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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm building a kitchen island for my brother and his wife's first house. She is Japanese and so they tend to buy rice by 25lb bags. They want somewhere to store it and I was thinking of building in a "rice drawer" for it.

Question: What wood would be best to use for dry grain storage? Is there a finish I should use, or is an unfinished wood preferred? And, has anyone done a similar thing, and if so what design did you implement?
 

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I think you should ask her. She is probably pretty finicky about storing the rice to keep moisture away. Moisture absorption by the rice would be my concern. Ours is kept in sealed containers.

Just thinking out loud.
Mike
 

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My wife is Japanese so I have looked at the wooden storage bins. Currently we use tupperware and large glass jars to keep the rice dry. The ones I saw in the department stores in Tokyo were typically made of cypress (high end) or cedar. Basically a bug and rot resistant wood, so it would also need to be unfinished.

Another bit you ,ay want to know: The measuring 'cup' to meter out the dry rice for cooking is smaller than a US measuring cup, made such that filling level to the top is 180mL.

Regards,
Steve

Edit: The name of the rice storage container is call 'kome bitsu'. The specific type of cypress is 'paulownia'.
 

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I'm leaning toward plastic and air tight as rice is bad to get buggy. If you are going to do it, any wood would be fine and any finish would be fine once the finish is cured. Any finish at is emitting a chemical odor will be quickly absorbed into the rice. It may take a month or more before a finish is dry enough to put rice in depending on which finish you use. A water based polyurethane would probably cure the quickest. I've had some brands of lacquer that were dry to touch in 15 minutes and took 3 months to quit gasing. Good ventilation will help this and once you think it is cured, tape a piece of plastic over it for several hours and then take the plastic off and give it a sniff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info everyone. I'll check out the cypress wood.

As for using a finish, I feel safer just staying away from them. While true there should be no worries once the product is "cured," it will still give off trace amounts for a long time, and being in immediate contact with food, let alone a relatively flavorless food, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Thanks again - cheers.
 

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I would think the one thing to avoid would be any wood or finish that will emit an odor. For example, oil based finishes off-gas almost forever as they continue to cure. This off-gasing produces a very strong odor that will permeate cloth or food items. I would strongly recommend that any finish of the inside of the item you build be limited to shellac or a waterborne finish.
 
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