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Thread: Wooden knife handle care

  1. #1
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    Default Wooden knife handle care

    My wooden handled knives (mostly trapping related knives) are dry, rough, and don't have any finish on the wood.
    Several came with no finish, and the others I let soak too long in the sink which peeled the varnish off.

    Which stain, oil or finish is recommended to give protection to the wooden knife handles.
    Would prefer more of an oil/stain rather than a hard varnish finish.
    Ideally something simple I can pick up from a local Home Hardware or Home Depot.
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  3. #2
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    I would try some mineral oil. Once that soaks into the grain it gives the wood a velvety smoothness. Easy to find at any pharmacy or even some grocery stores.

  4. #3
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    I've used beeswax or Johnsons paste wax on mine with good success....
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  5. #4
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    An application of Linseed oil, or boiled Linseed oil if you prefer, applied once a day for a week should do it. It is the traditional method and still the best IMO, when dry it is very durable, it soaks deep into the wood and takes a few months to harden but the surface of the wood is not wet. After hardening, an application of beeswax will provide additional protection.

    Boiled Linseed oil is not really boiled, it has additives to harden the oil quicker, rinse used cloths in water before disposal to prevent a fire.
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    I second Marker's advice. It's the same way to do milsurp gun stocks to maintain the original finish.

  7. #6
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    I use Tung oil (from Lee Valley, though I’m sure you can get it at CT or HH as well) on all my wood handled tools.
    Last edited by Wullie; March 9th, 2022 at 09:16 AM.

  8. #7
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    I have used Linseed oil on picnic tables in the past.
    Just started hearing and reading about Tung oil. Does Tung oil leave a hard varnish like coating?
    Have been doing reading on Mineral oil and cutting board oils/conditioners which may be an option.
    Not only can the wood handles be protected with mineral oil and/or cutting board conditioner, I am more likely to find other uses around the house for remain supply rather than having the left over sit in the garage for 20 years like other varnishes/stains used before.

    Was hoping to treat wood knife handles this weekend but am catching beavers faster than expected so can't give knives and fleshing tools a break yet.
    Should be last one/two weekends for processing till quota is full. Then can do end of season maintenance.
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  9. #8
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    636D40FC-E863-4CEE-ACD1-DA04DA069C8A.jpg
    A Tung Oil finish is hard but apparently elastic as well. Not sure what that means but the knife in the pic is EDC for me and I treat the scales about once a year. The finish is generally matte but with use or buffing it does take on a shine. Pure Tung Oil is food contact safe as well (though I like and use Walnut Oil on cutting boards, salad bowls and the like). I’ll admit I like the smell of the Tung Oil too.
    Last edited by Wullie; March 10th, 2022 at 10:07 AM.

  10. #9
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    I use a polymerizing Tung Oil from Lee Valley. Several light coats rubbed in seems to work well.

  11. #10
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    This reminded me that I bought a can of wood oil many years ago and forgot about it. Just found it. Itís Badger Wood Oil. (All natural hemp seed oil) Made in Canada. Now I canít remember what project I bought it for. lol. I seem to think I bought it from a knife shop? Not 100% sure.
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