thejawnshop said: Which food safe finishes would you recommend? I have some plans for a serving tray/cutting board in progress.
In general, almost all finishes are food safe, once fully cured. What Bob Flexnor has to say on the issue.
In practice, my favorite finishes for food use pieces depend how they will be used. For cutting boards or the like, I use a couple coats of Walnut oil. It is a natural drying oil and dries a bit faster than Flaxseed oil (Linseed oil, but with out driers added). Either I get from the health food store. Some folks recommend Mineral oil, but it is not a drying oil. Drying oils (without the metallic driers) are good for cutting boards because they forgive all the knife marks and can be replenished every few months.
For pieces designed for serving, like the Sushi Plates, I like Target Coating’s EM6000 Lacquer. It is a low VOC water-based lacquer which is easy to spray, polishes up to a glass-like gloss and is tough in use. I used it on a serving tray I made my wife a couple years ago. It sits on the dining room table, gets used every day and still looks wonderful. Standard finishing schedule is Tung Oil, Shellac, pore filling, EM6000 Lacquer, sanded and polished, wax
In either case, I use George’s Club House Wax to shine up the final piece. The issue of food safe matters for this final step, since it is what the food will actually make contact.