I'm going to order some custom made kitchen items, including baby spoon and bowl, cooking spoon, spatula, and possibly a ladle. What type of woodshould I get them in? I don't care for the looks, but i'd like them to be durable, nonporous and nonsplintering, and ideally they would be resistant to going dark from fungi/bacteria. The baby spoon needs to withstand high amounts of banging and chewing. From my research so far, it seems that maple is the best. Its hard and is said to have antibacterial properties. Is there any other type of wood that would perform just as good or better? Also, what type of maple should I look for? Sugar maple seems the best so far.
Nearly any kind of wood would do! Sycamore was traditionally used here in the UK for dairy bowls etc due to its supposed antibacterial properties.
I make spoons out of whatever I have to hand. Recently I've been using holly and rowan but have also used birch, hazel, oak, ash, alder, willow, poplar and blackthorn. Fruit woods are particularly sought after by spoon carvers as they tend to be attractive. Applewood in particular is very durable.
Tannin rich woods such as oak may initially be unpleasant tasting but through use or boiling the taste will disappear.
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
Oak or other open-grained woods might not be good for cutlery, as they have porous tubular channels that might allow bacteria to hide from washing. I concur with sugar maple as very good. Beech and sycamore are also nice for carving (especially green) and have tight grain. Cherry heartwood is gorgeous and makes good utensils. I haven't used apple for food utensils, but expect it would be excellent. Apple and sugar maple strike me as likely to be the toughest choices for chewing resistance.
Commercially, Beech and White Birch are used for toothpicks and other implements intended for the mouth because they impart no taste when chewed upon, but if you are going for looks almost any type of wood will do. As others have said, stay clear of oak and ash and other open grained wood, and personally I would not put a finish on them. Wood has natural antibacterial agents which is why a wooden cutting board...going against what a person would typically think...is so much better then plastic which actually causes bacteria to thrive. Myself I find no appeal in the thought of gnawing on anything dipped in polyurethane and some natural finishes are made of nut products that can go rancid.
Note: My house has pine ceilings and people are shocked that I do not have any polyurethane on it. First off I did not put up a wooden ceiling to cover it with plastic, and second polyurethane off-gasses. It also saved me a lot of time and money but just being raw, beautiful wood. But here is the thing...what am I really protecting the ceiling from had I used polyurethane? Yes it has aged and has naturally yellowed, but it would have done so with polyurethane too.
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