Is wood finish heat-resistant?
I've made some wooden trivets. What's the best product for a clear, heat-resistant finish?
—George Davis, Macon, Mo.
Keep in mind, George, that a trivet's primary function is to keep heat away from finishes. Most film finishes will discolor under the heat of a casserole dish straight from the oven. Penetrating finishes, such as mineral oil or boiled linseed oil, won't mind the heat as much, but could leave residue on the tablecloth or the cookware, especially if they're not thoroughly dried. For this reason, many woodworkers leave wooden trivets bare.
Another option: Incorporate heat-resistant materials in the trivet design. Add a glass top to your wooden design, embed metal studs for the cookware to rest on, or trim a decorative tile with a wooden frame, as shown above.