Wood Handle Finishing - Topic For June 2012 Wood handle - dyeing, sanding and finishes
Posted 01 June 2012 - 06:15 AM
What do you use to dye/stain different types of wood handles? What finish materials do you use for different types of woods?
Tips on sanding the handle material and filling the wood grain. What sandpaper and/or polishing materials and techniques do you use for the final finish? What methods do you use for filing the pores in the wood grain for different types of wood?
Posted 01 June 2012 - 06:56 AM
Steve, this is another great Topic of the Month. I like and have used highly figured curly maple in knife handles. I want to pass on a few tips that I learned about curly maple over the years.
I asked Bill Moran several years ago at the Blade Show in Atlanta what he used to color his curly maple handles and he told me that he used medium or dark brown Fiebing's leather dye to color his handles. He also told me that sometimes he would mix in just a drop of red Fiebings dye in the application bottle.
I have also learned that Bill Moran had purchased the curly maple for his knives from Wayne Dunlap in Chantilly, Virginia. I first went to Wayne Dunlap's shop with Master Smith Jack Fuller who had last gone there with Bill Moran several years before. The curly maple and several other hardwoods that he has on hand are highly figured and some of the best available anywhere. Wayne has a special for knife makers which is his $100 box of highly figured handle material. http://www.dunlapwoodcrafts.com/
If you are using curly maple for your handle material then Majestic Maple Stain which is chromic acid and tap water is very helpful to really bring out the figure in the wood. You can obtain it from R.W. Wilson, P.O. Box 2012, Weirton, West Virginia 26062 or telephone 304-723-2771.
Also, Keith Casteel is nationally known for his fine engraving work on firearms and the carving of rifle stocks. Keith produces and sells his own wood oil finish which is an outstanding product and costs about $5 a bottle and can be contacted at Keith Casteel, Rt. #1, Bruceton Mills, West Virginia 26525, telephone 304-379-8309, or Email email@example.com
If you call R.W. Wilson or Keith Casteel to order you will find that they both are a wealth of knowledge in the finishing of curly maple.
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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:48 AM
I have used curly maple and do use Bill Moran's method with the feibings dye. You have to keep an eye on the raised grain with maple. Hopefully Mike Williams will reply with his method for maple. His handles turn out great.
I do like the exotic woods such as ironwood which is a favorite. Always keep in mind with wood is that the sanding and sawdust is not good for you, especially with some woods ( ironwood), and always wear a respirator. I usually hand sand the ironwood to 1500 grit then go to a white scotchbrite pad. After that I will use 3M polishing papers to really bring out the luster. These are available from Rio Grande and go up to like 10,000 grit. After sanding I will apply a good paste wax and buff lightly with a clean cloth or a clean buff. The customer can then just re-apply the paste wax every so often and keep the handle looking good.
I am sure I will think of more. Headed out to the shop.
Anvil Top Custom Knives
Posted 02 June 2012 - 06:33 AM
Posted 02 June 2012 - 10:10 AM
Last year I did a "wood in the kitchen" test involving many iterations of soaks in hot soapy water, rinse, dry, repeat: http://knifedogs.com...-Kitchen-a-test
The winners of that test were:
a combo of Spar Urethane/Linseed Oil/Turpentine
and Safflower Oil
I'm fond of the Spar/Lin/Turp combo.
I am setting up to do a follow-on test with several finishes that I did not have in the first round and am interested in suggestions. I realize this is only one small side of wood handle finishing - but it is of interest to me, and maybe others. I'm betting ABS folks have some favorite formulas!
Posted 02 June 2012 - 04:52 PM
I finish my not stablized wood with Tung Oil. I form them to profile with my band saw, shape them with 220 grit, sand to 600 grit. Then I start with a fined scot-bright belt, move on to a plain cork belt. After the cork I rub them down with a a damp paper towel. Heat lightly with my torch, followed with 0000 steel wool against the grain. I do this 3 times. Now comes the Tung Oil 3 to 6 coats steel wool between each coat. Followed by 2 coats of Howards Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner, and another plain cork belt low speed polish.
I advise my first 2 clients to wipe and rub polish there handle every 6 months with Howards Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner to presever the wood.
I also stablize some of my wood using a brake vacumum system as described in the Handle and Guards Book, picture of my mason jar chamber with two pieces of maple in it which I dovetailed on to a piece of blackwood I got from Pop's for a handle on an 8" knife. (first forged knife sold, after that I started taking photos of my work)
George B. Brackett, Jr.
Tactically Sharp, Inc.
Tactically Sharp, Inc.
Posted 25 June 2012 - 12:56 PM
My trouble is finding a color I like that works on different woods. Keep a notebook on your process. Keep track of the mix, the dye colors, the wood, the final sanding grit, etc. I have found that you can always go darker but not lighter unless you want to sand it all down again.
Posted 25 June 2012 - 01:38 PM
For wood finishing I think the best guys out there are the gun guys. These guys have been finishing wood to withstand heat,cold, sweat, and grizzeled bar attacks for the last several hundred years. AND, make it look good to boot.
Get a book on finishing gunstocks. Use their techniques. Then improve on it if you can. If you ever get a chance to go to the custom gunmakers guild show; you can see that they do know how to finish wood.
90% of the crappy wood finishes I saw at Atlanta was not the stain; but the filling and finish that was on top of the stain.
Just a thought from the oven called Oklahoma.
Posted 01 July 2012 - 05:01 AM