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What natural oil is highly transparent and does not darken the wood? I want it for wooden toys for children. The goal is to protect the wood while keeping the wood grains visible or even make them more contrasting. I use mainly cherry wood or walnut.

So far my best finding is coconut oil. But even that oil darkens the wood considerably. Linseed oil makes it dark and has too yellow-greenish pigment. Tung oil is way too dark and stinks. Rapeseed oil has not a pleasant scent either.

Alternatively, what natural healthy substance you can recommend for that goal - I do not have to stick to oil.

  • There are no oils that don't darken wood. Wet wood with just water, which of course is completely colourless, and you'll see why. "Alternatively, what natural healthy substance you can recommend for that goal " Why does it have to be natural? Are you worried about toxicity during the finishing process or the safety of the completed item? If the latter, all finishes should be considered safe once cured. – Graphus May 27 at 11:49
  • @Graphus I see that water also darkens wood but I do not know why. Yes, I am worried about toxicity. What about wax? Does it also make the wood darken? – Przemyslaw Remin May 28 at 11:58
  • "Yes, I am worried about toxicity. " Yes but to you as the person applying it or in the end product? There's really no need to worry about finished items in use, but there's virtually always something toxic in finishes. Even very safe raw materials like wax and shellac (both safe enough to be edible) generally are made suitable for application with something that is toxic. In the case of shellac it's usually an alcohol or denatured alcohol product, with wax it's generally a petroleum distillate or turpentine. While turpentine is a natural byproduct it's as toxic as the synthetic alternative. – Graphus May 28 at 18:33
  • @PrzemyslawRemin Wet things (especially porous ones) reflect less light than when they're dry which allows more light to get to the pigments and so forth that make the color...which makes the object look darker. (van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=21080) – Greg Nickoloff Jun 6 at 20:43

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