What finish to use on wood steak / burger plates

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Forum topic by PantsBoy posted 04-13-2015 07:19 AM 884 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 711 days

04-13-2015 07:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing joining

Hi there,

I’ve got a guy looking for wooden plates for his restaurant – I’ve made a ton of these for non-commercial users, and those I treat with macadamia oil (doesn’t go rancid, food safe etc) but this will be used in a restaurant environment, and will be washed frequently … which finishes can I consider? Is there something I can use to make it dishwasher proof? (I really doubt it, but hey one can hope :) )

I’ve thought along the lines of an outdoor deck sealant (I’ve used Woodoc 25 before with mixed success – it lasted for maybe 10 washes in the dishwasher before going to crap) otherwise I’m at a loss …

Also, I add bread board ends with normal wood glue to these, but that’s not waterproof so will obviously take a knock as well … maybe I should just skip the BB ends?

Any and all advice will be much appreciated!

12 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4403 posts in 3379 days

#1 posted 04-13-2015 01:12 PM

I would pass on that project. Too many issues that would lead to failure, and I sure wouldn’t use a deck sealer on items for food.
Commercial dishwashers and wooden implements just don’t lead to a positive end for you. Splits, warps, etc..
Just my thoughts.


View lew's profile


11263 posts in 3173 days

#2 posted 04-13-2015 01:57 PM

My “adopted” son is a restaurant owner. Listening to him talk about the regulations and food inspectors make me think the wooden plates won’t fly with state/city inspectors.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View PantsBoy's profile


16 posts in 711 days

#3 posted 04-13-2015 02:13 PM

Thanks for the answers so far. As an aside, I’m in South Africa so the health inspections are quite a bit less strict than in the Sates :)

I’m sure I could add a ‘washing and care’ instructions to the quote? IE hand-wash only.

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 993 days

#4 posted 04-13-2015 04:15 PM

Are these to eat on or are they chargers?If they’re chargers(the food plate sits on top of the wood “plate”then a mineral oil like will work just hand-wash only. and reapply oil every xx washings.
If it’s a eating plate I think it will end up in heart break,knife cuts,bacteria in the cuts etc.I have a food business in the states and the health dept won’t even let us use wood cutting boards for that reason.

View PantsBoy's profile


16 posts in 711 days

#5 posted 04-14-2015 07:23 AM

Mmmm maybe I can do a design as a charger. What do you think about a tile inset? Either slate or ceramic? Not sure, just a thought.

View crippledcarpenter's profile


22 posts in 1865 days

#6 posted 04-14-2015 12:02 PM

The problem is not in the washing but how ut up the surface will become when used on a regular basis. All finishes, over time will fail in a dish washer. Oil is the only way to go. Then comes the question how many times can they be used before they go into the wood stove. There is a process where you can make the plate, put it into a vat of mineral oil and apply a vaccuum and it will penatrate deep into the wood. That will last the longest.

-- haste makes firewood.

View Mario's profile


129 posts in 2814 days

#7 posted 04-14-2015 12:14 PM

I have worked these with shellac and mineral oil, hand wash only and recommend oiling every month or so. The owners seem to follow suit and plates are still looking good after one year.

View Woodbum's profile


714 posts in 2483 days

#8 posted 04-15-2015 08:26 PM

JMHO, but this sounds like a disaster in search of someone to blame…which will probably be you. I would politely decline.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View PantsBoy's profile


16 posts in 711 days

#9 posted 04-16-2015 07:49 AM

So many people, so many thoughts – I love it. Thanks for the replies guys … I still haven’t made up my mind as to whether or not to do it.

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

2238 posts in 696 days

#10 posted 04-16-2015 09:59 AM

Here is an interesting read about wood versus plastic. My take on it after reading this article is that you should not put a finish on your plates. Rather I would sanitize them after each use with a quaternary ammonium sanitizer and not a chlorine sanitizer, because chlorine will cause the bacteria to adhere to the wood. It is most important that they be completely dry before the next use. Dry them with salt.

I think it would be very difficult for a restaurant to follow such a procedure. I would probably not eat in one using wooden plates. On the other hand I used to eat in at a restaurant all the time that served planked trout. They are closed now.

I used mineral oil on the wood cutting boards I have sold.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan)

View PantsBoy's profile


16 posts in 711 days

#11 posted 05-12-2015 12:06 PM

Decided – not doing it. Does not seem to be worth the potential hassles. Guy was fairly pissed off though … so it’s a good thing he’s not a client then :)

View dhazelton's profile


2283 posts in 1715 days

#12 posted 05-12-2015 12:29 PM

I would have used mineral oil to seal – with an understanding that it needs to be done frequently and is not dishwasher safe and have the guy sign a piece of paper that acknowledges that.

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