02-19-2011 10:06 AM
I am making a kitchen work table for a friend. It is maple with an oak work surface. I chose these woods for a contrast effect. My question is this, are there any stains that are food quaility and safe to use on preperation surfaces? I plan on final sealing with an oil finish, tung oil if that is an acceptable finish for food contact. My other option I think is to use good old fashioned vegetable oil.
02-19-2011 01:25 PM
Are you using red oak, or are you using white oak? Here the wood choice is much more crucial than the stain choice.
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02-19-2011 02:50 PM
Is this surface to be used for cutting, pastry kneading/rollout, or just general work surface?
What exactly is the "tung oil" you plan to use? 90% of the things out there that are labeled Tung Oil Finish are not tung oil, nor do they even contain tung oil. Not that it makes much difference on food safe, they all are, with the possible exception of nut allgeries. http://www.popularwoodworking.com/features/finish3
Why do you think a stain is necessary?
And an answer:
Vegetable oil is a bad idea. Over time non-drying vegetable oils will go rancid.
02-19-2011 02:51 PM
I read your post earlier today and it has been on my mind so I'll take a stab. The work serface for food prep is oak? Typically closed grain wood is used for food prep. Sounds like things are already too far to change that. Also, you used two different species for contrast. I do that all the time but not with the intent of staining the wood.
If staining is inevitable, I think I would use waterbased dye. I'm assuming the food prep area is not end grain such as a butcher-block table. I like to use shellac prior to the dye but in your case I think I would sand to a much higher grit to retard the dye's penetration. You can always add more dye until the color is achieved. Special note: Please practice on maple and oak scrap wood!
Once you have the dye to the color you want, I would use a penetration oil but definitely not vegetable oil. That can become rancid . I believe almost any penetration oil is safe once thoroughly dry but if you sell this or making it for a friend, visit your local Lowe's or HomeDepot and buy specific food safe finish. Put the burden back on the manufacture for liability.
I hope this helped. Please let us know how the project works out and post some pictures.
02-19-2011 03:18 PM
Toall of the replys so far, thank you for your suggestions. To answer your questions... The oak is red oak. It is an old table top she had and wanted to use it for this project. Quit possably the best finish would be just a good oil finish of tung oil or maybe linseed oil.
02-19-2011 04:18 PM - edited 02-19-2011 04:23 PM
…how often we get this question on this forum (“food safe”, I’m not sure what “food quality” means) and we get this same question at our store. Usually it is prompted by deceptive advertising suggesting that "food safe" is an issue. It is not! KMealy has already given you a link to an article that will hopefully put the whole “food save” advertising myth to rest (though I am sure it won’t). Matt’s question about the species of oak and KMealy’s question about just exactly how this “work surface” is to be used are also important. The bottom line is that neither “tung oil” (real or imagined) nor any form of vegetable oil will be a good plan, unless of course you want to create a habitat for all manner of nasty critters.
But, beyond that, the problem you face is that the "binder" in pigment stains that are intended to hold the insoluble pigment if place are insufficient to hold that pigment in place unless a film forming topcoat is applied. Such topcoats are incompatible with cutting. Therefore, if this to be a working countertop you will probably want to forgo the stain and focus instead on your choice of wood.
You say you’re are “making” this table. Is it too late to change the materials? If the oak is red oak you have a problem for several reasons, not the least of which is the extremely porous nature of red oak and the virtual impossibility of keeping food contamination from getting into the pores of the oak. If white oak you will fare better; but, it is still not an ideal material for a working surface. Ring-porous woods are not a good option for working kitchen countertops and cutting boards…
02-23-2011 11:47 AM
I read once about a Bees Wax and Oil finish. Does this sound like a Reasonable solution? My thought is the Bees Wax will fill the pores of the porous red oak, and still give an oil finish. Do you know how to mix this type of finish and how to apply?