Products I Like – Non-Toxic Wood Finish

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Non-Toxic Wood FinishThis post is for anybody who’s been looking for a truly non-toxic crib or any wooden furniture and felt frustrated with search results. This post is also for anybody who’d like to learn more about wood furniture, wood finishes, why boiled linseed oil may contain lead or manufacturers that you use non-toxic wood finish. Possibly, you found a lack of non-toxic wood furniture finishes and decided to buy it unfinished and finish it with a non-toxic wood finish. Today, we will discuss non-toxic wood finish. I have been trying to find a non-toxic wood finish for a long time, and am pleased to report the results of my search to you.


Non-Toxic Wood Finish for a Dining-Room Table


I’ve been in the market for a dining room table for some time now. While I found a few furniture makers who satisfy my requirements of solid wood and glue, unfortunately, I have not been able to find a dining room table maker that would use a truly non-toxic wood finish. So at the moment I am leaning toward buying an unfinished table and finishing it myself. To do this, I searched the market of wooden furniture finishes up and down. And finally, I found something that would be robust enough for a dining-room table and is also made with only natural ingredients.


Non-Toxic Wood Finish by Tried and True


Tried and True makes three types of non-toxic wood finishes. Each of them contain ingredients that are not your typical wood finish/paint ingredients. The ingredients are linseed oil (aka flaxseed oil), beewax, and a resin that comes from tree sap. There are no VOCs (harmful fumes that may increase risk of cancer), heavy metal drying agents, plastic, or latex. I spoke with Tried and True and I was assured that they use only these three ingredients without any hidden additives.


The Ingredients of 3 Types of Non-Toxic Wood Finish by Tried and True


Danish Oil: linseed oil


Original Wood Finish: linseed oil and natural beeswax


Varnish Oil: linseed oil, beeswax, and natural resin (hardened tree sap)


What is Linseed Oil?


Linseed oil has confusing terminology. Flaxseed oil that you can buy in our grocery store is called linseed oil when used for purposes other than eating. While linseed oil has polymerizing properties that allow it to be used for finishing wood, in its natural form it will take a very long time to dry. That is why it has to be processed first before it is used on wood.


What is Boiled Linseed Oil?


If you go to your local hardware store, most likely you will see boiled linseed oil. You might think that there is nothing bad about boiled linseed oil and use it on your baby crib. The pitfall is that the terminology is confusing. “Boiled“ means heated and treated with heavy metal driers such as lead that interfers with the development of the nervous system. As you can see, boiled linseed oil – widely available in hardwood stores – is not what you want to finish your baby crib with.


Manufacturers that use the linseed oil you want


The confusing part of it all is that the linseed oil you want to use is boiled linseed oil. And by that I mean the linseed oil that is literally boiled without anything added to it. When linseed oil is boiled, it cures faster when applied.   According to Tried and True, it takes 8 hours to dry a coat – i.e. it won’t cure within the same working day. That is why there are only a few manufacturers who use true linseed oil. On my blog I recommend other products made with linseed oil: Green Cradle (cribs), Urthware (cutting boards), and Elves and Angels (wooden toys).


I used linseed oil for a high chair about a year ago and am satisfied with the results. I applied three layers and even when my son gets strawberry juice all over it, a simple wiping works well. The wood does not get impacted. However, for an expensive dining room table that is meant to last a lifetime, I wanted a finish that would protect from spills, sunlight, and scratches.


Original Wood Finish or Varnish Oil by Tried and True


Whether you want Tried and True’s original wood finish or their varnish oil depends on what kind of wood you have, how much protection you want from scratches, and how much you want the surface to shine. Varnish oil protects the best from scratches. It also adds shine to the wood. But if you are interested in showing the beauty of wood such as maple, Tried and True’s original wood finish will work great. For more information about the application, visit the Tried and True website.


Where to Buy the Non-Toxic Wood Finish




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25 thoughts on “Products I Like – Non-Toxic Wood Finish”

  1. This is so helpful, thank you! What dining room table are you thinking of buying? I know a lot if unfinished furniture warehouses carry low-quality, made-in-China pieces with I am sure toxic glues!

  2. Thanks for this! I have found some greenguard certified baby furniture, but was having trouble finding other types of furniture that are safe.

  3. Thank you for this information, its very helpful. Do you have any suggestions on safe companies that sell unfinished cribs? I have found some that sell unfinished wooden furniture but they do not offer cribs and I am not sure where to look, do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Erin, I have a few suggestions but the price point is $700 and higher. Cheaper cribs are not sold unfinished (I looked high and low). I think it has to do with the fact they are made in China.

      1. Thank you for letting me know. I was hoping this would be a more economical and safer way to go about getting a crib but I guess not.

        1. The more researching I do the more overwhelming this all becomes. I have been trying to find a crib for months but keep coming back to the fact that in order to find a truly transparent company, means speanding around $1000. Since I cannot afford this nor convince my husband on spending this much, I was wondering what you found for unfinished wood cribs around $700? I need to purchase something now and don’t have any time left to keep on searching or wait 1-2 months for delivery. Any suggestions are much appreciated!

          1. Hi, Erin: I can certainly understand your frustration. Each time I try to find the perfect product, I spend hours and hours doing so, often to find out that there does not seem to be any such perfect product. So I certainly understand how you feel.

            Here is what I propose for you, and it will save you countless hours in the future. First, I will give you the information I have on the cribs, for free. And if you want more advice or input, I am happy to provide that according to my regular rates — just click here for more information. I’ll send you an email with information on cribs.

  4. Thank you! I appreciate all of the time and effort you have put towards researching companies and products, and then sharing that information with others on your website. It feels good knowing I’m not alone in my pursuit to create a safe environment for my family.

  5. Hi Irina, I know this is old but hoping you’ll still be able to reply 🙂 I was wondering which of these finishes you think would be best for wood toys? I was thinking the danish oil and i can just put a beeswax finish over it if I want but I’m really unsure…any insight?

  6. Hi Irina, this posting is great. My husband and I are expecting in a couple of months and he has decided that he is going to make a crib. I was wondering if you had any information on wood glues – which if any are non-toxic? Thanks, Zainab

  7. Hello
    I found that international concepts makes numerous unfinished wood products, but does that really mean they are chemical free, or just that they don’t have a chemical stain.

  8. Holy moses, have someone proofread! This is so difficult to read smoothly that I gave up in the first paragraph.
    I’m sure it contains wonderful, useful information. The fact, however, remains that I and many others won’t read it when there is such a plethora of information presented in a clear, concise manner elsewhere.
    I hope you take this constructively, as I certainly only mean to help you.

      1. Sure, I would be happy to. I would just be complaining otherwise. Email anything to me and I’ll have it revised and back to you within a day or two.

  9. Katharine MacAlister

    wow now that is a beautiful post with Irina and Harley…….so wonderful to see two truly caring helpful people!

    Do you know if Linseed Oil has a strong odor?
    Thank you

  10. I visited Green Conscience in Saratoga, NY. So many of the non-toxic, no voc, organic products I have found were all in one place. Including wood furniture, flooring, mattresses, bedding, paint, stains, counter tops. If you have a chance to look at them I would be especially interested in your thoughts on the furniture and flooring. Prefinished “safe” flooring. I hope anyway. Thanks!

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