As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.  

Osage Orange Bleeds


Here is the story of how I learned that Osage Orange should probably not be used as a wooden spoon or spatula...

Here is some unfinished Osage Orange, and beside it is a piece that has been jointed and planed. In it's rough state it is a yellow-orange-brown kind of wood. When it is planed it had a brighter yellow colour too it. It is supposed to darken with age.

I had heard of Osage Orange, but I thought it was a Southern-US type of tree. However a couple of years ago I was at a local sawmill and the owner there showed me some boards that he had harvested locally. So the tree's range does extend at least a bit into Southern Ontario. I bought a board, mostly on a whim.

I've since used it a few times in cutting boards or trivets (Next two photos) as an accent wood. The dark yellow colour makes for a cool accent when you are mixing up species.

Fast forward to late last year, I think sometime in November. I was watching A Video from DIY Montreal in which she made some wooden spoons and spatulas. I thought that would be a fun quick project so I downloaded her patterns and cut some out of maple. Then, for variety, I also cut some spatulas out of Osage Orange. I thought they would look interesting. Wooden Spoons and Spatulas get no finish whatsoever, at least that's the way I treat them, so we just depend on the natural colour of the wood.

This was a quick project, and I cut out several, and shaped them on the power belt sander. Then I took them upstairs and rinsed them in the sink. I wanted to raise the grain and then sand them down again. I came back a while later and I saw this odd colour in the sink that seemed to be coming from the drying rack. After some investigation I realized that the yellow colour was coming from the Osage Orange utensils!

And that is how I learned that Osage Orange Bleeds.

I've since learned that Osage Orange is known to release a water soluble dye in water. I've read that it's used as a natural dye for wool or other fabrics.

I did look up the wood on wood toxicity database website and it only stated that some people might get skin irritation from the wood or dust. And there are many websites that state that it's good for cutting boards. So I don't think it's dangerous... but can you imagine making something like mashed potatoes and stirring it with an Osage Orange spatula and have your food start to turn yellow?!

So I think I'll keep it as an accent wood and forget about using it to make Spatulas or Wooden Spoons.

In this last photo that was a brand new piece of white paper, and look how yellow it is stained from laying the wet spatula on it for a few minutes.

Some of the Tools/Supplies Used In This Project: (Affiliate Links)

No tools or products were used this time, but if you want to have a look at Amazon, here are some items I like and use...

SensGard ZEM hearing protection
Stanley Leverlocks -- love these tape measures
Other auto-locking tape measures
Long Nose Pattern Marker
Painter's Pyramids
Dowelmax Company
NOTE: at the time of publishing (May 2023) Dowelmax is not currently available on amazon. It has been in the past, so I am keeping the following links, but right now only the link above to "" is known to work.
Dowelmax Dowel Joinery Kit
Dowelmax Drill Guides for 1/4" Dowels
Dowelmax Dowels

3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive
Minwax Oil-Modified Polyurethane

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make using my affiliate links.


Thanks for stopping by! If you found this useful, please consider supporting my work!   Ways To Support Me ... »

See Also:

Barbecue Platter

Colourful Trivets