Is this safe? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-14-2016, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Is this safe?

I'm making a microwave cart that will have a cabinet at the bottom. The whole thing will be stained and coated in polycrylic (was recommended to me as good stuff). The stain and poly are both oil based or at least the stain is definitely oil based, but i believe the polyurethane is as well. My question here is the cabinet at the bottom is meant to hold our pots and pans. Is it safe to keep pots and pans on top of this coating or should we put some sort of shelf liner or something down first?
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-14-2016, 07:34 AM
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Is it safe from what viewpoint? Causing damage to the poly? Damage to the pans? Something in the poly poison?

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post #3 of 8 Old 05-14-2016, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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I'd like to know if it's safe to keep stuff we're going to cook food with on top of polyurethane and stain or if we should put a liner down. Obviously there will be pot lids down there as well. I just wanna make sure I'm not going to be doing something that could make us sick.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-14-2016, 08:28 AM
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Polycrylic is a waterborne polyurethane. It will work for you however since it's a waterborne finish will create a lot of elbow grease applying it. To begin with it's a lot thinner and because it has water in it raises the grain of the wood making it more fuzzy. This means more sanding between coats and because it's thinner twice as many coats. On the plus side since it's a waterborne finish won't stink as long after you get done. An oil based finish would be easier and better but might stink for more than a month on the inside. Either would be fine to used to store pots and pans with or without the shelf liner. Wait a month before using any shelf liner. Any finish might look and feel dry but emits chemicals as it cures. If you cover with shelf paper, do it after everything is finished but if you do it too soon the paper holds in those chemicals and make the finish soft at the surface and causes the shelf paper to bond far stronger than you want. Then when you attempt to change it the paper and the finish will seem to be one and the same and can't get it off. If you forever plan to use a shelf paper some folks skip finishing the bottom and just cover it with shelf paper to raw wood. Personally I don't care for that. If for some reason something is spilled it would run under the paper and stain or rot the wood underneath.
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-14-2016, 12:22 PM
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I remember one of the hottest arguments I have ever seen on the Internet (besides politics) concerned "food safe" finishes. It was a massive thread on a former (now defunct) Internet woodworking site. If you could shoot people through the computer screen, more than one homicide would have occurred. However, as technology has progressed and exhaustive studies have been completed, it is now consensus that almost any finish is "food safe" once completely cured. The link below is only one of a zillion that support the science.

http://www.woodmagazine.com/material...ish-food-safe/

I subscribe to the belief that for the most part, all my finishes can contact food after a proper cure time. A good quality poly or paint, both oil and water based, are my standard kitchen finishes. I usually let the solvents flash off for a week or so before putting anything in service (like a kitchen cart or tray). That said, I steer clear of heavy top coatings that could be mechanically flaked or scraped off into the food, like a cutting board, bowl or plate. I prefer the oils to the surface coatings if utensils will be used.

Everyone will develop, or already has their own preference, but research has shown that we aren't going to go stark raving mad and our unborn children are not going to have three eyes from casual food contact with a properly cured piece of wood. In my (somewhat informed) opinion my pots, pans, cookie sheets, upside down coffee cups and so on are just fine resting on my poly coated shelves. And if a piece of cheese hits my serving tray, I'll still gladly eat it (with a little wine to wash it down)!
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Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
Mark
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-12-2016, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice guys. Here are the finished results of the microwave stand and a cabinet I built. The bottom of the stand is where we keep all of our pots and pans, actually turned out the stand was way bigger than needed for the pots and pans so we managed to fit all of my wife's bakeware in there too on a little half shelf I put in there, and the cabinet is basically our pantry because our apartment doesn't have a pantry. We opted out of the shelf liner on anything and every inch of both is covered in a few coats of polycrylic and after a few months of cooking with the pots and pans neither of us is sick so i'm guessing we're gonna be fine lol. I'm quite pleased with the stand all told considering I only have access to a circular saw as far as my cutting needs go. The cabinet not so much, the inside board of the right door is bowed like a mofo and this somehow escaped my notice until I started staining it at which point it was too late for me to replace the board, but it does what we need it to for now. One day I'll remake the door. Eventually or at some point I am going to put some kind of design onto the doors as I've mentioned in another post of mine, but that's for another day probably far away.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-15-2016, 07:29 PM
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Looks like a nice job. Enjoy!

If all your pots and pans are in there, you either have made maximum use of "the illusion of space" or you are just starting out. My kitchen has well over a dozen cabinets and we keep the overflow in the den.

PS: My quotation, "the illusion of space" is from a short video that was made before the days of the pocket video cameras and YouTube. It came from WGBH-TV where This Old House was made and they did a funny piece about putting an enormous recreation area, including an Olympic sized swimming pool in an existing 3' X 4' kitchen pantry by using "the illusion of space". Wish I still had a copy.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-17-2016, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
Looks like a nice job. Enjoy!

If all your pots and pans are in there, you either have made maximum use of "the illusion of space" or you are just starting out. My kitchen has well over a dozen cabinets and we keep the overflow in the den.

PS: My quotation, "the illusion of space" is from a short video that was made before the days of the pocket video cameras and YouTube. It came from WGBH-TV where This Old House was made and they did a funny piece about putting an enormous recreation area, including an Olympic sized swimming pool in an existing 3' X 4' kitchen pantry by using "the illusion of space". Wish I still had a copy.
I've never seen This Old House, but for some reason I feel like I've heard that quote somewhere before lol. The microwave cart/stand whatever you want to call it is 25.5" wide by 24" deep, pretty much the same as the cabinet. We are kind of just starting out, but I can't imagine we'll ever need more pots and pans than the ones we have.

What's funny is when I designed the stand I figured the bottom section would be just big enough for just the pots and pans, but after finishing it and bringing it inside we found out we didn't need the little shelf I put in there for pots and pans so my wife uses it for her bakeware. I really messed up though when I drilled out the holes for the hinges. I used the little paper jig that came with the hinges to measure where the holes were, but I think I had it backwards or something because all 4 holes turned out to be just a little too far away from the edge to fully open the hinges. I was pissed at first, but I'm not worried about it. Not like anyone else is going to get into my stand and see that and say anything about it. I'm really happy with how the drawer came out though. It's a nice big drawer for all our junk snacks.
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