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treat a wooden handle

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by brouschef, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. brouschef


    Jul 29, 2009
    I am very new to knife making as a hobby. I have made my first two blades for kitchen knives out of a mason's saw blade. I was planning on using oak to make the handle/scales.

    My question is, how do I best treat the wood? I am looking for the ability of the handle to not absorb moisture, as well as durability and of course, looks.

    I have heard of people using wood stain and then a coat of epoxy or just treating it with oil. Any advice is welcome. - Vince
  2. Bill DeShivs

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

    Jun 6, 2000
    If you are going to use oak, I would just spray it with clear lacquer.
  3. Nebulae


    Aug 24, 2009
    oil works o.k if you like a natural knife look and feel, but it needs replacing, and the wood can still get dirty/wet. epoxy, or super glue will seal very well be durable, and look great, however it will no longer fell like wood, but plastic-that is the major draw back, but like plastic you can easily wash clean, and it wont get dirty
    yeah ive got a couple that I just put a couple of coats on, and though I don't use them often, or roughly they look great.
  4. SBuzek

    SBuzek KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 7, 2006
    Do 5 or 6 coats of Danish oil or Tung oil and let it dry for several days. I t will hold up well.
  5. Fred.Rowe

    Fred.Rowe Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    May 2, 2004
    Oak, as a rule has a very open grain. Which makes it less desirable than some other woods I could name. Hickory for one.
    Hickory is preferable to oak in a kitchen setting; Old Hickory knives and many of the makers that have been around for years use hickory because of its toughness and durability.
    It is less likely to warp and check than the oak is.

    If I were making up a set of kitchen knives I might look at G-10 or micarta.
    If wood was going to be used, I would have it stabilized or purchase stabilized from a reputable dealer.

    Just something to think about, Fred
  6. brouschef


    Jul 29, 2009
    Thanks Everyone. I appreciate the advice. I can already tell that this will be a hobby for life. I will post pictures when they are done. -Vince
  7. 69_knives


    Nov 20, 2008
    I would probably go with the tung oil, as per the instructions..

    wipe on, leave for 15 minutes, wipe off, let dry for an hour
    repeat... etc.

    for 5 or 6 coats.

    After the last coat is wiped off leave for 24 hours and buff with 0000 steel wool.
  8. marekz


    Jun 16, 2008
    what about wood hardener like nelsonite? wouldnt that hep with the pourous dilema. You can soak it in wood hardener for a few days-let dry then apply teak/danish or whatever.-just a thought---marekz
  9. tonycap


    Jun 5, 2009
    i just dip it in some polyurathane--well i use too. It worked for me but now i know better.TONY
  10. hellgap


    Dec 17, 2008
    tung oil let dry buff do it 4 coats and buff did I mention buff lol.
  11. Teknition


    Mar 11, 2006
    Like Fred said, use stabilized wood then you don't have to worry about it. Sand to 600 grit, give it a quick buff and its good to go.


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