Ah, My Favorite Food Safe Wood Finish? There are several criteria to meet for something to become a favorite. For a wood bowl finish, I believe it needs to naturally look good, protect the wood bowl, be food-safe, non-toxic, water-resistant, ready-to-go, and easy to apply.
Wow, if that’s not a tall order for a wood bowl finish, I don’t know what is. Believe it or not, there is such a food safe wood finish that meets all those specs.
My favorite wood bowl finish is Tried and True Original made with polymerized linseed oil and beeswax. Yes, Tried and True Original is a ready-to-use product with no messy mixing and formulating.
Why My Favorite?
Tried and True is simple, it’s really that simple. When I’m done sanding a finished bowl I open my little jar of Tried and True and wipe it on. It takes a couple of seconds, and I can keep working on other things.
Another big reason Tried and True is my favorite is the ability to apply it anywhere under pretty much any condition. My shop doesn’t have to be spotless nor shut down after I’ve applied this finish.
Because the Tried and True Original oil is soaking into the wood cells, any dust or wood specks that get on the bowl will wipe off later. The oil soaks in and leaves any debris behind loose, instead of sticking it to the bowl surface like many finishes.
After a short while, I return to wipe off the bowl surface and let it rest for a day or two. This wipe-off process also only takes a few seconds.
When the finish has dried after a day or two, I buff the bowl with a clean cloth or 0000 Steel Wool and the bowl takes on a smooth low gloss luster.
Tried and True Original is a warm, slightly yellow-amber color viscously thick finish. When applied to a wood bowl it adds a slightly warmer hue and seems to make the piece glow. I really like how the tone of the woodgrain appears more vibrant with this finish.
The finish penetrates and bonds with wood cells creating a surrounding protective layer. Once applied and cured, Tried and True has a soft sheen or luster that brings out wood grain beautifully.
The final look on a wood bowl finished with Tried and True Original is a smooth, elegant wood surface that does not scream ‘finish product’ first. Tried and True is there protecting and beautifying the wood, but its presence takes a backseat to the natural beauty of the wood.
The application of Tried and True cannot be more straightforward. Sand the wood bowl surface up to 320 grit. I stop at 320 grit as I’ve learned from a couple of sources that wood cells start to seal after that point and don’t absorb oil as well.
With a small lint-free cloth apply a thin coat of Tried and True Original on the wood bowl surface. Do not use a brush. Because of the thickness of the Tried and True Original finish, a brush would apply way too much product.
I keep a recycled salsa jar on my bench with a small three-inch square patch from an old t-shirt as an applicator. About every other month or so I fill the salsa jar to about the halfway point. Transferring the Tried and True Original from the gallon can to the jar makes it much more convenient.
Let the Tried and True penetrate the wood bowl surface for at least 60 minutes. At that point, use a lint-free cloth and briskly rub the surface until it is completely dry. This rubbing process needs to happen before the wood bowl is left to cure.
After at least 24-hours I burnish the surface of the wood bowl with 0000 steel wool. Often, I leave the tenon on a bowl so I can return it to the four-jaw chuck and do this burnishing while the bowl rotates on the lathe.
One coat is all that is needed. Additional coats can be applied if desired. Burnish the surface well with the 0000 steel wool after each coat cures. Do not apply more than three coats.
Maintenance and Repairs
If the wood bowl surface looks dull, just buff it with a clean lint-free cloth to polish the bowl surface.
Damaged areas can be buffed and smoothed as much as possible with 0000 steel wool or a fine grit sandpaper. Apply a small amount of Tried and True Original to the affected area and let it cure before buffing as described above.
Boiled or Polymerized
Barry, a retired chemist, is a member of our Wednesday night turning group. He is a wealth of knowledge and always ready to share, enthusiastically.
I asked Barry, ‘what’s the difference between boiled linseed oil and polymerized linseed oil?’ He responded by telling me that all linseed oil is polymerized for it to thicken to a usable state. The commercially boiled linseed oil has numerous chemicals, and metallic drying agents added to the process. Not only are these additives toxic, but they also reduce the finish quality on our wood bowls.
The polymerized linseed oil used in Tried and True does not contain these additives and metals. Instead, the Tried and True company uses a heating and aging process to prepare or polymerize the linseed oil.
Tried and True Original is nothing more than processed flax seeds (linseed oil) and beeswax. Simplicity seems to be a theme with this product.
Yes, Tried and True Original food safe wood finish can coat over other oil-based finishes. It can also be applied to color finishes such as milk paint and color dyes.
However, it should not be used over acrylic paint. There are reactions that may occur between the oil and water based acrylic paint.
Food Safe Wood Finish
I love this line for the company’s website, “Tried and True wood finishes are composed of 100% renewable ingredients coming from trees, bees, and seeds! There are no petroleum solvent thinners and no metallic driers.” Tried and True Original just incorporates bees and seeds, beeswax and flax seeds.
Tried and True Original is all natural and a food safe wood finish. Many wood finishes are food safe once the product is dried and cured. Tried and True Original is a food safe wood finish in product form.
Be careful when reading the name of a product labeled “Salad Bowl Finish.” This is a generic name that implies “food-safe” but that is not so clear. Read this article to learn more about the issue of “Salad Bowl Finishes” and whether they are food-safe.
It’s so food safe, an empty Tried and True Original can, which might still have product residue inside is safe to put with your other recycling items. That’s saying something!
Tried and True is not a pure waterproof finish. It is water resistant. This finish can take the daily use and hand dishwashing without a problem.
Hand-wash, with a mild soap and warm water, rinse and towel dry any bowls finished with Tried and True. Submerging a wood bowl finished with Tried and True in water for a prolonged time is not advised, along with microwaves, dishwashers, and beavers.
By far, water does more damage than fire or any other natural element. A wood bowl finished with most finishing products, will wear down over time. The beeswax component in Tried and True Original is the key water resistant element that makes it water resistant.
Beeswax has long been known to have many incredible properties. In Egyptian tombs and among Roman ruins beeswax has been found. The applications for beeswax use throughout history are varied and extensive.
Another surprising fact about beeswax and an essential connection with our wood bowls-it will never go bad. Let me repeat, because this is a big deal, beeswax never goes bad.
There are very few things, actually, no, I can’t think of any at the moment, that NEVER go bad. Beeswax can be reheated and reused, virtually forever. That’s crazy!
I think that fact alone makes me happy I’m using this product to protect and preserve my bowls well into the future.
Pros and Cons
- food safe
- water resistant
- organic ingredients (beeswax and seeds)
- no toxic fumes
- super easy to apply
- fast relative curing time
- single coat application
- durable long-lasting
- beautiful, understated low-gloss luster
- no metallic driers
- 100% solids, no solvents added
- 1,000 square foot coverage per gallon
- a bit pricier than store brand oil finishes
Tried and True’s quality and characteristics make it a great value in the long run. With that long list of pros, I feel Tried and True Original is an investment I’m making to prolong the lifespan of the bowls I create.
Tried and True, for me, is one of those products I must have. When my can of Tried and True Original gets low, I always order a new one before the old one is gone. I use it that much and dread thinking about not having it on hand.
Tried and True Original is available online through Amazon. If you’d like to try it out in a smaller size first, Tried and True offers a one-gallon size, one-quart size, and a one-pint size.
I initially tried a quart and then immediately jumped to the cost savings of the gallon can of Tried and True Original. Per ounce, the gallon size is a better value in the long run. I’d have to guess I’ve finished around 150-200 wood bowls, of various sizes, with a single gallon of Tried and True. This food safe wood finish has incredible coverage since only a thin coat is needed per application.
There are few material products in this world that I feel I can’t live without. Tried and True Original is one such product.
I love the ease, speed, and simplicity of applying Tried and True Original wood finish to my wood bowls. The elegant, understated low-gloss luster of a wood bowl finished with Tried and True lets the beautiful grain speak for itself.
If you are interested in creating a high-gloss quality finish, be sure to read this article that will teach you how easy it is to spray lacquer!
Let me know if you use Tried and True Original food safe wood finish and what you think of this product. Please leave a comment below.
While you’re finishing your wood bowl, you’ll want to see these articles too:
• SALAD BOWL FINISH – FOOD SAFE? SURPRISE – 3 SAFE OPTIONS
• MAKE SHELLAC – HOW TO – WOOD BOWL FINISH
• 3 AMAZING TURQUOISE INLAY TECHNIQUES – ILLUSTRATED GUIDE
• 5 MAGICAL EBONIZING WOOD TRICKS
• HOW TO SPRAY LACQUER – ILLUSTRATED GUIDE
Happy Turning (and Finishing),
Would T&T be good for the inside if raised garden beds? Any idea how long it would extend the life of the wood or if it would need to be reapplied every year. It would be used only on the inside facing the dirt. Thanks!
I’m not sure about that one. The oil should extend the life of the wood, but under soil and moisture, I’m not sure. Try contacting T&T and see what they say. Actually, there varnish might work better.
I agree about Tried and True being easy and best for finishing most turnings.
First question: I have always used their straight Danish oil because I tell my customers the finish can be renewed with more Danish oil or Mahoney’s walnut oil. I’ve been afraid the beeswax might cause a blotchy refinishing, assuming the customer does not sand or use nasty was removers. So can a beeswax finish be easily renewed with more oil???
Second question: Like above if I use the T&T varnish what would be the refinishing procedure???
While I think I know the answers, I’d recommend contacting T&T direct via email. They are very good at responding. Tell them I sent you. All the best to you and Happy Turning!
T&T says you can combine their products EXCEPT over the Original with beeswax. Only wax on top of wax.
Here is their advice :from their FAQ’s
“However, it is imperative to know that once the Original Wood Finish is applied, the only other finish that will bond to it is another wax based finish. If you try to apply a non-wax based finish on top of the Original Wood Finish, it will result in the top layer gumming up and never developing a good bond. It is wise to apply the Original Wood Finish coats last.”
Thank you for writing and sharing! That’s interesting. I’ve had good luck adding Danish Oil over Original Finish. Ok, I’ll keep this in mind. All the best to you and Happy Turning!
I saw an article or video of yours on how to put a nut in the wall of a bowl. How do I find that again?
You can go to Youtube and search my Channel “Turn A Wood Bowl” then click Videos near the top and you will see all my videos.
Here’s a quick link > https://youtu.be/Asa00jJpzxs
Can you make this yourself? What Linseed oil would you recommend, obviously not something I would buy at Lowes. And the beeswax? I plan to get the flakes for the Shellac you made also. Do you need the specific denatured alcohol for this?
While you could make your own, you will probably not be able to get the same quality ingredients. The linseed oil is boiled in small batches and cooled in a way that commercial linseed oils are not. Most companies use metal driers and chemicals to make “boiled” linseed oil, Tried and True does not do that. To be honest, I have no idea how, or the desire to mix this product myself, because Tried and True has already made it great. It’s worth every penny to me.
Thanks Ken. You have really demonstrated the great value of Tried and True. At the end of project you often sign your bowl. What burner and tip do you use for your name. I wondered about a Razertip unit but what tip works best for fine name writing.
I use a chisel tip, which really isn’t for signing, but I like the crisp lines it creates. There are other “pen-like” tips for signing as well.
All the best to you and Happy Turning!
I bought this organic shaped wooden bowl that I decided to bleach with Zinsser wood bleach as per your tutorial on that subject. It took 3 x to get it even since I manually sanded the bowl , but came out very nice. I put a good amount of time and effort into then turned to your tutorial again for finishing the product with T&T, which instantly ruined it, by turning my bowl into this yellowish greenish unattractive color. Since its an not a stain on the surface, but an oil that absorbed by the wood, I am having hard time to get rid of the yellow color despite sanding it vigorously. Not sure what type of wood is my bowl, but Is there anything you can recommend to get rid of the oil, aka the yellow color ? Thanks, Monica
I’m sorry to hear about the discoloration. It’s always a good idea to test a small area of the piece on a less-obvious area, like the base. I hope you get the piece back to the color you desire. If you’re looking for a clear, non-yellowing finish, try lacquer or polyurethane.
for a non-yellowing polyurethane finish it must be water based polyurethane, not oil based.
Bill, That sounds about right as far as poly is concerned. Happy Turning!
Please confirm the following for me:
1. Apply T & T Orignal thin and wipe it off in 1 hr and burnish the next day.
2. Apply T & T Danish and the Varnish Oil thin and wipe it off in 5 min. and burnish the next.
3. Re the Varnish Oil, using this process will give more gloss.
I believe you have got it correct!
first of all, thank you for all the info you share, i watched almost all your videos and love your work!
concerning the finishing proces, do you raise the grain by wethening the bowl before you finish it?
i have sadly noticed on a couple of my own bowls that the surface becomes rough after washing and i am therefor wondering if this might be a neccessary step…
it might also have to do with the finishes i use, I.E. pure tung oil and carnauba wax..
anyways, thank you again for all you do to promote the acient art that is woodturning and thanks in advance for your reply!
Thank you Erik! Wood grain can work back up over time. A light sanding and finishing oil will restore most bowls. Happy Turning!
thanks Kent! will give it a go ^^
Excellent. Enjoy! Happy Turning!
My husband makes wood bowls and I have been finishing them with shellac. I know that isn’t water-resistant. I watched this video and think maybe I should switch to this now. My question is…can the bowls be used for salads? And then best way to clean bowls.
Yes, T&T original is great for salad bowls. Hand wash with warm soap and water, rise and dry immediately. Don’t let them soak and avoid the microwave and dishwasher.
I really learned a lot from this article and will probably buy some Tried and True!! A question I have though stems from box of bowl blanks I bought online! None of the blanks were marked as to the species of wood they were! Some are dark, some light! Would Tried and True do well for me if I don’t know what type of wood I’m dealing with?
Keep up when great educational work you do!
In general, T&T will add a slight bit of color and when applying the finish. While each species might act differently, I don’t think the results will be that dramatically different.
Hi Kent great article! I have been using the T&T Danish Oil after seeing one of your videos. I rub on a coat and then leave overnight and apply a 2nd the next day. I will leave that to dry overnight and then buff with EEE and white diamond. Other than the beeswax, what is the difference between the Original and the Danish Oil? Should I just switch over to the Original?
Thank you for writing and sharing!
Beeswax is the only difference. Try it out, you’ll probably like it. Although the Original with the beeswax produces a more subtle satin luster compared to a buffed gloss.
Can Tried and True be used with the Beall buffing system and if so, are there any special precautions or steps that I should take?
Yes, you can buff a bowl finished with T&T. Let the finish cure fully first. Read the label for cure times.
Hi, great post 🙂
I’m just wondering if you think this would work on a bamboo bowl I’ve just bought to make in to a little sink in my camper conversion? Thank you
Well, if you’re making a sink then I’d use an epoxy that will coat and seal the wood. The Tried and True finish is water-resistent not water proof.
All the best to you and Happy Turning!
I’m searching for a food safe varnish for a wooden beer mug that hasn’t been sealed on the inside.
Is Tried & True a varnish and would it be good for this purpose?
Tried and True is a brand. Their “Original” is linseed oil and beeswax. The “Danish Oil” is simply linseed oil. But, they do have a “Varnish” which is linseed oil and pine resins. The varnish might be the ticket for you. I haven’t used it yet but all of their products are the best. You might want to give it a try. And if you do please let us know what you found.
I’ve been turning for a grand total of 3 months. Your videos & articles are the first place I go when I start researching something new – thanks.
I just started using T&T on your recommendation & love it.
I’ve been making wooden spoons for several years, mostly from hard maple harvested from our property. All are sanded to 320 then get 3 coats of Tung oil at which point they feel smooth as glass. After a few weeks some of them feel slightly “fuzzy” (some don’t). I reapply a thin coat of Tung oil with 0000 steel wool & they’re smooth again. The next batch I make I’ll try T&T instead.
You mentioned that T&T can be applied over oil finishes so I’m going to try that with some of my Tung oiled spoons. Do I need to do any special surface treatment before applying the T&T?
Thanks for writing and good question.
I think the biggest thing to consider is that the Tung oil is completely dry and cured first. Then, you should be fine. Even if it’s slightly uncured it shouldn’t react to the T&T, but I’m not a chemist. Ha.
Also, I’d recommend experimenting on a small turning first, just to test. It’s better to learn on something less significant first. 😉
Enjoy and Happy Turning,
Hi Kent, am loving your articles on all subjects. I am somewhat new at this hobby. I have a “General” bench grinder turning at 1800 rpm. Is it safe to use the CBN grinding wheel at that speed. Also I have just purchased two of them and after mounting them they don’t seem to be tracking true and may be slightly out of balance. Am I being too fussy and am I safe. David.
Good question. While I don’t know the safety facts, I’ve always been steered towards the slow-speed grinders (700 rpm range) for CBN wheels. Contact the manufacturer of the CBN wheels and ask what they recommend.
I just purchased Tried and True Original after reading your analyst. It will definitely be “tried” on my next bowl. Very interesting about sanding to 320. Do you ever use a sanding sealer or does this inhibit the T&T?
Thank you for all your wonderful instruction. Being able to be instructed remotely during this isolation crisis is a real blessing!
So glad this helped you.
Sometimes I use shellac first, but usually on trouble wood with punky end grain. Other than that, I use the T&T Original direct to the wood.
I’m thrilled to help you learn. You might consider my Courses found in the top menu.
Thanks so much for such great information! Would you also recommend T&T for a wooden cup? It will be used for tea and what not. Thanks again
It might work, but it will depend on the type and grain of the wood being used. The T&T will not completely seal the wood and allow it to hold liquids.
Hi Kent, great information! I bought a lovely wood tray. It has been stained and sealed using a lacquer sealant. When I have wiped it with a sponge, water penetrates the wood, which is not good. I asked the maker of the tray and she recommended sealing it with poly. Would Tried and True be water resistant enough to be a wipeable surface or do I need to use something else? If so, can you recommend a specific product? I’m not a woodworker so want to make sure I’m using the right thing! This is a link to the tray for reference: https://etsy.me/3qmZQnV
Thanks a bunch!
I would recommend not to use the poly. While it is easy to apply and looks ok for awhile, it doesn’t age well and is difficult to fix if it needs to be touched up later.
Instead, I would recommend sanding off the lacquer and applying the Tried and True Original. Try starting with 180 grit sandpaper and work the whole surface, then use 240, then 320 and then you’re done. Apply the T&T just as instructed and you will love the piece.
Now, keep in mind the T&T won’t be gloss like the lacquer might have been. But the surface is much more durable and you can touch it up later with T&T Original or Danish oil, just by rubbing some oil on without doing anything else.
All the best to you,
New follower, great videos and unlimited information.
first watched the twice turned bowl, the the microwave drying (that is I was doing except way to high and long.
will be getting the tried and True next.
Thank you and welcome!
has Tried & True Original changed their name? I was on Amazon but can’t find it. Thanks
It’s still there. Try this link https://amzn.to/36ZiQQt
Will it stand up to acidic foods like Olive’s and pickles ?
I’m not sure. If not it can be recoated. Over time the finish can dull, but it is easily rejuvenated with a quick coat.
I am making a charcuterie board for my daughter out of African Mahogany (a limb from one of their trees). It has cured a few years now. I love the various coloring and shimmering look. I had sanded it to 320 and then went ahead and used the “sand” paper up to 12000 grit. It has a glow BUT it will have food on it. I considered lacquer but think oil is a better choice because the board will probably have cheese on it with little knives to cut. So, 1. Do I need to resend down to 320 and 2. If I use this oil will it take away the variant colors in the wood and 3. Will it darken the wood? I love your picture of the salad bowl and it doesn’t look too dark. I had used on a sample piece of the same wood Howard Butcher Block Conditioner oil which is food grade mineral oil stabilized with Vitamin E, beeswax and carnauba wax but it darkened the wood and took away the beauty. I appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks for writing and good question.
First off, any finish is going to change the appearance of the wood. For some reason, many people fear a finish “darkening” the wood. Raw sanded and prepared wood is usually dull and dry in appearance and finish revives the color and life of the wood. So in a pure sense, we really don’t want a raw wood appearance, but rather a vibrant surface.
If the wood is dense, hard, and thoroughly equalized or “dry” and pure oil will work well. I’d recommend the Tried and True Danish Oil which is pure polymerized linseed oil with zero additives, metals, etc. This is the best you can apply to the surface. You can also use the Tried and True Original which is linseed oil and beeswax, again with zero additional elements.
I would experiment with a sample like you mentioned. That is the only way to truly know.
All the best to you,
Hello, Fantastic article and great questions by the readers. I learned a lot.
My question has to do with wooden cooking utensils, cutting boards, etc. Can you use Tried & True regular or Danish oil on your wooden kitchenware like you would mineral oil? Or is the T&T something you just do once and then continue with mineral oil for upkeep? Im researching new wooden utensils for cooking.
Part II of my question. Im trying to determine which type of wood is best to buy for health safety and durability. There is a lot of controversy and information out there. Based on what Ive read, Im thinking about Teak, Beachwood or Bamboo; although open to any suggestions. I am leaning toward a set of Beachwood utensils made in France that are quite reasonably priced. Teak tends to be overpriced and I personally find it hard to determine if a bamboo product is safely processed given how many brands are out there.
And lastly, (then I will shut up and listen… lol) I read an article that is really bothering me. It discourages using wood products in the kitchen because “wood is porous and can carry bacteria inside the pores which don’t transfer to food unless chipped”. Is this correct? Is this guy bonkers? I know that wooden kitchenware needs to be treated regularly with oil, not soaked in water or dishwasher, … but carry bacteria? If this is true, do you think the T&T would help to reduce bacteria getting into the pores of the wood? Would I retreat occasionally?
The Tried and True Original can be applied once and will last a long time. Tried and True Danish can be applied with multiple layers like the mineral oil to saturate the wood.
Interesting take on wood. I have actually heard the opposite. Wood has anti-bacterial properties and is safe for food, safer than some other materials. I’ll have to dig around and see if there has been any research published on this topic.
Film finishes, like lacquer, can be bad for bacteria if they chip and food or debris gets in and under the cracked area, they can develop bacteria. But oiled boards are fine.
For the final buffing stage with Tried and True, do you think Scotchbrite 7445 non woven pad could be used in place of steel wool? The 7445 pad is rated at 0000. Thanks!
It’s worth a try. The finish should rise from a dull to semi-luster when the surface is burnished. Perhaps, try both and see if the Scotchbrite is similar. My guess is, the results will be similar.
All the best,
Kent as always, incredible information, I’ve now used Tried and True almost exclusively and its nothing short of great. However I’ve come across some ash which I’ve been turning and find that T&T discolors the incredible white palate of the wood. Do you happen to know of another finish that I might investigate and use ?
The only finish that I’ve seen that is relatively clear with little discoloration is lacquer. Check out the article https://turnawoodbowl.com/spray-lacquer-illustrated-guide-equipment-system-set-up-technique/
I hope this is the product I need. I have a huge vintage Dansk teak salad bowl. It looks beautiful but the salad dressing leaks out. The seams are not obviously separated, but the leak is substantial. Would this product seal the seams? Thank you so much for sharing your expertise. Ellen
When you say leak, I’m imagining a crack or gap. If there is a visible gap or crack, that would need to be repaired.
However, you could also be referring to leaking through end-grain. If the wood is porous enough, you could have leaking through the end grain fibers.
Yes, Tried and True Original with linseed oil and beeswax will begin to fill some of that porous area. Every wood is different, so I can’t say for sure, but there’s a good chance this will work for you.
I am trying to 3D print a set of cups and bowls for my mother in law as a belated mother’s day gift. I am hoping that the Tried and True will be a nice finish. They do not have a dishwasher, so my only concern is that they do their dishes once a day in the evening, the rest of the time the dirty dishes are left in a water tub to soak. Would the T&T finish be able to hold up to that kind of use?
As a bit of clarification, the print material is a wood/poly blend.
Thanks for the question.
Sounds pretty cool, CNC printed cups and bowls. Unfortunately, I would not recommend soaking any wood product, even a wood/poly blend. Wood is a celluous structure that absorbs and sheds moisture all the time and soaking will ruin the wood over time. The Tried and True Original, which has beeswax, will repel some water, but it is not waterproof.
The only waterproof finish that I’m aware of is the marine-grade waterproof epoxies designed for boats.
I hope that helps. All the best to you,
Thanks so much for the article. I am working on refinishing an outdoor wood table that would need to be food-safe. Would this be a good product to seal it with following wood stain? Any guidance is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Thanks for writing.
Yes, you can apply Tried and True over a wood stain. Check out the manufacturer’s page for all the details.
All the best to you,
sounds like a good finish I will give it a try
Sounds good. Let me know what you think.
Thanks for a great article. I’ve been looking for this information. I have 2 questions. I do driftwood carving and I’d like to get away from using polyurethane and switch to a non-toxic finish and one that’s easier to apply as my carvings get larger and more detailed with more irregular surfaces. I’ve been investigating T&T original finish and it sounds great except that I’m hearing that it is fairly thick (you mentioned it being a ‘viscously thick finish’. Someone even said that it is the consistency of honey. Does it flow on evenly and easily or is it thick and sticky? I need something that I can get into nooks, crannies, and crevices and then be able to wipe off the excess. Also, I made up my own beeswax and stand oil (heated linseed oil) wood finish, as recommended by Chris Schwarz…1 part beeswax to 4 parts stand oil. It gives a nice finish on flat pieces of wood, but is too hard and stiff for my needs (detail work). Have you ever worked with or made this type of finish and if so how could I thin it down and soften it to make it more suitable to my needs without introducing turpentine or another solvent? Would adding some raw or refined linseed oil soften up the beeswax/stand oil finish? Again, thanks for a great article and any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. Jim Hipp
Thanks for the question.
Yes, the T&T Original is a thick product, but you don’t apply it that way. See this video of mine to view the application.
If you are seeing the product on the wood, you have applied enough. Then you wipe any thick areas off after an hour. And after 24-hours come back and buff it out with a clean cloth. It’s very simple.
Also, if you can also consider using the T&T Danish Oil, which is pure linseed oil. I use this product on delicate thin turned pieces and it works great.
Thanks Kent….your information was a big help, especially the video on how you apply T&T Original to your bowls. From the video, it looks like this finish is probably a good consistency for my carvings. You also mention the T&T Danish Oil finish. Does this darken the wood more than the T&T Original and will it darken even more with age?
Thanks for your question.
I would say both the Tried and True Original and Danish Oil have about the same color to them. I use them interchangeably and they blend perfectly.
The finish will add a bit of warm color to the wood. If you talk to a group of people, there are some people who don’t like this, but I find that it is a beautiful warm hue and brings the wood surface to life!
All the best,
My son in law is making a small table for my grandchildren to eat on when they are at my house. I need something to put on the wood to keep it looking nice in the face of, well, grandchildren eating and playing on it! Will this product work or is there something different I should use? I have been researching but frankly I am starting to get confused. I am also a novice at doing this kind of project. Thanks in advance for your help.
Yes, this product will work great. Just follow the simple instructions and you’re set. Also, if the grandchildren damage the wood somehow, simply sand out the damaged area and reapply this finish. It will blend in and match without any effort. Hopefully, the grandkids will be kind. LOL
Thanks for the question,
What is the best way to bring a shine to the finish after you have used tried and true and done these steps:
“If the wood bowl surface looks dull, just buff it with a clean lint-free cloth to polish the bowl surface.
Damaged areas can be buffed and smoothed as much as possible with 0000 steel wool or a fine grit sandpaper. Apply a small amount of Tried and True Original to the affected area and let it cure before buffing as described above.”
I turned some walnut and some areas still look dull.
Can I spray lacquer over tried and true? This does not have to be food safe for the use intended.
Tried and True is an oil-based product that soaks into the wood. Because of this, the surface will not shine or appear glossy.
In order to appear glossy, micropores and crevasses needed to filled and made smooth so the surface reflects light. When we see a glossy surface, we’re really looking at a smooth reflection of light.
The best way to get a glossy finish is to apply several thin layers of lacquer. Here’s an article all about how to spray lacquer > https://turnawoodbowl.com/spray-lacquer-illustrated-guide-equipment-system-set-up-technique/
You can apply lacquer over Tried and True Danish (linseed only) Oil without any problems. I have sprayed it over Tried and True original and have had good results for the most part. However, the beeswax can potentially repeal the lacquer. You’ll need to experiment.
And the lacquer is food safe once it cures.
I keep and use Tried and True Original and Varnish Oil along with other oil finishes. Here are a few comments that might help.
IMPORTANT WARNING: Rags soaked in oil finishes (including Tried and True) CAN BURST INTO FLAME and burn down your shop if not properly disposed. You read that right. It is no joke. Some people keep a jar of water nearby and put the finish-soaked rags in the water. The problem with that is how do you dispose of the finish-water in a responsible way? Sure Tried and True may be okay, but what about other oil finishes with metallic driers or other undesirable chemicals? My solution is to put the oily rags outside on an isolated paving stone, put a rock on them to hold them down. Leave the rags for several days until they are completely dry, then put them in the trash.
You can use gray 3M or gray other-brand abrasive pads in the place of 0000 steel wool. The abrasive pads look like kitchen cleaning scrub pads, only gray instead of green. (The green pads are too abrasive compared with the gray ones.) Steel wool can leave bits of steel behind in the wood to rust and leave dark spots. The gray abrasive pads do not. I use both, but tend to favor the gray pads. If you buy steel wool, consider Liberon or Briwax brands of 0000 steel wool. They are oil-free, and less likely to stain or leave spots on your wood.
You can buy the gray pads at Home Depot, Lowes, and other household hardware stores. Woodworking stores sell them too. I found the Liberon steel wool at Rockler. Woodcraft sells Briwax steel wool.
You can buy Tried and True finish in quart cans at Rockler and Woodcraft stores, and probably other regional and local woodworking stores. You can find Rockler and Woodcraft stores in many states in the US. Rockler carries both Original and Varnish Oil. I know, because I bought them both at a Rockler store.
Quite honestly, there is not a lot of difference in the final appearance between oil finishes, despite the hype from expensive brands like Tried and True and the even-more-expensive Odie’s Oil. I have run my own comparisons, and seen friends’ comparisons on mahogany, walnut, and maple. The difference is subtle at best. Sometimes it is more about the texture, where finishes with beeswax seem to have a more natural feel. Some oil finishes tend to darken the wood more than others, but the difference is not that pronounced. I have asked finishing experts and they do not understand why some products cost so much. Ultimately, it comes down to how much you buy into the hype of the expensive brands, the effort it takes to apply (and burnish, in some cases), the number of coats required, the time it takes to cure, the safety factors, and personal preference.
Thanks for your detailed input. Yes, I do think it is the beeswax texture that makes the Tried and True Original Finish my favorite as well.
Hey! I’ve just gotten an antique dough bowl that I would like to use as a sink in a guest bath. What would recommend using to make it as water resistant or waterproof as possible?
I’m currently doing research into many different resin products. There are resin products made by West Marine that come highly recommended. Although I have not used them myself yet, I would consider them to be best suited for your project. Let me know if this helps.
Great article! I have been using Tried and True Original Wood Finish and also Tried and True Danish Oil either together or alone for the past 6 months and they both provide a great finish. Simple and clean to use and virtually no clean up. The product is available in Canada through Lee Valley Tools.
Thanks for writing and glad you’ve found this great product too.
Enjoy and Happy Turning,
I wanted to use it for copper plate to protect from tarnish especially in rainy seasons. I am in Delhi India where pollution is high affecting copper utensils , and let me know if anything available in India or any sample I can get in India.
Thanks for writing. I’m not sure if this will work on copper, but it sounds like something to try.
I will contact the manufacturer and see what they say and then I will let you know more.
Hi, great article. I would like to know if this finish will seal end-grain turned cups ? Otherwise I read that they can be boiled in milk skandinavian style (for kuksa’s) , but this oil would be simpler. Would hot drinks melt the seal?
Great question, and to be honest, I’m not sure. End grain cups are a challenge to seal because of the grain direction. Tried and True also makes a natural Varnish product which includes pine resins. I would think that might work better. It’s worth trying each to see. Adding hot liquid, well that I’m really doubtful. I would imagine the liquid will dissolve or breakdown the finish. Experiment and find out. And like every turning project, the wood species will play a major factor as well.
Let me know what you find out.
Is it possible to use the Beal Buffing System, just the Tripoli and the White Diamond, in addition to the steal wool?
Honestly, I’m not sure. The finish of Tried and True Original is not a high-gloss shine. I don’t think the buffing would make it more intense.
But you know what, it’s worth trying. Experiment and see if it works. Let me know what you find.
Thanksfor yourmessage concerning food dafe fonish. It has been my understanding that any finish when dry is food safe
I am 86 and havevworked with wood and it’s finishes for over 66 years and I have heard of anyone being hospitalized as a result of a finished wood. Have you heard otherwise?
Thanks for your comment.
I too have heard that finishes once dry can be food safe. However, my concern is the toxicity of the finishes before they dry and the assumption that they become food safe just by drying. Also, what happens when finishes are chipped and allow moisture and bacteria to form under and around the cracks?
Hospitalization will most likely not be the problem. The potential issue is health conditions that are formed or aggravated by exposure to toxic substances. These will be much more subtle and potentially not be obviously linked to the source. Personally, I’m not comfortable with the notion that just because a toxic chemical is dry it is now safe. Again, that’s just my opinion.
Thanks for leaving your comment. I hope your experience and expertise is proof that I’m incorrect.
Thanks for your insight I haven’t started woodworking yet but I am trying to build up my woodworking tools and resources while I am going through some health issues. I am sharing your article on my pinterest so word spreads. Thank you. Charlie
Thanks for your comment, Charlie. I hope you’re doing better soon and get to start woodturning!!!
Great article Kent. I have always wanted to try Trued & True, and to compare with my home mixed Malloof style blend that I would say is not water resistant at all. Will Tried & True skin over and start to gel after a while due oxygen remains in the can as some finished tend to do ? I really hate wasting costly finishes. It really hurts to toss it.
Thanks for taking the time to write.
Tried and True does not skin over. I’m not sure exactly why, but it probably has to do with the fact that its ingredients are 100% solids so there is nothing to evaporate. When it gets cold, they will congeal a bit but they return to fluid when it gets warmer.
I order a gallon can and that’s not practical to open and close for application, so I portion out a smaller amount to a clear sealable glass jar. This also keeps the larger amount of the Tried and True protected from contaminants, etc.
Thanks and Happy Turning,
I’ve used Tried & True for several years on cutting boards and spoons. Never thought about it for my bowls. (kind of a duh moment). I’ve had the same can for 7-8 years and it’s still good.
Oh, that’s good to know that Tried and True lasts so long. I use it enough I’m always ordering a new can.
And yes, it works great on bowls. Follow the directions, especially for the initial coat, 24 hours dry time and burnishing. I’ve seen a lot of people just wipe it on and be done. While that will work, following the steps makes a big improvement in the final results!
Thanks for writing,
Thanks for your comprehensive review of Tried and True finish,
I am making a tea mug out of olive and sealed a couple of cracks with a mixture of sawdust and CA glue. It sounds like the Tried and True is exactly what I am needing to seal the wood safely.
Do you know if the Tried and True finish will seal any toxicity that the CA may have ?
Thanks for your comment.
I’m not 100% sure about the toxicity of the CA. I’d recommend letting the CA fully cure before sealing with Tried and True. The curing time should be on the bottle of CA. If not, contact the manufacturer with your question just to be sure.
I have been unable to get the shine you have achieved after two coats of Tried and True and more effort with 0000 steel wool than I wanted to give. Do you power buff the stuff? I want some sheen.
What type of wood are your using and how dry is it? I’ve found that dense, drier wood works well. The key is to put only a very thin layer on and let it sit for one hour, then wipe it off. But, wait that’s not all. After 24 hours then burnish the surface with 0000 steel wool. The sheen can be quite rich but is not a gloss. It is more of a satin finish. Tried and True also makes varnish oil finish that will create more of a gloss if you’re looking for a shine.
Thanks for sharing. Would you recommend this for wooden spoons as well? I read somewhere that spoons need to be soaked first. Can you soak with linseed oil, and then finish with the Tried and True Original?
Yes, this would work great for spoons. You can also use just the linseed oil, called Tried and True Danish Oil. This can be applied repeatedly until the wood it saturated and then you can apply a final coat of Tried and True with Beeswax.
Which retail stores sell this product??
I’m not sure. I’ve only purchased it online and it arrives within two days usually.
Hello! Thank you for this article! I am looking to turn a small table into a large butcher block and prep surface. Right now it is painted red and the paint is coming off, so I intend on striping/sanding off the paint and started from the bare wood. I’m assuming this product would be fine for this project but of all the comments I’ve read and in your article, nothing much larger than a cutting board has been mentioned so I wanted to make sure.
Yes, I’m certain this can be used on larger surfaces such as tabletops. I would suggest emailing the manufacturer to confirm (email@example.com) and mention you heard about there product here.
Enjoy and thanks for leaving a comment,
I read some reviews on the selling site that some people found the odor very strong and objectionable. How would you describe the odor and how long does it linger in your shop after applying the material? I work in our attached garage and my wife says anything I am using there can be smelled in the house.
Thanks for writing.
Hm? I wouldn’t call the smell strong or objectionable at all. I guess everyone smells differently.
It’s a very light mild natural oil smell with beeswax. I don’t have a problem with it at all, actually its quite pleasant, but that’s me.
Thanks for asking,
Would this work on a wood table that I want to refurbish as a bread bakers bench? Also… there is one crack in the table top that I would like to fill. What compound would you recommend that would also be compatible with the oil and the intended purpose for the table? Thanks for any info.
Yes, this finish will work well for such a table. I would use very fine sawdust from the same wood, if possible and combine that with regular yellow wood glue to fill the crack. You can actually begin to sand the mixture, with a fine 180 or 220 sandpaper, as soon as it is pressed into the crack. Let the area dry and sand completely smooth. Then apply the Tried and True finish as directed.
I am just getting interested in learning how to turn wood. I am in North Carolina. Is there a WoodTurners Association ? I need to find a class ???? Need some direction. Your information has been most helpful. Have already ordered my Tried and True. Look forward to hearing from you.
Yes! The AAW America Association of Woodturners is the organization and there are local chapters everywhere. Even better news for you, I believe the annual AAW International Symposium is going to be held in North Carolina next summer!! Check out their website for more details. https://www.woodturner.org/
Does Tried and True go “bad” in the can? I have yet to get through even a small can of Salad Bowl finish (General Finishes) before it becomes unusable.
Tried and True does not go bad to my knowledge. It’s best to match the storage conditions as close as possible. I have had a small amount in the jar get gummy, but I think that was due to cold, and it returned to normal once warmed. Also, I know honey never spoils, which is pretty outstanding, but I’m not sure about beeswax.
Update – after learning more from the makers of Tried and True, they explained that the components in their products are 100% solids meaning they will not evaporate or spoil. Interesting fact. Also be sure to read this article about Salad Bowl Finish.