Feb 4, 1999
I LOVE wood scales. However many makers put some type of heavy clear coat on them that makes them slippery as hell. I have a knife by Gaston with birch scales but is so smooth it wants to fly from your hand. What can an owner apply to wood scales to help preserve them without coating them. Like my leather goods I like when the wood gets dark in places from use. Some character. Now I do have wood scales without the shiny stuff. What can I apply and how often.
(Posted to Shoptalk also)
Tung Oil -- 3 to 5 coats over several days, when new, then not again for a long time unless the handle has been subject to detergent or high heat, low humidity (like left in a car trunk)

Depending on the wood, all it may need is a wax finish. Desert ironwood, cocobolo, goncoles alves, kingwood, african blackwood, and several other species is hard enough and has enough natural oils and wax in them that its hard to even put a sealer into the grain. Most collectors I know use Rennaisance Wax on their handles for preservation, both for woods, and some of the ivories, stag, etc. Actually, what works about as well is plain old Johnson's floor wax or a similar paste wax that is heavy on carnuba wax, or gunstock wax. If you use it on wood that does not have a gloss finish it will feel 'tacky' in the hand, and a lot easier to hold onto when wet.

If the wood of the handle is something that needs more protection....has an open grain, it would not hurt to wipe it down several times with a commercial wood sealer, or something like Birchwood Casey's Tru-Oil. Wipe off the excess, then when its dry buff the surface off with a fine scotchbrite or steel wool to remove any of the finish that is on top of the surface, and wax after that. You won't get a shiny finish, but more of a satin finish that will still show the grain.

Thanks for the info one of the knives I was wanting to protect was My Madpoet Persian fighter with iron wood scales. Already did some hard time in Puerto Rico doing yard work, hiking, fishing, sculpture and of course husking coconuts and carving up pineapple for fresh pina coladas. As well as making me feel cozy next to my bed at night. Good solid working knife at a reasonable price.
I've used Deft (was Watco) Marine Teakwood Oil on a fair number of wood knife handles for a finish that soaks in and doesn't just sit there shining up the surface. No complaints so far.