax Oil. This oil finish is a blend of oils and wax which, when dry, forms a very tough and resilient surface and, like the Finishing Oil, is excellent on small vases or wooden floors. It is also an ideal finish for tables and worktops. It is an excellent finish for interior applications, but we do not recommend it for outdoor use – the lack of UV filters would probably mean it would degenerate much quicker than our Finishing Oil. This is available as a high gloss finish, and also in a satin version which will give a very soft sheen once dried. Once dried, it is virtually clear, so any decoration prior to oiling shouldn’t be affected by colour change. Hard Wax Oil, like the Finishing Oil, can also be burnished for an even brighter finish.

Oils should always be used on timber which hasn’t been sealed – oil needs to penetrate the fibres and, in effect, act as their own sealer. Timber can be coloured prior to oiling (not painted) but the food safe aspect of Food Safe Finish will be nullified if applied over stain. Care should be taken with the initial coat to minimise lifting – and all subsequent coats would benefit from a light cut back between coats. All oils can be waxed (Microcrystalline on Food Safe Finish), but this will prevent future oiling.

That’s all of my nonsense for this time – you can all breathe a sigh of relief. Terry will be back next week, briefly, before heading off to the AWGB seminar – he hopes to see some of you there. Given that I won’t be back here til next year, can I take this opportunity to wish you all Happy Halloween, Christmas, and New Year! Thank you for having me on your device this Friday!