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Mate cup

Discussion in 'Woodturning Health & Safety' started by Russell Karkheck, Feb 1, 2020.

  1. Russell Karkheck

    Russell Karkheck

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    On a recent trip around South America, I became intrigued by a beverage popular down there called Mate. Mate, for those who don't know, (I didn't) is a kind of tea made from the leaves and stems of a tree, steeped in hot - not boiling - water in a "mate cup". The tea is drunk through a "bombilla", a stainless steel straw with a filter in it to remove the vegetable material. Mate cups, down there, are most often made of gourds, but also of wood, ceramic or glass. I've read that mate cups made of gourd or wood have no finish inside and need to be "seasoned". One puts the herb in the cup, adds hot water, and lets it sit for 24 hr. I want to turn 4 of these cups and give 3 away to my traveling companions.
    My question: Is there a finish that could be used on the INSIDE of such a cup that would withstand the hot water and not give a flavor - or poison the drinker?
    Thanks,
    Russ
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Brings back memories - ones I saw in Brazil’s Pantanal were made from cow horn.
    I would use white oak and leave it bare wood or finish with walnut oil.

    epoxy is another possibility

    6DCABBC4-7C8D-45BF-8814-4867D4EC86C3.jpeg
     
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  3. Russell Karkheck

    Russell Karkheck

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    Thanks for the reply. I have two follow-up questions. A friend suggested that walnut oil might become rancid. But I believe that it becomes polymerized and inert after it cures. Is that so? And is epoxy inert after it cures? Thanks, so much. Finally, I'm glad that your experience is with the HORN of the bull holding the drink . . . :)
     
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Walnut oil will dry hard in 2-3 days. I have never known it to go rancid. Have used walnut oil on wooden spoons and many kids classes( our joke is they clean up by licking their fingers).
    Walnut oil won’t make a true water barrier but will provide some surface finish. White oak would not need a water barrier.

    epoxy will make a water barrier. I don’t have much experience with and haven’t use it for any food contact items.
    But when it is fully cured it would be inert. I don’t know what chemicals are in matte but I wouldn’t expect any that would dissolve cured epoxy. Fermented Matte might be a problem since Vinegar and alcohol can remove uncured epoxy.
     
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  5. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    would take some precision. Make the cups such that a metal liner could be pressed in, perhaps even crimped down over the lip of the cup. I have seen such cups in museums. Usually with silver, gold or pewter liners. I suppose the same could be done with stainless. I bought a few of those pewter Jefferson cups at yard sales for $1 a piece, with the intent of turning a goblet that I can put the Jefferson cup in as a liner. https://www.monticelloshop.org/pewter-jefferson-cup/
     
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  6. Dave Landers

    Dave Landers

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    If it were me, I'd leave the inside unfinished, unless you were planning use it for something that'd go rancid (like milk) or something with lots of sugar (to attract/grow bacteria). Choose a wood that's not toxic and less likely to leak (white oak is a reasonable choice).

    I make shot glasses from white oak. I do "finish" the inside with a propane torch, but that's it - just the char. Even white oak will leak a little bit out the end grain, so the finish I use on the outside is a mix of pine resin and BLO. Seems to seal things up pretty good. (I think I got this idea reading about wooden boats). I melt pine resin chunks in a double-boiler on a hot plate, and add just enough oil to make it like thick honey when warm. I apply it warm from the double-boiler, and rub it in on the lathe.
     
  7. Russell Karkheck

    Russell Karkheck

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    Some interesting ideas there. Thanks! One quick question on your method. Does the "char" affect the taste?
     
  8. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    I have a customer who eats his oatmeal everyday out of a rowan (European mountain ash) bowl finished with Tried & True's Original blend, which includes beeswax. He swears there is no taste when swapping from halibut chowder at night to oatmeal the next. I gave him a small container of the Tried & True and he has renewed the finish a few times in the 9 months he's been using the bowls.

    I think wood species is critical. Rowan is a great wood for water resistance, and I know there are a number of others out there. I thought Roy Underhill recommends sycamore, but I can't remember clearly.

    I think the beeswax is a good addition for water resistance, even with hot water. In addition to the Tried & True, Sutherland Welles makes a 100% botanical tung based oil that also uses beeswax, though I haven't tried it yet. It's called Millie's All-Purpose Penetrating Tung Oil.
     
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  9. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    charcoal filtered at the point of consumption? very interestinnnnnng.

    Oak whiskey barrels are charred inside. I guess for hard liquor, it is good. Not so sure a pina colada would look so good against charcoal.
     
  10. Dave Landers

    Dave Landers

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    Well I don't really think so. I think maybe it does a bit of "psychological taste adjustment".

    6CE0F7E0-4F18-4B1F-8F96-2AA26A8C7CA7.jpeg
     
  11. Russell Karkheck

    Russell Karkheck

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    Dave, those are just beautiful. And I'd be willing to do some extensive research on them: bourbon, rye, scotch, etc. Let me know if you ever need somebody as a quality control tester! :) And thanks for the responses. Maybe I'll try charring the inside of one of my cups when I make them.
     
  12. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    You call that a "shot glass"? Looks like a tumbler to me.
     
  13. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Well I just picked up a spinning lathe and have to get it set up. I want to try making a mold to make thin pewter discs from the scrap pewter I have collected Then get some experience and maybe try an insert for a wooden cup. I have a lot of scrap pewter. It would be nice to be able to just melt down the mistakes and start over. Yes I realize I will have to get "no lead" pewter for actual use. .
     
  14. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    The real mate cups we do not add anything to the wood. I have made probably hundreds. I drink mate everyday, since I can remember. I was born on the land of the mate. We let the wood “cure” add used wet Yerba mate to the gourd and let it soak for a day. Not all woods work, some crack..
     
  15. Mike Adams

    Mike Adams

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    Pro Marine's bar top epoxy is food safe: https://promarinesupplies.com/blogs/blog/is-pro-marine-supplies-epoxy-food-safe

    Once cured, it's safe from alcohols and acidic foods.
     
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