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greasedbullet
05-18-2013, 03:26 AM
I know very little to nothing about wood, so every handle I make is a learning experience. I have made a few and they are fine, but now I am trying to make them awesome. So the questions are. Can I sand something too fine before I apply the finish (I am currently using butchers block oil from Lowes), also along the same lines can I do much sanding after I apply the finish? Also what are some good treatments for wood to help it resist moisture and help it shine? I just got some Micro Mesh in and I will be using that for the final steps of sanding, will that be good enough or should I get a buffing wheel (If I should get one what compounds are best for wood)?

Thanks for the help, and any tips that come to mind are more than welcome too.

scotchef38
05-18-2013, 05:56 AM
I just started using the same oil and sanding with 400grit paper in between coats.I usually sand to 800 before i apply the oil.After 5 coats it is almost like a varnish.Unless i find something better this is what i will be sticking with.Dont know much about buffing though.

Burl Source
05-18-2013, 08:04 PM
You might try one of the oil blends that does both penetrate and build up a surface.
Like Danish or Tung Oil.

The finish I like is done like this;
After sanding apply a coat of danish oil and let sit about 30 minutes (before it starts to feel tacky).
Wipe off all excess with an old t-shirt or other soft cloth.
Let dry a few hours then repeat.
Keep applying coats until you like how the handle looks.
Let that dry overnight.
Then with 0000 fine steel wool rub down the wood to remove any surface roughness.
Clean off any dust and then apply final coat of oil.
Then once again wipe down the handle with a soft cloth.
Let dry overnight.
Then apply paste wax, let dry and then buff by hand with a soft cloth.

psfred
05-18-2013, 10:54 PM
Boiled linseed oil, Danish oil, and Tung oil are all easy to apply, accept repair by re-application, and are food safe.

Boiled linseed oil is going the give a dull finish, and if over applied can be gummy, but it's also the easiest. It's really flax seed oil treated so it will polymerize faster. Wipe on, allow absorb for an hour or two and wipe off. Re-apply in a day or two, repeat until you have the finish you like. It will never become slick and shiny, but it looks nice and keeps water out of the wood. If it wears off, re coat a couple times. You can wax it if you like, but again it will never fill the wood up enough to get shiny.

Danish oil also leaves a matte surface, but is harder and more water and wear resistant than linseed oil. Apply like linseed oil.

Tung oil comes in several types, some of which will leave a mirror surface when applied properly. It's the hardest to apply correctly, and will leave slick handles which you may not like (I don't). Follow the directions exactly, and use a soft one first to fill the wood. High gloss tung oil is tricky, you have to wipe it down after it starts to set but before it becomes to thick to polish out -- wait too long and it smears and makes a mess. The high gloss tung oils are harder to repair as well, since they don't re-dissolve in the new oil much. That means a streaky mess becomes a streaky mess with a shiny gloss coat on top.

All of these are available at the box stores (Lowes, Home Depot, local good hardware store) or by mail order.

Peter

greasedbullet
05-19-2013, 01:22 AM
Can I sand as high as 8000-12000 grit with micro mesh before I start applying this finish? or after? I am looking for something food safe, low maintenance, and gives a good polish (not necessarily mirror finish) that is not slippery. Would Danish oil be a good option?

psfred
05-20-2013, 12:26 AM
Danish oil should be fine. Semigloss finish, probably.

You can sand to whatever grit you wish before using oil finish.

Peter

greasedbullet
05-20-2013, 01:51 AM
Awesome, thanks.

Stumblinman
07-05-2013, 04:43 PM
Boiled linseed oil is not food safe because of the additives.
Raw linseed oil is food safe

greasedbullet
07-06-2013, 01:56 PM
Thanks, that could have caused a problem.

CPD
07-07-2013, 04:00 AM
To the earlier question - it is possible to sand "too fine" before finish but it depends on what finish material you are using.

Think of wood grain like straws. The finer you sand, the narrower the opening and the more difficult it becomes for the liquid to be absorbed/penetrate deeply.

If you are using a finish that builds its own surface layer (a varnish , shellac, lacquer) sanding beyond 220 (some might argue 320) before finishing is general wasted effort. Sanding the raw wood is more about getting a good substrate for the finish to bond with. More important is sanding ebtween layers to level the "film" the finish builds up. Those layers you'll want to level and even out to whatever grade creates the sheen/smoothness you seek.

If you are using a penetrating oil, than the recipe becomes different. Penetrating oil doesn't build a film in the same way. You could sand to 600, 800...even higher if you wanted. The stopping point is really only a matter of the viscosity of the finish. Personally, I would not go higher than 600 because I want deeper penetration....

One thing to think about in finishing handles is what texture/grip you want to remain once you are left. Some like sheen, others want something more grippy. The materials you use and the level to which you sand will impact that.

mkriggen
07-07-2013, 06:42 AM
Boiled linseed oil is not food safe because of the additives.
Raw linseed oil is food safe

I wouldn't get too hung up on the food safe/not food safe thing. It's not a cutting board, you're not preparing food with the handle (excepting the occasional crushed garlic clove).:2cents:

zitangy
07-07-2013, 09:34 AM
Can I sand as high as 8000-12000 grit with micro mesh before I start applying this finish? or after? I am looking for something food safe, low maintenance, and gives a good polish (not necessarily mirror finish) that is not slippery. Would Danish oil be a good option?

a quick question...

Is using food safe oil a serious consideration for handles? after all the oil wld harden and form a film.

8000 grit.. adn above.. I suppose that you are only sanding the hardened oil film surface?

rgds
d

apicius9
07-07-2013, 09:45 AM
8000 grit in micromesh is probably around 3000 grit in US sandpaper, there are different grit scales. See here http://fine-tools.com/G10019.htm

Stefan

greasedbullet
07-07-2013, 01:04 PM
Is using food safe oil a serious consideration for handles?

Judging by the other posts on this thread I would say it isn't, but I thought it would be important when I posted this.

Vic Cardenas
07-08-2013, 03:45 PM
Interesting discussion. I was just thinking about the subject of food safety on materials used to coat handles. I've been using spar urethane and it hardens up well and leaves a nice sheen to it while still being "grippy". I was worried that it might leech toxic chemicals onto my hand and transfer it to food. Another way I was considering coating my handles was with epoxy resin. Same concern with that.

hobbitling
09-15-2013, 09:53 PM
I'm working on a handle and I'm wondering if anyone has used General Finishes "salad bowl finish"? Specifically I'm curious about the overall durability of this finish? About how long would this last with moderate use? (assuming the owner doesn't do something stupid like put it through a dish washer or soak it in the sink). I'm going to be giving this one to a family member who may or may not be careful with it, but I won't be able to re-apply finish.

Any other suggestions for durable finishes are also welcome. I know pen turners sometimes use CA glue, but it seems like that would be quite difficult to apply to a handle (pen turners apply it while it's still on the lathe, but that obviously wouldn't work for a handle). I've also considered using a thin epoxy.

I'm curious what the pros here use on their unstabilized tropical hardwoods like bocote or rosewoods.

Michael Rader
09-15-2013, 10:01 PM
Think about using oils that are used by professional gunstock finishers. True-Oil is a good one and I like Pro-Custom oil. Both can be picked up from Brownell's and when cured will be a non-toxic finish. Grits used, as with final polishing are on you. Put in the time and figure out what you like and what you don't like.
Good luck. -m

mkriggen
09-15-2013, 11:44 PM
I've been using 2 coats of Watco teak oil followed by two coats of Minwax paste wax. The Watco teak oil has good penetration on the dense oily tropical hardwoods and should continue to provide protection after the surface finish has dulled with use. :2cents:

Be well,
Mikey

CrisAnderson27
09-16-2013, 02:03 AM
I use teak oil...rubbed in and sanded off through my last three finishing grits (I stop at 2000). Then I buff with simple beeswax on a loose buff.

I've been considering looking into the Bealls Buff kit. The results seem pretty incredible over oiled and rubbed finishes.

knyfeknerd
09-16-2013, 02:20 AM
Tru-Oil
then
Renaissance Wax

Stumblinman
09-16-2013, 02:36 AM
While searching around I came across some wood turners that believed most finishes were 'food safe' after a certain amount of time. I read some of them would let bowls sit for a month then deem them OK for use. I don't know the technical aspect about it but the way I read was, like you can't drink paint but once dried/cured you could eat off of or use something painted.

CrisAnderson27
09-16-2013, 02:39 AM
While searching around I came across some wood turners that believed most finishes were 'food safe' after a certain amount of time. I read some of them would let bowls sit for a month then deem them OK for use. I don't know the technical aspect about it but the way I read was, like you can't drink paint but once dried/cured you could eat off of or use something painted.

Its the volatile gasses/fluids in the finish that are usually the problem. If the finish doesn't cure completely (or is able to be dissolved)...they can be released into whatever it is you're eating. Most wood finishes cure completely with enough time.

Its like cured concrete, you could eat off of it if you wanted to...but I wouldn't suggest eating it :).

CPD
09-16-2013, 06:40 AM
. I don't know the technical aspect about it but the way I read was, like you can't drink paint but once dried/cured you could eat off of or use something painted.

...but you wouldn't want to eat the paint chips if they cracked off.....

For many finishes it's more or less like Cris said. That assumes, though, that the resins/film being left behind is of a natural origin (eg tung oil, linseed oil) as opposed to a plastic/acrylic base (polyurethane, epoxy, acrylic etc). With the natural products, what you care most about are the volatile gasses/fluids that are solvents or binders in the mix. Once these are out-gassed and the resins in the finish are cured, most are food safe.
One general exception (i think mentioned earlier in the string) is Boiled Linseed Oil. While linseed oil is safe, BLO often contains heavy metals as drying agents.

hobbitling
09-16-2013, 11:55 AM
Anybody use waterlox?

CrisAnderson27
09-16-2013, 03:41 PM
Anybody use waterlox?

I've read that a LOT of guys swear by it...but I've never tried it myself.

Its funny...I'd love to have a shot at all of these different methods of finishing...but when I have a handle that needs completed, the tried and true method I have already used is the one I go to. Its partially expedience, partially that its sufficient for my needs, and partially that all of these other finishes take effort to source lol.

CPD
09-16-2013, 05:53 PM
Anybody use waterlox?

I use it a lot! It's one of my favorite finishing products. The stuff is great. My disclaimer is: I've used it mostly on furniture projects. I've built a lot of art deco and asian/modern influenced furniture over the years and Waterlox became part of my "go to" finishing schedule. I didn't have to spray it, it's easy to use and the results are always good. My procedure, minus all the sanding stages is typically: shellac coat to seal and pop the grain first, then couple coats of Waterlox original wiped on by hand, after that's dried and any bubbles/issues are sanded at high grit to smooth, one coat of waterlox thinned about 20% ...after that's cured out, finally, I hit it with a homemade paste wax that is a mix of beeswax, mineral oil and linseed oil (supposedly a similar wax recipe was used by Sam Maloof and Nakashima on furniture). The process is time consuming but really easy and the result of the combination is a silky finish that looks amazing.

On handles and sayas - I just finished my first effort at a "high end" D- handle. I used Waterlox as the finish on it (same as above, minus the shellac coat) and it looks great. Not sure how it will hold up to regular use yet but having seen Waterlox as a finish on high traffic hardwood floors, expect it to be plenty durable.

two notes on waterlox -- it leaves an amber tone ... great if you want an antique finish or don't mind the slight color shift. People usually see a waterlox finished product and think it has a slight patina from age. Second, even though dry in a day, it can take a good week to ten days to fully gas out and cure.
I usual wait at least a week before buffing/polishing or adding any wax topcoat.

cheezit
09-16-2013, 08:39 PM
Its funny...I'd love to have a shot at all of these different methods of finishing...but when I have a handle that needs completed, the tried and true method I have already used is the one I go to. Its partially expedience, partially that its sufficient for my needs, and partially that all of these other finishes take effort to source lol.

This is the same mentality that I have. As they say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. :biggrin:
I've re-handled a few of my knives; I sand to #400, buff lightly with Pink Buffing compound and call it a day!

zitangy
09-18-2013, 12:36 PM
I use teak oil...rubbed in and sanded off through my last three finishing grits (I stop at 2000). Then I buff with simple beeswax on a loose buff.

I've been considering looking into the Bealls Buff kit. The results seem pretty incredible over oiled and rubbed finishes.

I tried that.. the kit comes with the buffing wheels and adaptors and brick compounds.. red and white. I do not like the white compound as it is supposed to be laced with diamond dusts if I am not mistaken as breathing it in wld not be healthy. The carnuba wax brick.. THis I like .

Had my time polishing wooden bowls and a few handles

These days... I just sandpaper it quickly, clean it and oil it and later use sort of a shellac.. quick dry in 20 minutes, white latex looking liquid and wipe whatever wooden items that's in sight. Objective is to repel water and it is always better looking than the previous state..

rgds
d

swarth
09-19-2013, 08:15 AM
Saphir Medaille D'Or Neutral shoe polish/wax

Turpentine
Beeswax
Carnauba

richinva
09-23-2013, 05:27 PM
Bowlturner here.................

I use Danish oil on most of my non-utilitarian bowls, vases, etc. that I turn, allow to dry several days, then buff with tripoli, white diamond (not for dark woods), and wax with Renaissance Wax. Utility bowls get walnut oil and sun-cured for several days.

The Ren Wax, unlike carnauba, doesn't leave fingerprints.

I've also found that a wash coat of de-waxed shellac (1 1/2-2# cut) will not "amber up" the wood as much as an oil finish will, so I generally use shellac first, then follow with one of the above. It seems to give a more natural color. I really like Waterlox on cherry furniture, but it's too much trouble for lathe work, at least for me.

I rarely sand past 600 anymore, and usually will stop at 400, depending on the piece. I buff the shellac off with a white Scotchbrite pad or 4/0 steel wool. Building up heat here is bad, so go slowly.

cord_steele
09-27-2013, 11:41 PM
Too many good tips here. I'll be trying out all kinds of stuff.

Dream Burls
09-28-2013, 10:59 AM
Anybody use waterlox?
I sometimes use waterlox to finish my blanks. Not the same as finishing a handle of course, but it works for my purpose. The only thing I would add to previous comments on it is that it is highly toxic and you need to be sure to be in a well ventilated space when using. Read the label carefully, they even mention the possibility of used rags spontaneously combusting.

CPD
09-28-2013, 07:05 PM
I sometimes use waterlox to finish my blanks. Not the same as finishing a handle of course, but it works for my purpose. The only thing I would add to previous comments on it is that it is highly toxic and you need to be sure to be in a well ventilated space when using. Read the label carefully, they even mention the possibility of used rags spontaneously combusting.

I think there is a low VOC version of waterlox for those concerned about fumes. The regular version is good old fashioned petroleum based solvents -- so yeah, not the healthiest things in the world to take deep breaths of - but pretty much same as any other mineral spirits/paint thinner/naptha solvent products.

The combustion thing is definitely important to be careful with! Waterlox is a drying oil -- it reacts with oxygen to cure and gives off heat during that process. If you ball up a wet rag of it so the heat can't dissipate, it can surely get hot enough to ignite. best safe practice is to let any rags air dry while flat in a place where there's plenty of airflow..... I lay em flat on concrete away from anything flammable.

I use the stuff all the time for furniture. It's one of the most forgiving finishes to wipe on, easily repaired and it gives a great older warm look. The amber tone it imparts from the tung oil isn't ideal for all things, though.

Dave Martell
10-14-2013, 03:53 PM
For you guys using Waterlox, do you use the filler first and if so how does this stuff work? I'm interested in a product that will fill deep voids like found in woods like koa? Could the regular Waterlox cover this on it's own?

Dream Burls
10-14-2013, 04:51 PM
For you guys using Waterlox, do you use the filler first and if so how does this stuff work? I'm interested in a product that will fill deep voids like found in woods like koa? Could the regular Waterlox cover this on it's own?
Waterlox is fairly thin and would not fill anything other than maybe some superficial surface checks.

Dave Martell
10-14-2013, 05:28 PM
Thanks Myron

CPD
10-18-2013, 04:15 PM
For you guys using Waterlox, do you use the filler first and if so how does this stuff work? I'm interested in a product that will fill deep voids like found in woods like koa? Could the regular Waterlox cover this on it's own?

Dave, You can fill with waterlox (assuming we're talking grain variation and not cracks/checks) but it takes a few coats before it will build enough to fill the voids if you're applying it as wipe on finish. Given drying time, this can be time consuming. When I am using waterlox on woods with more grain variation to avoid this, I'll typically do one or two coats of shellac first as a "sanding sealer." Simple enough -- just wipe them on with a lint free rag. Then maybe do a third pass with a rag that was wetted with a little extra solvent (alcohol) before the shellac to help melt and smooth the layers. The shellac dries very fast and once dried, it won't interfere with the waterlox bond.

After putting the shellac layers down, I'll sand with either a 180 or 220 grit paper to knock most of the shellac back...then waterlox goes over the top of these. This works great for porous woods and it also helps to really pop the grain on highly figured woods. I've heard of others doing similar with slower cure CA glue as a sealer (mostly turners) and getting good results

As an aside - I use the same approach if I want to add color (on furniture not for handles) to woods that absorb finish unevenly like maple or birch. The shellac creates a nice even and uniform substrate to help stains or dyes deliver more uniform color. Ultra Blonde shellac won't add much amber color if that's a concern.

If what you're describing is deeper surface checks or cracks than just grain variation - I'd spot fill the individual problems with CA glue before moving into the rest of the finishing process.

I've got a lot of experience using Waterlox on furniture. It's my favorite no-spray finish for things. If I can answer any questions, happy to.

Dave Martell
10-18-2013, 04:42 PM
Dave, You can fill with waterlox (assuming we're talking grain variation and not cracks/checks) but it takes a few coats before it will build enough to fill the voids if you're applying it as wipe on finish. Given drying time, this can be time consuming. When I am using waterlox on woods with more grain variation to avoid this, I'll typically do one or two coats of shellac first as a "sanding sealer." Simple enough -- just wipe them on with a lint free rag. Then maybe do a third pass with a rag that was wetted with a little extra solvent (alcohol) before the shellac to help melt and smooth the layers. The shellac dries very fast and once dried, it won't interfere with the waterlox bond.

After putting the shellac layers down, I'll sand with either a 180 or 220 grit paper to knock most of the shellac back...then waterlox goes over the top of these. This works great for porous woods and it also helps to really pop the grain on highly figured woods. I've heard of others doing similar with slower cure CA glue as a sealer (mostly turners) and getting good results

As an aside - I use the same approach if I want to add color (on furniture not for handles) to woods that absorb finish unevenly like maple or birch. The shellac creates a nice even and uniform substrate to help stains or dyes deliver more uniform color. Ultra Blonde shellac won't add much amber color if that's a concern.

If what you're describing is deeper surface checks or cracks than just grain variation - I'd spot fill the individual problems with CA glue before moving into the rest of the finishing process.

I've got a lot of experience using Waterlox on furniture. It's my favorite no-spray finish for things. If I can answer any questions, happy to.


Excellent info, thanks!

I've been on the transition of using CA glue less or should I say just for the big holes and looking for something to seal the pores (real small to large like koa has) prior to finishing. I've tried all the usual suspects getting the best results so far from Tru-Oil's filler/sealer but the feel is so plasticky that I've sanded it off every time I've used it. Sounds like shellac is worth trying and maybe even Waterlox after that, I just want to get the sealing thing down first.

What type of shellac do you prefer?

zitangy
10-18-2013, 04:53 PM
For you guys using Waterlox, do you use the filler first and if so how does this stuff work? I'm interested in a product that will fill deep voids like found in woods like koa? Could the regular Waterlox cover this on it's own?

I collect the saw dust when sanding wood when repairing cracks on furniture, put a little super glue in the cavity, add very viscous super glue, and a little more sawdust and then glue ( repeat as necessary)till its all even and settled settled. level it as best as possible and then when dry sand it off.

For black color wood.. I collect saw dust from harder wood.

Learnt this from an antique furniture repair lady..

D

CPD
10-18-2013, 05:28 PM
Excellent info, thanks!

I've been on the transition of using CA glue less or should I say just for the big holes and looking for something to seal the pores (real small to large like koa has) prior to finishing. I've tried all the usual suspects getting the best results so far from Tru-Oil's filler/sealer but the feel is so plasticky that I've sanded it off every time I've used it. Sounds like shellac is worth trying and maybe even Waterlox after that, I just want to get the sealing thing down first.

What type of shellac do you prefer?

I'm not a fan of the "plastic" finish either. I like an old time look and a finish that people want to touch. The shellac/waterlox process with a little buffing creates that kind of a result. It's sort of matte sheen with a silky look... especially if you buff a little beeswax or boardwax over the top coat.

I haven't done much with Koa recently but the formula has worked great on all kinds of porous and highly figured woods -- from oak to mahogany to lacewood etc.

For type of shellac/details - there are a number of premixed shellacs you can buy but my personal preference is to buy flakes and mix it up as needed. That lets me have more control over the color and viscosity... It's not difficult to do. It's literally just putting the flake into denatured alcohol (or Bekhol if you want a premium more refined solvent product) and letting it dissolve overnight. Few points:

1. buy dewaxed shellac flakes. The waxed variety are only good as a top coat or in french polishing. Dewaxed won't interfere with other finishes layered on top.
2. make in batches suited to your project. mixed up shellac doesn't spoil, but it does get harder to apply after about 4 months to 6 months so it's best to work small batches so that it's "fresh"
3. viscosity -- shellac is usually described by the "Cut" which means the ratio of flake to alcohol. 2lbs flake to 1 gallon solven is a two pound cut, 1 lbs flake to 1 gallon a one pound cut etc. For sealing/filling I'd go with a 1.5lb cut....it's pretty thin but no so much that you'll need to use a ton to fill grain. For a 1.5lb cut in a small batch, you'd use 1.5oz shellac per 8 oz alcohol solvent. I usually make a batch in a mason jar as needed.
4. If you have deeper cracks to fill, you can use a thicker 2.5, 3 or 4lb cut of shellac... it just gets harder to apply as it gets thicker.
5. There are a number of colors of shellac available in flake form - they run from ultra pale and blonde to orange and deep amber. You can combine them as needed to have control over how much color (if any) they leave on the wood. I use blonde or pale most of the time to keep the amount of amber color added to a minimum.
6. Avoid the bullseye type premixed shellac products from hardware stores. Usually a lot cheaper than mixing your own, but the results are nowhere near as good.

sources -- can find shellac at a lot of more specialized woodworking shops from woodcraft to Highland Woodworking. Guitar maker stores like Stew Mac will also carry. Homestead Finishing Products is another option - small store run by a finishing expert who has a lot of good info in a forum like here)

shellac prices vary a ton because it's used in a lot of products -- waxy and food safe, it ends up as a filler in all kinds of consumer products and things. Right now it's pretty pricy at near $40lb but good news is, a little goes a long way. Especially at a 2lb cut or less. You could probably run at least hundred handles/saya with a single lb of shellac.

As an added aside - if you do the shellac/waterlox combo on a handle, it will probably take 3 to 5 days for the waterlox to fully harden (true full cure is longer...but by a week, you're good from a hardness standpoint). During that period it may feel a little tacky or plastic like. Once fully cured, though, it buffs down beautifully and there is no plastic feeling. I just made a couple handles with a mix of ultra dense African Blackwood and stabilized burls. The formula worked great. (I won't post a public picture but if you're curious - this being your forum in the first place - happy to PM you a picture)

Mr.Svinarich
10-18-2013, 05:43 PM
personal taste dictates how fine you want to sand something. The oil will penetrate regardless.