Linseed oil

Linseed oil

Linseed oil, also known as flax seed oil or simply flax oil, is a clear to yellowish drying oil derived from the dried ripe seeds of the flax plant ("Linum usitatissimum", Linaceae). It is obtained by pressing, followed by an optional stage of solvent extraction. Cold-pressed oil obtained without solvent extraction is marketed as flaxseed oil.


Paint binder

Linseed oil is the most commonly used carrier in oil paint. It can also be used as a painting medium, making oil paints more fluid, transparent and glossy. It is available in varieties such as Cold Pressed, alkali refined, sun Bleached, sun thickened, and polymerised (stand oil).


Glazing putty, consisting of a paste of chalk powder and linseed oil, is a traditional sealant for glass windows that dries hard within a few weeks and can then be painted over.

Wood finish

When used as a wood finish, linseed oil does not cover the surface as varnish does, but soaks into the (visible and microscopic) pores, leaving a shiny but not glossy surface that shows off the grain. Wood treated with linseed oil is resistant to denting and scratches are easily repaired, but the wood and oil surface is not as hard as a modern varnish, and it slowly absorbs moisture if allowed to stay wet. Soft wood benefits from the protection from denting but requires more applications and even more drying time than harder wood does, if the grain is to be completely filled. The oil penetrates deeply and fills the grain, because it dries slowly and shrinks little or not at all on hardening. Like other oil finishes Garden furniture treated with linseed oil may develop mildew. Linseed oil is not completely denatured, so it can encourage rather than discourage mildew growth. Oiled wood is yellowish and darkens with age.

It is a traditional finish for gun stocks, but a very fine finish may require months to obtain. Several coats of linseed oil is the traditional protective coating for the raw willow wood of cricket bats, and thus has a special cultural place in cricket-playing countries.

Fire departments treat the wood handles of hand tools that have metal implements (axes, plaster hooks etc.) on them with Linseed oil as it does not create static electricity, unlike synthetic wood finishes like varnishes.

Linseed oil is often used by billiards/pool cue-makers for the shaft portion of the cue.

Linseed oil is also commonly used as a lubricant/protectant for wooden recorders.

Nutritional supplement

Food-grade flaxseed oil is cold-pressed, obtained without solvent extraction, and marketed as edible flaxseed oil. Fresh, refrigerated and unprocessed, linseed oil is used as a nutritional supplement. It contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid, which has been suggested to be beneficial for reducing inflammation leading to atherosclerosis, [cite web
work=New Flax Facts
title=Flax Reduces Inflammation Leading to Atherosclerosis
author=Diane H. Morris
publisher=Flax Council of Canada
] preventing heart disease and arrhythmia, [cite web
work=New Flax Facts
title=ALA and Other Omega-3 Fats May Protect Against Arrhythmia
author=Diane H. Morris
publisher=Flax Council of Canada
] and is required for normal infant development. [cite web
work=New Flax Facts
title=Omega-3 Fats Are Essential For Infants
author=Diane H. Morris
publisher=Flax Council of Canada
] However recent well-controlled placebo studies suggest that regular consumption of flax seed oil may not reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, or cancer any greater than placebo. [cite news
publisher=Times Online
date=March 24, 2006
author=Nigel Hawkes
title=The benefits of fish and linseed oils as elixir of life are another health myth
] Regular flaxseed oil contains between 52 and 63 % alpha linolenic acid (C18:3 n-3). Plant breeders have developed flaxseed with high alpha linoleic acid content (70 %) and very low alpha linolenic acid content (< 3%). [cite book
author=Thompson, Lilian U and Cunnane, Stephen C. eds
title = Flaxseed in human nutrition. 2nd ed.
publisher = AOCS Press
year = 2003
pages = 8-11
isbn = 1-893997-38-3

Although flax seeds themselves contain lignans, a class of phytoestrogens considered to have antioxidant and cancer preventing properties,cite web
title=Flax - A Healthy Food
publisher=Flax Council of Canada
] [cite web
title=Flax - A Smart Choice
work=New Flax Facts
author=Diane H. Morris
publisher=Flax Council of Canada
] [cite web
title=Flaxseed Oil
publisher=University of Maryland Medical Center
date=April 2002
] the extracted linseed oil does not contain the lignans found in flax seed, and therefore does not have the same antioxidant properties. In fact, flax seed oil is easily oxidized, and rapidly becomes rancid with an unpleasant odor unless refrigerated. Even when kept under cool conditions it has a shelf life of only a few weeks. [cite web
title=Flax Seed Oil Capsules
publisher=Flax Seed Oil
] [cite web
title=Flax Seed Oil
publisher=Busy Women's Fitness
] Oil with an unpleasant or rancid odour should be discarded. Rancid oils contribute to the formation of free radicals and may be carcinogenic. [cite web
publisher=Sentient Times
date=August/September 2002
title=Flax Seed
author=Rebecca Wood
] [cite web
publisher=Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing
title=Get the Facts on Flax
month=September | year=2006
] [cite web
title=Are Nuts a Healthy Nibble?
author=Dr. Andrew Weil
date=May 31, 2005
] Oxidation of flax seed oil is major commercial concern, and antioxidants may be added to prevent rancidification. [cite journal
doi= 10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2005.03.042
title=Studies on a natural antioxidant for stabilization of edible oil and comparison with synthetic antioxidants
journal=Journal of Food Engineering
month=June | year=2006
author=D. Berab, D. Lahirib and A. Naga

Nutrient content

Nutrition information from the Flax Council of Canada.

Per 1 Tbsp (14 g)
* Calories: 124
* Total fat: 14g
* Omega-3: 8g
* Omega-6: 2g
* Omega-9: 3g

Flax seed oil contains no significant amounts of protein, carbohydrates, or fibre.

Additional uses

* Animal feeds
* Sealants
* Caulking compounds
* Linoleum
* Earthen floors
* Adobe
* Textiles
* Bicycle maintenance as a thread fixative, rust inhibitor and lubricant
* Leather treatment
* Polishes, varnishes and oil paints
* Composition ornament for moulded decoration
* Animal care products
* Wood preservation
* Industrial Lubricant

Boiled linseed oil

Boiled linseed oil is used as a paint binder or as a wood finish on its own. Heating the oil makes it polymerize and oxidize, effectively making it thicker and shortening the drying time. Today most products labeled as "boiled linseed oil" are a combination of raw linseed oil, petroleum-based solvent and metallic dryers. The use of metallic dryers makes boiled linseed oil inedible. There are some products available that contain only heat-treated linseed oil, without exposure to oxygen. Heat treated linseed oil is thicker and dries very slowly. These are usually labeled as "polymerized" or "stand" oils, though some may still be labeled as boiled.

Spontaneous combustion

Rags dampened with boiled linseed oil are considered a fire hazard because they provide a large surface area for oxidation of the oil. The oxidation of linseed oil is an exothermic reaction which accelerates as the temperature of the rags increases. If rate of heat accumulation exceeds the rate of dissipation, this reaction may eventually become sufficiently hot to cause spontaneous combustion of the rags. Linseed oil soaked rags should never be stored in an enclosed container. Instead rags should be washed, soaked with water, or incinerated. A fire that destroyed the El Rey Theater-Golden West Saloon in February 2008 was ignited by the spontaneous combustion of linseed oil soaked rags left in a plastic container. [ [ - Oil-soaked rags to blame for saloon fire ] ]

See also

* Flax seed
* National Linseed Oil Trust


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Linseed oil — Linseed Lin seed (l[i^]n s[=e]d ), n. [OE. lin flax + seed. See {Linen}.] (Bot.) The seeds of flax, from which linseed oil is obtained. [Written also {lintseed}.] [1913 Webster] {Linseed cake}, the solid mass or cake which remains when oil is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • linseed oil — n [U] the oil from linseed, used in paints, for protecting wood surfaces etc …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • linseed oil — linseed ,oil noun uncount an oil from linseed used in making such things as paint and ink …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • linseed oil — ► NOUN ▪ oil extracted from linseed, used especially in paint and varnish …   English terms dictionary

  • linseed oil — n a yellowish drying oil obtained from flaxseed and used in liniments, pastes, and green soap and in veterinary medicine as a laxative * * * the fixed oil obtained from the dried ripe seed of Linum usitatissimum; used as an emollient in various… …   Medical dictionary

  • linseed oil — n. a yellowish oil extracted from flaxseed, and used, because of its drying qualities, in making oil paints, printer s ink, linoleum, etc …   English World dictionary

  • linseed oil — polimerizuotasis aliejus statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Terminės polimerizacijos būdu modifikuotas aliejus. atitikmenys: angl. blown oil; heat bodied oil; kettle bodied oil; linseed oil; polymerized oil rus. полимеризованное масло …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • linseed oil — [[t]lɪ̱nsiːd ɔɪl[/t]] N UNCOUNT Linseed oil is an oil made from seeds of the flax plant. It is used to make paints and inks, or to rub into wooden surfaces to protect them …   English dictionary

  • linseed oil — pokostas statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Preparuotų aliejų arba nesočiųjų riebiųjų alkidinių dervų, tirpiklių ir sikatyvų kompozicija aliejinėms dažų ar lakų dangoms gauti. atitikmenys: angl. boiled oil; linseed oil rus. олифа …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • linseed oil — sėmenų aliejus statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Džiūstantysis aliejus, spaudžiamas iš linų sėmenų. atitikmenys: angl. linseed oil rus. льняное масло …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

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