Suitable non-toxic woods for carving eating/cooking spoons

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Suitable non-toxic woods for carving eating/cooking spoons

Postby peter.r.evans » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:42 am

Hi, new to this forum, I look forward to participating.

I have sizable garden prunings, and am running out of chisels and files to rehandle. So to spoons and bowls. I currently have quite a bit of privet (eventually got to an unused part of garden), and whilst ingesting the flowers (and inhaling the scent in Spring) and seeds are a problem, are there any problems with the dry wood itself? I do have alternatives - crepe myrtle, camellia, rhododendron, bottle brush, macadamia, mango, lemon. I might mention privet is a noxious weed in this part of the world and land owners are legally obliged to get rid of it.

The NSW Dept of Ag poisonous garden trees/plants publication rarely mentions the timber itself being toxic, with a couple of exceptions eg Rhus, Oleander http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/ass...-to-people.pdf

Thanks for your help, the spoons (pretty rustic at this stage) are starting to emerge from the green wood, so I don't want to poison anyone.

Peter in Sydney
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Re: Suitable non-toxic woods for carving eating/cooking spoo

Postby gavin » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:11 am

I think you will be the opinion leader on Australasian woods for spoons on this forum.
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Re: Suitable non-toxic woods for carving eating/cooking spoo

Postby ToneWood » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:53 pm

I came across a snippet of info. somewhere this week that suggested that beech and, I think, elm, might be carcinogenic - although I think it concerned inhalation of their dust (I would think inhaling any type of dust could be quite harmful though - silicosis, talcosis, etc.). I'd avoid yew. Personally, I'd avoid holly too but I read somewhere that it is fine. Most people seem happy to use fruit woods for eating utensils. I often use a lime wood spatula at home. I'd use ash. Oak is used for bear & brandy casks.

Australia, it's another world. Only heard of Eucalyptus, Billabongs and Tea Trees. Reckon I might avoid the former (aromatic) and the latter (antiseptic).
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Re: Suitable non-toxic woods for carving eating/cooking spoo

Postby bulldawg_65 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:24 am

Privet wood is used often in making bowls, so I think you are safe using it for spoons. Rhododendron is called spoon wood in the US so that is also safe. I think the rest of the woods you listed are fine if maybe a tad on the hard side.

Tone, the information that you just mentioned about carcinogenic wood has to do with inhaling the dust. Actually you should wear a mask anytime you are doing any major sawing or sanding.
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Re: Suitable non-toxic woods for carving eating/cooking spoo

Postby peter.r.evans » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:01 am

Thanks for the useful info fellas
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Re: Suitable non-toxic woods for carving eating/cooking spoo

Postby ToneWood » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:21 pm

Acers, like sycamore, maple, tulip tree are commonly used for chopping boards & utensils too.
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