Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Certified Organic Wood Finish for Snaths

Whether you buy a wooden snath or make one yourself, it will need a finish to give it some resistance to the elements.  The classic finish for snaths is a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine, though I've read of linseed oil being used alone with good results.  

"Boiled linseed oil" can now contain solvents and drying agents with heavy metal content (typically cobalt), even if it's not listed on the container.  I was looking for an alternative, and I found one in my refrigerator.

Since flax oil is essentially linseed oil, I tried it on my homemade snaths.  The results are shown in the photo above.  The finished snaths appear above the unfinished hardwood blanks of the same material (Oregon white oak milled locally from salvaged trees).  The only finish is the flax oil that I otherwise use with my food.  

The flax oil was applied at least ten times during the first month, and the drying time may be longer than normal due to the natural vitamin E added "to maintain freshness".  To avoid the waste and potential fire hazards of oil-soaked rags, I put small amounts of oil in the palm of my hand to rub onto the wood surface.  

I used what I had on hand to do the job, and I'm happy with the results.