I recently received some really helpful answers to a previous question I had that exposed a big gap in my understanding of turning.

This answer mentions "filling the pores" of a walnut bowl as a solution (the only solution?) to the roughness that can be felt on the two end-grain sides of the bowl, even after sanding from 100 to 600 and finishing with 0000 steel wool.

I finish all my bowls in organic foodsafe beeswax and mineral oil, and for (perhaps stubborn) aesthetic reasons, I'd really like to avoid acrylic, poly, or other non-natural, non-foodsafe sealers.

Is this impossible? What are the best ways to make a fully smooth bowl while keeping it foodsafe and organic?

Thanks in advance for any tips you can provide!

1 Answer 1


You can try making a paste of wood glue and sawdust to full the grain. This website, along with the glue bottle, cites that Titebond III is food-safe, so it should work for your purposes.

  • I seem to remember someone suggesting sanding the first coat of oil into the wood, so the fine sawdust settles into the pores and is held there by the oil, functioning as a "self-filler". But please don't take my word for it unless someone more experienced confirms that I'm not dreaming.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 23:23
  • This is interesting - I think I may have been doing this without knowing it, although if so it's not terribly effective. What I do is, while the piece is still on the lathe, I dip my strips of sandpaper into mineral oil and sand up the grits. I do this because it helps keep the paper from gumming up as quickly, and also because it keeps the dust down. However, when I'm done sanding I usually finish with 0000 steel wool and then beeswax applied with a cloth rag - I wonder if these finishing steps undo any pore-filling I may have accomplished with oil+sandpaper?
    – AKA
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 18:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.