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What is the safest finish on wooden toys?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Please forgive me if this is not an appropriate place to post this question.

My husband makes wooden toys that he sells locally on a small scale. Some of the toys are for babies and so we want them to be 100% natural and safe for babies to put in their mouths.

Does anyone have an opinion on what finishes are safest? Right now we are using a combination of organic walnut oil (to bring out the wood's colour), and carnauba wax (to create shine). Some of his toys for older kids are coated in polyurethane but we'd like to get away from that.

I noticed that a lot of wooden toys online are coated with food grade mineral oil--is this really safe? We don't really want to use mineral oil, but my concern is that some people might feel leery of the walnut oil since it obviously comes from nuts.

I have heard that linseed oil is pretty good, but that it takes ages to dry properly.

Leaving the toys unfinished isn't really an option, as he uses some darker woods that really need something to bring out the rich colour.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 12
I've never made wooden toys, but I've always heard beeswax was a good natural finish for wood.
post #3 of 12
I make a beeswax and jojoba wood polish for my toys. It works really well. Here's a link: http://www.amberdusick.com/woodmouse...de-beeswa.html
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hmm, that looks interesting Erin, thanks!

We did try using beeswax before but couldn't figure out a formula that worked. It feels too tacky to use wax alone, and every time we tried adding oil to it it seemed too greasy and wouldn't soak in.

I have never seen jojoba oil for sale anywhere--where do you get it?
post #5 of 12
I use homemade beeswax polish. The recipe is from Amber Dusick's blog.
3 parts jojoba oil
1 part beeswax
Melt together in microwave or double boiler. Stir, add a few drops of eo (optional), and allow to cool.
This is nice stuff. The kids love polishing with it, and it makes your hands nice and soft.
post #6 of 12
Once cured, all finishes are in a sense equally safe for kids (or food.) Check out this article on wood finishes:

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/features/finish3.html

As far as eco-friendly or natural, mineral oil or shellac might be good choices. Beeswax, definitely
post #7 of 12
So awesome! I just posted here asking for a recipe for beeswax polish. Great!!
post #8 of 12
Wouldn't mineral oil be non-green or non-eco friendly, since it's a petroleum distillation byproduct?
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I would think you are right, Hellga. Strangely though, I have noticed a lot of toys labeled "natural" and "safe" online that are finished with mineral oil.
post #10 of 12
At least mineral oil is by-product of petroleum distallation. As long as petroleum is being processed for fuel and other types of lubricant, there will be products like mineral oil. That said, I am not a big proponent of it. However, I am sensitive to tree nuts and have had to turn down multiple wood toys because they were or might have been coated in nut oils.

For that reason, I only buy wood toys that are protected in linseed or mineral oil. A local man I've purchased from normally uses nut oils or peanut oil, but will use others on request.
post #11 of 12
I use mineral oil simply because that is what we happen to have on hand. I got a bottle as a gift with a wooden cutting board. I find that it is easy to use and gives a nice finish. When I finish up this bottle I think I will check out nut oils.
post #12 of 12
I just used linseed oil on a toy we're making...how long am I supposed to let it dry? It doesn't seem oily or sticky, and has only been 2 days (though I only did one coat).
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