How to Restore a Wooden Bowl

Antique wooden dough bowls, salad bowls and cutting boards can last a lifetime if properly cared for. Learn how to refinish vintage wooden bowls to make them food-safe, and how to keep them properly maintained.

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We found this wood bowl at a thrift store for just $1. The wood was stained, scratched and missing all of its original finish. See how we brought it back to life for just a few dollars and a little elbow grease. The process is really easy and pain-free — just 3 steps! Here's how you do it:

1. Sand the Surface

Thoroughly smooth the wood and remove any scratches or surface stains with sandpaper. Start with a coarse grit then work your way up to medium grit then finish with a fine-grit sandpaper. (The lower the number on the sandpaper, the courser the grit). Remove all sawdust and residue with a tack cloth or slightly damp rag.

2. Apply Mineral Oil

Liberally coat the bowl with food-grade mineral oil, really rubbing the oil into the parched wood.

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3. Apply Second Coat if Necessary

Wait a few hours for the wood to fully absorb the oil then enjoy your like-new bowl. Seriously, that's it! This project takes a little elbow grease but the results are well worth the effort.

Here's a side-by-side comparison that demonstrates how much richer the wood is with just a little TLC:

Best of all, you can keep your "new" old bowl looking great with another coat of mineral oil anytime the wood looks a little dry; sanding is only necessary again if your bowl becomes scratched or stained.

Refinished Wood Bowl With Fruit

Photo by: H. Camille Smith

H. Camille Smith

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Refurbishing a Wood Bowl
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