Wednesday, August 20, 2008

~*Can Anyone Suggest?*~

Hi Friends! I recently purchased this dough bowl (trencher?). I really love these wooden bowls & this one has some really cool old paint on the underside (not sure if it is original, but I do really like it). This bowl just has character. However, it needs a good cleaning & has a musty smell. Can any of you suggest how to make it better? I'm going to wash it with soap & water of course, but not sure that will take the smell way. Do you think it would be okay to apply a thin coat of clear varnish?

Any suggestions?

Many smiles to you,


  1. Great find Betty! The soap and water sounds perfect, but I would stay away from varnish. Highly recommended is a nice coat of hand rubbed wax! That's what the dealers use to restore. Not sure if just beeswax or furniture paste wax though... I think the musties can be fixed with just leaving it outdoors in the sun a bit (before waxing). Enjoy!

  2. Betty,
    Be careful in cleaning it, too much moisture could warp the wood. I would put it out in the sun for a few days and see how that goes. Sunlight will kill bacteria and molds.


  3. Betty-
    When we were on one of our missions trip we went to an outdoor market. I purchased a couple of old hand crafted trenchers that they had used to put garlic in. They smelled of garlic and firewood so much, all my clothes in my suitcase smell of it too. (Everyone thought I was crazy for buying the two pieces!) First I left them outside several days (out of the weather), to air them out and then washed them with Murphy's Oil Soap. That's all I had to do and they were all right. I wouldn't varnish it either. If you wanted to wax it, to water seal it, I would use Briwax. It's great for all kinds of wood.

  4. You could try baking soda, rub it in and let it sit for a couple of days

  5. Tea tree is a natural disinfectant you could wipe the bowl with that and if you want to condition further I would suggest good ol' olive oil.

  6. I agree... don't use varnish, it would just take away the value, if it truly is old. Gentle sunshine and fresh air should take care of the musty-ness, and then a light rubbing of olive oil is what I use to keep my dough bowls conditioned.

    Now, if only those methods would work for my vintage trunk with the robin's egg blue paint...

  7. I was going to suggest rubbing it with a halved lemon (for the odor) and letting the sun work her magic on it for awhile. Will you be using it for foodstuffs? I think beeswax would give it a great luster, but I'm not sure if you should use that if it'll be used in food preparation.

    In any case, it is a fabulous find!

  8. Betty, what a wonderful find!! Those wooden trenchers are worth some money!

    I'd go along with the other girls and say that if you need to remove smell or odor from it, put it outside in the sun. But washing it in soap and water will cause the wood to split and warp.

    When I was growing up, my mother had a salad bowl set that we used all the time. After dinner, we carefully wiped all food residue from the bowl with paper towel and then re-oiled the bowls with vegetable oil. Mom drilled it into us that we should never wash those bowls with water.

    I don't think I would even wax it unless you check with an antique dealere or furniture maker to see what they would recommend. But truly, the easiest (and cheapest) way to take care of it is to put some oil (olive or vegetable) in it and wipe it out.

  9. Hi Betty,
    I just found this the other day when I was looking to replace a jar of Clapham's lavender furniture wax I finally used up after many years. I can't find it anywhere in town anymore, but it was really great. I also have an old bread board from the house I grew up in and wanted some kind of wax for it. I hesitate to use olive oil...been down that road can get rancid...especially in our humid climate!
    Clapham's Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish
    I have no affiliation with this company...but I think I'm going to place an order very soon!

    Beautiful bowl...what a great find!!!

  10. Mineral oil gives wood a warm rich finish, and won't go rancid like other oils will.

  11. Cool trencher Betty...I'm with the others on the no washing and leaving the bowl in the sun for a few days...and even putting it in a bag with crumbled up newspaper will help idea would be to send it to Ohio though ~

    keep your eye on my blog becasue soon I'll have a fall giveaway that would look perfect in there!

  12. sounds as if you have been given lots of great tips for your wooden bowl problem... so i will simply say.enjoy your wonderful bowl.. cant you just see it piled high with pumpkins and gourds....!! beautiful what a lucky find...


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