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Requested Product

Title: Finishes for Wood Bowls, Butcher Blocks, Other Items Used for Food, and Children's Toys

Source: USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, FinishLine, 2013

Author(s)Knaebe, Mark

Publication Year: 2013  View PDF »

Related Publications: view

Category: FinishLines

Abstract: The durability and beauty of wood make it an attractive material for bowls, butcher blocks, and other items used to serve or prepare food. Wood also tends to be less prone to harbor bacteria than are some other materials such as plastic.

Finishes can enhance the beauty and extend the useful life of wood. Water-repellent finishes will reduce the effects of moisture. When wood soaks up water, it swells; when it dries out, it shrinks. If the wood dries out rapidly, its surface dries faster than the inside, resulting in cracks and checks (lengthwise separation of wood fibers).

Finishes that repel water will reduce the effects of brief periods of moisture (washing) and repel liquids, making the wood easier to clean. Wood salad bowls, spoons, forks, and other utensils used for food service need a finish that also resists abrasion, acids, and stains. Finished wood countertops are less likely to show stains, such as those from grape juice or other acidic juices.

There are two types of finishes, film-forming and penetrating. Finishes that form a film on wood, such as varnish, lacquer, and shellac, are also called coating finishes. Although the film protects the wood, it eventually chips, peels, or cracks.

Keywords: finishes, protective coatings, food preparation, food hygiene

File size: 141 kb(s)

Date posted: 07/17/2013

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