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Finishing handles?

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rockbox

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What do you guys use to finish your handles? Shellac, oil, poly?
 

Potato42

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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.
 

Dave Martell

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

rockbox

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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?
 

Dave Martell

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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.
 

watercrawl

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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.
 

kalaeb

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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.
 

Dave Martell

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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.

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

apicius9

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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
 

Dave Martell

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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.
 

Dave Martell

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Oh yeah and wheel (surface) rpm can factor in quite a bit as well to the results. Too slow and you get streaks of compound loading the piece and if too fast you get too aggressive a cut rate.
 

rockbox

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Thanks a lot guys especially the drill press idea. I have just bought a floor standing drill press and was wondering what I was going to do with my cheap bench top. I may actually have a finished knife by next week. LOL.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Stefan,
if your grinder is 3450rmp, don't apply too much pressure while buffing horn, or it might get burned. Best is to pick a grinder/buffer with 1800 rpm.

When sanding a wa handle, I typically alternate (as of recently, prior to that all by hand) between sanding on a disk sander and by hand up 1000 grit for all woods (stabilized or naturally stable) and to 2000 grit for ironwood. I use a buffer for bringing up shine on the horn, metal and color on the wood. I use green and pink compounds and soft wheels.

M
 

apicius9

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Thakss Marko, i will have to look again. Usually, I go very lightly on the buffing wheels, but I can always keep usimg the old bench top drill press.

Stefan

P.s. I hate typing on an Ipad.
 

Matus

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I hope it is OK to wake up this old thread, but I saw no point of starting a new one as this one is spot on.

I would like to add as specific question. I will soon be finishing my first ironwood handle (with a small brass bolster). I am wondering what kind of finish should I use. some polymerising oil like Tung or Tru, or mixture with a shellack, or just some mineral oil or board butter?

Thanks in advance.
 

pkjames

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for ironwood, and a few similar species, it can be sanded and buffed to super shine without adding any type of finish. In fact PU based finish destroy the natural lust of ironwood. You can try broad butter, or some sort of wax finish with carnauba wax but that is as far as I would go.
 

pkjames

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ImageUploadedByKitchen Knife Forum1478732813.967850.jpg
FYI, This ironwood on the Tanaka is the result with only sanding and buffing
 

Matus

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Thank you James, I will first try just sand & polish it and will only consider some board butter as the very last step (basically first maintenance step).

Should I just dry sand it, or should I also do some wet sanding?

May I ask which other woods could/should be handled similarly to ironwood?
 

pkjames

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dry sanding is sufficient to achieve this sort of finish.From my experience, festool random orbital sander with those high grit soft pads followed by buffing can certainly achieve this result with ease.
As of similar timber, anything that is dense and oily can be treated the same way. Ringed gidgee and ebony are two commonly available types.

J.
 

Matus

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Thank you again James. I will try and see what will come out :)
 

rick_english

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After trying every wax and oil under the sun, I've been using the Beall wood buff kit for a couple of years now, and I won't be using anything else. The tripoli takes out any leftover sanding marks but can color light wood. The white diamond removes any tripoli color and provides a stunning finish. Highly recommended.
 

Matus

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Thank you Rick. Once I clicked on that system I realised that I got it recommended once (a few years back when I was curios how you guys get wood so incredibly polished). I will bookmark it and order once I will find a usable buffing machine in Europe.
 
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