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Thread: Finishing handles?

  1. #1
    Senior Member rockbox's Avatar
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    Finishing handles?

    What do you guys use to finish your handles? Shellac, oil, poly?
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." --Albert Einstein

  2. #2
    Senior Member Potato42's Avatar
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    With all the stabilized woods being used, I know a lot of them are mineral oil/ beeswax. I know at least one of my Stefan handles was finished with Tung oil, and I know he's done some poly and experimented with CA finish. My Adam handles I've kept up with the oil/beeswax treatment like I do for my Boardsmith boards. Like I said stabilized woods, so they do pretty well anyway.

    I have noticed minor swelling when they get really wet though. The main one I am having an issue with right now is a B&W ebony handle Adam did for me. It's way too dense to be stabilized and the same is true for oil finish. I think I'm going to have to go poly, shellac or CA finish to seal it.
    - Sean

  3. #3
    Nothing for me Tom. I just sand and buff but they're all stabilized with the exception of ironwood.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rockbox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Martell View Post
    Nothing for me Tom. I just sand and buff but they're all stabilized with the exception of ironwood.
    So what grit do you sand up to, and what compounds and wheels do use? Pink and White?
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." --Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Most of the time I go something like 80x belt, then 220x hand, then 320x belt to 600x hand then back to a well worn 400x belt. Then it's onto buffing where I do white on a hard wheel for the pins and tang, then white on a medium soft wheel cotton for the whole thing, then pink on a super soft canton flannel wheel to finish.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Martell View Post
    Most of the time I go something like 80x belt, then 220x hand, then 320x belt to 600x hand then back to a well worn 400x belt. Then it's onto buffing where I do white on a hard wheel for the pins and tang, then white on a medium soft wheel cotton for the whole thing, then pink on a super soft canton flannel wheel to finish.
    Very similar to what Daves doing with the exception of the pink, never used that one before.

  7. #7

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    I don't have a buffer, but I have been using sand paper at 400, 600, 800, 1000, 2000 then using 2 coats ofTru-Oil gunstock finish and finish it off with 2 coats of Tru-Oil brand gunstock wax, just buffing the wax by hand with a microfiber towel.

    Although I hope to soon have a 3600 rpm buffer/polisher.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by kalaeb View Post
    I don't have a buffer, but I have been using sand paper at 400, 600, 800, 1000, 2000 then using 2 coats ofTru-Oil gunstock finish and finish it off with 2 coats of Tru-Oil brand gunstock wax, just buffing the wax by hand with a microfiber towel.

    Although I hope to soon have a 3600 rpm buffer/polisher.

    If you've got a drill press you can use 4" wheels on arbors and get some really great results on the cheap.

  9. #9
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Generally, the stabilized woods don't need anything. However, I find that many of them still benefit from a bit of oil, the colors stand out stronger and richer, but they also darken a little bit. I had picked up a tip from Mike Stewart, and I use a 50:50 mix of tung oil and shellac (he uses boiled linseed oil, same principle). Tung oil can take weeks to dry, but the shellac accelerates the process and, in theory, you can apply more than one coat per day (I still give them overnight to dry, though). I used to apply up to 12 thin coats, but I have cut back to fewer layers now - they get too plasticky with that much finish, and if I keep it thinner, they are still protected but have a bit more of the wood feelng left IMHO. Or maybe I am dreaming...

    Oh, I sand up to 1200-2500 grit, dependingnon the materials, and then buff with white and pink compound. The white compound is around 1500 grit AFAIK. Using the drill press right now, but I just picked up an open-box grinder and plan to use it with the buffing wheels.

    Stefan

  10. #10
    Something to note about buffing is to learn the difference between cut and color buffing. This little detail was a gem for me.

    You can research for more info but simply put cutting action is used to remove small imperfections where coloring is to shine and bring out depth or character. To cut you push into the buff with some good amount of pressure and draw/drag the piece through against the direction of rotation while to color you use light pressure and travel with the direction of rotation.

    I feel learning to do this correctly is more important than what wheels or compounds are used.

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