Wood Finish with edible Linseed oil

While researching on the internet for organic (non poisonous) wood finishes I across one option which was fairly common in Indian kitchens as well as workshops a few decades back. Linseed is Alsi, Adsi or Tees in different parts of our country. It was used as a cooking medium wherever it was grown.

So, there began my search for cheap edible linseed oil. I could easily find small bottles of 100ml or even 500ml prized exorbitantly. These would be nicely packaged while promoting the health benefits. Even after lots of alley chasing in the old city couldn’t find one edible oil retailer. Finally on a small trip to Jaipur I got it for Rs 160 per liter.

While one can use the oil directly on wood, it takes a long time for it to dry. And all that while one has to take care preventing any dust particles to settle on the drying layer of oil. There is one way in which the oil can be made to dry faster.

Take some salt, some sand, water and oil in a bottle and shake it. You can keep the ratio of oil and water about equal. When you observe the chaos of the mixture you begin seeing lots of activity. Some oil particles get stuck beneath the sand, they network, get together, make a small bubble and float up. At the oil water interface, one can see cruds of whitish/yellowish stuff, which sometimes travel down, sometimes up. I have found dirty sand with dust/clay works better than very clean sand.

I leave this overnight. Overnight the mixture becomes much calmer. Still there is some activity if you shake it a bit. You siphon out the clear oil on the top and leave the cruddy mix behind. Leave the clear oil in the sun. Repeating this process n number of times makes it more and more refined. If you do it more then 5 times with sufficient time in the sun, it is good enough to use in oil painting.

While searching for natural wood finish, I came across something which was almost a surprise. It turned out Alsi or Thees or Linseed which is eaten in many parts of the country, can also be used for wood. Some oils including this one, polymerize on contact with oxygen, creating a hard cover. Though this cover is far weaker than a chemical cover like PolyUrethane (PU), on one hand you have an edible oil on the other a poison. One drawback with raw linseed oil is that it takes a long time for the polymerization process to complete. There are ways by which this time can be shortened. The video that you see is raw linseed oil mixed with water, sand and salt, and shaken not stirred. Stirred might be fine too. So much is happenig in this bottle right now. . . . . #linseed #Alsi #thees #wood #finish #natural

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