When we first moved we were trying to stock our kitchen on the cheap. Target had a wood utensil set on clearance, so we figured what was the worst a $15 set could do? Well, sometimes clearance items are on clearance for a reason. The wood handles on all the tools were so rough it made us cringe and worry about splinters every time we cooked. I knew sanding could help but I also wanted the tools to last longer then whatever time I put into sandning. Then I heard about wood butter.
There are a lot of wood butter recipes, but they all boil down to two main ingredients: a stable oil + beeswax. The oil keeps the wood supple so it doesn’t crack, while the beeswax acts as a thickener and gives the wood a nice water protective barrier & glow.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Wood Butter
1 part beeswax
4 parts food/pharmaceutical grade mineral oil (reasons why I use this oil after the tutorial)
To cut down on cleaning, you can melt the beeswax directly in a glass storage container. Place the glass with the beeswax in a pot of water. Turn on to about medium heat so the water won’t boil over into the glass.
Mix in the mineral oil after the beeswax is completely melted. Remove from heat, cap off, and set aside until completely hardened. Get out your utensils and butter them up!
Pro Tip: If you buy beeswax at your local farmer’s market, you’ll probably buy them by the 1oz. bars. 1oz. of beeswax roughly melts down to 1/4 cup. For a nice gifting/storing size, mix 1 1oz. bar with 1 cup oil.
Utensil prep begins with my favorite part- sanding! If you’re starting with cheap utensils (à la our $3 Target ones that made us cringe every time we held them) work your way from ~200 to ~800 grit. If you’re starting from a solid base, lightly sand with ~400-600 just to clean the surface.
Wipe down with a warm, damp cloth. The heat and water will again help the wood open up for the butter.
Gently buff the surface with your new butter with a soft cloth you won’t mind using for anything else. Set aside overnight to dry. Repeat once a month to keep your tools nice and happy.
So why do I choose to use mineral oil? Well
+ I don’t have to go to speciality store to find it. Target has it in their pharmaceutical section.
+ It’s colorless, odorless, and flavorless so it won’t affect the spoons’ basic function.
+ You don’t have to worry about nut allergies! Popular alternative oils like walnut, almond, and tung are derived from nuts.
+ Some people debate using mineral oil because it is derived from petroleum. Compared to the parts per use on the utensils and the widespread use of mineral oil as a mild laxative (when taken orally! using it in the butter won’t have the same effect, promise) using a pharmaceutical/food grade mineral oil is safe.
+ It’s cheap! A bottle of mineral oil plus the 1 oz. of beeswax comes out to $3. Total.
I love seeing the before and after for this one! The warmth in the wood really jumps out with a little TLC.