Let’s talk about oiling your handmade wooden utensils.
how it works
- Wood has a natural oil in it. Woods with more natural oils tend to be more resistant to weathering, washing and use. More oil means more durable.
- As the wood is being used, oils are removed or washed away which reduces the durability. When oil content gets low, the wood cells shrink and it’s more likely to crack.
- We add oil to maintain this oiliness which maintains durability.
Should we oil kitchen utensils?
Yes! Utensils usually have a finish of oil and/or wax. They are exposed to washing and wear that takes away the oil. Add oil after you wash them or when the wood feels dry. As the wood is used and ages (with proper care), the wood can harden, become more durable and not need oiling as often.
Note: some makers might have a hard coat finish like epoxy, which won’t let oil soak into the wood until the finish is worn out.
How much oil?
As much as it will absorb. If it’s well oiled, then it’s happy and won’t drink up anymore. If it’s dry, the oil soaks up quickly. Wipe of the excess.
What kind of oil?
My recommendation: any oil you have in the kitchen. I use olive oil for just about everything: oiling utensils, sharpening tools, after shave… It’s natural and keeps the shopping list short.
About mineral oil: it’s cheap, clear, not natural, and used as a
laxative. Little known fact: it’s
harmful for the environment. Hawaiian
sunscreen companies have removed this ingredient because it kills sea life.
Most butcherblock oils are made of mineral oil. Cutting board butters and waxes are typically a mixture of mineral oil and wax.
What to avoid
Cooking, soaking, dishwashers, heavy soap… stuff that will wash the oil away.