Oiling unglazed pots

As an amateur carpenter I use a lot of oils, paints, laquers, etc.
Long ago I got my hands on Tung oil, food grade, nontoxic to humans and animals.
Was wondering if anyone has a clue if it’s nontoxic to plants also, as I would like to use it on some unglazed pots that I have.
It darkens the color a bit and it’s an oil that dries completly, leaving a lowkey shine, all in all it gives a great look to anything you use it on.
Thanks.

Maybe, but…
Tung oil, when ‘dried’, leaves a polymeric coating. Great to waterproof and make wood shine, which is porous.
My concern is, when used on unglazed pots, it will leave a buildup of a hard shiny coating. Cannot be removed easily. Paint… on porous ceramics.
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Mineral oil. Wipe on, wipe off. Baby oil is mineral oil…
( As opposed to 'Wax on, wax off…):wink:
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However, this might be related to the highly sought after ‘aging of pot’ coating? Anybody have insights?

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I can always give it a burn to make it go away, if I want to clean the pot of it, I guess.
Aging of pot coating? Care to expand?

There is this ‘idea’ of antique pots having a ‘age to them’ worn(?) coating. Not calcium buildup. Don’t clean off the age…
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I have several (moderately) old pots. They do look old. I clean / wash them when repotting.
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Antique pots are “required” in the Japanese KokofuTen display…
Good question for Ryan…

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Ah, got it. Thanks.
Can’t say I care much about the how antique my pots look, what I am after is a nice look to them. And tung is eye candy on… anything :slight_smile:

I just use olive oil because it’s pretty much always in my kitchen. Use it for tools and pots.

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Olive oil, like most oils, tends to go rancid and that makes it a good medium for bacteria. Might be a problem.

I haven’t felt the need to add an extra task to my bonsai calendar, it’s busy enough! A wash and clean at repotting time is all they get.

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Ppl have been using it for years. You don’t have to oil often. In fact I’ve never oiled a pot because I don’t show trees in exhibitions. Never been an issue with my tools as far as I know. I tend to alcohol my tools way more than I oil them.

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Well,… it’s an easy and relaxing thing to do. Also gives your hands something to do, while you are thinking of whatever. And gives you better looking pots.

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Never show my trees either, I want to oil for my personal pleasure.

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A lite oil with olive oil is just fine.

Does nobody here use camellia oil?

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Ah…just the thought of having nothing to do that I have to give my hands something to do is a wish come true!! :wink: I’m not against oiling pots per se I 'm just not bothered about doing mine.

camellia not on pots but on my tools and knives.

That i never was really concerned about my pots on that level eventually speaks of my lack of refinement in Bonsai.

i also would be cautious with tung oil and unglazed pots. The reaction of the oil to form a a chemically stable and hard layer is not semething i would want necessarily on top of my ceramic body.

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A number in the UK use camellia oil on their pots as well as tools. It’s certainly something that I was introduced to by an ex Japanese apprentice here.

given the properties it definitely makes sense also in this application. In Japan/China you have a long history of using it also for body care which again stems fro the properties (where i see Tung oil very different)

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So interesting discussion.
My pots only get oiled when I show them, for that I use a rag with a touch of olive oil. Prior to that, I use a synthetic steel wool scrubber and a small amount of lime away on the outside of the pot to remove calcification.

For my tools and arkansas stone I was using 3in1 oil. I was directed to use camelia oil at the tool maintience workshop with an expert tool handler.

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careful with the oil and the stone. Once your oil is more “coarse” than your stone grit it renders the stone non functional.