Turning Archive 2005

Subject:
Salad bowls finishes

Russ Fairfield
>I have received several e-mails asking about using alcohol or LDD on a salad bowl, and whether there were any residuals that would be harmful if the bowl were used. I thought my replies might be of some general interest.

We always hear the argument that the only harmful finishing product, lead paint, has already been pulled off the market by the EPA or whoever does such things. Personally, I think this is a reasonable argument, but, other than woodworkers, most people don't believe us.

My attitude is, "Why take a chance??"
I use nothing on the inside of a salad bowl that I wouldn't drink straight out of the bottle or can. If I can eat it with the lettuce, and it doesn't get stuck in my teeth, then it is OK to use. That removes all possible doubt.

Since I would not drink denatured alcohol from the can, I wouldn't use it on a salad bowl. Same would apply for the Liquid Dishwashing Detergent. This may be overly cautious, but it is an easy position to explain to a warry public.

There is a problem with using a Walnut Oil because some folks are allergic to Walnuts. Rather than trying to explain that it is the proteins in the nuts that are the problem, and that domestic oils are OK to use, I always had something else available for them. However, the number of people who avoid anything Walnut has grown to the point where I no longer use Walnut Oil. Again, it is easier to say that there are no bowls with Walnut Oil, than to spend the time explaining what oil was used on which bowls.

Sunflower (not to be confused with Safflower) Oil, Hazel Nut, or Citrus Oils are good alternatives to Walnut Oil.

Anyway, that is my position on the topic. Feel free to disagree.

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