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"Seasoning" a Wooden Salad Bowl (As Opposed to "Finishing")

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Forum topic by Shaun posted 06-20-2017 02:31 PM 597 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Shaun

34 posts in 267 days


06-20-2017 02:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple lathe finishing

Hi Lumber Jocks

I’m still quite green at woodturning (and woodworking in general) but a few people have seen my bowls and want me to make them one. Like, for money and everything! :-)

My first challenge is a 12” wooden salad bowl made from curly maple. A good friend wants a salad bowl for his parents based on an experience they describe. His parents had a friend years ago that had a wooden salad bowl. Before making salad, each time he would rub the bowl with a glove of garlic. The garlic would permeate the wood, leaving a garlic flavour on anything it touched. So far as they describe, the bowl was “unfinished”.

I found it odd. I thought, why not just finish it and still rub it with garlic?

But then I came across this article:

https://www.overstock.com/guides/how-to-season-a-wooden-salad-bowl

They describe a process of “seasoning” it with olive oil and then rubbing a clove of garlic on the wood each time before use. It sounds exactly like what my friend’s parents describe.

It’s not without catches. It can be re-seasoned as needed or if it is ever washed. Washing must be done with the utmost care. It must NEVER be allowed to dry out. It must be used. The oil will obviously darken the bowl more and more over time.

After digging a little more, I’ve seen other people using similar methods. Some suggest mineral oil (as I’ve used on rolling pins) because it won’t go rancid. It seems that “seasoning” an unfinished salad bowl is not unheard of.

What are your thoughts? Anyone in the community used this method? Does it raise any alarm bells?

I’d like to give my friend’s parents the same kind of experience they describe.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning


8 replies so far

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Rich

1981 posts in 427 days


#1 posted 06-20-2017 05:11 PM

That is the classic way to use a wooden salad bowl that goes back as far as I can remember (a long time). Irrespective of finishing the bowl for looks, the proper way to build a salad is to rub the bowl with the freshly cut face of a garlic clove, then create your vinaigrette right in the bowl and add the greens, tossing with your hands or salad utensils to get the leaves evenly coated. The usual way folks do it — by putting the greens in a bowl and pouring dressing over — causes some leaves to be drenched, and some dry.

Occasionally I will do it the right way, but most times it’s easier to just pour on the dressing, especially if not everyone wants the same dressing.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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Shaun

34 posts in 267 days


#2 posted 06-20-2017 05:21 PM

Thanks, Rich

So do you think it would be advisable, then, to finish the bowl with salad bowl finish (or something like that) and they can still rub it with garlic?

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

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Rich

1981 posts in 427 days


#3 posted 06-20-2017 05:55 PM

If you’re offering them for sale, maybe give them the option of finished or unfinished. I suspect most people would like the carefree durability of a bowl finished with something like General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish. It’s a hard-curing urethane and can be washed with soap and water. The occasional gourmand, who wants to show off for their guests, might appreciate the option of an unfinished bowl. They would need to know what they’re doing, and I’m not sure how you’d communicate that. I guess you can’t say don’t buy this unfinished if you’re an idiot.

It’s one thing to know the classic way to do it, and another to want to bother with it. If I were placing an order, I’d get the finished bowl.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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Shaun

34 posts in 267 days


#4 posted 06-20-2017 07:57 PM

I guess you can t say don t buy this unfinished if you re an idiot.

Quote of the day! Made me laugh out loud.

I think that’s a great idea. I can give them both options with the pros and cons, leave it up to them.

Thanks again, Rich.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

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Rich

1981 posts in 427 days


#5 posted 06-20-2017 08:10 PM

Anytime, Shaun. Best of luck to you.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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ChefHDAN

992 posts in 2687 days


#6 posted 06-20-2017 09:12 PM

Agree with Rich, grew up with my parents using a wood bowl for Caesar, and my Dad would make an awesome one in the bowl with a spoon and have an entire production for the salad. For my wedding they gave me a 18” maple bowl, I season it regularly with mineral oil or Boo’s Block mystery oil in the same fashion i use for my wooden cutting boards and utensils… the Caesar dressing??? I make it in the food processor!!! Cut the $hit Let’s EAT!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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Shaun

34 posts in 267 days


#7 posted 06-21-2017 02:00 PM

Thanks, ChefHDAN. So if you’re seasoning it then I can assume it isn’t “finished”. It would be raw like a butcher block or cutting board. Is that correct?

I like the idea of seasoning with mineral oil because it doesn’t go rancid. And that Boo’s Block Mystery Oil is available locally so I may recommend that to them if they want a product that is “officially” made for the job.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

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ChefHDAN

992 posts in 2687 days


#8 posted 06-22-2017 12:05 PM

It was a lightly oiled bowl when I received it, not sure where my folks got it. As with a wooden board the finish is the regular application of oil as needed determined by use and care. Because of it’s size the bowl may get used 6 or so times a year, generally around the holiday’s when I’ve got family etc over. I have a 2” endgrain board on my kitchen island that is used daily, and I generally oil that every two weeks as it begins to appear dry, and while I’ve got the oil out for that I tend to throw a wipe on the bowl and other wooden spoons that appear to need some oil.
It’s kind of a Saturday morning meditation over the morning cup of tea…

Key to a wooden bowl is the care, it gets used, rinsed, lightly scrubbed with a dish brush and mild soap, then wiped dry. It MUST NEVER be dumped into a sink, filled with water and left to sit!!! Obvious to a wood worker, but some folks have to be told.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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