A Word On Finishes September 15, 2015 16:11

As I state in my bio on my 'About' page, nothing speaks to me like wood. It is true, I like wood! I like the look, the feel, and the smell of wood. Most of all I like wood to look like………………….wood!

Browsing the internet and wandering around festivals I see many examples of beautiful wood flutes that have ended up encrusted in plastic. Yes, a thick, shiny petroleum based coating now permanently encasing an otherwise natural product, wood. Some might still find them to be beautiful but they no longer look, feel or smell like the wood that they were made from. So, what alternatives are there?

I have long been a fan of oil finishes in my woodworking endeavors. I love the way a hand rubbed oil finish can bring out the beauty and grain, but not all oils are alike. Most oil finishes also contain some sort of lacquer along with a long list of hazardous chemicals and petroleum byproducts. Even the “contact safe” finishes contain multiple VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) with long names that often begin with poly... Just go to the company's websites and look at the MSDS (material safety data sheet) to read about the hazards. Most of the hazards are to the person using (applying) the product and to the environment. They are contact-safe IF properly applied AND thoroughly dried.

Several years ago I began to research safe alternatives to commercial petroleum based finishes and to find a product that was safer to use, but still gave me the results that I was looking for. I found a small company out of Santa Fe, New Mexico called BioShield Paint Company. Beside clay house paints, they also have a full line of natural oil finishes. I contacted them with a few questions and was pleasantly surprised to receive a reply from the company's owner. He recommended a few products to try and gave me a discount coupon to do so. After some trial and error and a short learning curve I have settled on a couple products to finish the majority of my flutes. They take a bit more work and patience to apply but they look great, have a pleasant smell, are easily renewable. Best of all, I am no longer exposing myself to quite the arsenal of hazardous agents. Here is a statement from the BioShield website:
~The first thing you'll notice about BioShield Penetrating Oils is what you won't notice. That harsh petroleum smell. That's because there isn't any.
Instead of potentially harmful chemicals, our penetrating oils are crafted from natural plant oils, plant derivatives, and other non-toxic ingredients.~

So, if you too appreciate wood, are interested in a wood flute that resembles the wood that it was made from rest assured that all Tree of Life Flutes are now finished in just such a manner. The wood will show it’s natural beauty with a finish that is protective, long lasting, easily renewed and SAFE.

Okay, now I am finished ;)

Ed "Greybeard" Dougherty, Tree Of Life Designs