Question About Rusting and Wood-Glued Sayas

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JAMMYPANTZ

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Hi everyone!

I'm not sure if this has been answered on the forum (I'm sure it has and I'm too lazy to look haha!) - I just finished three-hours worth of annoying saya-making only to find out that the wood glue that I used (Titebond III) may cause steel to rust even after it's been dried and cured? Here and here.

IMG_0018.jpg

But apparently, wood glue has low pH, i.e. high acidity?? For those who have made their own says with wood glue (Titebond, Elmers, etc.), have you encountered any rusting on your knives? Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
 
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Bensbites

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I have not, but my sayas are only used for travel storage. I always considered the wood from sayas to hold enough moisture to concern me. I have advised my saya clients not to use them for long term storage without vci paper.
 

Jon-cal

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I haven’t experienced this with titebond. I have, however, seen certain kinds of wood cause severe reactions when in contact with carbon steel. Purpleheart in particular caused crazy rusting. Will never use that again...
 

toddnmd

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I’ll agree that the primary use of a saya is for protection in transport. Not really recommended for long term storage, particularly for carbon or even semi-stainless.
 

JAMMYPANTZ

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Got it. Good to know! I've been keeping my knife in vci paper, but good to know that sayas primarily shouldn't be used for more than transportation purposes.

Thanks everyone!
 

Bensbites

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Got it. Good to know! I've been keeping my knife in vci paper, but good to know that sayas primarily shouldn't be used for more than transportation purposes.

Thanks everyone!
FYI, Vci paper has an expiration date. Generally it is two years.
 

inferno

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i dont see how that saya/glue combo would rust the blade more or less than any other wood. drill a hole at the bottom so you can let air out if the says is ultra tight.

only thing i heard about wood rusting steel is oak and it was probably just BS.

just oil the blade, done.
 
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Titebond II & III will cause corrosion on some carbon steels. Titebond I (the original red label) is safe.
 

RDalman

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FYI, Vci paper has an expiration date. Generally it is two years.
Worth mentioning is storage of the paper. If it's kept in plastic it will keep longer I think. "volatile corrosion inhibitant"
 

Bensbites

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Worth mentioning is storage of the paper. If it's kept in plastic it will keep longer I think. "volatile corrosion inhibitant"
That’s my understanding too. I have a gallon ziplock bag with an hand printed expiration date, 2 yrs after purchase.
 

ChefShramrock

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I have been using Titebond III and have not noticed any issues. I use poplar wood. What other glue is recommended?
 

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Old Head
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I use Gorilla wood glue, as it dries clear and doesn't stain wood like Titebond products.

Also, I buy saya wood in large lots and let them naturally dry for months, even years if I can.

Lastly, I finish with many coats of Danish oil, until fully penetrated.

I am well over 400 sayas now, and have never heard of a saya causing rust. I store my own rather large collection in sayas, in a tool box. I live in the rather humid state of NC.

I would speculate that a knife that rusts within a saya had some residual moisture left to begin with.
 

captaincaed

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An unsealed ho wood saya collects moisture in my experience. If I put it in the toaster oven on low, it creates a mini sauna. Lotta steam. If I leave a carbon knife in it for weeks, it rusts. Simple as that. If rust starts inside a saya, it is a chemical seed crystal to create more rust in the same spot. Gotta get rid of the rust or the saya, if you're fussy like me. Try it if you don't believe me.

Vertical storage with air movement seems to be working well ATM. Doing a little experimenting leaving oil and and off the blades.

No experience with carbon steel in a sealed saya.
 
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I have also made hundreds of sayas and have mostly used Titebond glues. I mainly use hardwoods, mostly tropical or sub-tropical, some are kiln dried, but most are not. I also lived in Miami, less than a mile from the saltwater bay, and now I live in equally humid N. Carolina. In the vast majority of the cases where I have observed rust, it is with carbon steels coming contact with the glue, not from the wood itself......though I imagine if the knife/saya were exposed to quick extreme temperature changes, the blade may sweat and possibly form rust. I do experience this in my shop with my larger tools, such as the cast iron on my table saw when there is a change in the temp of 20-30 degrees in a short period. The real culprit is the formulation of certain glues, such as Titebond II & III....I have seen many blade develop a rust overnight due to the interaction with these glues. 52100 and TB III really do not get along. My sayas are all sealed on the out side, but the insides are not, so I am not sure if sealing the wood really matters. I do think it is important to make sure the blade is totally dry before putting it in the saya.

I now use TB I (it is a higher pH than II & III) exclusively and there are no issues. There is plenty of info regarding this, especially if you search for swords/sayas.
 

Jon-cal

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Titebond ii and iii have low pH and will absolutely cause rust if in contact with certain carbon steel. I went back and checked a few of mine after commenting that I never had problems and they did have some rust where there’s glue contact. Nothing to do with moisture. It seems most noticeable with iron cladding
 
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captaincaed

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"I now use TB I (it is a higher pH than II & III) exclusively and there are no issues. There is plenty of info regarding this, especially if you search for swords/saya."

This is good to know.
I'll double down on dry knife before saya. Hot water/IPA to make sure it dries properly.

IPA being isopropyl alcohol, not hoppy beer.
 

ChefShramrock

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"I now use TB I (it is a higher pH than II & III) exclusively and there are no issues. There is plenty of info regarding this, especially if you search for swords/saya."

This is good to know.
I'll double down on dry knife before saya. Hot water/IPA to make sure it dries properly.

IPA being isopropyl alcohol, not hoppy beer.
Thanks for clarifying. I was like, Is there nothing a good ipa won't fix?
 

VICTOR J CREAZZI

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I made a poplar saya for a very reactive carbon steel knife a few weeks ago and used Elmer's wood glue. No problems yet, though I live in low humidity Colorado.
 

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Old Head
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So when we are talking about knives coming into contact with glue, is it like glue globs seeping through the seems?

Can't this be remedied from a more careful application? Also, I usually apply an even coat of glue, and let it sit a bit before I put the pieces together. This helps keep it from sliding around, as the glue will be more tacky, and also keeps the glue from oozing everywhere.
 
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