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Silkie McDonough

Wooden drinking vessels

19 posts in this topic

I have four wooden tumblers, two leak. How do I repair them when I can't even see the cracks where they leak?

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Two options as I see it (and other options will likely crop up)...

1. Use brewers pitch (available from Jas Townsend) melt and coat the inside.

2. Same as #1 but use natural bees wax.

Pitch will last longer and be harder wearing, but bees wax is easier to use, but might melt off if left in the sun or what-not. Bees wax also cleans up easier.

Edit - If you use bees wax make sure you ask anyone borrowing them or using them do not have bee related allergies first, just to be safe.

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in addition to wax and pitch-

try just soaking them. see if they swell. i bet its been a while since they held any fluid.

if they are the laminated ones- you will have to glue them back together.

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S. McD. - In addition to the good Mssr Bagley's pitch on the inside, it might not hurt to slather and rub boiled linseed oil on the outside of the vessels (though not too close to the insides or rims). Rub it in the wood until it won't soak up any more and as you're rubbing it will actually start to warm up in your hands. This is a period way to add some life back to the wood to swell up the fibers and close them up a bit. My guess is the wood dried out over time and with repeated washings. Introducing some natural boiled linseed oil now and every so often in the future would likely help the leaking situation.

Brass

Edited by Brass

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I liked Dutchman's solution the best because it was easiest and cheapest and because I don't have no brewers pitch little bee's wax and no idea where my linseed oil is (some place with my painting supplies ...assuming I still have any). Soaked the tumblers for about 6 hours so far and sadly they are still leaking so i stuck them back in the water, figured it couldn't hurt.

Any other suggestions? ...until I get other supplies.

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Silkie -

Insteaf of using linseed oil, for most food prep equipment wood spoons, bowls, cutting boards, etc. mineral oil seems to be the recommended oiling agent. Unlike other oils it won't turn rancid.

Jas. Hook :blink:

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I may actually have mineral oil in the place. hehe

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I've also heard walnut oil can be good for that... haven't tried it myself, so I am not sure how good it works or of it has the rancid problem Has Hook mentioned... but again you have the possible allergy issue.

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Soaking didn't help at all ...the crack is larger now. Sooooo ....on to the next attempt to repair.

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If the crack has gotten bigger, you are now faced with the question of how much will it cost to repair vs. replace the mug. You now have the possibility of bacteria forming in the recess of the crack, and becoming a health issue. Wooden ware was never meant to be as long-lasting as metal. One theory to the reason the plagues spread more rapidly through the lower classes was due to the unsanitary conditions and bacterial growth on/in wooden ware vs. the use of pewter and silverware(which has a natural anti-bacterial quality)by the upper classes. To put it in simple economic terms, this is the time for a cost/benefit analysis. ;)

Bo

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The repair is likely to make it a container for something other than drink ...say spoons or maybe dice. lol

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Wood has a natural anti bacterial property, it's one of the reasons we use it for cutting boards and butcher's block. But the big crack sounds like more than it's probably worth to repair as a drinking vessel. A dice cup sounds like a great alternative *G*

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Wood has a natural anti bacterial property, it's one of the reasons we use it for cutting boards and butcher's block.

Would you mind showing me where you got this information from? Apparently my hardwood boards and buthcer block never heard of this. If they are not kept clean, they will mold and turn black, causing potentially serious health issues. Wood is used because it is easier on the knife blades. The reason many cutting surfaces are now made of some type of poly/plastic is because it is safer and easier to clean than wood. At least that is what my professional chef and butcher freinds have told me.

Bo

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Wood has a natural anti bacterial property, it's one of the reasons we use it for cutting boards and butcher's block.

Would you mind showing me where you got this information from? Apparently my hardwood boards and buthcer block never heard of this. If they are not kept clean, they will mold and turn black, causing potentially serious health issues. Wood is used because it is easier on the knife blades. The reason many cutting surfaces are now made of some type of poly/plastic is because it is safer and easier to clean than wood. At least that is what my professional chef and butcher freinds have told me.

Bo

I don't think there was anything in my post advocating against keeping wooden cutting boards clean. Of course you would keep them clean, and dry them off after cleaning. If you're having problems with them turning black, they're not getting dry enough after washing. Same for mold. Wooden utensils need to be thoroughly dry before being stored. And a good dose of sunlight also helps (ALHFAM, over 10 years ago, discussion about sanitizing brewing equipment in the 18C vs. modern chemical methods).

This link shows arguments for both wood and plastic cutting boards, with links to the research on wood: http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/cutting_board.htm

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I am concerned with the blanket statement that wood in cutting boards and butcher blocks is naturally bacterial resitant and the reason wood is chosen. As you were not specific it seems like a blanket statement that all woods are naturally bacteria resistant which is simply not so. I have been cutting meat and butchering animals for over thirty years and have always been told the exact opposite. I worked in a Veneer mill for six years and learned a great deal about all types of wood. If the statement is provable would you please provide the information? I am very well familiar with cleaning of cutting boards etc. and what can happen even in the best of conditions. Some of the most common hardwoods used in cutting boards and butcher blocks in the U.S. are oak, maple, ash, and birch, none of which are known to have any natural bacterial resistance. Living trees may perhaps have some properties that could prevent certain types of bacteria from growing, but once they are cut, processed and dried, made into cutting boards, there is no life left in them and they are decaying from that point on. Of course bacteria dies when its food source runs out. Basic biology 101.

I read your link but it only says the single study cited "seemed" to show...etc. Not what I would call a conclusive study, and they did not mention which types of wood were studied or any of the proceedures used in the study. Just curious about the original staement is all. It seems wood is chosen for traditional reasons, not scientific ones. ;)

Bo

Edited by Capt. Bo of the WTF co.

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I am concerned with the blanket statement that wood in cutting boards and butcher blocks is naturally bacterial resitant and the reason wood is chosen. As you were not specific it seems like a blanket statement that all woods are naturally bacteria resistant which is simply not so. I have been cutting meat and butchering animals for over thirty years and have always been told the exact opposite. I worked in a Veneer mill for six years and learned a great deal about all types of wood. If the statement is provable would you please provide the information? I am very well familiar with cleaning of cutting boards etc. and what can happen even in the best of conditions. Some of the most common hardwoods used in cutting boards and butcher blocks in the U.S. are oak, maple, ash, and birch, none of which are known to have any natural bacterial resistance. Living trees may perhaps have some properties that could prevent certain types of bacteria from growing, but once they are cut, processed and dried, made into cutting boards, there is no life left in them and they are decaying from that point on. Of course bacteria dies when its food source runs out. Basic biology 101.

I read your link but it only says the single study cited "seemed" to show...etc. Not what I would call a conclusive study, and they did not mention which types of wood were studied or any of the proceedures used in the study. Just curious about the original staement is all. It seems wood is chosen for traditional reasons, not scientific ones. ;)

Bo

Well, that link you read contained a link to this: http://faculty.vetme...uttingboard.htm

In particular these paragraphs:

Our research was first intended to develop means of disinfecting wooden cutting surfaces at home, so that they would be almost as safe as plastics. Our safety concern was that bacteria such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, which might contaminate a work surface when raw meat was being prepared, ought not remain on the surface to contaminate other foods that might be eaten without further cooking. We soon found that disease bacteria such as these were not recoverable from wooden surfaces in a short time after they were applied, unless very large numbers were used. New plastic surfaces allowed the bacteria to persist, but were easily cleaned and disinfected. However, wooden boards that had been used and had many knife cuts acted almost the same as new wood, whereas plastic surfaces that were knife-scarred were impossible to clean and disinfect manually, especially when food residues such as chicken fat were present. Scanning electron micrographs revealed highly significant damage to plastic surfaces from knife cuts.

and

In addition to our laboratory research on this subject, we learned after arriving in California in June of 1995 that a case-control study of sporadic salmonellosis had been done in this region and included cutting boards among many risk factors assessed (Kass, P.H., et al., Disease determinants of sporadic salmonellosis in four northern California counties: a case control study of older children and adults. Ann. Epidemiol. 2:683-696, 1992.). The project had been conducted before our work began. It revealed that those using wooden cutting boards in their home kitchens were less than half as likely as average to contract salmonellosis (odds ratio 0.42, 95% confidence interval 0.22-0.81), those using synthetic (plastic or glass) cutting boards were about twice as likely as average to contract salmonellosis (O.R. 1.99, C.I. 1.03-3.85); and the effect of cleaning the board regularly after preparing meat on it was not statistically significant (O.R. 1.20, C.I. 0.54-2.68). We know of no similar research that has been done anywhere, so we regard it as the best epidemiological evidence available to date that wooden cutting boards are not a hazard to human health, but plastic cutting boards may be.

I could probably do a bit more digging around in the microbiology/molecular/organic chemistry research available to explain why this might be so, as by now there has probably been some enterprising young grad student who has figured out the chemical basis for a reaction which would not allow bacteria to thrive on a wooden cutting board. I suspect it might be found under "tannins in wood". Hmm, maybe under archaeology and why certain sites have better preservation of organic matter than others due to tannin rich soil. But I have other things to do with my time right now, if you're curious, dig away!biggrin.gif

Edited by jendobyns

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That's pretty impressive, but I'll stick with what I know from my 30+ years of experience and continue to treat my boards as if my life depended on keeping them clean and not rely on science from California. I don't put much stock in controlled lab experiments because the worst things that happen don't happen in controlled labs. ;)

So, I decided to check with my friend who just built a meat processing plant last year at his farm. He is actually familiar with the so-called research and turned me on to this article after exlpaining that he can NOT have wooden cutting boards or the FDA will shut him down.

http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/cuttingboards/a/cutbrdwoodplas.htm

Some of the information I think echoes my sentiments:

"Fifteen years later, however, experts are still recommending nonporous plastic cutting boards, and local health departments continue to prohibit the use of wooden cutting boards in commercial foodservice.

So what happened? A careful reading of the article reveals the disconnect between what the researchers observed and the conclusions they drew from those observations. It's a great example of why it's never a good idea to let someone else do your thinking for you — because scientists make mistakes just like anyone else.

The claim was based on an experiment in which wooden cutting boards were infected with common food-borne pathogens and then allowed to sit overnight. The next morning, researchers found that "99.9 percent of the bacteria were unrecoverable and presumed dead."

Presumed dead? That's quite a leap, especially when, by the researchers' own admission, "We've not recovered the little critters' dead bodies." They did allow for the possibility that, instead of dying, the "little critters" may have simply taken refuge within the nooks and crannies of the porous wood, where they would then be free to breed like — well, like bacteria. And since we know that bacteria can live on a cutting board for up to 60 hours, that wooden cutting board could be hosting an entire colony of pathogens by then. "As best we can tell, that isn't going to happen," one of the scientists said, though he did not specify why he didn't think it would happen.

As for what mechanism or agent might be responsible for wood's alleged antibacterial powers, the researchers admitted that they had no clue. One begins to see why this particular piece of "science" didn't exactly blow the doors off the conventional thinking on food safety.

Finally, though, the kicker: One of the microbiologists responsible for the study shares his recommended technique for cleaning wooden cutting boards: "A good wipe will do fine – and if you forget to wipe the board, you probably won't be too bad off."

And that my friends is why I prefer to th9nk for myself and rely on my experience over science that is poorly conducted. ;)

Bo

Edited by Capt. Bo of the WTF co.

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My time in a pofessional kitchen tells me that a nonpourus plastic board is the way to go but they are murder on your knives. When butchering venison, beef, poultry, or fish I always reach for the plastic, breads on the other hand are always cut on a board. The only reason for the change it the dificulty in sharpening the serated knife if it where easier I would reach for the plastic. They are easier to clean and require almost no maintance. Just my tupence.

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If the crack has gotten bigger, you are now faced with the question of how much will it cost to repair vs. replace the mug. You now have the possibility of bacteria forming in the recess of the crack, and becoming a health issue. Wooden ware was never meant to be as long-lasting as metal. One theory to the reason the plagues spread more rapidly through the lower classes was due to the unsanitary conditions and bacterial growth on/in wooden ware vs. the use of pewter and silverware(which has a natural anti-bacterial quality)by the upper classes. To put it in simple economic terms, this is the time for a cost/benefit analysis. B)

Bo

After re-reading this, I would like to see the research on the theory of bacterial growth on/in wooden ware as a contributor of plague growth in the lower classes and the "blanket statement" of silver ware having a natural anti-bacterial quality. Arguing that plastic cutting boards are better is not the issue, it's silver & pewter vs wood. Where is the research?

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