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Thread: Finishing your unfinished Kukri handle

  1. #1
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    Finishing your unfinished Kukri handle


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    After two (2) months I completed a finishing project. I used one of the most popular finishes in the world. The original boat, gun stock, and furniture finish: Tung Oil. Check out my video on You Tube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sOoNJlZARc

    Hope you can use this nut oil on your unfinished wood. You WILL be happy with the results if done correctly.
    tung_tree_nut.jpg
    Tung Tree: an environmentally friendly wood finish

  2. #2
    Good job! thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
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    Great vid! I'll have to watch it again. I have a biltong with Koa that I started finishing some months back that I need to get back to. I know it's OT but is that a sirupate?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bemo View Post
    Great vid! I'll have to watch it again. I have a biltong with Koa that I started finishing some months back that I need to get back to. I know it's OT but is that a sirupate?
    Yes, that's a HI 18" Sirupate at exactly 21 oz. I prefer to use HI Sirupate for camping because their thicker spines (1 cm) are excellent for splitting fire wood.
    Koa is a nice lighter colored wood that, to me, should be finished with Tung Oil. The realmilkplant.com Tung Oil I use gives a matte-ish finish so use as you last few coats Formby's gloss Tung Oil or similar gloss finish if you like a shine to your project.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for posting this, now I can attempt this for my new Chitlangi with neem wood with more confidence.

  6. #6
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    Very cool and thanks
    I usually use boiled linseed oil. Forumite friend Ferguson posted some pics years ago of some very well done handles. I simply don't have the patience some of you folks have
    Jake
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  7. #7
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    Linseed Oil has been used for centuries too. But I don't use boiled linseed oil because it goes dark and obscures the color and pattern of wood. Linseed Oil is mold's favorite food with it's proteins that causes impurities. Last but not least this oil can spontaneously combust if left in big pile of soaked rags.
    Tung Oil has some draw backs like what you mentioned: it takes a while to dry and complete the layers. To me though it is worth it for the long, long life of the wood with enhanced beauty and protection from the elements. I do understand the time factor though.
    hurry_up_there_is_no_time_left_.jpg
    We all are busy and have to rush thing through sometimes.

  8. #8
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    How much better is the pure tung oil compared to the formby's tung oil finish? Can I just soak the handle in a jar of Formby's for a few days? Or are the layers the secret of getting a durable finish? Is Danish Oil any good for neem?

    Sorry about the questions, but I am trying to find a balance between my impatience and my desire for a good/lasting finish.

  9. #9
    A few Tung Oil Finishes do not contain any Tung Oil at all.. so you'll have to read the labels carefully. The key word is "finishes" and may contain very little or no Tung Oil at all.
    Just have to be mindful of it the next time you purchase some.

    I use BC Tru-Oil and am pleased with the results, but Tung Oil dries quicker, and the Tru-oil will not dry at all on some oilier wood types. I like both.
    The Tru-oil made my Koa handles gorgeous.. brought out it's "chatoyance" (unsure if I spelled that correctly.)
    Last edited by Ta2warrior; 09-25-2012 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Clarification and Addition.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ta2warrior View Post
    A few Tung Oil Finishes do not contain any Tung Oil at all.. so you'll have to read the labels carefully. The key word is "finishes" and may contain very little or no Tung Oil at all.
    Just have to be mindful of it the next time you purchase some.
    Really good advice Ta2warrior. I personally find it best to use 100% pure Tung Oil and avoid all the additives and secret ingredients of the many manufactures. Of course it takes longer but that's the Law of Equivalent Exchange. I get a tough, lasting, waterproof finish that's easy to maintain for my patience.
    Last edited by sweetcostarica; 09-25-2012 at 07:29 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinook View Post
    How much better is the Pure Tung oil compared to the formby's tung oil finish?
    I don't know a whole lot about other finishes but Formby's Tung Oil Finish (faster dying time) is good but they have changed their formula a couple of times so I only trust it as the last one or two coats on wood projects.
    100% Pure Tung Oil thinned with something is always best in my opinion (longer drying time).

    See this video I did on one type of finishing process:

  12. #12
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    I did a google search a while back on finishes and found it very educational. Turns out that there is no legal definitions or requirements regarding what you can call different finishes. This has allowed companies to produce multiple variations on basic finishes and market them in whatever fashion they wish. Many commercial finishes have very similiar compositions of linseed oil, varnish, and wax. Many advertised as linseed and boiled linseed are really the same thing. Wish I had bookmarked the wood working website that explained all this in detail. The real differences appear to be between the Danish type finished that are a combo of linseed oil, varnish, wax; pure linseed; pure tung oil; tung oil combo's; and polyurethanes and true shellac's.

  13. #13
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    Good research Bemo! The wood finish world is a confusing one. I think because of all the competition in that area truth in advertizing becomes the first victim. The legislators probably get paid off somehow and others look in the opposite direction and so these manufactures get away with telling "white lies" if I can use that phrase.
    I-lied-to-my-dad.jpeg
    Pure Tung oil (100%) is what I buy from reliable sources so I know what it is going to be mixed with and how much.
    I try my best to live by honesty, decency, and follow Christian values but we can't tell others how to sell their product only try to keep the public informed on "what is what" so they can reach their own conclusions.

  14. #14
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    Anyone have any thoughts on use some of the water based varathane finishes on their wood handles? Something like clear varathane diamond finish

  15. #15
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    Varathane is a version of polyurethane which is a polymer-type finish. It tends to really sit on top of the wood and not penetrate very far unless it's thinned a lot and put on in several coats similar to how Sweetcostarica does with his tung oil. Polyurethanes don't usually harden up to the same degree as a varnish or shellac but the multiple thin coats will help with this to some extent. They always have slightly plasticy feel to me (which make sense to me since urathane is a plastic). Urathanes are a good water barrier. Don't misconstrue my comments as expertise; I've made some really pathetic attempts at furniture re-finishing and an instrument or two. Any local woodworking shop has much more knowledge on this. In some of my research, did find out that some custom guitar makers use Birchwood Casey's Tru-oil as a user-friendly and durable finish. Tru-oil is a combination of boiled linseed oil and a varnish.

  16. #16
    Hi all. New around here. Got my first real kuk from HI today. the KLVUK #19.
    So looking at your comments on oils. Tung oil is a good one. I have one to share, Lemon Oil...

    I have been a guitar flatpicker for many years, and we take care of our old Martin's and Guild's with Lemon Oil.
    Some of these instruments are over 6o yr old, and always played hard i assure you.

    Lots of different woods in a guitar, rosewood, ebony, spruce... and lemon oil has been tried proven on very old, very expensive wood.
    It also repels bugs. and smells lemon fresh!

  17. #17
    I would suggest *no* varnish or poly-anything for wood that is made for your hand to hold onto.
    Your greasy grip is all part of what makes a wood handle cure right, and look rich and natural.
    Nothing can give you that well used patina except....well, use.

    Think of church banisters. Or grandpa's plow handle. You can't replicate that with varnish.
    Oil and your firm grip is all that's needed.

  18. #18
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    How did you know my Grandfather was a farmer who went to church on Sunday's? Who are you !?!?

    GoodStuff Lemon Oil is amazing and is a very versatile oil I am finding out. On wood, "Wood Finishes 101" says:

    A good finish prevents swelling and cracking, protects against stains and enhances the appearance of the wood.

    Lemon Oil is lubricating and antiseptic. Just like Tung Oil make sure to use pure lemon oil and thin it yourself. Do not use lemon-scented mineral oil.

    It enhances the look of the wood, it moisturizes as it cleans, covers up scratches, helps the wood resist peeling, cracking, and discoloring.

    Important: Should use it on the wood regularly.

    A good place to get real Lemon Oil is at organic grocery and health food stores.

    For me if I was not going to use pure Tung Oil on wood or wanted to restore/maintain some wood I would use pure Lemon Oil for sure .
    Last edited by sweetcostarica; 10-04-2012 at 04:45 PM.

  19. #19
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    Lemon sounds cool, but I have more questions...
    Is lemon oil preferable to mineral oil? how does it react to metal?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetcostarica View Post
    How did you know my Grandfather was a farmer who went to church on Sunday's? Who are you !?!?
    Sometimes its safer to not ask that question...

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