Finishing Treen – luxurious spoons & spatulas

After tempering the treen is allowed to dry for several days before finishing starts. Finishing begins with cleaning up unfair curves, and rough spots. Sanding with 80 grit, 120 grit and 240 grit sandpaper follow. A final whirl with a sanding mop ( a sort of flap sander in a drill press) acts to polish the wood.
After sanding and polishing I heat a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil. I also warm the treen. If you have the experience you can do this in a microwave, otherwise, do it in the oven. To much heat at this point will split wood, so less will be more. Just heat till the wood is warm to touch.
After the wood and beeswax mixture are both warm, I rub the treen thoroughly to cover the surfaces. In the picture shown here the treen has an excess of beeswax. That’s fine. Over hours or days it will be absorbed into the wood.
The reason for the beeswax mixture is not to make the wood look beautiful; although it does. The mixture seals and conditions the piece, so it resists moisture and the tastes and odors of cooking. At shows, I’ve seen folks pick up and smell spoons and spatulas expecting a pleasant fragrance. A subtle whiff of beeswax is pleasant, but I try to explain that you don’t want your cookware to either impart or acquire cooking odors — this is part of why we use hardwoods like cherry, maple, and apple for treen.
A final note I avoid using exotic woods. The woods that I do use are generally considered safe for use with food. Many tropical or exotic woods have toxic characteristics that make them excellent choices to avoid for food-related applications. Likewise, some oils carry risks as well. Walnut and peanut oils also are attractive on wood, but I avoid them because a customer may have an allergy to them. Oils like olive oil, safflower oil, and others I avoid because they can go rancid. There is no cure for a rancid spoon.
That’s why I stick with the beeswax and mineral oil mixture. It’s generally considered safe.
After coating I allow the treen to sit overnight. The next day I give everything a final touch up and rub down, and it’s ready to go.

One Reply to “Finishing Treen – luxurious spoons & spatulas”

  1. And like so is the path to our highest selves. Our rough shape hewn when we are young. If we get ourselves in some hot water, it will show our true character, and raise all of our grains. It takes time after this to dry out. As sanding wet wood results in a pulpy mess, so does trying to correct the character when it is weeping or angry or too hot to the touch. First, the biggest flaws are sanded away. Then, we move to the more minor imperfections, smoothing and refining until we are polished. To be ready for others, and withstand the test of time, we must warm ourselves once again to receive the sealing, finishing touch. Thank you, Lou. This is beautiful.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.