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please help me avoid poisoning myself with my spoon

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  • #16
    Never heard of oysters smoked that way but as an oyster lover it sounds delicious. Here the early Native Americans used wooden weirs for their salmon fishing.

    We like Dungeness crab and used to catch our own, but now have to buy it. Excellent eating and can't get enough. Fresh tuna and salmon are available here and the neighbor usually gives us the salmon which is delicious.

    Well, Brian, we are lucky to be here instead of landlocked somewhere...great eating.
    Living among knives and fire.


    • #17
      I have carved and used hundreds of wooden spoons. I never actually counted, but there have been a lot. Mostly Birch, though I have used Alder, Maple, Aspen, Yellow Cedar, Apple, Walnut, Juniper, even Orange. Never, ever, Western Red Cedar. Sorry Brian, but I do not care how many rings per inch is has, I do not consider it an appropriate material for spoons. (or much else for that matter, as you know - people's mileage does vary).

      I used to boil my spoons in beeswax. I got the wax from a local apiarist (that word sounds like it would be something illegal - at least immoral!), and it was unpurified. I had to cook it down, strain it and get all the bees knees etc. out.

      I would then heat it up in a long tray that I had welded up. I do NOT recommend doing this in the kitchen unless you enjoy domestic strife! Don't ask me how I know. I did it outside on a camp stove.

      I would put the completed spoons, that had dried for a couple of months in the hot, melted wax, and essentially French fry them. The moisture would bubble out like crazy, and I would theorize that all that moisture would be replaced by wax. (My projections were based on some kind of a "model" - and we all know only too well by now how reliable THEY are!)

      Anyway, it seemed to work, and we have spoons in our kitchen that have been in almost daily use for 30 years, and while they have darkened a lot, they are still quite serviceable.

      In the last few years though, I have taken to just using them naked. (The spoons! The spoons!). Seems to work just as well and a LOT less trouble. I just carve the wood green, pop them in a paper bag for a couple of weeks and use them. No problems.

      Several years ago there was some research done on wooden cutting boards, and it was discovered that raw wood kills germs, pretty effectively. This research was done by scientists at the university of Wisconsin in Madison. The findings made national headlines with a story distributed by the Associated Press, written by Mary MacVean, March 10 1993.
      It was established established that wooden cutting boards are far superior hygienically, to plastic ones. Government regulators, had already decided that the plastic ones had to be better, and so they ignored the science, which apparently happens a lot when the science tells the bureaucrats that they are wrong, and insisted that commercial users continue to use plastic cutting boards.

      The research convinced me, and without fear we use untreated wooden spoons all the time with no apparent ill effects, as many cultures have done for centuries, having not had the "benefit" of science or thankfully, bureaucrats.

      Please try to get over the concept that all wooden items "must be sealed". They do not. In fact the "sealing" can often create problems, such as driving me absolutely nuts when I see it.

      Help me with MY mental health, by not coating wood carvings with thick glossy finishes! Wood is a beautiful natural substance. Sometimes, a coat or two of oil can bring out the grain, but thick paint, glossy varnish, and epoxy finishes, tend to derange me!

      I actually can get a pretty good guess at the age of the carver by the amount of gloss they put on. The older, the more gloss, for some bizarre reason, until walking sticks done by guys approaching 90 are absolutely blinding in their brilliance, and the natural wood is almost totally obscured.

      This is a strange phenomenon, and I suppose someone could get an advanced degree studying the psychology of gloss use by the elderly. It might be an interesting study. I'm not going to do it. I would rather carve.

      I do hope that I never get old enough to start slathering my whittlin's in gloss! I have left my descendants with strict instructions to take immediate action, if they ever see signs of this disorder taking place in me.


      • #18
        Do not be alarmed at my little dig at Brian, and his inexplicable propensity to use WRC.

        We are friends.

        In person.

        We have flung actual (not "virtual") wood chips at one another, right there in the Robson Valley.


        • #19
          Charles' Law of gas physics guides my hand when it comes time for kitchen wood finishing.
          I want it done forever and done fast (3 minutes & 30 seconds) to last a life time.

          I carve prototypes of all sorts of things in western red cedar because it is quick.
          The wood is inexpensive and abundant for me in my location.
          Easy to see the "how" and the "why" of the steps for carving utensils.

          My favorite? Has to be locally harvested and seasoned birch to do 70 spoons and 30 forks.
          They all got the oven-baked finish.
          Best, I did not lose a single one of them to cracking from the 325F heat.

          Birch is very even-grained.
          No sudden transition form early wood to late wood in each growth ring like so many conifers.
          Yes, it's tough. It isn't bass wood.
          Any flaws in your sharpening process and you will learn them in birch.
          Brian T


          • #20
            Yeah, Rick has a dim view of carving conditions at 53N, here in the Raunchy Mountains.

            How are you?

            I got my main pipeline twinned down in my guts, back last August. 16 mm tube.
            Got a second chance at life. Remarkable.
            Brian T


            • #21
              WOW, what a conversation. I am impressed on the information from poisoning bees wax, pottery to oyster eating to steaming/baking wood to,, thank goodness BrianT's health.. Which by the way I am happy to hear that you are well,or better now Brian.

              And of course pallins note about the angry gods getting blamed on all that cannot be explained....

              This is a very great place to listen in and also learn a bunch of the unknown.. Have a great day folks!!
              Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!



              • #22
                Good to hear that you are doing well Brian.

                We are fine, carrying on in spite of societal hysteria.


                • #23
                  Brian and I are in disagreement on the subject of WRC, but pretty much of one mind on the suitability of Birch for spoons, and its generally good carve ability.