I received my brooder a few weeks ago and have only opened the box. A friend kindly got me Miniwax Helmsman TEAK OIL to stain the brooder. it has not yet been applied. I am looking for advice on whether to use this product, although my gut says no.
Also, should I stain just the outside of the box after it’s been assembled, or all the surfaces before assembly?
I think you should trust your gut! I just looked up the MSDS for this product and it contains 50% aliphatic hydrocarbons and a small amount of cobalt ethylhexanoate. The first is toxic to the nervous system, and the second may be linked to cancer. Having said that, if you let the product dry thoroughly and you ONLY used it on the outside of the hive, it might be OK. However, I would NOT use it personally.
If you can’t find Pure Tung Oil, you actually don’t have to seal or treat the western red cedar at all. It is naturally insect and rot resistant, and should last a couple of decades even untreated. Sealing it slightly improves water-proofing, and preserves the beautiful color of the wood.
You only need to treat the outside if you decide to seal it. The bees will treat the inside with wax and propolis as they see fit!