Well the porringers I was making 6 weeks ago when I started this blog are now dry and ready for oiling. I am often asked what are the best oils to treat wood for food use and have experimented with many over the years. Dry wood is like blotting paper and would absorb any liquid food you put on it, the oil blocks up the pores and makes it waterproof so that it is easier to clean. The important thing is that the oil should be one that cures or dries in the wood. This rules out common food oils like olive and sunflower which always stay liquid and can go rancid giving the bowl an unpleasant smell. One of the best oils is walnut, I used it for about a year and it works really well, it smells gorgeous, is not too expensive and easily available from most supermarkets or wholefood suppliers. I only stopped using walnut due to the potential problems for nut allergy sufferers. If I was treating an odd bowl for my own use it would still be my oil of choice but since I am selling bowls and many are given as gifts its just too complicated. For many years I used organic palm oil but I stopped due to environmental concerns. Eventually I followed the lead of folk who use woodware daily in Sweden and bought some cold pressed linseed oil. This is the most expensive oil I have used so far at over £5 a litre and some folk do not like the smell but I believe it does a very good job.

I heat the oil in a deep fat fryer and dip the bowls in, let them drain for a minute then wipe any excess off. I love this part of the job since the oil brings all the colours out in the wood and this batch of bowls from the old beech tree are particularly good looking. I am sure someone will enjoy eating their breakfast from this one.

Author Robin Wood

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