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Thread: Suggestions on glossy finish on knife handle, CA glue or?

  1. #1

    Suggestions on glossy finish on knife handle, CA glue or?

    Hi Guys,

    After learning a lot form the last thread (, I started my 2nd attempt this afternoon on a 210 aoki deba. Looking at the custom handles from the pro here, seems applying some sort of glossy finish is a pretty common practice (I could be wrong!).

    From my woodturning experience, CA glue followed by high grit sanding and buffing is what we use the most to obtain a ultra-shiny finish, but that is mostly done with the help of a lathe turning the blank. Due to the small size, usually multiple coats of CA glue could be applied rather easily. As of knife handle, I don't know if it is easy to do so, and I am thinking it is actually quite tricky to get a nice coverage evenly, because thin CA glue dries quite fast (I don't use the thick CA, as I think it doesn't look good as a finish).

    So I would like to hear from the experts here, do you use CA glue? If so, how do you apply the glue?

    I have another idea, to use those epoxy based glossy, transparent "liquid glass". As they have significantly lower viscosity (even coating, would be too thick once sand back) than normal epoxy and will not turn milky overtime. Maybe worth a try?

    All thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

    Cant wait to try on this buddy! Black: australian Gidgee; light yellow: Mallee burl

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I may be in the minority, and am not a pro, but after finishing to a 2k grit, I use multiple thin coats of Tru-Oil gunstock finish.

  3. #3
    I use CA glue to fill in voids only. To get the shine I use finer and finer belts and finally a quick buffing on a wheel.

  4. #4
    As much as I like the look and feel of natural oil finish (which I use for almost all my woodworking stuff). Wouldn't some type of glue finish makes the handle more resilient to accidental dents and dirt from sharpening?

    Of course I am talking about unstabilized wood.

  5. #5

    knyfeknerd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Charlotte, NC AKA The Queen City! The lint-filled belly button of the south.
    Tru-oil and sanding/ buffing. CA glue sounds like a bad idea, plus depending on how many coats of Tru-oil, you should probably achieve the effect you're talking about.
    If "Its" and "Buts" was candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas
    -Cleon "Slammin'" Salmon

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Cardiff, UK
    CA finish can be slippy in the kitchen, carnauba wax based friction polish on a mop gives a decent shine that is easy to redo as it fades from use. Tru oil can be tacky on oily woods but does build to a good finish on most other woods I've tried it on.

    Good luck with the handle

  7. #7
    I also use CA glue only to fill voids in the wood. I also think it hardens the outer wood just a bit which can be nice. This said, I do the CA at about 220 grit and don't use it after that. After going through a range of grits, I get to 800 grit and then move on to 0, 00, 000, and 0000 steel wool for the final finish. Between each of the steel wool grits I use pure tung oil thinned with 30-40% mineral spirits for more penetration. I find that any gloss finish wears off on kitchen knives (or any knife that will actually be used) and tends to look cheap pretty quickly.


  8. #8
    thanks guys. Another idea: shellac... don't know if it can withstand the kitchen environment though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Central Jersey
    Quote Originally Posted by pkjames View Post
    thanks guys. Another idea: shellac... don't know if it can withstand the kitchen environment though.
    Stefan uses a shellac mixture and technique. So there's that.
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
    Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/

  10. #10
    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Kerby, OR
    Gidgee acts a little bit different than other woods.
    If you power buff it the grain and any figure is prone to smearing.

    The best finish I have seen on Gidgee was by Knife maker Russ Andrews.
    He sands the wood beyond 1000 grit.
    Then with a few drops of Tung or Danish oil rubs it into the wood.
    Wipe off all excess oil between coats. Repeat until it looks good.
    Then apply paste wax like you are polishing a pair of shoes.
    Let sit about 30 minutes then hand buff with an old towel.
    Then apply a couple more coats of wax.
    Last edited by Burl Source; 05-16-2013 at 10:32 PM. Reason: wrong knife maker name
    Mark Farley / Burl Source
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