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Question on Dymondwood Handle finish

Discussion in 'Buck Knives' started by DeSotoSky, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. DeSotoSky

    DeSotoSky Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    Do the Dymondwood laminate handles have a finish on them or are they just polished out directly?
    If Buck uses a finish on the wood, what is it?
  2. mbjannusch


    Apr 1, 2010
    I think they are just polished out...
  3. r8shell

    r8shell Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    I'm not so sure. I bought a used Vantage Avid that must have been dropped a few times. There were a few spots that looked like a bit of varnish had chipped. It's a little hard to tell, since the wood underneath isn't rough or anything.
  4. mbjannusch


    Apr 1, 2010
    No expert only a guess, but just took a knife and scratched the back of my Vantage Avid and only wood came up. I don't see much point in putting a lacker on the scales, its already resin impregnated wood.
  5. GundaManiac

    GundaManiac Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Depends on the knife, I believe. Dymondwood polished without a finish on it looks different from Dymondwood with a finish on it. For example, Buck's Vantage Select models with Dymondwood (if you can find one) feature Dymondwood without a coating on it, which looks duller and roughe. Buck's Vantage Avid models with Dymondwood have a coating on top, which looks shinier. I have also handled multiple Vantage Avids that have slight imperfections in the coating, either in the form of a couple of bumps in the surface (which I believe is caused by the finish bubbling a little) or in the form of small white patches on the scale from the knife being dropped and the coating peeling off the surface.

    On the other hand, I don't believe my 110 or 112 have a finish on top of their Dymondwood scales.
  6. GundaManiac

    GundaManiac Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    I meant to edit the post above, but for some reason the page times out if I try to edit that post, and only that post. Anyway, meant to fix a typo. Dymondwood without a coating looks duller and rougher than Dymondwood with a coating, even if it's polished. The shine is slightly different. I say this because my first Vantage was a Select with Dymondwood, and I soon after picked up an Avid with Dymondwood. The finish was different, and even after I polished the Select's Dymondwood scales, the shine was still different from that on any Avid's Dymondwood scales I handled.

    Of course, now my Select Dymondwood scales are dressing up my S30v Vantage Pro after having been dyed darker and coated with a superglue finish :D
  7. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    I was given to understand that Dymondwood was a wood micarta material. As such, it is a compression molded thermoset plastic in which the binder resin is a phenolic material like Bakelite. Unlike ordinary thermoplastics, this material cannot be remelted. It kicks over in the mold to form a heat resistant compound that will not melt, but rather chars and cracks above 600 or 700 degrees F. Stove knobs, pan handles, old radio circuit boards, bracelets, premium knife handles are made from this phenolic based material. It can be reinforced with linen, canvas, wood, paper, etc.
    The process is expensive because the molding cycle times are long. 12-15 min. at 450 degrees F at 2000 lbs/in3 if I remember correctly. This stuff can be molded in sheets, but if you want an intricate pattern (fleur de lis with checkering), that can be incorporated into the mold.
  8. mbjannusch


    Apr 1, 2010
    Ok, thats great info, but how does that answer the finish question?
  9. mbjannusch


    Apr 1, 2010
    I'm guessing that the process in which Buck finishes (sands/buffs/polishes) their Avid scales is different than you finished your's in your garage/shop, thus getting a better result.
  10. 300Bucks

    300Bucks Moderator Moderator

    Apr 19, 2005
    This does not directy answer the scratch question. But, Dymondwood info can be readily found on the net. Info on its maker, how its made, colors, glue to use to attach it to something, etc,. Heres a start......300

  11. DeSotoSky

    DeSotoSky Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    I guess the answer is going to be that it's polished. Taken from the Rutland website...

    The smooth, high-gloss finish that is characteristic of DymondWood® finished products is achieved by the following
    1) using a #120 grit or finer sandpaper, remove any cutter marks. Sand all surfaces, working with the grain(A
    belt sander does a fine job). Remember, the higher the grit, the greater the luster.
    2) using a cloth buffing wheel, apply the rough buff compound and buff to a matte finish(TRIPOLI #1010). If a
    gloss is desired, apply the finer textured finishing compound(MOCO#1918).
  12. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    There doesn't need to be a finish on Dymondwood. That would be like putting a clear lacquer on Gold. I have made some wood micarta turnings, and they polish up very nicely with progressively finer grits of sandpaper. The stuff can also be buffed on a cloth wheel using a buffing compound formulated for plastic.
  13. GundaManiac

    GundaManiac Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    As I stated above, I don't know how Buck finishes their dymondwood on their other model lines, but the vantage avid line is definitely clearcoated. When sanding and polishing my vantage select dymondwood scales, the particulate coming off it was brown and wood colored. When I was restoring the scales on a beat up vantage avid I acquired, the particulate coming off the handle was white until I broke through the coat and hit the dymondwood itself, at which point the particulate was colored again. I haven't messed with my 110 or 112 so I don't know about them.

    Dymondwood doesn't necessarily need a coating, but that's not to say that a coating isn't or can't be used on dymondwood. After all, the original question that was asked was how Buck finishes their dymondwood, not whether dymondwood actually needs to be coated ;)

    Edit: I was refinishing the bolsters on my 112 and accidentally hit the dymondwood with the sandpaper. The residue is brown, so my 112 (and, I believe, the 110) is uncoated.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  14. Tin Sue

    Tin Sue Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Following is a comment from Joe H on the subject in answer to a similar question that I had several years ago:

    The shop gets the shine on the handles by buffing them with a cotton wheel loaded with compound. The wood is resin impregnated and that helps. If it gets scratched, you would need to buff the scratches off.

    Joe Houser
    Director of Consumer relations Buck Knives Inc.
    Buck Collectors club Liaison, Member #123

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