Is Staghorn Sumac food safe?

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Steven Dowell, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. Steven Dowell

    Steven Dowell

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    Hi, I'm relatively new to this forum and thought I'd ask the experts a question.
    I've turned a whole lot of pens, and I'm moving up to turning bowls and larger things. I'm thinking of make a small saltbox. My wife and I cook a lot and I thought it would be fun to make a little wood saltbox to have in the kitchen.
    I have some staghorn sumac that I was thinking of using for the saltbox. The questions are: would staghorn sumac be a good species to use for this? Is it food safe? Also, any recommendations on a finish that would withstand the harsh salt environment?
    Thanks, and I'm glad to be here.
    Steve
     
  2. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    My first stop for any of these types of questions is the Wood Database:
    http://www.wood-database.com/sumac/

    I don’t believe an interior finish is necessary but you could go with shellac if stabilizing the interior and exterior is a concern.
     
  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Staghorn sumac is not poisonous. In making a salt box, it is best to use a wood that won't impart any kind of aroma to the salt. I don't know if staghorn sumac has a smell. Maple is usually the first choice for a salt box. I definitely would not put any kind of finish on the interior. Resins in many types of wood, especially resinous softwoods such as cedar and pine will cause varnishes to become gummy.and unable to cure if used on the interior.

    Another concern about putting a finish on the interior even if the wood isn't aromatic is that many finishes will continue to outgas for many months. Salt with a polyurethane flavor probably wouldn't be a culinary hit.

    It is very important to let the wood completely dry before completing the box to insure that it won't warp or crack. You could probably rough turn it and then let it dry for several months before doing the final turning.
     
  4. Steven Dowell

    Steven Dowell

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    Thanks for the info guys. I think I'll just use the staghorn for something else and go with maple for a saltbox.
    Steve
     
  5. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Hmmmm, the word sumac makes me itch.
     
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  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Poison sumac has given staghorn sumac an undeserved bad reputation.
     
  7. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Bill, thanks for the clarification. I'm highly allergic to poison sumac and poison ivy. If I get it, it's a trip to the Dr. for a cortisone shot and the Prednisone pack.
     
  8. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Staghorn sumac is one of the woods that reflect fluorescent colors under a black light.
    You can amuse you family and friends with a bowl tha glows with green streaks.
     

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