One of the most common questions I hear from folks who buy my work is ‘How do I care for this??’. Especially the wooden kitchen things that do not have a film finish. After making and sanding the pieces, I put a number of coats of sunflower oil [ which is one of the few oils that will dry] on them then a top coat of oil-beeswax that gets buffed to a smooth sheen.
This year I began to make up tins of my beeswax finish or ‘Board Butter’ to give to people when they buy something from me. That way they can show some love to the wood after it has been used and washed several times.
Here is how I make mine for anyone who would like to make some ‘board butter’ for themselves. It is wonderful for all your wooden spoons and boards that are looking somewhat ‘dry’. Maybe you have a large butcher block…. Rolling pins if used will tend to stay pretty nice with the oils and shortening in the dough, but sometimes they may also need a sprucing up, makes them just glow.
I visit the large animal vet clinic to buy mineral oil because it is substantially cheaper than at the drug store…..My beeswax I buy from beekeepers, they sell it by the pound, around $5-6.00 per LB. You can order it online or source it locally. Here on PEI many of the wild blueberry growers keep their own hives to pollinate their crops so it is quite easy to find.This is a five-pound block of wax. Chop off some chunks and put them in to a double boiler..I used about a half of a lb. because I was making a bit and the ratio of wax to oil is low, you need way more oil than wax. [So perhaps 1/8 of a LB. for home use.] Melt the wax until it is a beautiful golden liquid. Then I add about 1/4 of a gallon of oil for home use maybe 2 cups] Heat and stir together for around 5 – 8 minutes. I then test out a few drops, make sure it will harden up when it cools..if it hardens too much I add more oil…too soft a bit more wax. It is not an exact science…just be sure to let it really mix together. Should be the texture of slightly softened real butter.Some people put Vitamin E oil in as well and some add lemon juice. I do not bother, a waste of the Vitamin E, that just sounds cool but has no benefits for the wood and the stuff smells so wonderful you do not need the smell of the lemon at all. Lemon juice is really great on its own rubbed on the wood to take odors off and clean your cutting board, wood utensils,..you do not need it in this mixture.The scent of the beeswax in your kitchen as you make this is heavenly.
I picked up a large syringe at the clinic as well to use to fill the tins. Those I purchased from a gal on Etsy, for your own butter you can just use a mason jar…wide mouthed would be super.You can see that the first small jars are getting firm and the hot mixture is really liquid. When it is firm you can put the lids on and ‘Voila” ! Your very own batch of butter.I ordered these small round labels from Vista Print with directions and my logo for each tin. I include one each time I send a parcel out to my wonderful customers or sell something in my studio here. I have two sizes the larger one for some of the bigger boards, the smaller for bread boards, muddlers and rolling pins. I am putting a few of the larger tins in my studio for folks who may even like to just buy the ‘Board Butter’.
I think it adds a nice touch to someones parcel, a sort of gift and a little surprise. I know then that their wood will look wonderful for many years.
I took a few moments to butter up some of my wooden things…here they are before…….Dry and well used kitchen treen. Just generously rub the board butter on, let sit for an hour or so and then buff lightly with a soft cloth…Looking better and that is it..Smells beautiful, looks wonderful and no unnatural or chemical additives whatsoever.
Then you go out to talk with your dog on a most beautiful Sunday morning. Tell him to wait on the path in the woods as you take another look at the beautiful Lady Slippers that are in full bloom behind the wood shop. He is not really happy about that but a good boy and he waited. Miss Hazel is not so reliable so she had to take a nap with the cats in the house.Hope everyone had a wonderful Father’s Day Sunday. Make some board butter, your wooden things will thank you for it and return to their former glory .