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    Colin Scowen

    Hi, I watched a couple of the Masterclass videos online, and I noticed in one that after applying oil with a rag, the rag was then placed in a water filled jar to avoid any issues with spontaneous combustion.
    My question however, is what happens to the jar of rags. I assume there isn’t a slowly growing pile of filled jars creeping their way across the workshop car park.
    Is the jar emptied out on the tomato patch (I will be using boiled linseed oil) and the rags left to dry and be re-used? Or does something else need to be done?

    Colin (first time using oil, usually use boat varnish).

    Larry Geib

    Linseed oil safety is more than spontaneous combustion. There is also the issue of proper disposal.

    The typical thing I do is hang the rags outside to dry ( usually overnight) if they are still usable, ( likely not) go ahead and do so, but store them in a tin can. If they aren’t, they go in the sanitary landfill. I would not recommend you try to wash rags for reuse.

    Throwing the extra on the tomato patch is a REALLY bad idea unless you like the idea of google eyes and Organ failure. Likewise, pouring it down the drain or on the ground is just soiling your nest.

    Most boiled linseed oil from the hardware store isn’t actually boiled, but instead has heavy metal driers in it. These are typically cobalt and manganese salts that can collect in internal organs.


    I don’t know where you live, but here in the city the proper disposal is to take it to the hazardous waste center if it is still liquid. They may or may not charge a small fee. Here they don’t.

    Or you can let the oil stand open somewhere outside and it wi`ll eventually polymerize and dry out. Then any residue can go into the landfill.

    Add some baking soda to it and the chances of the salts leaching are a lot lower.

    If you have a little patience, you can substitute raw for the “boiled” linseed oil. It smells better and is non toxic. It will take 2-3 times as long to dry, keep what you oiled in a warm airy place and it will dry faster.

    You still have the spontaneous combustion issue, but not near the toxicity problem.

    The best linseed oil you can get is to refine your own from flax seed oil.
    Get a jar with a lid. Take a bit of clean washed sand and equal parts salt water and flax seed oil from the grocery store. Shake it up for a couple minutes and let the jar sit in the sun for a few days. The longer you leave it in th sun, the lighter it will get.

    There will be four layers. The top is linseed oil. The next is waxes and fats, then cloudy water, and then the sand. Use a turkey baster or syringe to draw off the linseed oil. It’s pretty easy and the stuff smells good. Store it in a jar in a cool, dark place. The less air in the can the better, just like paint.

    I can’t stand to be in a room where somebody is using “boiled” linseed oil from the hardware store.
    It used to be boiled. Now it’s just a toxic cocktail.
    See if your can looks like this picture.

    Old fashion linseed oil

    Old fashion linseed oil

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