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Old 07-17-2013, 07:58 PM
dwc34205 dwc34205 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 46
Non-Stabilized Burl Finishing?

Currently I am working on a knife and have a set of Lace Maple burl scales on it and have used Linseed Oil for the finish. I have some experience with wood working and have used various types of burl, curly and others. I know some work easier when stabilized and some work well without it. My question is has anyone had a bad experience or an experience that says wood of any type should be stabilized that is going to be a knife handle.

If you recommend stabilizing why and if not what do you use/do to finish the wood?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:38 PM
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GHEzell GHEzell is offline
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 591
Some woods definitely do not need stabilizing, like African blackwood and lignum vitae, for instance. Some woods definitely do, such as cottonwood. And then there are those in between, that can benefit from stabilizing but don't have to be stabilized in order to use them. Which woods fit in which category is largely a matter of personal preference. As a general rule, if you can dent it with your fingernail, it should be stabilized... there are exceptions to this rule, however... I personally want maple to be stabilized, unless it is sugar/hard maple, which does not have to be stabilized as it is plenty hard and heavy as is. Walnut is in the gray area, it benefits from stabilizing but doesn't have to be stabilized, IMO. I like stabilized ebony, every time I've used it without stabilization it has led to grief, it likes to check and crack if you even look at it the wrong way, but most people will tell you it doesn't need stabilizing or even that it cannot be done... I say get it stabilized or use blackwood....

A good friend told me one time about forging "What is there not to like, you get to break all the rules you were told as a kid, don't play with that it is sharp, don't play with fire, and don't beat on that"
Wade Holloway

See some of my work.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:40 PM
metal99 metal99 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada
Posts: 859
In my experience with maple burl I would suggest that you have it stabilized. I find that maple likes to change with the weather more so then other hard woods. Not that's its not going to work for a knife handle the way it is, you'll just have less trouble in the long run.

If you don't want to stabilize it make sure you treat it with a really good oil finish like tung oil or tru-oil (sorry if I spelled that wrong)

Now let me be honest here, I have yet to use maple on a knife but I have made a lot of stuff with maple and maple burl in the past.

J, Saccucci Knives, JSK
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handle, knife, knife handle, made, make, scales, stabilization, stabilizing, wood, woods

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