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  1. #1
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    Finishing wood handles questions

    There are many types of wood handle finishes: tung oil, boiled linseed oil, Danish oil, turpentine and varnish, Tru Oil, teak oil, etc. Many believe that hardwoods that are naturally oily like Cocobolo don’t benefit from any finish I guess because they’re already naturally hard and protected from drying by their natural oils. Is this true? It seems like even the hardest woods would be made more durable from a protective oil finish. Do hardwoods that aren’t naturally oily benefit from finishing because the oil in the finish would prevent them from drying out and consequently cracking or shrinking? Teak oil supposedly penetrates better and is therefore recommended by some for hardwoods. Is it true that some oils like boiled linseed do not protect but just enhance the wood? Thanks for any replies.

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    Re: Finishing wood handles questions

    Hi !!! Welcome 333qqq!!! You have been reading and comparing recomendations from different sources!!
    All finishes either protect or enhance your handle wood,or both!!That protection also stops the handle from soaking water and other liquids and avoids movements.(Woods move slightly even if thoroughly dry if not sealed.or nowdays stabilized)
    So a finish is usually good and recomended!!
    You can add CA(ciano acrylate,or super glue,Zap a Gap))
    So now you must be much more confused!!Maybe some other friend here will clear things for you!!I use boiled linseed oil,True-Oil,and CA,deppending on the wood!!And allways wax!!(Renaissance)
    Again welcome!!
    Regards:
    Albert

  3. #3
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    Re: Finishing wood handles questions

    I have only used tru-oil but I know I should try something else.

    I have some tung oil left over from doing my kitchen work tops, so I should really try it.

    jjj

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    Re: Finishing wood handles questions

    I soak most woods in danish oil overnight and apply a coat of pure carnuba wax with a polishing mop.
    For light wood like my latest knife I only soaked it for a couple of hours.
    Alf

    The English winter - ending in July, to recomence in august.
    George Gordon
    Scout out www.escouts.org.uk
    Knives by me

  5. #5
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    Re: Finishing wood handles questions

    I do put a hefty coat of danish oil on then leave for 10 minutes then wipe any excess and leave to dry fully (48hrs-ish).
    Then a gentle rub over with 1500 wet n dry then repeat as above.
    After 4-5 coats I leave it for a week to harden fully then give it a good buffing.
    I find this gives a very durable water resistant gloss finish that is easy to repair any scratches and definitly adds to the beauty of most hardwoods, unlike varnishes or laquers.
    Welcome to the site BTW.

  6. #6
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    Re: Finishing wood handles questions

    I´ve used CCL-Knifehandle oil with good results (though a bit expensive). On masur birch and other traditional woods i used linseed oil varnish and soak the handle over night or until i feel that the right color appears. Then i let dry and polish manually with a soft cotton cloth. (Will have to buy a buffing machine some time.....). I mostly get a satin finish rather then high gloss, but that´s what i want. As i feel those treatments give sufficient protection in use. After a while of use though i give another coating and polish it up from time to time.

    Take care
    Harald

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    Re: Finishing wood handles questions

    Welcome 333qqq; BB is the best as you can see by the responses you have already received.

    While I am no expert, I have spent the better part of 20+ years working with wood, though mostly in cabinetry. Here are a few of my experiences and thoughts.

    The closest thing you can get to completely sealing wood is epoxy; take the wood boat for example. Stabilized wood is well stabilized but still is not 100% totally sealed as it is impregnated with an epoxy type resin.

    No matter what, wood will move to some degree. This comes from cabinetry education on grain direction; kiln drying v.s. air drying and so on.

    The knife handle on the other hand is a relatively small piece of wood, so the question is how is this knife going to be used. If it is a display knife in a moderate climate and is stored and not handled often and in a some what stable atmosphere you can get by with fine sanding and a wax or polish.
    If you are planning on using it and you live in a climate with warmer humid summers, and colder dryer winters the wood will move much more; be handled more often and out in the elements it therefore needs a good finish.
    Now you have to think of how often you will be willing to reapply a top coat or wax to keep it looking nice. Tung Oil; Linseed Oil; and True Oil will not only penetrate the wood but will cure or dry on the surface and offer a seal. Teak oil in my experience; when used in the outdoors, needs to be reapplied more often though it penetrates well. Teak oil is often used in boat building for wood above the water line, If you talk to someone who has a wood boat they will tell you they are allot of maintenance.

    When people ask me about wood handled knives and leather sheaths; I ask them if they are willing to give it the maintenance it needs, if not then why waste your money on a knife that in a few years looks crusty; buy a plastic handled knife.

    I hope not to confuse you; I just wanted to point out a few of my experiences. Again I am not a scientist, just the school of hard knocks.

    Best Wishes,
    Gary

  8. #8
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    Re: Finishing wood handles questions

    Gary, you hit some good points here. In my experience the handles treated with the linseed oil as well as those with the CCL coating loose a bit of their shine after wet use (cleaning with a lot of warm water i. e.). After cleaning the handle i just rub with the cloth i used for dry whipping (spell?) a bit and get a glossy surface again.

    But as i said before, an additional coating and polishing from time to time might help to keep it in good condition. The patina that develops sometimes just adds to the beauty for my taste.

    Take care
    Harald

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    Re: Finishing wood handles questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fjellräv View Post
    But as i said before, an additional coating and polishing from time to time might help to keep it in good condition. The patina that develops sometimes just adds to the beauty for my taste.

    Take care
    Harald
    I am in agreement with you.

    Best Wishes,
    Gary

 

 

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