What do you guys use as finish on your bowls and why?


marshalltjones
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Depends on the intended use:

 

Method 1 - I use a mix of shellac, BLO and DNA (equal parts) as a first coat then polish with steel wool (0000).  I follow with a couple of coats of Myland Friction Polish and finish with a coat of wax.  This all happens on the lathe and I do the inside first, then do the outside after I remove the tenon.  This finish gives a nice satin shine that seems to hold up.  It is also dries quickly so I can finish the bowl in one session.  I use this finish for decorative bowls that won't be washed or come in contact with food.

 

Method 2 - I finish these bowls off the lathe using Seal-A-Cell (General Finishes).  I keep the surface wet for about 1/2 hour to allow the finish to penetrate.  I then wipe off excess with paper towels and let dry a couple of days.  A rub with steel wool (0000) and a coat of wax finishes the job.  This finish is more of a matte finish, but it is also more durable.  This finish is food safe once the finish has cured (weeks) and can be washed and dried but not soaked.  I prefer this for situations where dry food comes in contact with the bowl (nuts, crackers, solid fruit, etc.)

 

Method 3 - I finish the insides of salad bowls and bowls that will be in contact with wet food using a couple of coats of walnut oil to insure a food safe finish.  I do the outsides of the bowls with  #2.  This finish will require periodic refreshing with walnut oil.

 

I have tried several other finishes such as BLO, wiping varnish, Danish Oil, etc. but have settled on the above.

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