View Full Version : Wood used with food

Craig Lawson
3rd Mar 2003, 08:33 AM
Hello Carvers
I am trying to find some Australian woods that can be used for carving eating utensils.
I know Camphor Laurel is a no no, but does anybody know of some suitable wood types.

3rd Mar 2003, 05:03 PM
G'day Craig - The more popular timbers seem to be blackwood and myrtle or mrytle-beech, redgum is also used to a lesser extent but isn't one I would choose myself.

Avoid highly scented timbers like Huon pine, camphor, sandalwood, rosewood etc. which will taint food. Also avoid naturally oily timbers, open grained timbers and short grained timbers that splinter easily.

You should also be aware that some timbers will discharge colour into some foods so it might be wise to avoid the redder timbers. These seem to be the worst culprits.

I like the light coloured timbers like European or American Ash or Hardrock Maple etc.

My timber of choice would be clear pine. I know it's not Australian but it's readily available and has none of the problems that most others do.

Hope this is of some help.

Cheers - Neil :D

Craig Lawson
4th Mar 2003, 10:47 AM
Thanks Neil
In a very old woodwork text from my school days (over 25 years ago, I shall stop counting soon) three woods it mentioned were Queensland Kauri, Hoop Pine and something called Silver Beech.
What do you think of these?
I've got some Blackwood, so that's possible. But a light coloured wood would be better.
Clear pine? I've not heard of it by that name is there another name for it?
Thanks for your help

4th Mar 2003, 11:48 AM
G'day Craig - They all sound good to me, however I have just been through the big book of Aussie woods and can find no listing for Silver Beech, there is a Silver Birch maybe it is an age old type.

The Qld Kauri might now be hard to get. It certainly is down here in Vic.

Clear pine is just really good clear grade pinus (no Knots or other blemishes & dead straight grain)

The blackwood like many timbers is rich in tannin and may discolour dramatically when it comes in contact with some foods and liquids, especially some sauces that may contain acids like lemon or vinegar.

Whitewoods like pine usually aren't effected as they have very little tannin in them. However oak and similar species have a very high tannin content.

The Qld Kauri (Kauri Pine) and Hoop Pine should work well. The last Qld Kauri I used had really sickly sweet dust when it was sanded definitely not very nice. Use a good dust protection if sanding this stuff mechanically.

Hope this helps a bit more.

Cheers Neil:)

Craig Lawson
4th Mar 2003, 11:56 AM
Who said there isn't a god!
Thanks. I only hope i can be as useful for some other poor bugger in the future.

Harry II
4th Mar 2003, 08:50 PM
Just a thought. How about the "fruitwoods"; apple, cherries, apricot etc? Cedar varieties?[B]Just a thought.[B] Just a thought.
WOW look at all these NEW buttonsWOW WOW look at all these look at all these look at all these NEW NEW buttons :D ;) :D

OK I won't do it anymore, promise.

5th Mar 2003, 10:14 AM
Apple is lovely stuff although inclined to splitting, pearwood is beautiful to carve and turn especially Manchurian Pear if you can get some, most of the citrus trees are also very nice white to cream coloured woods also prone a little to splitting during drying. Apricot, peach, almond all very similar with beautiful figuring and tight grain, in the light to dark honey colour range. Plum also us very nice with colours from pure white through to olive green, also prone to splitting and warping.

Most fruit trees are reasonably high in tannin so discolouring could be a problem. I don't know about the toxicity of fruit woods but would think that most would be safe. If cattle are happy to eat the leaves or chew on the bark then you should think the timber to be reasonably oaky doaky.

I would avoid all cedars (red & white) because most are very fragrant and will taint food.

Cheers - Neil:)