I could see the potential. I picked her up, slowly turning her this way and that to assess the damage. scratches, lots and lots of them and a really bad coat of varnish. I wasn't putting her back down. "Ok, I'll take you home." I swear there was an excited "YAY!" from the bowl as I picked it up. A lady glanced over at my soon to be purchase with an eye of distaste. "Pay no mind to her," I said to my new friend, "I shall make you beautiful once again."
The first sand down was with 60 grit sandpaper. I sanded, and sanded...and sanded... needless to say it took a while. I could have tried something more mechanical, but I just felt like working with my hands. There were some spots that really needed a good sand down. I followed with the 100 grit to buff it some and make it smooth.
Not bad at all once I got the majority of it off. I did go back with the 60 immediately followed by the 100 for some scratches that were pretty persistent. In the end, I left a few of them alone...it added to the bowl's character, and my arm felt like it just had a tetanus shot. I could tell Anna was feeling much better.
Later that night I was pondering what I was going to do regarding stain and protection. I like items to be functional and beautiful, so any kind of commercial stain and poly wouldn't do. I did an experiment earlier on in the week and made some black walnut stain out of some of the black walnuts I picked. I boiled them in a pot over an open fire, put a lid on and let it go for the rest of the night on the coals. I then strained it and put it in some mason jars for future use. It took quite a few coats. I first used a sponge brush but then gave up and used a rag. It went a lot faster after that.
Since the stain is water based, it will dry like this, but it does even out so don't panic if you are attempting this.
With that settled, I then decided I wanted food grade wood protection. I wanted something all natural. A quick Google Search led me to a few articles that all seemed to say the same thing, but I liked this one the best. 5 to 6 parts mineral oil to 1 part beeswax. Nothing harmful in either one of these, so I put the double boiler on and made the paste. I used a 1 oz bar of beeswax (which is about 29 ml) to 100 ml of mineral oil.
Here are the final pics. I'm really quite happy with the results: