How I finish stabilized wood

Discussion in 'Burl Source Knife Handle Wood' started by Burl Source, Mar 2, 2014.

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  1. Mar 2, 2014 #1

    Burl Source

    Burl Source

    Burl Source

    Weird Wood Pusher

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    Below I show the method I like best for finishing stabilized woods. This also works well for most natural hardwoods.
    I took a lot of shortcuts so if you do things correctly your results will look much better than the photos below.

    This is a reject block of maple burl that was dyed and stabilized by K&G. Sanded to 80 grit.
    [​IMG]

    Sanded to 400 grit
    [​IMG]

    Sanded to 600 grit. You can see that 600 grit is when the wood starts looking good. The finer you go from here the more defined the grain and figure become. I stopped at 600 grit because that was the finest sandpaper I had on hand. Best results come at 1000+ grit.
    [​IMG]

    Using an oil blend like Danish Oil or Tung oil I wipe on a light coat. The reason I prefer an oil blend over something like linseed oil is because the blend tends to fill small pores especially with multiple coats.
    [​IMG]

    After 15 or 20 minutes I wipe down the wood with a dry cloth. I let that sit and dry for a couple hours and then apply another coat. Repeat until everything looks good to you.
    [​IMG]

    After letting the handle dry overnight I apply a generous coat of paste wax.
    [​IMG]

    Then about an hour later I hand buff with a soft cloth. Like polishing a pair of shoes.
    [​IMG]

    These photos show the block sanded to 600 grit and only one coat of Danish Oil. If you sand your handle to 1000+ grit and apply 3 or 4 coats of oil your results will be much better.
     
  2. Mar 2, 2014 #2

    Bill13

    Bill13

    Bill13

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    Thanks for sharing, this is got me motivated to slim down a handle I have. Maybe tomorrow with the snow we are going to get.
     
  3. Mar 2, 2014 #3

    Burl Source

    Burl Source

    Burl Source

    Weird Wood Pusher

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    You are safe using Danish Oil, Tung Oil and Tru-Oil. I prefer Watco brand Danish oil.
    Use light coats in a warm dry work area.
    Too heavy of coats or cold damp conditions in your work area can cause the finish to be gummy and discolored.
     
  4. Mar 3, 2014 #4

    mkriggen

    mkriggen

    mkriggen

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    I've found that you can mitigate the effects of a cool (not cold, nothing will help if it's cold) moister environment by cutting the finish with mineral spirits. I use a 50%/50% mix of tung oil and mineral spirits. You do have to apply more coats for the same effect though. If you only want to do one coat Watco teak oil also works well (don't use for multiple coats).

    Be well,
    Mikey
     
  5. Mar 3, 2014 #5

    Bill13

    Bill13

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    I will turn on the heat in the garage. The thin coat recommendation is reminding me of the carbon pan seasoning thread.
     
  6. Mar 3, 2014 #6

    icanhaschzbrgr

    icanhaschzbrgr

    icanhaschzbrgr

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    From my (very limited) experience I don't see much difference between (if any) when sending blocks above 800-100 grit. With some wood I couldn't spot any differences even between 600 and 1000 grit, except for the more glossiness.

    On the Russian knife makers forum they would suggest putting wood into freezer before applying oil. Can't remember exactly how it was explained, but few makers claimed it really helped them achieve better results. As for myself, I've spent half on winter on the balcony where temperature was around 0…-10 C˚ most of the time. I shaped and sanded everything on the balcony and then returned back into room to apply oil… so unintentionally I was following that advice from Russian forum. Can't say if it changed anything or not :)

    P.S. that block of wood would be called "premium burl" by any local wood seller. And that's the reason why I would prefer Burl Source to any other source when I have enough money.
     
  7. Mar 3, 2014 #7

    icanhaschzbrgr

    icanhaschzbrgr

    icanhaschzbrgr

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    Mark what are you doing with all those rejected pieces?
     
  8. Mar 3, 2014 #8

    Burl Source

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    Weird Wood Pusher

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    This one will get cut into spacer chunks. There were several checks and open eyes on the other side of the block.
     
  9. Mar 3, 2014 #9

    mkriggen

    mkriggen

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    It depends on the wood. On woods with basically 2 dimensional grain (especially dark woods like Gabon ebony and African blackwood) you're right, sanding to super high grits doesn't gain you much but gloss. On curly woods and wood with 3 dimensional grain though, taking them to a really high grit will really make the grain pop. You won't really see it until you get above 4000, so don't stop to soon.:biggrin:

    Be well,
    Mikey
     
  10. Mar 3, 2014 #10

    apicius9

    apicius9

    apicius9

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    Are you a masochist? Or is this micromesh grits? ;) Not sure I really see a difference beyond 1000 grit unless I have metal, bakelite etc. in the handle. In most cases, I find sanding up to 800-1000 sufficient. But I also have less hesitations than Mark to use a buffing wheel with white compound that has approx 1500 grit AFAIK. Doesn't work well on woods with open pores because the wax gets in there, but for most woods I think it comes out fine. Final polishing with a cotton cloth does make a difference.

    Stefan
     
  11. Mar 3, 2014 #11

    mkriggen

    mkriggen

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    LOL...sorry, should have been more specific. I use a progression of 120,180,220,320,600,1200 and 2000 grit sandpaper on the unfinished wood (with a 50% diluted shellac sanding sealer applied before the 180,220,and 320 grits). I then apply about four coats of 50/50 mix of tung oil and mineral spirits. Once the finish is dry I hand polish with a progression of 3,2, and 1 micron micromesh (claimed equivalent to 4000, 6000, and 8000grit). I would not use sandpaper higher then 2000 on wood, that would just be playing with yourself and we don't allow that here:disdain:

    Uh, sorry Mark, didn't mean to jack your thread.

    Be well,
    Mikey
     
  12. Mar 4, 2014 #12

    Burl Source

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    Weird Wood Pusher

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    Mikey you are doing exactly what I had hoped for. I also learn from hearing how others finish wood.
    Often times at a knife show I will see really nice knives but the handle looks like they quite working on it before they were done.
    The thing that bugs me the most is when I see belt sanding lines in the wood. and....pores filled with buffing compound.

    One of the most important things is to work with good lighting and not progress to the next grit until you have things perfect with the current grit.
     
  13. Mar 4, 2014 #13

    mkriggen

    mkriggen

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    I hear ya bro. I've found that the 600grit stage is when I find any scratches I missed earlier and often have to drop back down to 320 to clear them. If the visible scratches aren't gone when I'm done with the 600, they'll still be there when I'm polishing.

    Be well,
    Mikey
     
  14. Mar 4, 2014 #14

    icanhaschzbrgr

    icanhaschzbrgr

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    Another thing that's I find very important during sanding stage — is a good light source. Too many times had I noticed that sanding on the late evening under artificial light would lead to visible scratches next morning under natural light. It's probably a bit less pronounced with stabilized wood, but it's still there.

    On disk sander I use 100grit abrasive for shaping and then 120 grit to remove scratches from disk sander. After sanding with 120 grit sandpaper I had to clean wood with some generic horse hair shoe brush. It would help in removing at least half of dust from wood pores and help finding remaining scratches from disc sander. With unstabilized wood shoe brush cleaning isn't efficient enough and I often would switch to steel wool right after 120 grit sandpaper. Medium/fine/ulltrafine steel wool progression is my generic choice for most unstabilized wood.

    Gonna experiment more with coatings, but so far I've found 1-2 coating of oil is enough for stabilized wood. It already has most pores filled and doesn't soak much oil (if any). With Danish Oil usually 2 or 3 coats would give me desired results, and wouldn't became any better after applying more oil (with light sanding of 0000 steel wool in between coatings).
    Yesterday I tried Gunstock True Oil on the ringeed gidgee handle and right after first coating handle started looked like it was applied with glossy varnish. Hm… I guess 3-4 coats of Danish Oil would give similar results but would take several times more time to dry.
    And I have to admit I like glossy finish more then matte on that gidgee.
     
  15. May 26, 2019 #15

    Huntdad

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    Great information.
     

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