Best wood for kitchen utensils - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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Best wood for kitchen utensils

Well folks, I am at an impasse. I always try to make something useful, but simple, for my family members as Christmas presents. This year with the help of my sister, we are going to do some kitchen utensils. Now, I have used oak and poplar in the past for things like stirring spoons and whatnot, but I would like to hear your opinions on the matter. What wood would (a wood chuck chuck... Oh, wrong way) you use if you were making kitchen utensils?

Bonus points for those that give $0.02 on a finish that won't result in the poisoning of my immediate relatives... that's for another discussion

Thanks folks!

-Moose

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post #2 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 05:03 AM
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UK have always used Beech.
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post #3 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 09:21 AM
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There are a number of woods you could use. Depending on what wood you have available and the application I would use something with a tight grain. If it's needs to be strong you might use hickory. You might use maple, birch, beech, cherry, poplar or alder. I don't think I would use oak because of the open grain. Especially don't use red oak. Red oak is prone to turning black from getting wet and also rots easily.
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post #4 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 09:30 AM
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for food contact utensils - as "non-porous" as you can find.
oak is a very popular - but bad choice as bacteria can hide in the grain.
there are several Food Safe finishes on the market.
if you look at all the spoons, forks, etc for sale in the stores, they are all
bare wood - no finish. as for bowls and things that actually hold food, yes,
I would put a finish on them - just not the hand use utensils.
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post #5 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 11:49 AM
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Beech, maple, or cherry. No finish.

Dave in CT, USA
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post #6 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 11:55 AM
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hard to beat maple for that application, has all the qualities you need
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post #7 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Many thanks to all who replied. Red oak is definitely not on my list, haha. Looks like Maple or Beech are agreed upon, which works for me. Finish wise I was considering a mineral oil finish, but @John Smith_inFL makes a good point; I have never seen store-bought wood utencils with a finish.

Again, thanks for all the replies, folks! :)

-Moose

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post #8 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 04:51 PM
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I carved 70 spoons and 30 forks in birch. That needed more than a mile of work with spoke shaves.
The over-baked olive oil finish cannot go rancid (myth) and you cannot even boil it out.
I made a variety of handle sizes to fit various hands, like fitting shoes.

Birch is like maple and beech in that the vessel elements are very narrow diameter.
This gives these woods a very smooth and uniform appearance.
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post #9 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 07:11 PM
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this is a batch of black cherry and two of olive wood. olive has been used for centuries - implements and cups/bowls/plates/etc. the cherry darkens with age/use.
Best wood for kitchen utensils-img_0883.jpg

a batch getting it's mineral oil & beewax bath
Best wood for kitchen utensils-dsc_4518s.jpg
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post #10 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 10:50 PM
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I've used cherry, white oak, ash, red maple, hickory, walnut, hard maple and osage orange successfully. By far my favorites in actual use are hard maple and osage orange but the best looking are walnut spoons and spatulas. Osage orange is by far my favorite for scraping fond off a pan. Mineral oil and bees wax is the finish I use most in utensils and cuttingboards.
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post #11 of 27 Old 09-20-2018, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
When I first saw this photo I was wondering why you had pictures of boat oars here; I dont need spoons that big, haha! xD.

-Moose
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post #12 of 27 Old 09-21-2018, 01:05 AM
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Tight grained hardwoods work well for eating and kitchen utensils. I've got piles of chopsticks that I make out of random scraps and I use mineral oil and beeswax as a finish. It's pretty good for anything food grade not to mention almost universally recommended among woodworkers.

-T

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post #13 of 27 Old 09-21-2018, 08:14 AM
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could the folks that use "mineral oil and beeswax" expand on how
the concoction is made ?? what amounts of oil and wax, how are they combined,
in a heated pot or microwave, how is the mixture stored and used. . . . yada yada yada.
this would help new members make their own mixture, if they so desired to do so.

there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks.
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post #14 of 27 Old 09-21-2018, 10:38 AM
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At our local woodturners' meeting last night, the speaker demonstrated turning a kitchen spatula from a flat board. (Turn handle first, then use bandsaw to cut "paddle", then sand and finish).

The speaker recommended maple for kitchen utensils.
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post #15 of 27 Old 09-21-2018, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
I carved 70 spoons and 30 forks in birch. That needed more than a mile of work with spoke shaves.
The over-baked olive oil finish cannot go rancid (myth) and you cannot even boil it out.
I made a variety of handle sizes to fit various hands, like fitting shoes.

Birch is like maple and beech in that the vessel elements are very narrow diameter.
This gives these woods a very smooth and uniform appearance.
that is an interesting shape for sure! is that the finished product?
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post #16 of 27 Old 09-21-2018, 02:46 PM
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Someone asked how to make Mineral oil /beeswax compound. Heres my mineral oil recipe... it's simple. I put about a cup of mineral oil in a pint Mason jar with chunk (maybe a table spoon) of beeswax. Heat it for a minute or two stir and repeat until all the wax is melted. When it cools I'm looking for "very soft butter" consistency. If too soft at room tempeture, re-melt and add wax. Too hard re-melt add mineral oil.
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post #17 of 27 Old 09-21-2018, 03:12 PM
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Birch is used for toothpicks, popscicle sticks, tongue depressors . . . .
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post #18 of 27 Old 09-21-2018, 07:27 PM
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My marketing research (handed out many free shapes) showed me that nobody wanted a skinny handle "store spoon."
They all wanted fat handles for mixing pasta dough and cookie dough. I'll be mixing pizza dough in a few minutes.

The finished spoon shapes are on the right and the process steps flow from the left.
The oven baked oil finis is yet to be applied and that's only 3 minutes, 30 seconds to be done forever.

Any oil/wax finish applied at room temperature will blow off in the first hot pot of soup.
You can predict that from Charles' Law in gas physics. Not negotiable.
Then as the wood air in the spoon cools, it will suck in the soup to decompose.

I use my 325F oven to heat and expand the wood air. Then on cooling, the wood sucks the oil finish inside.
The oil cannot move in boiling water ( rice, pasta, soup, etc), inside the wood, the oil cannot oxidize (go rancid) as it replaced the air.
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post #19 of 27 Old 09-22-2018, 11:18 AM
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"I use my 325F oven to heat and expand the wood air. Then on cooling, the wood sucks the oil finish inside.
The oil cannot move in boiling water ( rice, pasta, soup, etc), inside the wood, the oil cannot oxidize (go rancid) as it replaced the air."

I've heard this procedure before. The part don't understand is how heating the and "sucking in a finish is more effective than capillary action given enough time???
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post #20 of 27 Old 09-22-2018, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
The oil cannot move in boiling water ( rice, pasta, soup, etc), inside the wood, the oil cannot oxidize (go rancid) as it replaced the air.
The part I don't understand is why the oil at the surface cannot oxidize, since it is exposed to the outside air. ?
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