linseed oil for treating boards

cave88(5)March 4, 2009

I read on here a few weeks ago that linseed oil was good for treating boards to make raised beds. I didn't want to pay for cedar. I bought some linseed oil to put on the boards but noticed on the can that it has a warning about causing cancer. Having had surgery last August for prostate cancer I am a little leary now. This was boiled linseed oil. Does anybody know am I missing something or not to worry about the oil?

Thank you

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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

That comes from the additives that improve drying time or prevent mildew. I'd only worry if I had long term / repeated direct contact with it in an un-"cured" state.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 10:12AM
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that is a precautionary statement for the solvents added as Ray said. They evaporate or "flash" and you will have nothing to worry about. True linseed oil is just the oil from flax.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 2:07PM
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Could I just treat the wood with flaxseed oil, then? Or would that cause problems with mildew, etc? I have flaxseed oil around because I feed it to my horses and goats :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 6:09PM
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uschi(z9 Florida)

here's a great debate over which kind of boards are best. We think free boards are best -- recycled container pallets will do, or thicker boards if you can get them. Don't use pressure-treated lumber! It's got arsenic in it and other toxins, and no matter what they might tell you, it will leach out and get into your plants, and quite possibly into you too. There's another debate on how to weatherproof them. Don't use creosote! -- it's a plant poison. Paint or spray them with vegetable oil, or, better, linseed oil. Some linseed oil has toxic preservatives added -- check the label (or use food-grade flaxseed oil, it's the same thing). Or try this 100-year-old recipe for "Everlasting Fence Posts":

"Take boiled linseed oil and stir in it pulverized charcoal to the consistency of paint. Put a coat of this over the timber, and there is not a man that will live to see it rotten." (From "Lee's Priceless Recipes" 1895)
will do the same Uschi

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 10:50AM
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uschi: new pressure treated boards do not contain arsenic; they have not since '03/'04. They use a different kind of chemical now; I still don't know if this chemical is safe, but it definitely does not contain arsenic.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 1:15PM
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It seems it also depends on what brand of boiled linseed oil you get. One can I saw at Ace talked about causing cancer, etc. But the can I bought at Walmart (Kwikstrip) had no such warnings. Weird.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden blog

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 3:55PM
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