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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys.

I've got an Oak chopping board pretty well ready to be finished. I've been reading a lot around the place about guys heating up mineral oil a little and melting a bit of beeswax into it, letting it cool into a paste and rubbing that on. Haven't read anything bad about it yet and would like to give it a try. I read all about you guys overseas going and picking up a bottle of mineral oil from the pharmacy/grocery store where it's sold as is, mineral oil, or a laxative or an intestinal lubricant... For a few dollars a bottle...

I couldn't find it to save my life... Here in New Zealand. Or anything close to it. Not at a few different pharmacies or grocery stores. I went into a culinary specialist shop who knew what it was but said they couldn't get it. Why is this apparently abundant resource unobtainable in New Zealand?

I mentioned this to a friend who is a fairly accomplished cabinet maker and he said I should be looking for "paraffin oil" - which I've done a bit of research about. Seems depending on who you speak to it is the same thing, or it is something similar with a few more Carbons in it's molecular structure. Or it is kerosene. Or a few other things...

Is there something more common I could get away with over here? I know baby oil is pretty much what I'm after except it is fragranced. Would I get away with the pure paraffin oil you buy for lamps? I've done a bit of looking around and it seems vet suppliers seem to carry it I'm not sure why. But I don't want to buy a bunch if it doesn't work for any reason.

Any help on the matter would be great!
Cheers
Josh
 

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Well paraffin oil and mineral oil are nearly the same. It's just the paraffin oil is refined more. Either would be acceptable to use on a cutting board. Both are non-flammable where kerosene is so I would certainly not use that. It has a very pungent odor anyway. Mixing the beeswax with mineral or paraffin oil would also work. The beeswax would seal the wood better.
 

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Paraffin Oil is not the same as mineral oil. If you check your local pharmacy, ask the pharmacist where mineral oil is in the store. Drug stores per-se most likely will have mineral oil. I've also found it in grocery stores, and health food stores.

I just use it as an applied oil to butcher block or wood cooking utensils by applying and letting it soak in and then wiping off. This is a simple method, that is done as needed. I don't heat anything. With continued maintenance, the wood becomes saturated and protected.






.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yep thanks Howard. I went into a few Pharmacies (Chemists/Drug stores whatever you call them) and asked about it. I told them I think it is marketed as laxative and intestinal lubricant or maybe just mineral oil and is it available in any form and none of them knew about any of it. Had a good long look myself - in the pharmacy and grocery store.

http://www.vetpak.co.nz/Products/Miscellaneous/Paraffin-Oil
This is about the closest I can find anywhere... Would scented baby oil work? I assume professional cabinet makers in NZ must know about it maybe I ought to give one of them a call and see what the deal is.

Thanks for your input fellers!
Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If I do get my hands on a substance... Whatever we are going to call it. What characteristics does it need to have? I think I'm clever enough to know kerosene and mineral spirits when I see it. But beyond that... How would you describe mineral oil? I'm assuming its got a viscosity like baby oil?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yep I did a few searches and made some calls. This is about as good as I can get

http://www.fishpond.co.nz/Kitchen/Pure-Mineral-Oil-500ml-Food-Safe/0609788981138

$60 bucks for half a litre of the stuff... From what I understand about it's production process - your petrol companies over there can't give the stuff away.

I've found this - http://www.moreyoil.co.nz/guardian-usp35-white-oil/ Looks like exactly what I'm after except it only comes in an 18L pail or a 44gal drum... Neither measures I'm ever going to get through. Looks like the right stuff though. Maybe I ought to buy a pail of it and see if I can sell off a few litre bottles. Might even be a niche for it over here...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
$149 for the 18.9L pail of mineral oil. Its a hefty price to pay to finish one and maybe a few more projects... Especially if I can't sell the stuff off. Seems like kiwis don't know what the stuff is! So why would they buy it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I found this in the local pharmacy store... "Paraffin liquid". Assuming it's the same thing or near enough. Feels similar to baby oil to me. Will give it a try.

Don't try and talk me out of it. Don't try and talk me out of it. My mind's made up...
 

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I found this in the local pharmacy store... "Paraffin liquid". Assuming it's the same thing or near enough. Feels similar to baby oil to me. Will give it a try.

Don't try and talk me out of it. Don't try and talk me out of it. My mind's made up...

You've got it. I just looked up the MSDS (material safety data sheet) for paraffin oil and it's listed as 100% mineral oil https://us.vwr.com/stibo/hi_res/8196513.pdf

Just to be sure, since your bottle says "paraffin liquid" I also looked up the MSDS for it. Synonyms for "paraffin liquid" are mineral oil and paraffin oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for doing that Tim! The material safety data sheet for "paraffin liquid" doesn't necessarily mean it is the same sheet for this product is it...? Like you wouldn't assume it is food grade just because it is 100% paraffin liquid - there is no information about the quality control or refinement this particular product has been through really...?
 

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Thanks for doing that Tim! The material safety data sheet for "paraffin liquid" doesn't necessarily mean it is the same sheet for this product is it...? Like you wouldn't assume it is food grade just because it is 100% paraffin liquid - there is no information about the quality control or refinement this particular product has been through really...?

No, the MSDS is not for this specific product, just for the generic name "paraffin liquid".

I know that there are industrial grade mineral oil formulations that contain a lot of impurities that you wouldn't want on your skin, but these formulations would be labeled for industrial use only.

The fact that you found this in a pharmacy, it is labeled for skin moisturizing and is marked 100% paraffin liquid implies to me that it is highly refined and free from contaminants. That is as long as it doesn't have a fragrance:smile:.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yep no fragrance in this. Strongest smell is the plastic bottle I think. Yeah I assumed the same thing - if it was safe enough to go on your skin it was safe enough to consume in the minutest amounts. Well thanks a lot for all your help. Hopefully the finish is worth the effort!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I suppose I should have asked beforehand, does any body have any experience with this finish? I've got it all mixed and it's awfully honey smelling. Pleasant no doubt but I don't know if I want that taste on my veges! Does it continue to give off a scent or pretty much absorb? My mate gave me a shopping bag full of beeswax and I used about a cubic inch haha what am I going to do with a bag of it :/
 

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In re-reading this thread I missed the "Oak chopping board" in your innitial post. If it is red oak it isn't suited for a cutting board. Red oak tends to turn black when you get it wet. White oak on the other hand would work fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm pretty sure it is white oak there is no red colour to the timber. It's a copy of that one Scotty Lewis made with the swirled strips through it. But the recipient of the gift doesn't need to know that ^^. It's not great timber for a chopping board anyway, probably a little too far out in the tree it was milled from but it's all I've got. My neighbour gave me a pellet of Kwila before he died and my uncle milled an Oak tree from my granddads farm when we were kids. So things tend to be one or the other - I'm not serious enough about it to go out and purchase wood yet!

All in all I'm pretty happy with the finish anyway. Put about a cube 2.5cm block into 100ml of liquid paraffin and it set into a white paste, went on really good, I prefer it to tung oil. The jar smells great and the board loses its scent after a couple of days - Couldn't be happier! So thanks a bunch for the help!

Josh
 
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