how to clean/re-seal old wooden bowls?

Hi I posted this on misc.consumers. frugal-living but I thought that you folks here on rec.ww would probably have much better advice. Even thought this topic is not pure wood working, these bowls are made of wood! Is that close enough?
Yesterday at a yard sale, I bought a nice wooden salad bowl set (big serving bowl, two wooden serving utensils and two smaller matching bowls). The big bowl has a label saying that it's made of teak. The set is well used - some of the wood looks greasy dark stained, part of the wood (especially the outside of the smaller bowls) looks dried out, a couple of spots on the underside feel sticky. I've been wanting a wooden salad serving bowl and this set, despite the current splotchy surface, is very handsome (in a sleek "Danish-Modern" style) and in good shape.
I would like to clean it (I suspect the sticky parts might be oil/salad dressing that wasn't cleaned off) and put a new finish on it so we can use it. So what's the best way to get this wooden set looking good and - very important - in a way that won't poison us? I'm thinking maybe I should wash it in hot water (should I use dish soap?) than seal it with some oil but I can't remember what kind of oil is best for salad bowls. I seem to recall that teak is special in some way - that it never is supposed to have oil put on it because it's inherently an oily wood - is this right? From the looks of the outside of these bowls I suspect they've been washed over and over in hot soapy water and much of any oil in the wood has been stripped out.
So any advice for reviving my wooden bowl set?
Thanks for any assistance. Chris in lovely Ithaca NY
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Teak is a naturally oily wood. I am unsure about any consequences this brings up for use as a food serving bowl. I do know that a safe finish for wooden bowls is walnut oil. This gives the wood a nice look and it is food safe. It will need to be reapplied periodically.

If you cant wash all of the crap off of the bowls, you may need to spend some quality time with our good freind sandpaper. Good luck
Frank
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Mineral oil. Buy in the pharmacy section of your favorite store. You could try a little kerosene to clean it before applying the mineral oil (yes, kerosene is not particularly poisonous and you can ask the pharmacist where you purchase the mineral oil).
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My granny gave me kerosene and sugar for sore throat. I don't remember if it helped. Wilson

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I worked branding cattle one time when I was a teenager. The guy used a mixture of kerosene and water to put on the male calf's empty sac after making a steer out of him... supposedly disinfected it. The calf didn't particularly care for the whole procedure as the guy just used a pocket knife and no anesthesia. I cringed every time we did one.

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Mineral oil is often mentioned, but as it does not cure, it collects and shelters things from your efforts at washing. Except when you finally wash it away, of course, which makes me wonder why use it. Nut oils cure pretty well, but I would say all this is moot on a salad set. Oil from the dressing is going to be the answer, and won't go rancid (incomplete oxidation) save in an oxygen-deprived environment. Means store the bowl by itself, nothing in it, it in nothing.
Kerosene is just a lighter (mineral oil) fraction, which means clean it with oil of your choice.

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If you decide on mineral oil, you can visit your local woodworking stores (or catalogs) such as Rockler or Woodcraft and others. They will have some type of mineral oil or mineral oil based products. I purchased Butcher Block oil (which is just mineral oil) for a cutting board.
Woodworkers Supply has this product that sounds interesting and I may buy some the next time I make something that comes in contact with food.
a.. 912-391 - Clapham's Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish is made with natural beeswax with oil and is perfect for use on cutting boards, cheese boards, fruit or salad bowls, toys, utensils and more. Ready for use immediately after application. Buffs to an elegant shine once it dries. 8 oz. container.
Wayne

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You might want to post your question over on rec.crafts.woodturning if you haven't already. They are the bowl turning experts. My advice is, avoid sandpaper. You don't need it and you will be altering the original work. Clean it using a cleaner that you don't mind eating. Dish detergent is okay but might not be effective. Lemon juice will help cut the grease and some finishes.
"looking good" is subjective of course, but I would go for a Proud to be Old and Well Used look. Leave some patina and scars in place, just go for sanitary. Adding walnut oil or mineral oil is okay but not necessary. All it does is add a temporary look and feel which can replenish when desired. Bare wood is just fine too.
Oh yea, don't soak it in water for lengthy periods. Using lots of water to clean is fine, just don't soak it all day trying to loosen the gunk. The wood doesn't like it, and if there are any glue joints (probable), they like it even less.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com/woodshop

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Try spraying Pan on the boal. Let it soak for 1/2 hr. or so. Rub with nylon pad, then paper towel. Let dry. Apply another coat as needed to remove crud. Also works on cutting boards.
wrote:

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Whats that?
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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PAM, an aerosol "cooking spray" brand, I assume. Can be olive, canola, or, I believe corn oil in an expensive form.
Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869

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On Mon, 17 May 2004 09:26:20 +0200, Juergen Hannappel

Klingon for "PAM on the bowl."
- In nature's infinite book of secrecy a little I can read. -Shakespeare ------ http://diversify.com Website Application & Database Development
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