Wood for salad bowls?

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Christopher Martin, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Christopher Martin

    Christopher Martin

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    What woods are best for bowls to be used as salad bowls and to be used daily?
    When I think about it I think maple would be a good choice. What are some others? And I'm thinking and using generals salad bowl finish, do you have any suggestions?
     
  2. Brian McInturff

    Brian McInturff

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    Cherry and Walnut are excellent choices too.
     
  3. Christopher Martin

    Christopher Martin

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    Well I am making them for a friend and not sure if their family members have nuts allergies.
     
  4. Brian McInturff

    Brian McInturff

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    Wow, I never thought about the oils from the walnut affecting someone with a nut allergy. I'll have to remember that.
    Apple would make for good bowls too if you can turn them without them cracking.
     
  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The medium density hardwoods will last the longest.
    they are comfortable weight and don't usually break in a fall

    My favorites are:' Soft maple, cherry, box elder, hackberry, camphor, sweet gum, sycamore, mulberry, magnolia, black gum

    White oak makes a nice bowl but will be a bit too heavy.

    Ash, walnut, chinaberry, locust, sassafras are ok but better fruit bowls IMHO than salad bowls.

    Hickory, Osage orange, pecan, beech, elm are too hard and too heavy if someone has to pass it with one hand.

    I have made functional bowls from all of the woods above that would be nice salad bowls.
    You won't see a lot of those woods in the far north

    Al
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  6. Breck Whitworth

    Breck Whitworth

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    Since I turn mostly utility bowls that are meant to be used and hopefully last a lifetime. I stand behind my work so it is important that I use good wood that will last with continued use. The types I have found to be the best in my area are sycamore, sweetgum, cherry, pecan, magnolia, poplar, and of course maple. I am sure there are many others but these are wood types that I have had the most experience turning with positive customers feedback.
    Another important aspect is to choose a flawless piece of wood for utility bowls that are meant to be used everyday. I know you can fill voids and I have but the better the quality of the wood blank the better the utility bowl IMHO.
     
  7. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    IMHO, the best wood to make anything is free wood. Since you're in Michigan, you have the luxury of having hardwood trees all around. Finding a log large enough for a large salad bowl may be a challenge, so when you get one, that'll be the best wood.
     
  8. Christopher Martin

    Christopher Martin

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    Thanks for some of your advice I was planing to use poplar as my first choose as I have lot of logs to turn from but It is not clear and has a lot of worm holes ...lol might not be retain dressing to well... they make great candy dishes and small vessels ect...

    But if these don't work I now have more ideas to go off of thanks...turners ....

    I did not read to much about finished do any of you have a favorite finish they love using? I been using a shellac (clear) with some waxes as a friction polish and they say it is food safe but I need something a little more reassuring. I sure don't want to make someone sick .
     
  9. gary rock

    gary rock

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    The safest finish is mineral oil. DO NOT use vegetable oil, corn oil or olive oil- for they will turn rancid. If you put a hard finish on the bowl such as a poly, and the person uses medal knife, fork or such and cut though the finish. The oils from the salad will enter the wood and turn rancid.

    Gary:)
     
  10. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I don't have any experience with true poplars.

    The tulip Poplar we had in Maryland could be dented with a finger nail. Too soft for bowls
    It also splits so easily I would imagine any falling bowl hitting in end grain would be a goner.

    Al
     
  11. Michelle Rich

    Michelle Rich

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    I do believe that Mr. Rock is incorrect in one of his oil no-no's. Olive oil does not turn rancid. It has been found in jars 100's of years old and it is still fine. I have used olive oil in salads and it has percolated deeply into my salad bowls over 30 yrs ..nope not rancid. Do not use a finish on an eating bowl. Wash it & oil it and use it. it will get a great patina.
    By the way, mineral oil is not an oil. it is the same thing as parrafin wax. It is made from petroleum. Folks say it is inert and won't harm you. I have no clue, but I prefer not to eat petroleum products.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  12. Terry Vaughan

    Terry Vaughan

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    An old turner I knew told me he always used olive oil on his salad bowls because unlike other vegetable oils it would not go rancid. But I've found it does, and had to throw out quite a lot of finished items that I'd kept for too long. Perhaps it has variable composition?
     
  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Can you give an authoritative source for that information? I do not believe it to be accurate.

    The term mineral oil is somewhat broad and covers a range of alkanes (saturated hydrocarbons), but we are referring to the type of mineral oil found in drug stores. The term paraffin oil has also been used in describing mineral oil which may be the reason that people mistakenly assume that it is related to the paraffin wax sold in supermarkets for canning purposes. The term paraffin oil is no longer accepted as a proper name for highly refined mineral oil. Unrefined mineral would also contain some paraffins.

    Toxicology tests of USP mineral oil (the stuff that you would find in the drug store) have not shown it to be carcinogenic. Here is a PDF on treating cutting boards with mineral oil from the University of Wisconsin:

    Mineral Oil on cutting boards
     
  14. odie

    odie

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    Hello Christopher.......

    I don't turn very many salad bowls, but I have made some out of Maple, Walnut, and Ash. I'm not aware of any problems with salad bowls I've made. (Nut allergies, and a walnut bowl is something I haven't ever considered. Can anyone confirm that with first hand knowledge?)

    The only finish I've ever used is the General finishes salad bowl finish. I've just wiped on and let dry. Leaves a nice dull semi-gloss luster. No wax over the top of that.

    The poplar I've turned is fairly soft. It probably isn't the best candidate for a salad bowl.

    I've been suggesting to use mineral oil as a bowl preservative between uses. It seems to be a universally accepted salad bowl preservative. I would think that any oil that is organic in nature, could turn rancid. Years ago, I used some cooking oil (Corn oil, I think), and I can tell you for sure that it did turn rancid.

    ooc
     
  15. Art Betke

    Art Betke

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    Poplar too soft. I've used birch and elm, mostly birch. I prefer a finish made from mineral oil and beeswax. Lee Valley sells a version.
     
  16. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    BTW, I thought that I would just mention something to help muddy the waters. Almost forty years ago I used cooking oil to treat a cutting board -- it was probably hydrogenated corn oil back in 1974.

    I discovered right away that the thick corn oil didn't readily soak into the maple board, but I found a way to make it soak in like water soaking into a sponge. Every day for about a month, I would stick the board into the oven after baking the potatoes for the evening meal. The oven would be off but still plenty hot. I would leave the board in the oven until it was almost too hot to handle -- somewhere around eight to ten minutes. As soon as I removed the board, I would mop it with cooking oil using a paper towel. The oil would instantly soak into the wood. I would add more oil to the wood, but as it cooled, it would stop absorbing oil. It soon became a game with me as I wanted to find out when the wood no longer would absorb the cooking oil.

    My question was never answered because I gave up after a month or so. For all I know it could take years to saturate the board. :D Anyway, the board still looks new in color even though it gets used almost daily. I hasn't been oiled since 1974 and it gets washed in the sink with the other dishes. It repels water like a duck and as far as I can determine the oil is not rancid. There is no smell whatsoever and there never was. I am guessing that maybe the "cooking" did something to help achieve this effect -- perhaps something akin to polymerization.

    I realize that this is probably not a very economically viable process for treen ware that turners are wanting to sell at competitive prices. And, as a reference point, most wooden stuff sold in stores has received no treatment so customers generlly would not be impressed with some complex and expensive treatment process that promises to go on-and-on like the EverReady Bunny.
     
  17. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    I think any hardwood would work fine. I don't turn any of the conifers or evergreens, but would stay away from any aromatic cedars or any other aromatic species, like camphor.

    As far as olive oil, it I stay away from it because it would add flavors where you might not want any. I use Mahoney's oil finish and then recommend using mineral oil over that.

    I don't know of issues where people with nut allergies having issues with Walnut bowls, but I wouldn't want to be involved in that litigation as it would require way to may expert witnesses to get out of. And peanuts don't grow on trees, but pecans do, and it makes a darn fine salad bowl.
     

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