Dyeing Ho Wood Handles?

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inferno

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Anyone mess with dyeing ho wood handles?

i use dye for impregnating all kinds of porous woods. usually lighter colored woods work better since the dyes are darker.

i also used to work as a "furniture carpenter" that is "cabinet maker" in the US.

and then we first sanded and wetted the parts with water, so the grain would raise up as a hedgehog.
just rub in water in the part with a sponge. let sit for maybe 10-15min. and the grain will raise up.

now you sand this down so its smooth again.

then you wet it again. feel the hedgehog spines, sand it smooth again.

now you have prepped "the base surface" for dying. then you add the dye.

-------------------

then there is 2 options. 1 you lock in the dye with some paint or oil and just leave it.
or you lock in the dye with paint or oil, and sand it so the dye only stays in the grain valleys. and then oil/paint it again.

and thats it pretty much. if you sand it down after dyeing then you can get some really exotic looks out of pretty mediocre looking woods such as oak.

i made a table out of oak veneered mdf. wetted it twice. sanded it twice. dyed it. painted it to lock in the dye. then sanded it again. then painted it 2 times more. to make it smooth. i used 1 comp polyurethane.

dyed oak1.jpg
 
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i use dye for impregnating all kinds of porous woods. usually lighter colored woods work better since the dyes are darker.

i also used to work as a "furniture carpenter" that is "cabinet maker" in the US.

and then we first sanded and wetted the parts with water, so the grain would raise up as a hedgehog.
just rub in water in the part with a sponge. let sit for maybe 10-15min. and the grain will raise up.

now you sand this down so its smooth again.

then you wet it again. feel the hedgehog spines, sand it smooth again.

now you have prepped "the base surface" for dying. then you add the dye.

-------------------

then there is 2 options. 1 you lock in the dye with some paint or oil and just leave it.
or you lock in the dye with paint or oil, and sand it so the dye only stays in the grain valleys. and then oil/paint it again.

and thats it pretty much. if you sand it down after dyeing then you can get some really exotic looks out of pretty mediocre looking woods such as oak.

i made a table out of oak veneered mdf. wetted it twice. sanded it twice. dyed it. painted it to lock in the dye. then sanded it again. then painted it 2 times more. to make it smooth. i used 1 comp polyurethane.

View attachment 191897


Pretty much the approach I took, especially with raising the grain to prep. I did several birch gun stocks in the past and used pretty much this same method. :)
 

inferno

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now ho wood is ultra porous. so it should be extremely easy to get the "look" that you want. even color or "zebrano look", oak is quite dense. but its still has these valleys if you sand it and wet it. and then sand off the spikes.

only woods this will not work on is the jungle exotic woods that are full of oil from the start. first and foremost they are very dense, almost no grain to impregnate. and then they dont raise the grain with water. then there is a competing oil in there already that will prevent the dye from binding. so for these jungle woods you probably need to defat them with brake clean a few rounds for any dye to even stick. but these usually look good from the factory so no need really.
 

chefwp

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How do you torch a handle? I would love to test it on some knives I have but I have no clue how to do it

cheers
The first time I tried it it was on the Shimo gyuto (middle knife in the pic above), I was going to get it rehandled because I really didn't like the look of the ho handle it came with. I decided to try torching it, figuring if I ruined the handle, oh well, I was gonna replace it anyway, and if it turned out nice, money saved and no rehandle necessary. I was very pleased with the result! The suji came out much darker than I wanted. I think it was because the handle was recently and well oiled, even after a good sanding, the dark color had penetrated the surface, so it is what it is, not too unattractive, but not what I was going for. The little Mazaki petty came out really nice I think, maybe my favorite of the bunch. Here is a summary of what I did:
  • I put my knife in an edge guard so I had something to hold onto without danger of slicing my fingers
  • I masked the ferrule with aluminum foil
  • I used a butane torch, kind of like what you would use in a kitchen for creme brulee
  • I started gingerly with really quick passes of the flame. I found that my magnolia handle darkened much quicker than the woods I saw in various videos. I wonder if the oil on the handle played a part in it darkening really quick. I also didn't want to go completely black like some video demonstrations did, I just wanted the grain to be highlighted and a darker brown.
  • look out for the corners! The octagonal corners that got very black very quickly, this was fixed up easily by sandpaper afterwards.
  • Applying a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax made it look even nicer and is probably good to seal it up and protect it a bit.
good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.
 
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