The Wonders of Hemp Oil
For the purposes of this blog, we will be talking about hemp oil in the context of timber finishing. It is well known for its health benefits as a source of beneficial fats and as a skin moisturiser (you can certainly use our product in these ways as it is completely food safe) but perhaps, less well-known as a wonderful, natural, VOC-free alternative to a polyurethane finish.
How Hemp Oil is Produced
Created by pressing the seeds of Cannabis sativa (from varieties that do not contain THC, the psychoactive component of the plant), hemp seed oil is dark green in colour but can be filtered until almost clear for aesthetic reasons as a cosmetic ingredient. It is food safe, regardless of the colour.
Moisturising and Protecting Timber
Hemp oil, like tung oil, is a curing or polymerising oil. This means that when exposed to oxygen, the chemical components cross link, or polymerise, which creates a hardening effect. The fully cured layer of oil becomes impenetrable to water. For this reason, hemp oil is an incredibly useful substance to protect furniture that is likely to be exposed to water and other spills. The oil does still remain flexible though, which allows it to move with the timber as it expands and contracts in response to temperature. In addition to this, the hemp oil also enhances the natural tones and shapes of the grain.
Because it is food safe, hemp oil is a wonderful product to use for finishing children’s toys and furniture, along with any kitchen utensils, chopping blocks and boards. It is equally effective as a finish for your kitchen bench tops and areas of food preparation.
Although it is quite dark in the bottle, when applied the oil will darken the timber as if it were wet, rather than colour it as a stain might.
As a Chalk Paint Sealer
Interestingly, hemp oil is superb as a soft, matt sheen to finish and protect chalk painted furniture. When brushed on it will sink into the paint and once it polymerises, the finish will be strengthened and protected as well as being beautiful.
Can be used even on pale colours. In some cases, the oil may darken the finish ever so slightly but as long as you don’t leave the oil on without rubbing away the excess, the difference is barely discernible.
Benefits in Summary
- Easy to use - just brush on and wipe away excess.
- Waterproof - creates a barrier to moisture and stains.
- No VOCs (volatile organic compounds) - safe and natural - get the kids involved in your project!
- Cost effective - real value for money; a little goes a long way
- Repairable - whilst it is durable, it can be repaired if needed, unlike lacquers which need to be sanded back to raw timber and re-applied
- No need for a solvent - hemp oil is quite liquid (thin) compared to other viscous hardening oils.
- Care for the earth - of course, it’s biodegradable.
- Food safe - perfect for use on everything likely to come into contact with food. If you happen to splash it onto your hands while applying, rub it in and enjoy the moisturising effect.
- Chemical Sensitivities - pure and natural, hemp oil is perfect for people who react to regular timber finishes; many of which contain harmful, petrochemical additives.
- Easy cleanup - wash hands, brushes and cloths with soapy water.
Gilly’s Pure Hemp Oil is available in 250ml or 1L bottles - click here for more information.