A gorgeous slab of natural padauk wood can make for a lovely serving platter. You can use it on holidays to serve your bread, fruits, or even desserts. Padauk wood is naturally durable and will look nice for years, but only if you take care of your platter. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
1. Don't store it in the sun.
As nice as your platter might look balanced in a sunny window, this is not the best spot for it. The UV rays in sunlight can bleach out the padauk wood, leading to uneven coloring. They may also weaken the wood and dry it out, making cracks more likely. The best place to store your platter is in a cool, dark place, such as inside a kitchen cabinet.
2. Wipe it off immediately after use.
The platter should be finished with an oil-based finish to help prevent any juices or oils in food from seeping into it. However, this finish does breathe somewhat, and if you leave something like fruit juice or butter on the platter for too long, it might eventually seep into the wood and cause a stain. So get into the habit of wiping your platter off immediately after each use. Do not let it sit on the counter with your other dirty dishes; it should be the first thing you clean.
3. Use sharp knives.
If you cut anything on the platter, make sure you use a really sharp knife. A sharp knife will only make a really fine slit in the wood; when the wood is left to sit, that slit will "heal" and close up. Duller knives will fray and tear at the wood fibers, causing more damage.
4. Re-condition the platter periodically.
Look for a good butcher block conditioner. Most top-end products are made with mineral oil and beeswax. Apply the conditioner to the padauk platter every couple of uses. It will penetrate into the wood and help protect it from damage caused by food residues, water, and dry air. You should wipe the conditioner in the direction of the grain, give it about 10 minutes to absorb, and then wipe away any excess.
A real padauk wood platter can make a gorgeous addition to your kitchen and dining room. If you follow the tips above, it will retain its good looks for many years, even with regular use.
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