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Alex Middleton

Help with handle finish.

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I've been working on this one for a couple of weeks and am getting close to wrapping it up.  I'm making it, along with a fillet knife, as a retirement gift for the chief of one of the fire departments that I am on.  He's been a mentor to me for over 15 years and this set really means a lot to me.

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Both woods are from blocks that he has given to me from his own woodshop.  He said that the darker wood is cocobolo but it feels and smells a whole lot like african blackwood.  I have no idea what the other wood is but it has a tight grain and sands quite nicely.  The brass for the guard has been salvaged from discarded fire hose fittings.  I still have a fair amount of shaping and sanding to do but what I'm concerned with is the finish.  Originally his retirement party was scheduled for the end of June, but it's now been moved up to June 2nd.  I had planned on a boiled linseed oil finish, I've only used it a couple of times and have never had the patience to do it properly.  This time I've committed to doing it correctly, and now I'm not sure that I have the time.  Is 4 weeks enough time, or should I be pursuing other options to get the same quality of finish?

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The wood looks like paduk mahogany. 4 weeks is plenty of time for a BLO finish in a decent climate.

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At first glance, without dimensions, the handle seems a bit stubby. It should be slightly narrower or equal to the blade imo.

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Thanks Vern.  Paduk is as good a guess as any.  I'll go ahead and begin the finishing process after I'm done sanding.  I just didn't want to start with the BLO and not be able to finish it on time.

Joel,  I appreciate the input.  I agree its still a bit on the stout side.  I've been taking it down bit by bit and still have a little ways to go.  I'll admit to being a little gunshy though as I already burned through into the tang pocket on the first handle I put on it.

 

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Start your finish with a 50/50cut of BLO & mineral spirits. It will penetrate and dry fast. About 2 coats then a "one drop" coat of full strength BLO and lots of rub. If you have time do it twice. If it dries well enough to feel dry and you have time heat it a little bit with a hair dryer and rub on some furniture wax. Let that harden and buff.

I understand the gunshy part. One advantage to BLO is that you don't have to worry about a hard finish that is someway messed up and needs to be sanded off.

Edited by Vern Wimmer

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Thanks again Vern.  Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if I keep it in the house  (65-70 degrees),i should be looking at a week or so in between coats, right?

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On the 50/50 cut 24 hrs is enough between coats. Generally apply the mix until the wood look wet even when it is dry to the touch then "top coat" with full strength. If you are very sparing on the straight BLO and rub it in 'till the handle is warm two days between coats is all. Remember BLO is not a "fixed formula" finish with a rigid schedule. It is a more "apply it until it looks right " kind of thing. The only thing that matters, really, is that it's dry when you hand it over. Not for the severely OCD with scheduling compulsions. Give it a week after the last coat. 

It's very forgiving as a finish if you do not treat it like it was laquer, poly or other brush on and let harden finish. 

For the wood in the pic I wouldn't sand beyond 600 grit. 

 

Here's a little secret. If you feel it is still a bit tacky with a couple of days to go you can wipe it with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits/paint thinner and dry with a hair dryer and wax .

Don't leave rags with BLO on them wadded up in the garbage. BLO creates heat as it "polymerizes" and can spontaneously combust.

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600 grit is exactly where I took it to.  Other than having to upsize the pin (long story :angry:), its coming out exactly like I hoped it would.

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Thanks again for the help guys.

 

Alex

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Looks nice. I like it a lot. What's the steel ? 

 

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You're not going to like it :D, but it's reclaimed from an old spring harrow tooth.  One of these days I'll get a sample over to my buddy at Lee steel and have him zap it in his spectrometer.  Researching comes up with anywhere from 1060 to 1095.  I normalize,  heat to re/descalence, quench in canola, and temper in the kitchen oven.  Pretty straightforward and I haven't had any major issues so far.

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Au contriere, mon frer, I like it. 

As long as it's simple and passes a hardening test I'm a fan to at least to some degree.

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Definitely skates a file.  Anything more telling than that is beyond me right now.  I think im going to head back out to the shop and prep a sample to take over to my buddy.  Now to sneak out of the house again without the wife noticing :ph34r:.

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14 minutes ago, Vern Wimmer said:

Au contriere, mon frer,

You almost got it :lol:

Au contraire, mon frère.

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My "fox paws" 

My "fox paws" 

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I finished up the handlework on the "little brother" this afternoon.

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I took this pic right after I wiped on the first coat of BLO.  Other than a small gap at the top of the blade/guard junction, it turned out pretty well.

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