Bought a counter top, wood butcher block as they called it, to install on my work bench. Top is raw wood. Instructions state seal immediately with Tung or Mineral spirits. Minerals Spirits? That doesn't make sense to me. What would you suggest. I live in Colorado, arid climate. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  • 2
    Seems like a bad translation for mineral oil. Depends on what you'll use the bench for... the bit of oil left on the surface might be acceptable for some work, e.g. potting, and not for other, such as paper craft. Apr 14, 2020 at 2:12

2 Answers 2


Mineral oil if you intend to actually use it as a food prep surface; tung (or linseed, or danish, or other) oil if you are truly wasting a butcher block for use as a work bench...

  • boiled linseed oil is non toxic (it's just the trans version of flax seed oil which is not only food-safe, but also food)
    – Jasen
    Apr 14, 2020 at 3:51
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    If it was actually boiled, that's true. Most is not actually boiled, it's got Japan drier (or equivalent) added to make it "boiled" - and Japan drier is Heavy Metals that are very toxic indeed.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 14, 2020 at 12:24
  • As for "wasting it," laminated sidegrain (i.e. per a recent question, I won't call it butcher block unless it's end grain even if it's a common misnomer in the trade these days) hardwood benchtops were the standard workshop benchtops in my high school (of course, that was when there were shops in schools, in a hardwood lumber producing area.) They were and sometimes still are also seen in factory shops. Lacquer or varnish or BLO/Wax depending on the work being done.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 14, 2020 at 12:29

Since it is for a workbench i would recommend that you not use a polyurethane or varnish, maybe shellac.

I researched this for my workbench and decided on a mix of boiled linseed oil and beeswax.

I think i went with 1 part wax added to 4 parts oil. Once melted together it is a liquid but left to cool to room temp it "solidifies" to a soft-ish paste.

To apply you warm it to a liquid ( not real hot but beyond lukewarm ) and rub it in with a rag, buffing prior to each new coat and after the final coat. Three or five coats over as many days.

If you do not want to make your own you can buy some, i like Darbin Orvar's tutorials and she has some nice products. ( i am not affiliated, just a fan )

Here is an article on it in popular woodworking

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