With so many wood furniture finishes available in today's wood maintenance market, it is no surprise that there has been an increase in the amount of environmentally friendly options. This is especially relevant in view of today's growing concerns over the level at which we affect our environment. For these reasons, this guide will cover the variety of eco-friendly wood finishes available in your local DIY shop and the benefits and drawbacks that each of them may offer.
There are two main types of oil-based finish that are kind to our planet known as Tung oil and Linseed oil. The special feature of these oil finishes is their ability to permeate and infiltrate the wood that they have been applied to instead of forming a protective layer upon the wood's exterior. This, as well as their polymerization qualities, makes them some of the best finishes to use on wood products.
Produced from the nuts of the Tung tree, it has been utilized by the Chinese for furniture preservation for countless centuries. It's attributes include excellent scratch resistance and commendable resistance to water whilst not darkening the original color of the wood too greatly. Unlike linseed oil, Tung oil does not need drying additives to bond properly with your wood. It is safe to eat off of and the perfect preservative for wooden chopping boards and cooking knives.
Extracted from flax plant seeds, this oil-based finish must be combined with drying additives such as boiled Linseed oil in order to form a properly oxygenated bond with the wood it has been applied upon. Of course, the environmentally friendly aspect of Linseed oil is rendered redundant once you use chemical drying additives such as varnish driers. Linseed oil fails to offer scratch resistance and water resistance as proficient as Tung oil but endows a very pleasing shine upon the wood it is applied.
The oldest recorded variety of paint, milk paint bonds extremely well with any raw wood to achieve a distinguishable grained finish. It's lime content acts as both pest repellent and fungicide, providing very impressive levels of cosmetic preservation. There is no need to apply any primer when using milk paint and it dries very efficiently to leave an extremely resilient layer that is entirely eco-friendly.
For many years regarded as the best natural wood finish, the shellac finish is actually obtained from secretions produced by minute insects native to areas such as India, Malaysia and Thailand. In recent decades, this finish has seen a steady decline in popularity due to the inevitable increase in man-made products that claim to work better. However, shellac wood finish will always be noted by wood experts and eco-carpenters worldwide as the premier natural wood finish. It is quick drying and maintains the same shade with age. Its resistance to heat, water and scratches is level with some of today's best chemical finishes and it far surpasses the abilities of other natural products.