Food Safe Wood Bowl Salad Bowl Finish by General for Woodturning Projects

Food Safe Wood Bowl
Salad Bowl Finish by General

If I’ve seen this addressed once, I’ve seen it commented on at least a hundred times, that is, “What is a food safe finish for wood bowls?”

I could make this article 10,000 words or more but I just want to comment on one finish I recently ran across called “Salad Bowl Finish” by General and you can get it at Rockler for the best price ….around $18 for a quart, it’s $28 on Amazon and more at other online stores. If you go to the General website there is a store locator that might help you find the product locally. Click on General Finishes  and you’ll find more specs regarding the food safe salad bowl finish.


general food safe salad bowl finishCreate a beautiful and safe finish on wooden bowls, cups, spoons, and countertops. Easy to apply – just wipe on with a soft clean rag. Achieves the sheen and resistance of a varnish. Dried film is non-toxic for food contact 72 hours after drying. Additional coats can be reapplied at any time if maintenance of item becomes necessary. Right from the label!


When I first started turning I discovered many turners talking about their work being for display only because of the finishes. I thought that was ashame, why couldn’t you use the beautiful wood bowl that you turned to display your evening’s dinner?

I purchased some butcher’s block finishes and they seemed to work out for salad bowls. But in reality I believe they were mostly mineral oil and some also contained beeswax. These finishes did not last too long but were functional and I felt safe using them with food.

If you’re making wood cups, you’ll want to find metal inserts ….wood simply won’t hold liquid very well. I even thought soup bowls would be cool, but finding a finish that won’t kill you eventually has been a challenge!

(Time out….had a couple of fishing lines out, gotta check em)

OK …I’m back.

So….why can’t I use polyurethane, shellac, CA or OB shine juice for a food safe finish?

I’m not sure you can’t!

Now this isn’t legal advice and I think that’s the whole issue with food safe finishes. It’s called cover your butt. No one wants to say use our finish for food vessels because it isn’t FDA approved.

Cap’n Eddie on
Food Safe Wood Turning Finishes

I think it was Cap’n Eddie who gave the best advice. He was commenting on “food safe finishes” and to sum it up basically he said that almost all finishes are food safe once they are cured. That is once the chemical process of the finish has completed and VOL’s are no longer being gassed off the finish is safe to use for food.

Now, I’m not telling you to use these finishes for food vessels but logically it makes sense. I would recommend that you use Salad Bowl Finish by General for all your wood salad bowls.

Cap’n Eddie said to use common sense, you’re not gonna want to use the wood bowl finished in lacquer to eat your spaghetti, think about it, your fork scrapes the bottom of the finish and you get a 1/2 teaspoon of lacquer by the time your done. Wood has its limitations!

Watch the Salad Bowl Finish being applied!

Salad Bowl Finish Comments

Here’s a few comments on Salad Bowl Finish from General

Comments from

Makes Excellent Finish
I have used this on 5 salad bowls and every one loves the finish.
I apply while the bowl is on the lathe spinning at a very low speed and leave is spinning until finish sets.
this avoids runs. I usually use 3 to 5 light coats.

I have been overjoyed with this product, not only did I refinish the cutting boards I also refinished all wood type cooking utensils.

salad bowl finish
This finish is great to use. Cures to a hard surface and food safe. Brings out the beautiful grain in the material. Great finish.

Salad bowl finish
I used this product to seal and protect an end grain cutting board I made. I love this product and recommend it to anyone making cutting boards.

Ease to use
I’ve used this and it goes on like pure Tung oil, let it soak in and it hardens. Then you can sand it to smooth urethane like finish. If you read the MSDS sheets for this and their Toy finish they have the exact same things in the exact same proportions so I’m not sure what why they are labeled differently but they should both be “safe” for mouth exposure.

I like this finish.
I like this finish I put it on most of my bowls I turn. I do light coats with soft cloth for me works the best. I lightly sand with 4×0 steel wool and most of the time I buff final coat with a buffing system to a very nice high gloss.

Great finish
I use this for all my cutting boards that I make….a go to finish.

Finesse is success!!
The product is awesome for finishing end grain butcher blocks of all varieties of wood. I tried several different salad bowl finishes this hands down the best for my uncontrolled climate in Fl. The experience with Rockler has been to say Good is soft spoken they are pro’s from on spot packing to immediate shipping –I am a customer for life and have used them for several years now –Hats off to all the employees and staff–Thank you!!!

General Finish Salad Bowl Finish
Great product! Easy to use and exceptional finish. It is all I use now for my bowls.

Great product
I use this on my salad bowl turnings, it dries fast and lasts
Salad Bowl Finish by General

Salad bowl finish
I have used this finish for at least 25 yrs. and have always been very satisfied with it. Have discovered that by using a piece of cloth to apply it, have had no problems with runs.

It looks great and came out with a very smooth finish.

Salad Bowl FinishSalad Bowl Finish from General






Good stuff
I having been using General Finishes Salad bowl finish for a couple years now. Most of my bowls are pine. I wet sand the first coat with 320 grit to cover any lingering blemishes, then fine sand prior to another two or three coats. At least 12 hours between coats, more when its cold in the shop. I get a beautiful smooth final finish with a lot of depth.

I’ve used this product for several rears with great results! I use a minimum of 3 coats, lightt sand in between on all my bowles, platters and hollow forms.

American Specialty Hardwoods rolling pin
This is a great product. I have been looking for a long time to replace polyurethane and finally found it.
Great high gloss finish.
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General Salad Bowl FinishGeneral Food safe salad bowl finish

I made some bowls out of…
I made some bowls out of maple and walnut and was amazed at how this product brought out the beautiful grain of the wood once applied. I applied according to directions: four applications six hours apart “sanding” with 0000 steel wool in between applications. Then I let it “cure” for 72 hours. I’m very pleased with the result and will use it on all of my bowls and trays that I am making.

Many, many more testimonials at **************


How would this work on carved wooden spoons that are actually intended to be used regularly for serving food? I am concerned it will wear too quickly.

I own 2 sawmills in Texas. We use even the smallest drop-offs making cutting boards ,or “cheese boards” & have found this finish to be extremely tough & durable with 2 coats once cured. Additional coats produces a slightly gloss finish. Stands up to daily rinses in hot soapy water. Hope that helps. Peppercreek Creations
By Capt DK on July 21, 2017

I use it to restore restaurant cutting boards used daily and not well cared for by staff. The finish is highly durable and an occasional re-coat maintains the luster.
By Steven W. Rust on July 21, 2017

It wears well– FDA approved I believe– also I have used it on cutting boards but no as a cutting surface a serving surface and has outstanding gloss –spoons should wear well–several coats making sure dry times– saturating deep in the grain of the wood.

By moemadebb481 on July 20, 2017
Never used on spoons but on cutting boards and after a year the finish is still good. Safe to use and should be great on anything used around food.
By Bjohns on July 20, 2017

More comments from

ByPeteon October 13, 2016
Verified Purchase
I really like the finish on my bowls after at least four coats of salad bowl finish they get a nice gloss to them you can just see the difference on them after each new layer put on. Very good finish and easy to put on

Great finish and easy to apply
ByMC NHon January 23, 2015
Verified Purchase
Great finish and easy to apply. I used multiple thin coats applied with a cloth to a large salad bowel and the results were excellent. It was best to let dry overnight before subsequent coats (also used 400 grit sanding between coats).

It is a good product for applications that come in contact with food …
Bought and used this a few times. It is a good product for applications that come in contact with food or food utensils.

Best I’ve used
Excellent product I have used this varnish many times for utensils to be used in food preparation and serving. It’s durability far exceeds any other I have used.

Easy to use and great results
BySalli & Geneon August 18, 2017
Verified Purchase
This is a great finish. There was a bit of a learning curve for me however. Not that the piece didn’t turn out ok but it required more coats than were necessary. I have learned to spend extra time with the first coat. Keep wiping it on when you see it has absorbed into the wood, primarily end grain. I just keep wiping more on until it stays wet evenly, then do a final wipe to even it out. Leave extra time for the first coat to dry, I do both sides the first time. I sand with 400 between coats and alternate sides, every 3 or 4 hours seems to work of me. If I see a spot that still soaks in I just apply more until all is wet then do a final wipe to even out just like with the first coat. Last coat gets 0000 steel wool instead of sanding. The more you put on the glossier it gets. Last coat is just a thin wipe.

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food safe salad bowl finish from generalgeneral food safe salad bowl finish

I am experimenting with using this as a sealer coat before using oil or wax. The second picture shows a comparison of 2 ELM bowls with 5 coats of SBQT on one ant the other with one coat SBQT/sanded with 400/and wax. The sanding removes all finish on the surface. Using Mahoney’s wax. Really like this result. I Think this is a great solution for an open grain wood where you do not want a gloss finish but also do not want just Walnut Oil and wax.

This is a very versatile and easy to apply finish that gives great results.

Woodturning Finish Using Stick Fast Thin Cyanoacrylate Adhesive 4-1/2 Ounce Bottle (CA Glue)

Stick Fast Thin Cyanoacrylate Adhesive 4-1/2 Ounce Bottle (CA Glue)

I used to wonder what CA finish was. I watched Cap’n Eddie do some CA finishes and the mystery was gone!

CA finish is basically just using superglue as a finish for your small wood turning products. CA, superglue or Cyanoacrylate Adhesive comes in thin to thick, it can be used for finishes, or fixing cracks or voids …even as a stablizer for soft wood.

You can find CA on Amazon or your local wood working store…. support these guys, I  think the Cap’n sells it too….. 

You can learn a lot from Cap’n Eddie Castelin about wood turning, I sure did. He got me through all the basics, now I would like to pay him back by sending some traffic his way. I pay him back by asking people to visit his site, and to visit his youtube account  for all he has done …. he served our country and taught me how to turn wood…..Making Shavings!

Purchase 4 or 16 ounce CA packages for your woodturning finishes!

I started off buying some CA or superglue from Harbor Freight and Menards. You get little tubes and if you don’t use the whole tube it goes bad fast! Do youself a favor and buy one of the 4 ounce or 16 ounce packages if you plan on using it for finishing some of your woodturning projects.

Testimonial on CA Finishes

I grabbed the below comment from Amazon about CA glue and CA finishes.

By Wayne Edgeworth on Aug 25, 2017

A great product for wood turning. Sets fast and holds strong. I have used this on several lathe projects that had small cracks and it has held strong. It is hard to sand once it sets up, but a light cut with a lathe knife or scraper will take care of that. It does have a strong odor, you may want to use a respirator or a fan. I’d recommend this product.
Safety warning: use in ventilated area, do not breath vapors, wear eye protection, do not get on skin or clothes, if you do get it on your skin just wash off with water. Be very careful because this stuff can get very hot and has a chance to spontaneously combust.

Check out some of the
finishes on these woodturnings!

CA Finish using Stick Fast Thin Cyanoacrylate Adhesive

CA Finish using Stick Fast Thin Cyanoacrylate Adhesive
CA Finishes using superglue or CA Finish using Stick Fast Thin Cyanoacrylate Adhesive
CA Finish using Stick Fast Thin Cyanoacrylate Adhesive
CA Finishes using superglue or CA Finish using Stick Fast Thin Cyanoacrylate Adhesive

Here’s Cap’n Eddie on CA Finishes

You’ll see the Captain at work using CA for woodturing finishes, if you’re new at this you must be confused and wondering “what the heck is CA?” Well, CA is superglue or Cyanoacrylate Adhesive which turns out that it really is more than just glue, you can use it as a finish on wood that looks just awesome.

Please remember to use proper saftey practices when using this finish, use protection on your hands (gloves) and use a proper mask while adequately ventilating your workspace!


Epoxy Finish for Wood Turned Bowls

I always wondered about using an expoxy finish on my wood turning projects. Epoxy creates a hard glossy finish that is almost impervious to just about anything.

Check out the video that Simon made about using expoxy finish, he purchased a gallon of each ingredient for the epoxy ….he shoots video of his progress on a bowl he made.

Finishing A Wood Turned Bowl with CA Glue the Cap’n Eddie Way

Finishing A Wood Turned Bowl with CA glue the Cap’n Eddie Way

Before I start, I’m sure you know there are probably 100’s of ways to finish a bowl. Eddie talks about one method using CA glue, seems to be very popular and used by a lot of wood turners. However, the think to do is start a notebook with various finishing methods, experiment with differnet finishes for wood turners and then use the ones you like best. Sometimes a turned piece is just for show, then there are turned pieces that are funcional and you want them to be food safe.

Food Safe Finishes for
Wood Turning Projects

You can find all kinds of arguments and different thoughts on food safe finishes. One that makes the most sense to me is that after a certain period of time almost all finishes are food safe since they have cured or hardened and the food can no longer react to the finish.

I’ve used mineral oil since it is inert and any type of finish can be applied on top of it. Here is a list of finishes you can put on a cutting board, if it can be put on a cutting board then I’m sure it would be safe for anything you turn that comes in contact with food.

food safe finishes for wood turning projects
Mineral oil or wax for your wood turning projects are both safe for food contact

If You Can Put it On a Cutting Board ….Then Surely it Can Be Applied to a Wood Bowl

What finish to put on a cutting board?

Pure tung oil. Extracted from the nut of the china wood tree. …
Raw linseed oil. Pressed from flax seeds. …
Mineral oil. Although derived from petroleum, it is colorless, odorless, tasteless and entirely inert. …
Walnut oil. Pressed from the nuts of the walnut tree. …
Beeswax. The work of the honey bee. …
Carnauba wax. …

Food safe Finishes from

I suppose you can use just about anything to finish your woodturning projects, however, I prefer to find out what the old timers are using and have been using. Usually these guys try new things but they fail, every once in a while they find something that adds to their repertoire finishing solutions.

My Mentor and CA Glue Finishes
For Wood Turning Projects

As usual I turn to my mentor Cap’n Eddie Castelin from Big Guy Productions and you can find him at

I must be behind times. Most of my carpentry work came from home building and the standard finishes that apply to a new home. I never heard of someone apply CA glue (superglue) to their projects. But after seeing a few wood turners doing it, I became hooked! It’s easy to apply, might not be the cheapest but it is very forgiving and the finish product looks absolutely beautiful.

In this video I think Cap’n Eddie spends around a half an hour doing some sanding, applying the CA, buffing and a little more sanding and final coat of CA.

You should try his technique, make sure you do it on a spare piece you have laying around ….nothing ever comes out perfect the first time 🙂

If you watch his video you’ll find some of the below hints and highlights

  • first he applies 2 coats of sealer
  • next he cleans the spinning project with an CA accelerator first using paper towel
  • Eddie is very persistent in some things ….he just doesn’t want us to waste money, get hurt or ruin your project so he tells us to apply one coat of CA per application, even showing how to use a small piece of paper towl properly

Safety First…Ventilate Your
Work Area When Using the CA Finish

The cap’n advises us to make sure you have proper ventilation, I guess the CA vapors are not too good for you so keep your air system running, open some windows and doors ….keep that air moving….that is moving outside!

Finishing Points for Your
Wood Turning Project

Toward the end he shows his bowl with a beautiful fins and Eddie calculates it took 16 coats and then buff, then clean again (remember a coat is only a couple of drops of thin CA on a piece of paper towel)

At this point you need to consider the following:
-do you have some places you need more sanding on, decide if you can polish it out
He recommends sandpaper from:
-sandpaper from
-to polish Eddie uses Meguiars PlastX
-doesn’t use a wax finish
-and please listen and watch his video because his throw out golden nuggets of information throughout his video ….I know I missed some so watch the video a couple of times until it soaks in and don’t forget to visit his website at

Comments From
Other WoodTurner’s

Here are some comments I thought you might find interesting:

Hi Capt. There is another really good reason for using nitrile rather than latex gloves: I’ve worked for a long time in science laboratories where ‘latex sensitivity’ was a real problem for some staff, and latex gloves were banned. Nitrile is not so allergenic. Stick with the nitrile ever time, rather than promoting an allergic response to latex.

That is food safe, got to try this finish.

I will be doing a series of posts on finishing. I find it very interesting to see what other wood turners use to finish their projects, both those that come into contact with food and those that are merely for decoration.

Personally, I like to see my pieces used to store apples, used in the cooking process, maybe to stir soup or to roll out some pizza dough. So, I’ll keep looking and let you know what I find. But I really thought Cap’n Eddie has some of the best stuff with his OB Shine Juice and CA glue finishing.

Let me know if you have any secrets for finishing your wood turning projects! And remember, you can check out a variety of food safe finishes just click here!

Make Your Own Wood Finish O.B. Shine Juice with Cap’n Eddie

Make Your Own Wood Finish
O.B. Shine Juice with Cap’n Eddie

There are 100’s of ways to finish your wood turning projects. Cap’n Eddie has what he calls ob shine juice to seal and put a basic finish on your wood project. You can further finish your project by applying a different type of finish on top of your ob shine juice finish. He even says you can apply this to something that already has a finish ….guess you’ll just have to test it.

How To Make O.B. Shine Juice

He gives you the formula in the video and it consists of:

  1. one part boiled linseed oil
  2. one part clear shellac finish
  3. one part denatured alchohol

Eddie has a bunch of differnet finishes he likes to use, I’ll do a Finish section for wood turning projects of all kinds from all different wood turners, so come back and check out this category everynow and again…… heck I might even put Cap’n Eddie’s secrect formula on a downloadable .txt file so you can pin it the wall right next to your lathe.

CA Finish ….How to Use it on
Wood Turning Projects

Hey…. did you know you can use superglue for a wood finish on your turning projects? There are all kinds of special ways to apply and precautions to take…. I’ll do a section on finishing with CA products, cap’n eddie uses this a lot, so do most of the big name wood tuners.

Watch the famous Cap’n Eddie at work and remember to support the guy by purchasing his products, jigs, tools and anything else he has on wood turning

Here is the receipe for OB Shine Juice Directly from Capn Eddie

Or Go to this URL

Remember…. Keep Cap’n Eddie busy and buy his tools and products at