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.
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:
• 3 AMAZING TURQUOISE INLAY TECHNIQUES – ILLUSTRATED GUIDE
• 5 MAGICAL EBONIZING WOOD TRICKS
• HOW TO SPRAY LACQUER – ILLUSTRATED GUIDE
Happy Turning (and Finishing),