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Using used vegetable oils for preserving wood structures in the garden or farm

 
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  Recently on letgo software a neighbor had 16 gallons of used rancid peanut oil to give away. She advertised it for a while and i collected it. Having already used corn oil successfully for wood preservation of a pine structured cage i built over the raised veggie bed. I thought the peanut oil would work well to help restore a variety of wooden structures around the  large garden. Its a thick oil and when applied, gets sucked right into the several year old wooden objects that have been bleached grey in the Californian sunshine. After a couple of days all the greasiness disappears and the wood goes darker and looks much younger. I am sure that this oil will make the wooden railings benches and raised veggie beds look and live for many years longer before cracking up into disuse. As an ex professional painter i realized that many wood preservers at Home Depot though effective are wildly over priced for basic yard based objects.And i urge others to explore used vegetable oils for  wooden garden items. I used it on bare wood fences, old benches, posts and wooden veggie beds as well as small wooden bridge over a stream. The color of the wood is also a nice rich dark brown instead of the old grey.
 
pollinator
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That's great! We use old rancid/oxidized vegetable oil as part of the process of burnishing unglazed pottery made from our native clay, and it works well for that, too. The oil burns off in the firing.
 
pollinator
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Good tips. I will give it a try. Thanks.
I used to send used and filtered cooking oil to a local shop. They burned all kinds of oil for heating in winter.
 
pioneer
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Where does one acquire used vegetable oil? Why would someone have a bunch of it sitting around?
 
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Those who use deep fryers, including turkey fryers, at home inevitably have used vegetable oil. Restaurants produce lots of it. I used to collect it for the biodiesel co-op in Portland, Oregon from small restaurants and bars who were willing to put their used oil in empty five gallon totes-- the ones the fresh oil arrived in.

Thanks folks for the use suggestions! We still use a deep fryer.
 
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We use old vegetable oil on all our outdoor wood.  It works better than paint or varnish.  The sun here dries  everything thing out in no time.  
 
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Thank you for suggesting the use of vegetable oil.  Seems like a great nontoxic, or less toxic, substance to use on wood.  Are there any downsides?  Does the rancid smell dissipate eventually?
 
pollinator
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I know that rancid oil is bad for humans. Its probably the rancid compounds that is deterring/killing the decomposers.    
 
pollinator
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We use old oil on wood garden tool handles and on the steel as well. The oil we get is from the bulk dispensers at our food co-op - the dredges that they don't get drained from the containers. Free and not rancid at first, but we keep a gallon in the shed and just add to it so it's several years worth of accumulation. Much better than the old "recommendation" to dip tools in a bucket of sand wet down with used motor oil (with all of its toxic contaminants).
 
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It will work great for coating various wood items around the yard, I used olive oil to coat the inside of my planter box when I built it but I could have used any waste vegetable type oil.  
I use it for a fire starter.   I think this winter will finish it but I am using my old peanut oil from the turkey fryer to soak small pieces of dry firewood (think 2/4 scrap) before using it to start a fire in my wood stove.  Using a small propane torch I can quickly heat a corner of the wood and get the oil burning, or using some paper or wax coated pine cones with the oil soaked wood the fire starts real quick and stays lit.  The oil is about 6" deep so I use 12" sticks so I have a dry end to grab.  It may drip a little, I just use another piece of wood to catch the drippings and then toss them both in the stove.
And no, it doesn't stink and it isn't yucky.
 
gardener
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Great idea! Do critters ever end up chewing on the wood trying to get the oil? I'd imagine they'd avoid something rancid, but some of them don't seem too picky.
 
pollinator
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Crazy question -- the oil in fryers probably contains a lot of salt. Does this affect its usability for protecting wood?

Edit: Also, would it turn my fence into french fries for deer and porcupines?
 
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I have access to a whole lot of used rapeseed deepfryer oil from my workplace. I also have many plans on my 1.5 ha land, including many uses for pallets and natural wood from home gardens / forestry waste.

Do you guys use such oil straight on the wood? Filter first? Cut with vinegar or lemon oil?
 
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Heather Sharpe wrote:Great idea! Do critters ever end up chewing on the wood trying to get the oil? I'd imagine they'd avoid something rancid, but some of them don't seem too picky.



I don't rub/paint used vegetable/cooking on wood/handles because we have this small red ant that comes and covers such a treated object{fried chicken bones} with soil. They then encamp there. This is why my bucket of oil soaked tissue/rage/newspaper{all set aside for starting fires} is suspended out of their reach. I would hate to burn any ants still lingering. I don't know which oils are safe but palm oil cooking oil{plentiful here} does not seem to WARNING spontaneously combust as Linseed oil WILL. I read that coconut oil will also spontaneously combust. So I rub my wooden handles with used engine oil. I was neglecting all the engine oil soaked newspaper until I came across the Linseed oil danger. I think that is safe to leave about as I see a lot of greasy rags at the car workshops.
 
pollinator
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In my amateur woodworking adventures I've mostly been steered towards using drying oils for wood finishes. The advice has always been to avoid oils that go rancid and don't polymerize. I guess if you're using them outdoors and not for skin contact or food contact it doesn't really matter though does it?

My plan for otherwise useless vegetable oils was to one day use as a lamp oil. I've heard most will burn fine, even very old rancid ones.
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