I was so busy last week telling you about the Weekender that I forgot to mention I was heading west again this week, for back-to-back demos at the Gloucestershire Association of Woodturners and also Kennet and Avon Woodturners. Both supported us at the Weekender. It was good to see them again, and it gave me chance to return a smock left behind at the Weekender – although we’d accidentally sent it to Scotland in the meantime! That’s the trouble with packing up a show, sometimes things get put in the wrong boxes!

Some of the questions we get show the level of care and thought our customers put into the design and finishing of their items. But once in a while we have to encourage them to step back, as they are possibly overthinking the situation – something I’m often guilty of too. I thought it would be worth sharing a few instances this week, as a simple solution is often the best one!

One question asked for a food safe product suitable for use on trugs – the open wooden baskets used by gardeners and vegetable growers to collect their produce. It also needs to be water resistant, so that it can be wiped clean, especially of any dirt/mud that it might be rested in.
Finishing Oil would be my go-to for the water-resistant part, but it’s not tested as being food safe. But I wondered if that was really necessary? Any items put into the trug will, by virtue of having just come out of the ground, have to be washed thoroughly before being consumed, and in many cases peeled as well. Also, bearing in mind the short amount of time the food will be in the trug, there will be little to no chance of anything in the finish affecting the food. If is was being used for long-term food storage it would be a different matter, but I’d be happy to use the Finishing Oil on this.

Another correspondent started asking some complicated questions about waxes containing oils, and if they were used on some of our sealers would it have an adverse effect. None of our waxes contain oils, so we were confused by this. Digging deeper, the worry was that once the item was sold, what would happen if such a wax was used on it?
I’m pretty sure that no damage would be caused. But as it’s impossible to predict every eventuality, this isn’t really the responsibility of the seller. Certainly, some printed aftercare guidelines could be included (use only good quality paste waxes for maintenance, do not immerse in water, that sort of stuff) but there’s no way to control how people treat items once they have left you. We can only hope they use some common sense and look after them in the way they should.

Finally, on this topic, we had an email some time ago asking about a sealer for MDF. Cellulose Sanding Sealer will work eventually, but there are some proprietory MDF sealers out there which would do a better, quicker job. Was there a reason for using our cellulose one? What was going on top of it?
It turns out that nothing was going on top; the only reason for applying the sealer was to prevent moisture getting into the MDF, which was being used as a base for a model railway which was to be used indoors.
Once again, I’m not sure that it would be necessary. As long as it was stored in dry, warm conditions, there should be no risk of damp getting into the MDF. And the better alternative, if one wanted to be absolutely certain, would be to use moisture-resistant MDF – the one with the green hue to it.
We lost a potential sale, but our customer got the job done the best and easiest way!

And, as I mentioned earlier, that’s probably the thing to takeaway from all of this; keep it simple when you can, the easiest way often is the best way!

Thanks for reading through these musings’ I hope you’ve found them interesting; perhaps one or more of them resonated with you. I’ll be back again next week, with yet more questions, more answers, and an update on my hand for those of you who asked.

Take care