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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    2

    Default Antique painted butcher block island

    We have an antique elementary school science lab table which we use as an island in our kitchen. It has the original swivel seats aand we prepare food and eat around this table
    The butcher block top has the original black paint and has the original slate well in the center, where kids would pour their science chemicals.

    Because we use this table for food preparation we were wondering if there was advice about how to refinish the top. We really like the original black paint but is coming off on dish clothes and probable is lead paint. Should we prime and repaint with black paint over the old? Or should we put a clear sealant over the old paint or should we strip and refinish with food grade mineral oil and beeswax? Thank you for your advice. Tori

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Antique painted butcher block island

    Quote Originally Posted by Tori View Post
    We have an antique elementary school science lab table which we use as an island in our kitchen. It has the original swivel seats aand we prepare food and eat around this table
    The butcher block top has the original black paint and has the original slate well in the center, where kids would pour their science chemicals.

    Because we use this table for food preparation we were wondering if there was advice about how to refinish the top. We really like the original black paint but is coming off on dish clothes and probable is lead paint. Should we prime and repaint with black paint over the old? Or should we put a clear sealant over the old paint or should we strip and refinish with food grade mineral oil and beeswax? Thank you for your advice. Tori
    TORI!!!!!!

    what were/are you thinking????? dang!! i'd just replace the top with something clean and SAFE for FOOD PREP and a virgin (safe) stone sink or other. wood is like a sponge and you have no way to know how or what it was treated with or what it was exposed to.

    old glues, treatments like arsenic, chromium, chemical exposure formaldehyde (remember disecting frogs in elementary school!), acids, chemical reactions demonstrated, cyanide, photo processing, heavy metals like mercury (we played with that as a kid and lots of science experiments with mercury compounds and other poisons and metals) who knows? sheesh I wouldn't RISK food prep on an old school science LAB table. how old is antique? cripes they used to sell radioactive crocks to make water "more healthy" and radioactive to drink thinking it was GOOD for you back in the 20s and 30s gosh only knows what was done on this lab table or how many times it was "painted".

    back in 2002 when Vermont sought to clean out dangerous chemicals and all mercury from PUBLIC junior high and high school student science labs they ened up with 17,000 pounds of hazardous materials and 625 pounds of mercury, mercury-added products and mercurty-added compoumds yeilding 156 pounds of elemental mercury! the cleanout project was spurned to action after a two schools has to be closed due to mercury releases and a vermont school was traced as the source for high levels of CADMIUM in the local waste water treatment plant. "Many school science labs contain a wide variety of dangerous chemicals that are obsolete, unknown, toxic, reactive, and even expolosive. chemicals are often purchased in excessive amounts, stored incorrectly and disposed of improperly. Many schools do not even maintain lab chemical inventories and are unaware of all chemicals in storage. These practices are placing students, teachers, staff and the environment at risk. ""the typical vermont middle school or high school science lab stocks a variety ofhazardous chemicals, some of which may be highly toxic, carcinogenic, corrosive, reactive, or even explosive."

    poisons: cyanides, pesticides, heavy metals, etc.
    carcinogens: acetamide, formaldehyde, nickel, asbestos
    chlorinated solvents, etc.
    radioacive materials: ionizing and non-ionizing.

    That was the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Staff report in 2002. you think they were wiser and or more restrictive in the era circa your school science lab table's history? here is a link to the report, it is plain english easy to understand, see esp. appendix C:
    http://www.mercvt.org/PDF/finalreport.pdf

    they used to coat surfaces with asbestos containing fibers to protect from heat back in the day to. have no way to know what this black coating is.

    Now when i think about toxin containing and heavy metal containing chemical reagents and oils being spilled on the "slate" inset and poured down the "slate" POROUS STONE SINK - and food prep later...

    some FOOD, or rather NON-FOOD for THOUGHT.
    Last edited by Blue RidgeParkway; 12-02-2008 at 03:51 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Antique painted butcher block island

    Thank you for opening my eyes and for your advice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    455

    Default Re: Antique painted butcher block island

    Hmmm. Scarey stuff here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,826

    Default Re: Antique painted butcher block island

    I have to wonder how I managed to survive. We use to eat our lunches on those tables back in the 50's, lay on them during lectures, played with mercury, blew up stuff, and did experiments with all those dangerous chemicals. And yet here I am still alive at 67. Managed to maintain enough gray matter to attend OSU School of Engineering, build my own business, stay out of hospitals, and continue to work on my little farm since retiring, including baling hay and tending livestock.

    The sink is probably soapstone not slate, that is what was generally used because it is impervious to just about any chemical.

    Wood cutting boards and chopping blocks have been used for centuries and only recently condemned when germaphobia swept the nation.

    Lead paint can be removed with chemical strippers and safely disposed of unless you live in an area with a strong lead remediation lobby.

    Paint would not be a good choice for food prep and a clear seal will encapsulate any thing in the wood.

    Just my humble opinion.
    Jack
    Last edited by JLMCDANIEL; 12-02-2008 at 11:36 PM.
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Antique painted butcher block island

    Quote Originally Posted by Tori View Post
    Thank you for opening my eyes and for your advice.
    You're welcome Tori.

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