At Armani Fine Woodworking, we offer a range of food-grade and food-safe finish options to suit each individual project’s needs.
Mineral Oil & Beeswax
Mineral oil and organic beeswax are both safe for food contact and direct chopping. Being a non-hardening oil it requires continuous treatment as the oils are removed over time during use. We recommend the use of coasters and placemats if you have this finish as it may leave a residue on items left on the surface. This is the easiest finish to repair if your butcher block gets stained or scratched.
It is important to note that counters treated with mineral oil require extra care around sinks. When your top is properly saturated with the oil and wax it will repel water - it is when the piece is not properly saturated that water damage becomes a concern.
Pros: Food safe, meant for chopping, easy to sand down and refinish
Cons: Continuous treatment, most susceptible to stains, not ideal for pieces with sinkcutouts / continuous exposure to water
Pure Tung Oil
We use a pure tung oil and citrus solvent blend that are both entirely plant-based and food-grade which makes it an environmentally friendly and highly functional finish. Like mineral oil, tung oil is both safe for food contact and direct chopping, but the benefit of tung oil is that it is a hardening oil which means it will only need to be treated once every few months or less. It takes a few days for the oil to completely cure and bond to the wood, but once it does you are left with a long-lasting, matte, water-resistant barrier.
Pros: Naturally derived, food-grade, VOC free, non-toxic, easy to repair, self-hardening, non-yellowing, easy to reapply when needed, environmentally friendly
Cons: Susceptible to water rings and other stains if not maintained properly, requires multiple coats to retreat, additional time is needed to fully cure, can have an initial strong citrus odor
Rubio’s Hard-Wax Monocoat
Rubio’s Monocoat is a plant-based, sustainable and VOC-free hardening oil that accentuates the natural beauty of wood with a thin, matte, and water-resistant coating. It is a great choice if you want the most natural looking finish possible without the upkeep of a traditional oil finish. Monocoat is safe for food contact, but not for direct chopping. It offers protection against stains and spills while being easy to spot repair if the finish does get damaged over time.
Pros: Plant based, sustainable, VOC-free, maintains the feel and looks like of natural wood, safe for food contact, easy to refinish / apply in house
Cons: Cannot be used as a cutting surface, occasional treatment around sinks, may need to be refinished after a few years of regular use
HAPS-Free Environmentally-Friendly Polyurethane
Our BCA polyurethane is our most durable and protective finish - It protects the wood from water damage, stains, and UV light. We use a dull sheen to best preserve the natural look and feel of the wood, but other sheens may be available if you inquire. Our polyurethane is HAPS-free, so it does not contain any isocyanates, formaldehyde, or aromatics.
While it does have the highest ratings in scratch- and chemical-resistance, the film finish can be difficult to repair if damaged.
Pros: Best protection from water damage, stains, and finish color changes associated with UV exposure; it is low maintenance, easy to clean, & safe for food contact
Cons: Lose some of the natural wood feel, cannot be used as a cutting surface, must be completely sanded and refinished if repairs are needed (spray must be done off site)
If you choose to have your piece ordered unfinished, we do all of the shaping and sanding so it is ready to receive finish on site. Unless notified, we do not pop the grain which is necessary for any water-based finishes.
It is important to note that wood cannot remain unfinished. This option assumes that you are responsible for applying a finish shortly after receiving your piece.
Note: Unfinished pieces are not covered under warranty
Food-Safe vs. Food-Grade
Food-Grade (for chopping) - This means that everything in the finish is FDA approved and edible. Our Mineral oil & Organic Beeswax and Pure Tung Oil finishes are in this category; 100% food safe and designed to use for direct chopping.
Food-Safe (for contact) - This means the finish is safe for food contact once cured and can be used for tasks such as rolling out dough and general prep work.
All of our finish options are food safe for contact. This does not mean the finish is safe for direct chopping. Finishes that are safe for food contact often have hardeners (wood-protecting chemical components) in them that cannot be ingested. When this type of finish is fully cured, it forms a hard wood-protecting layer that does not interact with food.