Have you ever wondered if your Danish oiled items are safe to serve food in? Or are you a budding woodworker who’s wondering if Danish oil is suitable for finishing that beautiful salad bowl you’ve made.
Well, wonder no more, because we’ve got the answers for you. So, first off, what exactly is Danish oil and what is it made out of? And then we’ll explore: is Danish oil food safe or not?
There’s actually no one recipe for Danish oil, and manufacturers differ in terms of the recipes they use for their particular brands. However, Danish oil is usually made from tung oil, or from linseed oil that has been polymerized, or a particular mixture of the two. Tung oil, also known as China wood oil, is a so-called drying oil that is extracted from the nut of the tung tree (Vernicia fordii).
When exposed to oxygen in the air, the oil hardens and forms a transparent coating that almost looks wet. It’s used to finish wooden objects and provide protection. In fact, multiple layers of tung oil can make a wooden object look like plastic.
The use of Tung oil is believed to have originated in China and appears in the works of the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, from as far back as around 400 B.C.E. Tung oil was definitely used during the Song Dynasty for waterproofing ships, and the tung tree is indigenous to southern China.
There are other drying oils, including soybean, safflower, poppy, and linseed, the other main ingredient used to create Danish oil. Also known as flaxseed or flax oil, linseed oil comes from the seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum).
Like tung oil, it polymerizes into a solid form, making it perfect as a drying oil finish or varnish for objects made out of wood. Incidentally, linseed oil is irreplaceable to artists who use oil paints, and the fragrance of the oil is reminiscent of an art studio.
Linseed oil is also edible and is a good source of Alpha Linoleic Acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is one of two essential fatty acids. They are called “essential” because they are crucial to our health, and our bodies are unable to produce them. We must, therefore, get our daily dose from the foods that we eat.
Good sources of the essential fatty acids are nuts, seeds, and many vegetables that we commonly eat. Linseed oil is also reputed to be good for giving your dog a shiny coat if included in his or her diet. This oil really is multi-functional.
Danish oil and food safety: Is Danish oil food safe?
Manufacturers of Danish oil use many different recipes, but in general, they use tung oil or linseed oil, or a mixture of both, and add about one-third the volume of varnish to the oil creating a particular variation of oil/varnish mix.
So, how does Danish oil wood finish measure up in terms of food safety? There has been some debate about the issue, but the prevalent thinking these days is that if a finish cures, particularly by polymerization, it is considered food safe when it has cured completely.
Danish oil cures by polymerization, so it is considered safe for items that are used for eating, such as bowls, cutting boards, platters, and implements. This is said to be because
Danish oil bonds to the wood to which it is applied, and becomes inert, chemically unable to react to any substance such as food stuffs. Curing time can take anything from days to weeks, depending on the kind of oil or mixture of oils used in the manufacturer’s particular Danish oil recipe.
Which Danish oil to choose
Now that we have an answer to ‘is Danish oil is food safe’, which one should you choose? We give you the lowdown on two of the most popular brands.
1. Watco Danish Oil Finish
Manufactured by Rust-Oleum, Watco Danish Oil Finish has been formulated to deeply-penetrate wood to produce the warm glow of wood that has been rubbed by hand. Because of its excellent penetration, it protects wooden surfaces from moisture penetration.
This product is an oil-based blend that is designed for use on virgin wood, sanded wood, and stripped wood. It is especially suited to tight-grained woods. It offers a durable, long-lasting finish that protects the finish and the wood from chipping, abrasions, and leaking. Watco Danish Oil Finish delivers a professional finish to wood products.
It is excellent for revitalizing tired, old wood, and adds glowing beauty to any wooden objects. Incidentally, it is said to breathe new life into bronze, so it’s also a multi-purpose product. Watco Danish Oil Finish is easy and quick to apply and provides great protection for your precious wood.
2. Tried & True Danish Oil Finish
Made from polymerized linseed oil, Tried & True’s Danish Oil Finish provides a satin finish to woodwork such as cutting boards, kitchenware, children’s furniture. It is both FDA-approved as safe for surfaces that come into contact with food, as well as non-toxic, and because its coverage is 600 square feet per gallon, it is particularly economical.
It is easy and quick to apply, and two or three coats for most applications will produce a high-quality premium finish that is easy and economical. Solvent-free, Tried & True Danish Oil Finish is pure, moderately polymerized linseed oil that penetrates woods to produce a gorgeous satin sheen.
Wait five minutes after applying a coat before buffing, and eight hours before apply a further coat.
Bring the life back to your wood
Is Danish oil food safe? Yes. Danish oil has been used for decades to seal and finish wooden objects that include kitchen items. Everything from children’s furniture, to salad bowls, chopping boards, banisters, kitchen cupboards, and much more benefit from a few coats of Danish oil.
It not only protects your wood by preventing water and other substances from penetrating the grain of the wood, but it also adds a beautiful, hard-wearing finish that brings out the wood’s natural glow and color. It’s a great way to liven up your wood ware and adds durability and protection for years of enjoyment.