bowls to eat out of?

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by calvinjanes, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. calvinjanes

    calvinjanes

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    well, i finally have a bowl that i dont think will crack or warp to the point of me not being interested in its looks any more :D i was wondering what i could use as a finish that will allow me to eat out of these bowls, but not degrade like some oils do. i want something that is like urethane. any suggestions? thanks!!!!!!
     
  2. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    No takers. Assuming this is something like porridge?

    Best is to go bare and wash regularly and soon after use. Second best is to do dips and drips in resin finishes hoping to get a fully occlusive finish.

    Your choice of the three major resins - alkyd, urethane or phenolic. Or go whole hog for a polyester or epoxy.
     
  3. calvinjanes

    calvinjanes

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    sorry to ask a lot of questions, but this means i can use regular old urethane? i was wary of doing this for concerns that it might be poisonous. also, with going with the bare wood, does it change the flavor of the food in it, and can the bowl be stained and then left bare or would that be a bad idea. i saw on a video somebody using mineral oil, another using tung oil, and a third using linseed oil. are all of these safe to eat from, or do they have to be special versions of the oil? big thanks to anyone that replies. last night i made a nice spalted ash bowl thats about three inches tall and something like 7 wide. its my first really nice piece :D (dont know if the picture downloaded, if it did, sorry for the bad quality.. taken from my phone.)
     

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  4. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Urethane resin is urethane resin. You already eat commercial foods which have been in urethane-coated containers. Generally regarded as safe once the solvent has evaporated.

    As to bare, you should not use dark durable woods, because they're generally loaded with things you can taste. Beech, birch, maple or cherry are pretty good choices. Yes they will eventually show signs of use. If you want them to look at, don't use them. Attempts to stain a cross-grain bowl, even if it were not undesirable for a food container, generally involve a lot of work to keep the end grain from becoming black while the face grain stays a contrasting light.

    Mineral oil washes away because it doesn't cure. Tung and linseed will cure, but the resin added to them in conventional varnishes will make for a tougher film than they themselves.
     
  5. Food Safe Finishes

    Checkout attachments. - John
     

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  6. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011
  7. James E Gaydos

    James E Gaydos

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    Eat

    I have been using General Salad Bowl Finish with very good results. You must follow their directions.
    Jim
     
  8. Dale Jablonski

    Dale Jablonski

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    I been using something called "The Good Stuff" and it has a nicer finish then Salad Bowl finish which I find to be very plain. I get it from Macbeaths and it is food safe. Gives my bowls a nice finish.
     
  9. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

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    Calvin,thin down some gloss poly or varnish. Wipe it on. Let it soak for a minute or so and dry. Do this untill it begins to come to the surface. One day at a time not all at once. A good powerbuff with tripoli after it dries and your set for use. It is ready when you cant smell the finish. All these things are food safe when cured. When you begin using the bowl hand wash with soap and water and dry. After some time the bowl may begin to look a bit dull. But you have some hard finish in the pore structure. But if you want a bit of sheen put a bit of mineral oil on the bowl. You could do another wipe on off process but it will need to sit and cure a bit.
     
  10. bowlman

    bowlman

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    Food safe bowl finish

    For hundreds of years, people ate and drank from wooden bowls and tankards, and there was no finish on them. And they did just fine. I have seem maple burl bowls on Antiques Road Show (PBS) that were 250 years old, no finish, just the beautiful luster from lots of use. Inside burnished from spoons of different materials. I think Mike Mahoney uses his own oil on utilitarian pieces, but its not really necessary. Just wash out and hand dry immediately. No soaking, no microwaving, do dishwashers and no worries.:D
     
  11. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Once it has cured, it is not harmful. While it is still wet, the oil based varnishes have volatile organic compounds (things like mineral spirits and naphtha) that evaporate as the finish is curing. I suppose that you could even avoid most of them by using a water based varnish.

    I am not a big fan of film finishes (varnish, lacquer, shellac) on wooden bowls and other treenware because it won't be long before microscopic cracks will develop as the bowls are used and go through many cycles of expanding and contracting from heat and moisture. Once these tiny cracks develop, it allows more moisture to get into the wood and accelerate the process of cracking. This leads to the possibility of bacteria getting into the tiny crevices which could be a problem if food were left in a wooden container long enough to get a culture going (which might not require much time for something like shrimp gumbo). The solution to this is not difficult -- wash the wooden treenware thoroughly and soon after use, not days later. Also, do not store leftovers in wooden bowls.

    For treenware, it is best to use maple and other non-flavorful woods. There are some oily tropicals that can impart unpleasant flavor, not to mention a few poisonous organic compounds that exist in the wood to keep pests from attacking the tree while it is growing.

    Most definitely do not stain wood and leave it bare. Wiping stains are meant to be covered with a film finish. Since the stain sits mainly on the surface of the wood (penetration depth is only about the thickness of a sheet of paper), it will eventually wear away and become an ingredient in your porridge as well wearing off from washing the bowl. Besides that, you might not like the taste. The same thing applies to dyes which penetrate a bit deeper into the wood -- and, many are water soluble.

    There are several types of mineral oil, but the kind found at grocery and drug stores is a paraffinic oil. Mineral oil is a mild laxative. I grew up at a time when kids were given a does of mineral oil at regular intervals just to keep their systems "purged". Mineral oils have been in the ground for millions of years and have not dried yet -- there is no reason to expect that it will dry any faster in your wooden bowl. Why people use it is beyond me, but that is their business. I use mineral oil on the leather honing wheel of my Tormek sharpener and that is the extent of my mineral oil use these days. Even so, I still cringe at putting mineral oil on the leather. However, there are worse things than mineral oil -- for prompt action, nothing beats caster oil.

    Tung oil, linseed oil, and walnut oil eventually cure, but it may take several weeks before they fully cure. I like them because they are easily renewable and look nice. They are not nearly as durable as varnish, but it is easy to freshen up a bowl with a coat of oil.

    I generally use pure tung oil or walnut oil. Pure tung oil is quite costly. The walnut oil that I use is found in the grocery store where you find salad dressing. Walnut oil has a pleasant aroma. You can also make a wonderful balsamic walnut vinaigrette with the walnut oil and balsamic vinegar.

    I do not like linseed oil because of the smell.

    Whatever oil you use, allow time for it to cure so that it does not get washed out of the bowl as quickly.

    I do not know if there is a problem with using spalted wood for treenware other than the fact that the wood is in the initial process of decaying and therefore could have softness that allows it to absorb stuff more readily. Turning spalted wood is hazardous to your respiratory system without adequate breathing protection. I have no idea if there is any issue with the digestive system, but spalted wood can also contain claustridius, the bacteria responsible for botulism.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  12. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Dick, I basically agree with you, but for the sake of accuracy, they also had a life expectancy of about 37. When we get overwhelmed with the hassles and hazards and speed of modern times, it easy to forget that the 'good old days' were a pretty hard, dangerous and short life. And no variable speed on the lathe!
    Dean Center
     
  13. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    For the sake of accuracy, is that life "expectancy" at birth, skewed by the large infant mortality, or life "span?" From Wikipedia: "Life expectancy is often confused with life span to the point that they are nearly synonyms; when people hear 'life expectancy was 35 years' they often interpret this as meaning that people of that time or place had short life spans.[52] One such example can be seen in the In Search of... episode 'The Man Who Would Not Die' (About Count of St. Germain) where it is stated 'Evidence recently discovered in the British Museum indicates that St. Germain may have well been the long lost third son of Rákóczi born in Transylvania in 1694. If he died in Germany in 1784, he lived 90 years. The average life expectancy in the 18th century was 35 years. Fifty was a ripe old age. Ninety... was forever.' "

    Two rather different items, but given the state of sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, it's amazing how many achieved their threescore and ten.

    With detergent and good sense we should be able to use a bowl which has the patina of use as its sole adornment.
     
  14. Dale Canapini

    Dale Canapini

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    I have to disagree on the 37 year life span. 12 years of research covering 30,000+ individuals. High infant mortality rate mostly during winter months, most folks in North America 1600 to 1800 lived into their 70's 80's and many into their 90's.
    Dale
     
  15. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins

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    expect?

    what did u do to expect that anything other than today should be granted to you.....

    sorry, many of the magazines have done articles on the food safe finishes.

    all say that the VOC thing never really goes away.

    I am sure one can of brake kleen(no offense) provides more toxins than 1000 salads out of one of food safe finish bowl.

    good luck on a single answer.

    let us know what you decide to use.

    thanks

    dj
     
  16. calvinjanes

    calvinjanes

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    i think im going to give walnut oil a shot. a little off subject but has anyone tried drying bowls in denatured alcohol to avoid cracking? i heard it works great but would just like to see if anyone has any experience in it?
     
  17. Greg_Haugen

    Greg_Haugen

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    Calvin,

    Here's my philosophy when it comes to finishes. ANY finish is food safe once it's Cured. Lacquer can take several months to cure. I don't have that kind of time to ship a "safe" bowl. Also, anything that is used will have to be maintained. Once a membrane finish is compromised (becomes cracked or lets food or oils behind it), it's done. And incredible difficult for a "customer' to repair. I don't like membrane finishes on bowls. Kelly Dunn, an excellent turner, mentioned a process to resolve one of those issues, the compromising factor. By buffing the finish back to the wood, that issue is solved. I still don't have the time to sit and wait for a stinky bowl to stop stinking.

    Also, in my opinion "Food" bowls shouldn't be too shiny. The shine will dampen with use.

    Walnut oil is not a bad choice. It's the only thing Mike Mahoney uses. It does darken the wood faster than other finishes but is a good finish.

    My preferred finish is Tried and True danish oil. It's a food safe, non-toxic polymerized linseed oil. There's no driers or thinners in it so there's no waiting for them to cure. As a top coat, to add a little sheen-about to a "satin" level. I use their "wood finish" which is the same as the Danish Oil, just with beeswax added. Since there's no driers or thinners in the finish you wipe on and rub in very thin coats, then hand buff. It doesn't darken the wood like walnut oil.

    Either of these oils would be my preference.

    Tried and True finishes are available at Lee Valley and Woodcraft.






    I have tried DNA to dry bowls. It doesn't work but it's cost effective for the volume of bowls I do. It works. But so does several other methods. I built kilns out of freezers and dry out blanks in about a month. I can dry 40-60 bowls per kiln a month with nothing but a light bulb and anchorseal. I use Kelly Dunn's instructions for building the kiln.
     
  18. Greg Keddy

    Greg Keddy

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    I have used Walnut Oil on some maple salad bowls with satisfactory results. If you can convince your buyer to only ever use walnut oil as their salad dressing I dont think you should ever have a problem
    ;)
     
  19. Thomas Stegall

    Thomas Stegall

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    Bees wax and BLO is popular with Richard Raffan who does a large number of utility bowls (they develop a nice patina from use), Mike Mahoney's oil is basically mineral oil which I think was probably used before modern finishes, Walnut oil use probably goes back a few years aswell, burnishing with various materials is another option.
     
  20. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    mineral oil?

    I'm pretty sure Mike's oil is heat treated walnut oil, unless he has changed his formula.
    c
     

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