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Old 12-24-2004, 05:42 PM
kyle juedes kyle juedes is offline
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 63
wood handle finish

I was wondering what kind of finishes you guys use on wood handles. I'm using rosewood and have tried polyurethane, polycrylic, and lacquer. I haven't got the results that i'm looking for in any of them. the polyurethane leaves a sticky finish, with no gloss. With the polycrylic, i can never seem to get the bubbles out of it. I guess the lacquer provides a decent finish, but i can't decide weather to get the gloss, semi-gloss or flat. Do you use aresol or brush on? when you apply it do you do one side at a time, or do you do both sides and leave the knife vertically in a vice to dry? gloss, semi-gloss or flat?

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Old 12-24-2004, 08:00 PM
cactusforge cactusforge is offline
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Tung oil or Burchwood Cassey's Tru Oil. I tend to thin the first coats down with turpentine (not thinner) hand rubbed in you start to get a good finish after about 4 coats. Gib

Old 12-26-2004, 12:36 PM
TJ Smith TJ Smith is offline
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Try Formbys tung oil finish. Seems to be a little tougher than Tru oil. You can get it in a high gloss or satin. On some of the more oily woods a light wipe down of acetone just before applying the finish keeps it from being gummy.
Wipe it on with a good paper towel or rag.

TJ Smith
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Old 12-26-2004, 12:46 PM
kyle juedes kyle juedes is offline
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Is rosewood considered an oily wood? Where do you get the acetone? This may seem stupid but nailpolish remover? Can i get tung oil at a home imrovement store, or do i have to order it?

Thanks alot,
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Old 12-26-2004, 01:00 PM
AwP AwP is offline
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Yes, rosewood is concidered oily and is one of the more stable woods when untreated.

~Andrew W. "NT Cough'n Monkey" Petkus
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Old 12-26-2004, 05:16 PM
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Shakudo Shakudo is offline
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acetone and tung oil are available at most any hardware store. i would tend to use denatured alcohol over acetone though. finger nail polish remover contains oils ,so it would not be the best thing to use.
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:55 AM
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TexasJack TexasJack is offline
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- polyurethane leaves a sticky finish - Polyurethane that doesn't set up indicates that it wasn't mixed well. Check for some thick stuff in the bottom of the can.

- polycrylic, i can never seem to get the bubbles out - This happens if you don't brush it on correctly and/or if it's too thick.

- gloss, semi-gloss or flat - Do you want the surface shiny, a little shiny, or not shiny?

Oils (tung oil, linseed oil, Danish oil) soak into the wood (though not as far as advertised) and polymerize there, making for a solid surface. Varnishes and lacquers polymerize on the surface. Different finishes have different advantages and disadvantages.

Regardless of the coating, you want to make sure that you put on thin coats. Some woodworkers thin the first coat of varnish by 50% so that it makes a good flat surface to adhere to the next layer. If using a brush, make sure it's the right type for that coating. (Better still, use a rag.) Avoid thick coats and sand each coat (except the last) lightly to remove thick spots and bubbles.

Some people use superglue - using the same procedure as above.

With an oily wood like rosewood, I like a Danish wood oil.

You'll probably find that just about every different coating is used by somebody.

God bless Texas! Now let's secede!!
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Old 12-27-2004, 03:45 PM
kyle juedes kyle juedes is offline
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Thank you, everybody, for all your help. I just bought tung oil. Jst one more question: How long do you let it set for? it says 24 hours, but to me that seems a little extensive.

Again thanks,
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Old 12-27-2004, 03:53 PM
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Shakudo Shakudo is offline
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6 coats of tung oil will make the wood glow.but as the directions state,it takes 12 to 24 hours between coats depending on temperature and humidity.if you want something to look real good,you just need to take the time and do it right.
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Old 12-27-2004, 04:44 PM
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J.Arthur Loose J.Arthur Loose is offline
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"Tried & True," is a real boiled linseed oil without any additives.

Chemical companies add "drying agents," to most linseed oil varnishes which is really just a way to dispose of toxic chemicals. A quicker drying time also means less penetration, which isn't a good thing in my book. I came across Tried & True working for a cabinet maker who uses it on very well-used furniture. It takes a week or three to cure fully but it is a deep penetrator and dries very hard.


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Old 12-28-2004, 12:12 PM
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SteveS SteveS is offline
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I vote for linseed oil too. So does Bill Moran. It does darken wood, but.... I just leave it in a jar for a day, then rub it down until dry. The finish is down in there and isn't sitting on the surface. Any surface treatments make final finishing impossible for me where the wood meets bolster or guard - the goopy stuff sits on the steel and by they time I sand it off the wood next to it is exposed. Oils are a better choice. Linseed oil also seals steel (as I understand it). So when the knife is done I put the whole handle back in the jar, guard and all. Pull it out and give it another rub..


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Old 12-28-2004, 12:25 PM
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Drac Drac is offline
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I'm a fan of carnuba wax. Rock hard and great shine, but a pain to apply evenly with a buffer and, as with any time you use the most dangerous piece of equipment in your shop, you need to take extra care.

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Old 01-17-2005, 11:39 AM
Shonenknife Shonenknife is offline
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Another question along the same line. Would linseed oil or tung oil also work the same on unfinished mahogany? I have some and thought it may make nice scales.
Thanks Don

Don R. Adams
Which are you?

Last edited by Shonenknife; 01-19-2005 at 10:43 AM.
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