Food Safe Wood Finish Tried and True Linseed Oil and Bees Wax

My Favorite Food Safe Wood Finish – Waterproof Almost

Ah, My Favorite Food Safe Wood Finish? There are several criteria to meet for something to become a favorite. For a wood bowl finish, I believe it needs to naturally look good, protect the wood bowl, be food-safe, non-toxic, water-resistant, ready-to-go, and easy to apply.

Wow, if that’s not a tall order for a wood bowl finish, I don’t know what is. Believe it or not, there is such a food safe wood finish that meets all those specs.

My favorite wood bowl finish is Tried and True Original made with polymerized linseed oil and beeswax. Yes, Tried and True Original is a ready-to-use product with no messy mixing and formulating.

Why My Favorite?

Tried and True is simple, it’s really that simple. When I’m done sanding a finished bowl I open my little jar of Tried and True and wipe it on. It takes a couple of seconds, and I can keep working on other things.

Another big reason Tried and True is my favorite is the ability to apply it anywhere under pretty much any condition. My shop doesn’t have to be spotless nor shut down after I’ve applied this finish.

Because the Tried and True Original oil is soaking into the wood cells, any dust or wood specks that get on the bowl will wipe off later. The oil soaks in and leaves any debris behind loose, instead of sticking it to the bowl surface like many finishes.

After a short while, I return to wipe off the bowl surface and let it rest for a day or two. This wipe-off process also only takes a few seconds.

When the finish has dried after a day or two, I buff the bowl with a clean cloth or 0000 Steel Wool and the bowl takes on a smooth low gloss luster.

Characteristics

Tried and True Original is a warm, slightly yellow-amber color viscously thick finish. When applied to a wood bowl it adds a slightly warmer hue and seems to make the piece glow. I really like how the tone of the woodgrain appears more vibrant with this finish.

The finish penetrates and bonds with wood cells creating a surrounding protective layer. Once applied and cured, Tried and True has a soft sheen or luster that brings out wood grain beautifully.

The final look on a wood bowl finished with Tried and True Original is a smooth, elegant wood surface that does not scream ‘finish product’ first. Tried and True is there protecting and beautifying the wood, but its presence takes a backseat to the natural beauty of the wood.

My Favorite Food Safe Wood Finish on a Spalted Hickory Bowl

Application

The application of Tried and True cannot be more straightforward. Sand the wood bowl surface up to 320 grit. I stop at 320 grit as I’ve learned from a couple of sources that wood cells start to seal after that point and don’t absorb oil as well.

With a small lint-free cloth apply a thin coat of Tried and True Original on the wood bowl surface. Do not use a brush. Because of the thickness of the Tried and True Original finish, a brush would apply way too much product.

Food Safe Wood Finish Before and After Thin Application

I keep a recycled salsa jar on my bench with a small three-inch square patch from an old t-shirt as an applicator. About every other month or so I fill the salsa jar to about the halfway point. Transferring the Tried and True Original from the gallon can to the jar makes it much more convenient.

Food Safe Wood Finish Thin Coat Application Tried and True Linseed Oil Bees Wax

Let the Tried and True penetrate the wood bowl surface for at least 60 minutes. At that point, use a lint-free cloth and briskly rub the surface until it is completely dry. This rubbing process needs to happen before the wood bowl is left to cure.

After at least 24-hours I burnish the surface of the wood bowl with 0000 steel wool. Often, I leave the tenon on a bowl so I can return it to the four-jaw chuck and do this burnishing while the bowl rotates on the lathe.

One coat is all that is needed. Additional coats can be applied if desired. Burnish the surface well with the 0000 steel wool after each coat cures. Do not apply more than three coats.

Maintenance and Repairs

If the wood bowl surface looks dull, just buff it with a clean lint-free cloth to polish the bowl surface.

Damaged areas can be buffed and smoothed as much as possible with 0000 steel wool or a fine grit sandpaper. Apply a small amount of Tried and True Original to the affected area and let it cure before buffing as described above.

Boiled or Polymerized

Barry, a retired chemist, is a member of our Wednesday night turning group. He is a wealth of knowledge and always ready to share, enthusiastically.

I asked Barry, ‘what’s the difference between boiled linseed oil and polymerized linseed oil?’ He responded by telling me that all linseed oil is polymerized for it to thicken to a usable state. The commercially boiled linseed oil has numerous chemicals, and metallic drying agents added to the process. Not only are these additives toxic, but they also reduce the finish quality on our wood bowls.

The polymerized linseed oil used in Tried and True does not contain these additives and metals. Instead, the Tried and True company uses a heating and aging process to prepare or polymerize the linseed oil.

Tried and True Original is nothing more than processed flax seeds (linseed oil) and beeswax. Simplicity seems to be a theme with this product.

Overcoat

Yes, Tried and True Original food safe wood finish can coat over other oil-based finishes. It can also be applied to color finishes such as milk paint and color dyes.

However, it should not be used over acrylic paint. There are reactions that may occur between the oil and water based acrylic paint.

Food Safe Wood Finish

I love this line for the company’s website, “Tried and True wood finishes are composed of 100% renewable ingredients coming from trees, bees, and seeds! There are no petroleum solvent thinners and no metallic driers.” Tried and True Original just incorporates bees and seeds, beeswax and flax seeds.

Tried and True Original is all natural and a food safe wood finish. Many wood finishes are food safe once the product is dried and cured. Tried and True Original is a food safe wood finish in product form.

Be careful when reading the name of a product labeled “Salad Bowl Finish.” This is a generic name that implies “food-safe” but that is not so clear. Read this article to learn more about the issue of “Salad Bowl Finishes” and whether they are food-safe.

It’s so food safe, an empty Tried and True Original can, which might still have product residue inside is safe to put with your other recycling items. That’s saying something!

Water Resistant

Tried and True is not a pure waterproof finish. It is water resistant. This finish can take the daily use and hand dishwashing without a problem.

Hand-wash, with a mild soap and warm water, rinse and towel dry any bowls finished with Tried and True. Submerging a wood bowl finished with Tried and True in water for a prolonged time is not advised, along with microwaves, dishwashers, and beavers.

Food Safe Wood Finish Water Resistant Beading on Surface Tried and True Linseed oil Bees Wax

Beeswax Forever

By far, water does more damage than fire or any other natural element. A wood bowl finished with most finishing products, will wear down over time. The beeswax component in Tried and True Original is the key water resistant element that makes it water resistant.

Beeswax has long been known to have many incredible properties. In Egyptian tombs and among Roman ruins beeswax has been found. The applications for beeswax use throughout history are varied and extensive.

Another surprising fact about beeswax and an essential connection with our wood bowls-it will never go bad. Let me repeat, because this is a big deal, beeswax never goes bad.

There are very few things, actually, no, I can’t think of any at the moment, that NEVER go bad. Beeswax can be reheated and reused, virtually forever. That’s crazy!

I think that fact alone makes me happy I’m using this product to protect and preserve my bowls well into the future.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • food safe
  • water resistant
  • organic ingredients (beeswax and seeds)
  • no toxic fumes
  • super easy to apply
  • fast relative curing time
  • single coat application
  • durable long-lasting
  • beautiful, understated low-gloss luster
  • no metallic driers
  • 100% solids, no solvents added
  • 1,000 square foot coverage per gallon
Cons
  • a bit pricier than store brand oil finishes

Tried and True’s quality and characteristics make it a great value in the long run. With that long list of pros, I feel Tried and True Original is an investment I’m making to prolong the lifespan of the bowls I create.

Tried and True, for me, is one of those products I must have. When my can of Tried and True Original gets low, I always order a new one before the old one is gone. I use it that much and dread thinking about not having it on hand.

Tried and True Original is available online through Amazon. If you’d like to try it out in a smaller size first, Tried and True offers a one-gallon sizeone-quart size, and a one-pint size.

I initially tried a quart and then immediately jumped to the cost savings of the gallon can of Tried and True Original. Per ounce, the gallon size is a better value in the long run. I’d have to guess I’ve finished around 150-200 wood bowls, of various sizes, with a single gallon of Tried and True. This food safe wood finish has incredible coverage since only a thin coat is needed per application.

Food Safe Wood Finish Almost Waterproof Tried and True Linseed and Bees Wax

Conclusion

There are few material products in this world that I feel I can’t live without. Tried and True Original is one such product.

I love the ease, speed, and simplicity of applying Tried and True Original wood finish to my wood bowls. The elegant, understated low-gloss luster of a wood bowl finished with Tried and True lets the beautiful grain speak for itself.

If you are interested in creating a high-gloss quality finish, be sure to read this article that will teach you how easy it is to spray lacquer!

Let me know if you use Tried and True Original food safe wood finish and what you think of this product. Please leave a comment below.


While you’re finishing your wood bowl, you’ll want to see these articles too:
3 AMAZING TURQUOISE INLAY TECHNIQUES – ILLUSTRATED GUIDE
5 MAGICAL EBONIZING WOOD TRICKS
HOW TO SPRAY LACQUER – ILLUSTRATED GUIDE


Happy Turning (and Finishing),
Kent

Comments

  1. Great article! I have been using Tried and True Original Wood Finish and also Tried and True Danish Oil either together or alone for the past 6 months and they both provide a great finish. Simple and clean to use and virtually no clean up. The product is available in Canada through Lee Valley Tools.

    1. Author

      Al,

      Thanks for writing and glad you’ve found this great product too.

      Enjoy and Happy Turning,
      Kent

  2. Hi
    I wanted to use it for copper plate to protect from tarnish especially in rainy seasons. I am in Delhi India where pollution is high affecting copper utensils , and let me know if anything available in India or any sample I can get in India.
    Thanks
    Dave

    1. Author

      Hello Dave,

      Thanks for writing. I’m not sure if this will work on copper, but it sounds like something to try.

      I will contact the manufacturer and see what they say and then I will let you know more.

      Stay tuned,
      Kent

  3. Hi, great article. I would like to know if this finish will seal end-grain turned cups ? Otherwise I read that they can be boiled in milk skandinavian style (for kuksa’s) , but this oil would be simpler. Would hot drinks melt the seal?

    Tony W

    1. Author

      Hi Tony,

      Great question, and to be honest, I’m not sure. End grain cups are a challenge to seal because of the grain direction. Tried and True also makes a natural Varnish product which includes pine resins. I would think that might work better. It’s worth trying each to see. Adding hot liquid, well that I’m really doubtful. I would imagine the liquid will dissolve or breakdown the finish. Experiment and find out. And like every turning project, the wood species will play a major factor as well.

      Let me know what you find out.

      Happy Turning,
      Kent

  4. Is it possible to use the Beal Buffing System, just the Tripoli and the White Diamond, in addition to the steal wool?

    1. Author

      Kenneth,

      Honestly, I’m not sure. The finish of Tried and True Original is not a high-gloss shine. I don’t think the buffing would make it more intense.

      But you know what, it’s worth trying. Experiment and see if it works. Let me know what you find.

      Happy Turning,
      Kent

  5. Thanksfor yourmessage concerning food dafe fonish. It has been my understanding that any finish when dry is food safe
    I am 86 and havevworked with wood and it’s finishes for over 66 years and I have heard of anyone being hospitalized as a result of a finished wood. Have you heard otherwise?

    1. Author

      Thanks for your comment.

      I too have heard that finishes once dry can be food safe. However, my concern is the toxicity of the finishes before they dry and the assumption that they become food safe just by drying. Also, what happens when finishes are chipped and allow moisture and bacteria to form under and around the cracks?

      Hospitalization will most likely not be the problem. The potential issue is health conditions that are formed or aggravated by exposure to toxic substances. These will be much more subtle and potentially not be obviously linked to the source. Personally, I’m not comfortable with the notion that just because a toxic chemical is dry it is now safe. Again, that’s just my opinion.

      Thanks for leaving your comment. I hope your experience and expertise is proof that I’m incorrect.

  6. Thanks for your insight I haven’t started woodworking yet but I am trying to build up my woodworking tools and resources while I am going through some health issues. I am sharing your article on my pinterest so word spreads. Thank you. Charlie

    1. Author

      Thanks for your comment, Charlie. I hope you’re doing better soon and get to start woodturning!!!

  7. Great article Kent. I have always wanted to try Trued & True, and to compare with my home mixed Malloof style blend that I would say is not water resistant at all. Will Tried & True skin over and start to gel after a while due oxygen remains in the can as some finished tend to do ? I really hate wasting costly finishes. It really hurts to toss it.

    1. Author

      Hi Rick,

      Thanks for taking the time to write.

      Tried and True does not skin over. I’m not sure exactly why, but it probably has to do with the fact that its ingredients are 100% solids so there is nothing to evaporate. When it gets cold, they will congeal a bit but they return to fluid when it gets warmer.

      I order a gallon can and that’s not practical to open and close for application, so I portion out a smaller amount to a clear sealable glass jar. This also keeps the larger amount of the Tried and True protected from contaminants, etc.

      Thanks and Happy Turning,
      Kent

  8. I’ve used Tried & True for several years on cutting boards and spoons. Never thought about it for my bowls. (kind of a duh moment). I’ve had the same can for 7-8 years and it’s still good.

    1. Author

      Hey Bill,

      Oh, that’s good to know that Tried and True lasts so long. I use it enough I’m always ordering a new can.

      And yes, it works great on bowls. Follow the directions, especially for the initial coat, 24 hours dry time and burnishing. I’ve seen a lot of people just wipe it on and be done. While that will work, following the steps makes a big improvement in the final results!

      Thanks for writing,
      Kent

  9. Kent,

    Thanks for your comprehensive review of Tried and True finish,

    I am making a tea mug out of olive and sealed a couple of cracks with a mixture of sawdust and CA glue. It sounds like the Tried and True is exactly what I am needing to seal the wood safely.

    Do you know if the Tried and True finish will seal any toxicity that the CA may have ?

    1. Author

      Andy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m not 100% sure about the toxicity of the CA. I’d recommend letting the CA fully cure before sealing with Tried and True. The curing time should be on the bottle of CA. If not, contact the manufacturer with your question just to be sure.

  10. Kent,
    I have been unable to get the shine you have achieved after two coats of Tried and True and more effort with 0000 steel wool than I wanted to give. Do you power buff the stuff? I want some sheen.

    1. Author

      What type of wood are your using and how dry is it? I’ve found that dense, drier wood works well. The key is to put only a very thin layer on and let it sit for one hour, then wipe it off. But, wait that’s not all. After 24 hours then burnish the surface with 0000 steel wool. The sheen can be quite rich but is not a gloss. It is more of a satin finish. Tried and True also makes varnish oil finish that will create more of a gloss if you’re looking for a shine.

  11. Thanks for sharing. Would you recommend this for wooden spoons as well? I read somewhere that spoons need to be soaked first. Can you soak with linseed oil, and then finish with the Tried and True Original?

    1. Author

      Yes, this would work great for spoons. You can also use just the linseed oil, called Tried and True Danish Oil. This can be applied repeatedly until the wood it saturated and then you can apply a final coat of Tried and True with Beeswax.

    1. Author

      I’m not sure. I’ve only purchased it online and it arrives within two days usually.

    2. Hello! Thank you for this article! I am looking to turn a small table into a large butcher block and prep surface. Right now it is painted red and the paint is coming off, so I intend on striping/sanding off the paint and started from the bare wood. I’m assuming this product would be fine for this project but of all the comments I’ve read and in your article, nothing much larger than a cutting board has been mentioned so I wanted to make sure.

      Thank you.

      1. Author

        Hello Christina,

        Yes, I’m certain this can be used on larger surfaces such as tabletops. I would suggest emailing the manufacturer to confirm ([email protected]) and mention you heard about there product here.

        Enjoy and thanks for leaving a comment,
        Kent

      2. I read some reviews on the selling site that some people found the odor very strong and objectionable. How would you describe the odor and how long does it linger in your shop after applying the material? I work in our attached garage and my wife says anything I am using there can be smelled in the house.
        Thanks

        1. Author

          Hi Jim,

          Thanks for writing.

          Hm? I wouldn’t call the smell strong or objectionable at all. I guess everyone smells differently.

          It’s a very light mild natural oil smell with beeswax. I don’t have a problem with it at all, actually its quite pleasant, but that’s me.

          Thanks for asking,
          Kent

  12. Would this work on a wood table that I want to refurbish as a bread bakers bench? Also… there is one crack in the table top that I would like to fill. What compound would you recommend that would also be compatible with the oil and the intended purpose for the table? Thanks for any info.
    Beth

    1. Author

      Yes, this finish will work well for such a table. I would use very fine sawdust from the same wood, if possible and combine that with regular yellow wood glue to fill the crack. You can actually begin to sand the mixture, with a fine 180 or 220 sandpaper, as soon as it is pressed into the crack. Let the area dry and sand completely smooth. Then apply the Tried and True finish as directed.

  13. I am just getting interested in learning how to turn wood. I am in North Carolina. Is there a WoodTurners Association ? I need to find a class ???? Need some direction. Your information has been most helpful. Have already ordered my Tried and True. Look forward to hearing from you.

    lynda W.

    1. Author

      Hello Lynda,

      Yes! The AAW America Association of Woodturners is the organization and there are local chapters everywhere. Even better news for you, I believe the annual AAW International Symposium is going to be held in North Carolina next summer!! Check out their website for more details. https://www.woodturner.org/

  14. Does Tried and True go “bad” in the can? I have yet to get through even a small can of Salad Bowl finish (General Finishes) before it becomes unusable.

    1. Author

      Tried and True does not go bad to my knowledge. It’s best to match the storage conditions as close as possible. I have had a small amount in the jar get gummy, but I think that was due to cold, and it returned to normal once warmed. Also, I know honey never spoils, which is pretty outstanding, but I’m not sure about beeswax.

      Update – after learning more from the makers of Tried and True, they explained that the components in their products are 100% solids meaning they will not evaporate or spoil. Interesting fact. Also be sure to read this article about Salad Bowl Finish.

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