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Old 05-01-2014, 05:36 PM   #21
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I use linseed oil on wooden utensil handles.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:51 PM   #22
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Not about Al's knives, but a similar question. I have an attractive salad bowl. It think it is some kind of tropical wood, colored like mahogany. It's big, and some evenings I make my diner from a whole bag or Trader Joe Herb salad, and some meat or fish. Someone who was moving out of my building about a year ago gave it to me. It is not just an oil finish, there is some kind of varnish or other finish that gives it a surface coating. This has started to wear and flake off, and I would like to get it completely off and re-finish with some kind of food safe oil.(My dinner is going in this bowl.)

It is pretty big, and curved so that I would have to sand without a sanding block. Can I use some stripper that won't wreck the bowl for food preparation, and then sand and use a food grade oil? Or must I stick to only sanding for safety?
Ha
Ha, Do you have a electric hand drill? They sell flap sanding wheels that have a shaft for a hand drill. You should be able to use it for the inside of the bowl. Use a palm sander for the outside. Oil with mineral oil and let sit for 24 hours to let the oil sink in. If you can, try to identify the wood before continued use. Some woods shouldn't be used for food.

Use only raw linseed oil not boiled.
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:35 AM   #23
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I have done the mineral oil thing for years, and it just hasn't worked for these knives. They soon get grungy and turn black in places.

But I realized that our steak knives, which I've given the same mineral oil treatment, and which go through the dishwasher, look fine:



So I think the Chicago Cutlery knives use wood that doesn't do well.

As for food grade, remember that the knife handles don't generally contact the food any more than cabinet handles do. If they contact the food, you're using them wrong. Sure, it's probably better to be safe.

As for keeping them dry--this experience has shown me that they get wet and greasy all the time in normal use.

That fish filet knife above has a rubbery textured surface. I wish they all had that.

I'll get some non-heavy-metal tung oil today.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:07 AM   #24
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We have a set of decades old (2-3?) Chicago Cutlery knives. I will say, that wood doesn't seem like the best to use, it does seem rather porous/soft/absorbent. Ours are long over-due for some oil, they look pretty bad (you made me look!). They might need a little light sanding as well.

I'm guessing the added humidity at your place aggravates the situation. We have another, newer chef's knife - that handle is mainly the same metal from the blade with some plastic/phenolic type inserts. Those look great.

You are right, it's a little overkill to worry too much about 'food grade' for something like this, but if you can you might as well. It reminds me of a beer brewing podcast I listened to recently. The geust was a toxicologist, and he spke (strictly off the record for liability concerns) about the various things that home-brewers worry about as far as non-food-grade items coming into contact with their beer during the home-brew process (various plastics, brass valves in place o commercial/$$ stainless steel valves, etc).

The common message he had, while it's prudent to be concerned and try to be safe, keep in mind our beers are ~ 5% ethanol - a known toxin! If we were to drink 10x our normal daily intake, we could have serious effects, and go much further and we are facing death. Compared to the ppm or ppb of some of these things with questionable effects - it all just gets blown out of perspective.

One particularly interesting thing was he went through the math on how much lead a batch of beer might pick up from a brass valve (which contain some lead). The amounts were very small, since the contact time was short (just while transferring the beer/wort), but beer/wort is acidic, which increases the absorption of lead. But, yeast are living things, they actually absorb much of the lead (and probably other contaminants), and a high % of the yeast settle out and are separated from the beer before we drink it! Natures own filtering system!

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Old 05-03-2014, 09:58 AM   #25
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Depends how far you want to go. Looking at the wood, it seems to be a fairly open grain wood - I might remove the rivets and replace with a very dense wood - like cocobolo, corteza amarilla, ron ron, etc.

I live, and grow these woods, so I have lots of the stuff around, but wood for a handle of a knife, if you like the knife, isn't going to be that expensive.

I might as well think of Oswage orange up north, or some kind of iron wood. Some woods, like corteza, are so hard that they don't absorb water (I kid you not), the oil from your hands will be good enough for them.

If you could get your hands on some Guayacan Real, it would be incredible. So hard they used to make shafts for propellers out of it. With todays modern carbide tools, you can actually work it.

Probably overboard though. lol
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:08 AM   #26
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Depends how far you want to go. Looking at the wood, it seems to be a fairly open grain wood - I might remove the rivets and replace with a very dense wood - like cocobolo, corteza amarilla, ron ron, etc. ...

Probably overboard though. lol
I just might take this path. I think I probably have enough scraps of cocobolo to do a few knives, if not buying small amounts like that is no big deal. That could be a fun and manageable project for me.

Cocobolo is so oily it is difficult to glue. As you get down to fine sandpaper, and polishing it with cloth, the oils come up and it just seems to provide its own finish. Beautiful too. Yep, this could be fun - man, with cocobolo handles, those knives would look sharp (hah!).

Later, I might google this subject, and maybe write to the Chicago Cutlery people about their wood handles.

-ERD50
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:17 AM   #27
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Later, I might google this subject, and maybe write to the Chicago Cutlery people about their wood handles.

-ERD50
I've had 2 different sets from Chicago Cutlery, wood handle knives. One American Black Walnut, one set in Cherry. On the cherry there is a number (103) that indicates the knife followed by a 'C' for cherry? Not sure how/if the walnut was marked.

We took better care of the walnut, the cherry is in desperate need of oil.
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:25 AM   #28
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So I think the Chicago Cutlery knives use wood that doesn't do well.
I'm not surprised (current production is made in China).

If your budget can bear it, you might think about buying the "Forged Xtra" line from Grohmann Knives:
Quote:
These eye-catching handles are made from layers of natural hardwoods impregnated with resin. The beauty of wood, a high gloss finish that does not require any future liquid finishes, not affected by extreme temperatures & resistant to the corrosive affects of salt water are just some of the reasons to choose Xtra Water-Resistant Resinwood.
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Old 05-03-2014, 12:21 PM   #29
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I do not wash knives of any kind in the dish washer. Bad for the blades, but hell on wood handles as well.

Recommend not using vegetable oil to season wood in contact with food (cutting boards, spoons, bowls, etc.). It can become rancid.

If adding sand to a coating, make it as fine as dust if you can.

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Old 05-03-2014, 05:57 PM   #30
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The polyurethane came off quickly with my orbital sander + some fine steel wool.

Put on 100% tung oil. That stuff is nice, they look good:



I did the steak knives too.

I bought some beeswax also, but maybe I'll try just the tung first?
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:03 PM   #31
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And speaking of knives, Lena's dad made knives/handles/sheaths as a hobby, using woods from around the world and also reindeer horn:

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Old 05-03-2014, 06:17 PM   #32
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heat mineral oil in a double boiler then add flaked or chunk beeswax. I do about 50/50 by weight. When the wax is dissolved in the oil scoop it up into a jar. Then apply this to any wooden utility vessel, handle or cutting board. Re-apply as needed when the wood gets to looking dry.
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:27 PM   #33
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I've had 2 different sets from Chicago Cutlery, wood handle knives. One American Black Walnut, one set in Cherry. On the cherry there is a number (103) that indicates the knife followed by a 'C' for cherry? Not sure how/if the walnut was marked.

We took better care of the walnut, the cherry is in desperate need of oil.
MRG
The ones I can read have a # and the letter "S", like the one T-Al just posted, and the wood looks similar.

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Old 05-03-2014, 06:38 PM   #34
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DW uses the dish washer test on all knives. I think the term is "autoclavable". If a knife can't stand the dish washer , handle or blade, it soon goes in the garbage.

I use boiled linseed oil on my wooden handled tools.

During my illustrious military career, we were required to use raw linseed oil on our M1 Garand and M14 stocks. Raw linseed oil is much harder to use than boiled linseed oil.
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:19 AM   #35
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My wife I think would threaten to use a knife on me if I put one with a wooden handle in the dishwasher. lol
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:43 AM   #36
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Thanks to those who commented on my salad bowl.

I'll sand it as suggested, and probably oil with salad bowl oil. I kind of wonder though if coconut oil might be better and cheaper.

Ha
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:27 PM   #37
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The ones I can read have a # and the letter "S", like the one T-Al just posted, and the wood looks similar.

-ERD50
I found our old set of Chicago Cutlery knives (1988 vintage). They have the same markings as yours, number followed by 'S'. I don't have the walnut steak knives to compare our 1994 cherry steak knives with. There is a difference in quality of the blades between 1988 and 1994 sets.

Our 1988 vintage is American Black Walnut, that appears to be the same as the OP's.

I think everyone agrees on the treatment of wooden knife handles. They don't go in the dishwasher (for the blades to stay in top condition and the wood to stay properly dry) and need periodic oilings.

I used to work in a walnut sawmill, funny thing green walnut lumber is typically 'steamed' for a couple of days after its sawed, but before air drying and kiln drying. The steaming spreads the dark heartwood color to the white sapwood. Without steaming there are limits(surface area or square inches) to how much white sapwood a particular grade of walnut lumber can have. But after wood is dried, moisture is an enemy. Though drying and periodic oil treatment are required.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:51 PM   #38
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.......I kind of wonder though if coconut oil might be better and cheaper.
Ha
Ha, Coconut oil can go rancid over time so you wouldn't want that in your salad bowl.
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Old 05-04-2014, 02:25 PM   #39
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Ha, Coconut oil can go rancid over time so you wouldn't want that in your salad bowl.
Thanks for the correction. I had thought maybe it was so stable that it would not go rancid.

Ha
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