Spurtles: which wood?

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I am asked a lot of question on social media about Porridge from what oats to use, to how to avoid Porridge explosions in the microwave. However the most frequently asked questions are always about the Spurtle. 

The Spurtle is often a new piece of cooking kit to Porridge makers, so raises a lots of questions. To answers these questions I’ve written posts on; where to buy a Spurtle, how to compete in the Golden Spurtle, the World Porridge Making Championships and a long post on Spurtle ‘customs, myths and legends‘. 

I thought I’d well and truly covered the Spurtle here on the blog until I was asked a really important question; what wood should a Spurtle be made from? It’s a good question because using the wrong wood for cooking implements can leave you with a Spurtle that discolours or even breaks. To seek an authoritative answer to the question I spoke with Derek Andrews of the Seafoam Woodturning Studio

From his studio in Nova Scotia, Derek makes a range of beautiful wooden home and garden wares but most importantly Derek makes beautiful Spurtles. Derek’s informed advice falls into two categories; 

1 The wood should be durable and closed grain

Derek advises using a wood that does not have large open pores, such as oak, for reasons of hygiene.

2 The wood shouldn’t have a strong odour, or colour

As that might leach out that’s why Derek uses sugar maple in his Canadian workshop. 

So what wood should you choose? In the UK Derek advises choosing a Spurtle made of Beech or Sycamore wood. Derek also suggests Cherry which means I should get into Spurtle production once my orchard is fully established! 

There is one last consideration for your Spurtle; soft or hardwood? Resin in wood can taint foods so it is best to avoid sooftwoods for Spurtles. If you want to read more about resin, tannic acid, the sutainablity and locality of your wood choice have a read of this post that provides a full list of wood choices and their advantages. 

I hope this post helps you find the right Spurtle for you to make the perfect, lump free Porridge. 

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One Response to Spurtles: which wood?

  1. The best spurtles are made from fruitwoods (Damson, Pear, Apple, Plum) but any close grained timber available – including Holly, Boxwood and even Hawthorn.

    The more common timbers are fine (Oak, Ash, Walnut, for example) but tend not to be as good as the timbers in above paragraph

    For the traditionalist sycamore is a good option but I prefer it’s cousin – the Maple being a denser timber.

    http://www.colinnorgate.co.uk

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