Wood Finish with edible Linseed oil

While researching on the internet for organic (non poisonous) wood finishes I came across one option which was fairly common in India. Both inside kitchens, as well as workshops, only 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. I managed to find one way, to fasten this process courtesy youtube video of linseed refining

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. Yhe lighter oil on the top is thinner. As it goes down towards the water interface, strands of white slimey (maybe some bio-polymers) start to appear. They are the strongest near the water interface, making clumps. You siphon out the clear oil on the top and leave the cruddy mix behind. You can also use a cloth as a sieve and filter it out. But filtering will still make some of those sticky polymers get in.

I think it depends on individual personalities to decide when to use siphoning and when to use filtering.

I have found suphoning just the top layer gives a very good quality. This was faster drying than Camel linseed oul for oil painting prized at Rs.60 for 60ml.
Whatever the procedure you choose it is good to leave it in the sun whenever possible. Repeating this process n number of times makes it more and more refined.


I have found experimenting with different variation of the materials, for example different kinds of water, water from RO system, water from borewell, etc. I am interested in discovering and reviving old methods of doing things. I have found they are fare more sustainable, as well as nourishing to the body. Apart from linseed there is shellacIf you know of any other natural wood finishes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top