Wyoming Wood Turner - Specializing in beautiful lathe turning, wood bowls, boxes, urns, & decorative art display pieces.

Caring for your wood bowls
Sam Angelo





If you are a woodworker or consumer who has a special interest in protecting wooden kitchen items, you will find information and web pages below that will direct you to "food-safe" finishing products and general care for these items (See Below):

Use and care of wooden bowls.  Almost every wooden bowl, regardless of the finish applied, would be safe for foods like nuts or popcorn.  However, Salad Bowls in particular, need to be finished with a product that allows for easy, repeatable and safe care by the owner.

These four rules are common knowledge to most wood turners and can be found on many websites.  The lettered items are my comments based upon knowledge gained from 40 years working with wood.

  1. Do not soak WOODEN BOWLS or utensils in water.
  2. Do not put in dishwasher.
    A.  Knowing that the speed at which wood absorbs water or releases it (dries out), is the most important factor in preventing wood from splitting, warping, or drying out.  Heat, cold, moisture, and direct sunlight all have a damaging effect on wooden items.  Wood will reach an "equilibrium moisture content" determined by the relative humidity of your geographic area as well as the inside of your home.  Sealing wood properly will help control and even slow down moisture entering and leaving that salad bowl or cutting board.

    Ideally, with a proper balance of heat-cold-moisture and care, you can pass that prized salad bowl set down through many generations.
  3. Do not put in microwave or oven
    B. Sometimes a turner will put a "green" turned bowl into the microwave allowing it to warp into an artistic shape.
           If this is not your intent, DON'T NUKE IT!!!!
  4. Do not leave in direct sunlight
    C.  Heat and sunlight will dry out a bowl prematurely.  Store such items in a dry area, away from the sun's harmful rays, and at room temperature.

Food-safe finishes for wood

The simplest care for food-related wood products is this: Wash in mild dish soap, rinse, and dry with a towel.  When that bowl appears to be "dried out" (sometimes the color will appear faded), apply a coat or two of mineral oil.  Mineral oil is often used as a laxative and can be found in your pharmacy or grocery store.  Ricard Raffan would say "(When new), oil the bowl every day for a week, every week for a month, then every month thereafter."  Or something like that....

Avoid olive oil, vegetable oil or other kitchen products that could be rancid.  Walnut oil and tung oil are sometimes recommended.  These are not always readily available and are often expensive.

If you want more information about food-safe products, read on:

There are many "salad bowl" type finishes available.  I have referenced some of these below and some websites for suppliers of such products.

Two of my favorite websites that have many great products are:



Also check out the resources page for a full list of suppliers and hardware catalogs.

I have found some good information on the web site of Debra Lynn Dadd

Copyright 2005 Debra Lynn Dadd - all rights reserved.

A good bit of advice from Debra Lynn Dadd........

One the wood is protected, it needs to be maintained to control bacteria:

  1. Scrub boards and bowls frequently with hot soapy water.
    * Sanitize with a one to five dilution of vinegar to water.  Flood the surface with the vinegar solution and allow it to stand for several minutes, then rinse and air dry.
    * Keep dry when not in use.  Beware of moisture collecting beneath boards left on the counter.  Prop one end up when not using your board.
    * Oil boards once a week (bowls get additional oiling every time you use them from the salad dressing.
  2. * Choose wood boards over plastic.  Research has shown that bacteria cannot be removed by hand-washing from knife-scared plastic boards.  On wood boards the bacteria dies off within three minutes.  The theory is that the porous surface on the wood surface of the wooden boards deprives the bacteria of water, causing them to die.
    * Use a separate board for cutting raw meat and poultry to ensure there will be no cross-contamination with other foods eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables, and bread.

    Another Resource:

This is an extensive list of food-safe products. CLICK BELOW --


Wood Finishes Guide; Copyright 1999-2005 WoodBin. All rights reserved




Wyoming Wood Turner
Sam Angelo, Owner
E-mail: samandcheryle@gmail.com


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