So these steak knives are older than my kids. Picked up all those years ago for just a couple of dollars each, as part of a table setting when we had a family Christmas meal. I had recalled a previous event, where people complained for a sharp knife; to cut bread, spanokopita, cheese, meats or whatever. Hence their purchase so to allow our guest to at least enjoy their meal unencumbered.
Anyway, moving forward a decade or so and innumerable trips through the dishwasher had removed their cheap flaky varnish to leave the wood bleached bare, a dull grey and open to bacteria.
Therefore, with little else to do in lockdown, I got the food grade varnish out. This stuff is usually for worktops and chopping boards, and I have used for just that, so knew it would be safe.
It did not take long to dip and brush the excess off each one. Perhaps 5 minutes total. A quick wipe of the blades with kerosene to remove drips, and then allowed to air dry outside for a day.
I repeated the process the next day, and allowed 2 days to really allow the varnish to dry. A hand wash to clean and they came up great.
I love the result! In less time than it took to write this post, they look better than new, and it turns out there’s actually two sorts of wood here!
The dark red which is similar to an Australian RedGum, and the blonde-ish is close to an oak. If you know the actual wood used, please leave a comment below.
Now I would not reccommend doing this with your wooden stirring spoons, as the varnish would leach into your boiling pot of marinara, apple sauce or katsu curry. But for any knife handles or other handles not subject to high temps or acidic /alkaline enviroments, this is a real change for the better and will protect the wood from damage or splitting and so you (anf your food) from splinters.
Plus, as the picture below shows, don’t they look just so much better.