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Mineral Oil Finish Help (Read 1,421 times)
 
Brendan McAreavy
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Mineral Oil Finish Help
Feb 20th, 2011 at 10:21am
 
I have a 12" Oak bowl on the lathe and decided to try a mineral oil finish - for the first time. Some questions please.

1. Is the mineral oil you folks use of a thick, syrupy consistency? I never used it before and was surprised to see a liquid the consistency of motor oil because I was expecting something like an alcohol consistency.

2. I applied the mineral oil after sanding to 500 and cleaning with surgical spirits (alcohol). I used a cloth, wiped the mineral oil on, and then wiped the excess off. I was amazed at the effect but, as the bowl dried it became quite dull. I buffed the bowl with a soft cloth and restored some shine but it went dull again. I did not use a sanding sealer because I didn't want to trap sanding dust in the grain, so, the mineral oil went onto sanded wood.

Where do I go next please? I am not expecting a poly-type finish but was hoping for a pleasing lustre/luster.

By the way, mineral oil, or Liquid Paraffin as it's called here, can only be bought in a pharmacy and costs 1.47 for 150ml, that's $7.54 per US Pint. Is it dear here?

Thanks for any help.
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« Last Edit: Feb 20th, 2011 at 4:54pm by Brendan McAreavy »  

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john black
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #1 - Feb 20th, 2011 at 12:26pm
 
i use it on my mesquite chopping blocks. it does have a thick consistancy to it. i pour it on thick, spread it around a little and let it sit for 2 days, adding more when i see a dry spot, then flip the block over and do it all again. by adding more i mean it is real wet and thick. when the block has absorbed all it can i wipe the excess off and i'm done, then i add more down the road as needed. but unless i sand to 1000-1200 grit i don't get a very glossy finish either. actually i never get a good glossy finish with it, just a better one the finer sanding i do.
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john Taylor
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #2 - Feb 20th, 2011 at 1:00pm
 
Brendan,

Mineral oil never dries and so there is never a hard film to polish.  You'll never get even a nice lustre.  You need a drying oil for that.  The advantage of mineral oil is it's food safe, and really has it's best application on bowls and treen used in the kitchen, or children's toys.  You can try applying a hard wax and buffing that for a bit of shine, but it won't last long.  Use the bowl to serve up the mashed potatoes and just accept the dull surface that says the piece is being used.
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Brendan McAreavy
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #3 - Feb 20th, 2011 at 3:04pm
 
Thanks guys,

I'm happy enough now that I know I'm chasing the impossible.  The mineral finish is very attractive and will suit this bowl well because it's destined for the kitchen table.  I'm going to give it another couple of coats so, when it's finished, I'll let you see it.
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #4 - Feb 20th, 2011 at 4:33pm
 
I'll bet it's beautiful.... I can almost picture it in my minds eye. Grin
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #5 - Feb 20th, 2011 at 9:56pm
 
John nailed it. It's a great finish for kitchen stuff, but the only time it's really shiny is when you first apply it...before you wipe off the excess. You can burnish it a bit for display purposes with something like brown paper bag material, but it'll lose that little bit of extra shine as it gets used.
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #6 - Feb 21st, 2011 at 6:02am
 
We all get mixed emotions when it comes to appropriate finishes for kitchen woods.  On the one hand, we want to show off both the wood and our skills with a perfect surface finish, and yet, if the piece is to be used, the wash and dry cycling removes that surface finish and we are left with... wood.  Wink

I always make it a point to emphasize to those I gift bowls, spoons, spatulas, etc. that the finish is for presentation only and it would hurt my feelings if those pieces didn't acquire that soft dull finish that says it is actually being used.  Spatulas and spoons only look "good" when there are burn marks, tomato stains and that soft velvety surface of constant use.

We all turn collections of dust collectors with those beautiful glowing surfaces, but if it belongs in the kitchen, dull surfaces are the rule.
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #7 - Feb 21st, 2011 at 11:06am
 
Brendan I have been using mineral oil for years on user items. I put multiple coats on till the bowl stops sucking the finish in. Be aware that after giving the bowl a soap and water wash and drying it off you will likely need a fresh coat of MO to bring the finish back. ...Bill...
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #8 - Feb 21st, 2011 at 12:28pm
 
Brendan McAreavy wrote on Feb 20th, 2011 at 10:21am:
By the way, mineral oil, or Liquid Paraffin as it's called here, can only be bought in a pharmacy and costs 1.47 for 150ml, that's $7.54 per US Pint. Is it dear here?


Hello Brendan,

It's sold as mineral oil here, and costs about $1.30 a pint, you can also buy somthing similar called "Horse Oil" for about $10/gallon. I had some of the horse oil on hand so I made an oil/wax finish that works pretty good for me.

The way I use that is to make a wax/oil "puck" to rub onto the spinning wood. I warm up some horse oil (mineral oil) then put some carnuba wax flakes in and let them melt. About a 50/50 mix. Then I pour that warm liquid into a mold like a cupcake mold and let it cool and harden.

I apply that to the spinning work after sanding, usually to about 600 grit. You can get a pretty nice shine because of the carnuba wax. You've got to spin it fast enough to melt that wax and get it to flow, but it's easy to get the hang of.
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Brendan McAreavy
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #9 - Feb 21st, 2011 at 7:58pm
 
Thanks for these last messages guys.

I have the bowl finished and my wife likes it so all is fine.  I quite like the MO finish and it seems to suit this bowl because there is a lot going on figure wise.

Tom, I've found that agricultural suppliers have gallons of mineral oil for about the same price you pay.  The little bottle I got wouldn't go far in a horse.
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Vaughn McMillan
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #10 - Feb 22nd, 2011 at 2:00am
 
Brendan McAreavy wrote on Feb 21st, 2011 at 7:58pm:
...Tom, I've found that agricultural suppliers have gallons of mineral oil for about the same price you pay. The little bottle I got wouldn't go far in a horse.


But the agricultural suppliers won't grill you about your health like the nice ladies at your local pharmacy do. Where's the fun in that?  Grin
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #11 - Mar 9th, 2011 at 7:23pm
 
Hi Brenden. I use Mineral oil and Bees wax almost exclusively on the bowls I turn. There are lots of recipes on the net. My finish does tend to go toward the softer look which I think often shows the character of the wood better than a high gloss 'plastic look' but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder!!

Please feel free to check my web site to see some examples of this finish.

Pete
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Dale Gillaspy
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Re: Mineral Oil Finish Help
Reply #12 - Mar 10th, 2011 at 8:24am
 
Funny you mentioned it being like Motor Oil. That's essentially what it is. Not quite to that extreme, but Mineral Oil is very light as far as molecular weight. It is the stuff that floats to the top of the barrel in the oil refining process.

I was told that in Australia and New Zealand, 30 weight motor oil is a real popular finish.
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