mineral oil and vegetable oils (corn, soybean, peanut, etc.) will stay liquid indefinitely. (Note: Despite their name, peanuts arc legumes, not nuts.)

Drying oils are ideal for salad bowls, countertops, trivets, serving trays, ing time. Linseed oil with driers added is called "boiled linseed oil," while the pure material is "raw linseed oil". Driers are sometimes added to tung oil as well, but this is less common. Most metallic driers arc-toxic, but because they arc added in such small amounts (below 1 percent) the finishes are regarded as safe when dry. For items that will routinely come into direct contact with food.


There arc two categories of oils—drying and non-drying—that can be used for finishing wood items. Drying oils, such as tung oil, linseed (or "flaxseed") oil, and walnut oil, actually form a protective film—just like varnish, only much thinner. Non-drying oils will not form a film but instead remain in their liquid state indefinitely. Still, they offer some protection to wood by helping it shed water and dirt. All oils impart depth and color to wood and bring out its character. With use, both types of oil will be wiped or abraded off. so you'll

Mineral oil, nut oils, shellac and wax may be used for finish* ing kitchen implements.

goblets, plates, and even dining-room tabletops. Both of the "food-safe" finishes I mentioned at the beginning of this column are basically drying oils, but there are other simple choices as well.

The two most common nut oils arc lung oil and linseed oil, and both are nontoxic in their natural state. Tung oil dries somewhat faster than linseed oil, but both are slow, drying in days rather than hours. To get around this problem, manufacturers sometimes add metallic driers (sold separately as "Japan driers'") that speed up the cur

1 prefer to stick with pure, raw linseed or tung oil.

If your local grocer) carries exotic-salad oils, you might find walnut oil among them. Like the other nut oils, it will dry to form a film. Both walnut oil and Masters Blend Preserve Wood Finish arc pleasant-smelling alternatives to tung- and linseed-oil coatings.

You can apply any of the drying oils right out of the container by rubbing them into the wood with a clean rag. Or, you can thin them first with some mineral spirits to make them dry faster. Wipe off any oil that docs not penetrate after about 30 minutes.

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