olive oil turns rancid very quickly, and it is too heavy for
jewelers needs..a lighter alternative is safflower, sunflower,
apricot kernel or soy oil. Avocado, almond, hazelnut, pecan, corn
or peanut are less desireable due to the weight. cocnut oil is
fairly light but the main feature of using it is that it does not
In the application being discussed one major problem with most
vegetable oils is that they are air-hardening, some faster than
I’d have to dig up my old woodworking reference books to get the
technical jargon but the bottom line is that exposure to air causes
most begetable oils to polymerize and (slowly) turn into a solid.
Tung oil, from a species of Asian nut, is a fine excellent: pure,
untreated, tung oil has long been used in woodwork to provide a
fairly durable, food-safe finish on wooden kitchenware.
FWIW, the thinner the layer of oil the faster the transition, so
again, in the application being discussed that’s not going to be an
attractive feature. Other oils do this air hardening thing too of
course, but the vegetable oils are particularly prone to it.
Not sure about you and your tools but a layer of gummy gunk turning
to a sticky solid on my tools would not be a desirable thing, not to
mention attracting bugs, etc.
If an odorless, and non air-hardening, oil is of interest try
mineral oil, though it has the downside of tending to evaporate if
applied in thin layers on non-absorbent materials… and it’s not
particularly water repellent.
Some oils actually absorb moisture from the atmosphere so that’s
something to watch out for too.
in The City of Light
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