Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Toasting spoons

I hope Don Nalezyty does not mind, but here is his post on "toasting" spoons to achieve a darker appearance and maybe a harder surface:

"The toasting process is quite simple. The basic idea is to kiln dry the spoon after it's completed, but not oiled and bring the temparature up just high enough to start to darken the wood a little bit. 

I generally start at a lower temp, which varies by wood, but around 300ºF is generally safe.

I give the spoon 30 minutes at that temperature keeping an eye on it to ensure it doesn't start darkening early.

Then I increase the temperature by 15º and watch closely. If after 30 minutes it hasn't started to darken, I repeat the process.

Once the temperature is getting around 350ºF, I'll increase in increments of 10º or even only 5º.

I like the wood to darken so slowly that I almost don't know it is happening. It takes a long time as I want the heat to saturate the spoon through out and have the whole thing change consistently.

When the color is right, I turn off the oven, but leave the spoons inside. When the temp has dropped below 300ºF, I'll pull the spoons out, oil them and through them back in for 10 to 15 minutes. At that point, I wipe away any excess oil and put them back in the oven to cool down overnight.

In the morning, the oil is dry to the touch and the spoons are generally a darker richer color. They're also ever so slightly harder, but it's enough that I do use liriodendron tulipifera for eating spoons. 

Of course once you know what temp a given wood darkens at, you can shorten the process and you can even stop just before it darkens and still get a slighlty harder spoon without the color change, which is what I've been doing with my latest spoons with the kolrosing.

Thanks for the inspiration, Don.