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Thread: Salad bowl finish

  1. #1
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    Feb 2007
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    Question Salad bowl finish

    I have two salad bowls coated with two coats of boiled linseed oil and I would like to know if buffing with carnuba wax is enough or is ther something else you recommend that is food safe.
    Thanks Ken

  2. #2
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    What finish to use on items used for food is one of those 'hot button' issues. My take on the subject is to use nothing. Or, if you feel compelled to put a finish on, use an oil or oil/beeswax mixture. I use olive oil, others claim that's not a good thing to do despite many generations of Italians, Greeks, etc. doing it that way. Mineral oil is a popular choice. Or a mix, to your own choice of viscosity/thickness with beeswax. The downside to any finish is that you are restricted to cold foods and no washing in an automatic dishwasher. As an historical reenactor, I have a wood cup (type of wood unknown) that I have used for decades. It is used for any liquid with no visible critters swimming in it, hot and cold. There is no finish at all. Other similar cups with oil or oil/beeswax or standard finishes make the liquids more than just a little unpalatable . I have given this sermon :soapbox: many times and am widely recognized as a complete nutcake on the issue. But, being Italian, having been raised eating out of home turned wooden bowls, and my cup, in use for 30+ years is what I base my observations on. Agreed, all that does not disqualify me from the nutcake title.

  3. #3
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    I've been happy with the Salad bowl finish that Lee Valley sells, and so has my wife. Now these bowl are salad bowls, so they are used only for salad, which is cold.

    Frank, nutty or not, thanks for the observations.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    I've been happy with the Salad bowl finish that Lee Valley sells, and so has my wife. Now these bowl are salad bowls, so they are used only for salad, which is cold.

    Frank, nutty or not, thanks for the observations.

    Cheers!
    A big downside to oil finished bowls is that anything used in them containing water will remove some of the oil and it will float. I have used oil finished cups that would develop an oily film on top when used with water. Forget hot coffee or alcoholic beverages. Salad bowls with food grade (e.g. olive) oils works OK because that is what you are eating. For me, unfinished is the way to go.

  5. #5
    You posted on another forum and I responded with Mineral Oil and Pariffin as the ideal finish. As for the others, they CAN turn rancid and then you have to contend with bacteria etc. Any fruit oil or nut oil or salad oil or the like CAN go rancid in the wood and create a bacteria problem , also they CAN be hyper alerginic to some people (nut oils and Bees wax) , Yes the finish does come off in the food. Mineral oil will not do that. Mineral oil is a simple solution and you can keep it under the sink and (She who does the dishes) can wipe it on after washing and drying, to replinish the finish. BLO will go away just as any finish when you use it. It is bitter if you taste it, Mineral oil is not. I don't know if it will flavor (disflavor) the foods. In fact, BLO has lost its protective qualities as soon as it dries. (do the research)

    In the schools we had students make cutting boards and bowls as filler projects, over the years we settled on mineral oil because it is SAFE and EASY... & Cheap. It was reccommended by the Cafeteria Lady as well as the Home Ec. teachers (and their word is Gospel, even more powerful than SWMBO)

    What I use is a bottle (from the drug store) of oil and a chunk of Pariffin (canning supplies from the grocery) melt the Paraffin into the oil, wipe on a generous supply, allow to soak and then buff off with a terry towel rag. ,
    Last edited by Bill Simpson; 03-26-2007 at 03:21 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    You posted on another forum and I responded with Mineral Oil and Paraffin as the ideal finish. As for the others, they CAN turn rancid and then you have to contend with bacteria etc. Any fruit oil or nut oil or salad oil or the like CAN go rancid in the wood and create a bacteria problem , also they CAN be hyper allergenic to some people (nut oils and Bees wax) , Yes the finish does come off in the food. Mineral oil will not do that. Mineral oil is a simple solution and you can keep it under the sink and (She who does the dishes) can wipe it on after washing and drying, to replenish the finish. BLO will go away just as any finish when you use it. It is bitter if you taste it, Mineral oil is not. I don't know if it will flavor (disflavor) the foods. In fact, BLO has lost its protective qualities as soon as it dries. (do the research)

    In the schools we had students make cutting boards and bowls as filler projects, over the years we settled on mineral oil because it is SAFE and EASY... & Cheap. It was reccommended by the Cafeteria Lady as well as the Home Ec. teachers (and their word is Gospel, even more powerful than SWMBO)

    What I use is a bottle (from the drug store) of oil and a chunk of Pariffin (canning supplies from the grocery) melt the Paraffin into the oil, wipe on a generous supply, allow to soak and then buff off with a terry towel rag. ,
    I won't debate that olive oil can go bad. I just have never seen it happen. Our family used bowls that were many decades old and only treated with olive oil. And, I'm sure many millions of people in the Mediterranean area, over many hundreds, or thousands of years used it without ill effects. However, my preference is still no finish at all.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    I won't debate that olive oil can go bad. I just have never seen it happen. Our family used bowls that were many decades old and only treated with olive oil. And, I'm sure many millions of people in the Mediterranean area, over many hundreds, or thousands of years used it without ill effects. However, my preference is still no finish at all.
    I sort of agree with you on the no finish aspect. As for the rancid olive oil, I've never encountered it either but the term is CAN and as Mr Murphy has stated in his Law "If it can happen, it will happen, and at the worst possible moment". As for generations of use w/o problem... I too was raised being allowed to play with toy guns, rode in cars w/o seat belts never heard of child restraint seats for our kids, ran barefooted all summer, rode in the back of pickup trucks, shot BB guns w/o goggles (but I did know a kid who "shot his eye out") just like generations before me, I doubt if todays kids could survive.


    However, lack of finish leaves the pores of the wood open to absorb particulates and if one of those particulates .... Blah Blah Blah.. know what I mean....

    SWMBO is strong on brightly finished wood products so a finish is in store for my products. As a school shop teacher and the projects going out into the community and with folks ready to grab at your pockets at the least incident.... More (Blah, BLah, Blah) .....

    I also feel that often times the basic of products will do as well or even better than the exotic goodies on the market that has more hype than quality.

    We are in the same tree, just on a different branch.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    I sort of agree with you on the no finish aspect. As for the rancid olive oil, I've never encountered it either but the term is CAN and as Mr Murphy has stated in his Law "If it can happen, it will happen, and at the worst possible moment". As for generations of use w/o problem... I too was raised being allowed to play with toy guns, rode in cars w/o seat belts never heard of child restraint seats for our kids, ran barefooted all summer, rode in the back of pickup trucks, shot BB guns w/o goggles (but I did know a kid who "shot his eye out") just like generations before me, I doubt if todays kids could survive.


    However, lack of finish leaves the pores of the wood open to absorb particulates and if one of those particulates .... Blah Blah Blah.. know what I mean....

    SWMBO is strong on brightly finished wood products so a finish is in store for my products. As a school shop teacher and the projects going out into the community and with folks ready to grab at your pockets at the least incident.... More (Blah, BLah, Blah) .....

    I also feel that often times the basic of products will do as well or even better than the exotic goodies on the market that has more hype than quality.

    We are in the same tree, just on a different branch.

    Bill said: "However, lack of finish leaves the pores of the wood open to absorb particulates and if one of those particulates .... Blah Blah Blah.. know what I mean.... "
    This gets into another area of never-ending debate, usually it stems from synthetic vs. wood cutting boards. Wood has properties that kill bacteria. Googling the subject will bring up various tests that prove this.
    Wood use for food stems back to earliest times. Some theorize that the Roman aristocracy died off because their 'fancy' utensils were made partially with lead alloys. But the peasant population thrived, eating from 'lowly' wooden bowls and dishes.
    An aside on the suggestion to use mineral oil. I have an aversion to using mineral oil on food utensils. It's a personal 'yuk' after learning that mineral oil is the same stuff you put in your cars crankcase only without the additives.
    OLIVE OIL RULES!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    OLIVE OIL RULES!
    We can discuss why you or I are wrong and the yeas & nays of open pores, and it all draws down to personal preference. I think both of us will agree that you don't have to use those fancy smancy high dollar finishes when a trip to the grocery will do as well.


    Mineral oil rules

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Houston, TX
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    Sorry Frank & Bill, you're both wrong. Walnut oil rules.

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