I encourage you to really use your salad bowl or other woodenware item. I believe your appreciation of a turned piece
will be enhanced by using it. And caring for your wooden bowl is easy if you know what to do…
The Finishes I Use
I generally use one of two different finishes
on my bowls/platters that are intended for use with food: mineral oil or varnish. (I never stain any of my pieces –
the colors are all natural from the wood.) If you own a J. Friend Woodworks bowl or platter and it has a slick, glossy appearance,
it has been finished with a wiping varnish. If the bowl looks dull, mineral oil has been used. Both of these finishes are
food safe. In fact, all finishes are food safe after they have fully cured. This does not apply to mineral oil, as
it does not go through a curing process at all. But varnish does. Usually the curing process for varnish takes about a month
or more, depending on the humidity level. Finishing expert Bob Flexner recommends the sniff test: put your nose to the varnish
and smell. If you still smell the strong odor of solvents, it is still curing.
the wood by sealing its pores. Therefore, you can use a varnish-finished bowl for a salad with dressing or a salsa dip, for
example. You could use a mineral oil-finished bowl for the same uses, but its pores are still open to absorb whatever oils
or liquids you put in it. Therefore, a mineral oil-finished bowl could show food stains over time, which can be very difficult
(if not impossible) to remove. Again, both are food safe -- it is just a matter of personal preference.
for Your Bowl/Platter
Woodenware with either of the finishes discussed above can be washed
in the same manner: by hand washing with hot, soapy water. Never soak your woodenware piece. Never put it in the automatic
dishwasher. Never use it in the microwave oven. Hand wash the piece and then either towel dry it or let it air dry. If the
bowl has been finished with mineral oil, you can replenish the oil as needed by simply wiping more on with a soft cloth or
paper towel. (Mineral oil is a food grade product, sometimes called butcher block oil, that can be readily purchased.) If
your bowl has a varnish finish, no further care is needed after washing and drying.
If in the
unlikely event the varnish ever appears scuffed or damaged, additional coats of wiping varnish can be applied. I use a regular
alkyd-resin varnish and thin it 50% with mineral spirits. Thinning it makes it easier to wipe on evenly. I wet sand the varnish
between coats with 1500 grit sandpaper, which removes any dust nibs and creates a smooth surface for the next coat.
If you have any problems with the finish on your J. Friend Woodworks bowl/platter, you can contact me and I will be happy to make any necessary repairs for free.