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Current recommendations for treatment/maintenance of stag and bone

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Ron Sabbagh, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. Ron Sabbagh

    Ron Sabbagh Gold Member Gold Member

    350
    Sep 15, 1999
    I apologize if this is the wrong forum...but I figure best to hear from the makers themselves.

    I am quite fond of natural materials...mammoth, stag and jigged bone on my slip joints.

    I know natural materials are prone to shrink and perhaps crack if not used enough. What are the current recommendations for maintenance? Years ago I remember Jerry Fisk recommending that stag be soaked once a year (overnight) in mineral oil. I have also heard that lemon oil is good for jigged bone. Of course, Bob Loveless said "just use the damn thing - the blood and the natural oils from game will maintain the stag!"

    I haven't seen any current threads on recommendations and just wondering if these recommendations still hold true.
     
  2. john april

    john april KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 27, 2006
    i have read about the same mineral oil treatment for rams horn. seems logical.
     
  3. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger

    Sep 20, 2015
    Heck if I know; I've seen no cracks in mine.
    I do know there is nothing special about "Lemon Oil" it is just oil with some sent added.
    I've just acquired a Black Water Buffalo Stag handled knife so I to am curious. Cool stuff !
     
  4. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    Horn is hair/fingernail. Antler is very fast growing bone. Two very different materials.
     
    Russ Andrews likes this.
  5. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger

    Sep 20, 2015
    Fascinating !
    Thanks !
     
  6. ron_m80

    ron_m80 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 1, 2009
    not to be confused with a post from a professional knife maker;

    I've used "real" lemon oil on my stag Randall. It does seem to have helped with some micro cracking, and coloring from age. I'm sold on it.
     
  7. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Stag needs nothing in the way of care, nor does jigged bone. Soaking it in oil will discolor and soften it.
    The best thing you can do for it is just give it a coat of paste wax every so often.
    Mammoth ivory can be found in many states- from truly mineralized to fresh. It should have no liquids on it.
    Just wax.
     
    Justin Schmidt likes this.
  8. Ron Sabbagh

    Ron Sabbagh Gold Member Gold Member

    350
    Sep 15, 1999
    Thanks Bill.

    I've heard others say that Renaissance Wax is a better choice than any oil.
     
  9. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Neutral paste shoe polish is better than Renaissance Wax!
     
  10. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Can you explain that Bill?
     
  11. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Ren Wax is designed to be easily applied, and easily buffed- for items that are not handled regularly.
    Neutral shoe polish is designed for shoes.
    Shoes get a lot more wear than museum items.
     
    torqueguy and Hengelo_77 like this.
  12. torqueguy

    torqueguy Pocket Puukko Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    167
    Oct 19, 2007
    Good point on the shoe wax. I also use Renaissance but have recently switched over to just Johnson’s Pastewax. I find its more difficult to buff but lasts longer. Additionally, it gives the handle a slight “tackiness” which gives it better grip. Olympic shooters used to polish their wood stocks with pastewax for that reason.

    These below are pocket pukkos I make as a hobby and both are sanded down to 600 grit then “sealed” with pastewax

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Ren wax is a silicone oil with micro-capsules of silicone. It just coats the surface and some of the oi will penetrate organic materials. I would not recommend using it on stag, bone, mammoth or ivory.

    Paste shoe wax was has various waxes ... carnauba and some others ... heavy naphtha as the carrier and drying agent, and some solid oils ( palm, cocoa, etc.) that soak in the material to prevent drying, plus lanolin to keep the leathersoft and pliable. The oils and waxes in it are designed to work with organic materials ... which is why it works well on leather. It will work on most organics with good results.
     
  14. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    Plus, you can spit shine your knife handles. :p
     
    seanj likes this.

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