Chemical Treatments
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Raw Linseed Oil

Raw linseed oil (flaxseed oil) is a material that is very 'sympathetic' to the woods that are used for bee hive manufacture. It is available from hardware and DIY shops, but you must specify 'raw' rather than 'boiled'.

I have used other things in the past:-
Teak Oil... is thinner in consistency and penetrates well, but it does cost more and if used to excess forms a skin or varnish.

I have tried a 50/50 mixture of 'Raw' and 'Boiled' Linseed Oil, but this also tends to skin.

I am a romantic person, (some would say "silly old git"), I like the smell! It reminds me of cricket bats and putty.

I do not know if the bees like it, but they certainly do not appear to object, as they will walk through puddles of it without noticing it.

Linseed oil is a straw to amber coloured, fatty oil extracted from the cotyledons and inner coats of the seeds of flax (linseed). The raw oil is extracted from the seeds by pressing. In it's raw form it is light in colour, but when boiled it turns darker and thickens in consistency.

Linseed oil is used to protect wood and it is a major drying oil ingredient in high quality oil paints and varnishes. Linseed oil produces a lustrous surface on many hardwoods and is used for providing protection and finish on wooden furniture and the decks of boats. It is also used in the making linoleum, oilcloth, Artists colours and some printing inks. The residue and pulp are used in animal feeds.

Safety data for linseed oil

Linseed oil or flaxseed oil has no rigid molecular formula, but is a mixture of the glycerides of linolenic, linoleic, oleic, stearic, palmitic and myristic acids.

CAS No:- 8001-26-1

Physical data

Appearance:- light straw yellow to dark amber liquid with a recognisable odour.
Melting point:- -19°C
Boiling point:- 343°C
Specific Gravity (gm cm-3):- 0.93
Flash point:- 222°C
Auto-ignition temperature:- 343°C
Stability:- Generally stable, but polymerizes gradually upon exposure to air.
Combustibility:- Incompatible with strong oxidizing agents. Reacts violently with chlorine. Rags or paper impregnated with linseed oil may spontaneously combust after a long period due to gradual exothermic reaction with oxygen.
Toxicology:- Skin irritant (not in all cases). May be allergenic.
Transport information:- Non-hazardous for air, sea or road freight.
Personal protection:- Gloves and adequate ventilation.

Linseed Oil is also a valuable tool in the preservation of concrete. An application of linseed oil, penetrates the surface of the concrete forming barrier to water. It stabilises the surface of the concrete, reduces the formation of dust and prevents corrosive breakdown of the steel reinforcing rods.

Data has been gathered from multiple sources.

Dave Cushman.

Page created Summer 2000

Page updated 12/12/2022

Originated... Summer 2000, Revised... 08 October 2003, Upgraded... 29 October 2005,
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