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BLO and Turpentine soak?


JohnCenter
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I've been meaning to ask about a  post I ran across (lost now. I think it was Instagram...) where a knifemaker mentioned he left his wood handled knives soaking for a week in a mason jar filled with a mix of Boiled Linseed Oil and Turpentine. Removed it, let it dry, and sanded smooth.

Anyone have any thoughts on this process?

 

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A bad idea, in my opinion.  The notion is that the thinned BLO will penetrate all the way into the wood and act as a sort of stabilization.  In reality, that's not what happens unless you can pull a strong vacuum on it.  It penetrates until it cures, which happens fairly close to the surface.  Everyone has their own way of doing a BLO finish, but generally the less of it you use the better your finish will be.

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I know the late Bill Moran did something like that but I'd stick with Alan's advice.  One thing about BLO is that it's not waterproof so you're really not achieving stabilization even if you pump the oil all the way through the block and I'm not sure how long it would take it to cure.

Doug

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I use a mix of equal parts of refined BLO, Pure Tung oil, Vegetable turp (gum turps) and spar varnish and brush it on liberally. leave it for 30 minutes and wipe off vigorously.  Leave for a few hours and repeat 3 to 5 times depending on the porosity of the wood and with some of the burls where there  is a lot of end grain I may have to do it a few more times but it leaves a very nice finish

Von Gruff

http://www.vongruffknives.com/

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I'm a Danish oil or bowling alley wax guy myself. Both buff out to a very high luster when dried.

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I was also under the impression BLO needed more than a 'soak' to work, but at this stage in the knife-making game I'm willing to be open minded. I did not know it was not water proof.

So far I've have kept things really simple. I've just been wiping thin layers of Tung Oil onto my wood handles. I've been happy with the results. It dries hard and clear and I haven't had any moisture issues yet.

I originally went with Tung Oil because I found it locally in a pure form. This made it a generally safer oil to use than BLO, which is filled with chemicals.

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On 1/15/2019 at 6:24 AM, Alan Longmire said:

Garry's method is a good one.  Tung oil is waterproof when cured.

I am about to have 8 or 10 filet knives water jetted out of some stainless saw blades I acquired and was going to use some walnut that was given to me(in trade for a filet knife)

Maybe I will pick up some Tung oil.   I was kicking around the idea of thinning some fiberglass resin with some acetone...painting that on the handle....then sanding it after it dries.

Any one ever tried something like that?? Hopefully thats on topic here. I was going to start a thread and ask.....but figured I would throw it out here.

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This is only my opinion, but I think any attempt to completely seal wood from water on a knife handle will result in failure.  Moisture will find a way in sooner than later, and once the wood starts moving with moisture changes, the rest of the coating will fail in short order.

I've had a number of professionally stabilized wood handles show signs of shrinking after the knife was done.  This makes me think that no sort of surface or lightly penetrating coating will ever keep the wood 100% stable.  Even if it is thinned to a water consistency.

I feel it is better to go with something like a Tung oil or Danish oil finish that can be touched up over time and let the wood breath.

-Brian

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On 1/15/2019 at 1:37 AM, Garry Keown said:

equal parts of refined BLO, Pure Tung oil, Vegetable turp (gum turps) and spar varnish

Curious, why both linseed oil and tung oil?  And why linseed oil, if you're also using Spar Varnish, the main ingredient being linseed oil? 
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22 minutes ago, Gerald Boggs said:

Curious, why both linseed oil and tung oil?  And why linseed oil, if you're also using Spar Varnish, the main ingredient being linseed oil? 

Gerald, the recipe was given to me by a 35 year veteran in the knifemaking game who had experimented long ago and has been using this mix for many years. He showed me a knife that was 25 years old that had been returned for a new sheath and the wood handle looked as good as if it was done yesterday with the clincher being that the knifes owner is a serious hunter from the west coast of NZ,one of the wettest parts of the country where  John lived  untill a few years back and now lives in Central Otago. one of the hottest and driest parts of the country. What has worked so well for so long will continue to work and if there are some similarities in the ingredients performance's it has not harmed the efficiency and lasting ability of the finish mix's combination of  of these ingredients so I am not going to argue with success. I will continue to use it with every confidence.

I was making wood furniture and kitchen cabenitry as part of my building business untill I retired and was using a similar mix that I developed for the woodwork and  had some waxes added but I changed to Johns mix for the knives

Edited by Garry Keown

Von Gruff

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3 hours ago, Gerald Boggs said:

I didn't intend to imply there was anything wrong with your mix, just curious as to the reasoning.

That was all I took from it Gerald. Our interest and questions is all meant to expand our knowledge base 

Edited by Garry Keown
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Von Gruff

http://www.vongruffknives.com/

The ability to do comes with doing.

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

This mix seems to have backfired on me for the second time....

Several years ago I put a wood handle on a Condor blank, the wood was sawed a bit thin so I used DIT micarta as a liner.

When the handle was done I soaked it in a Linseed oil and Turpentine mix, and next think the wood and micarta had separated.

I was struggling with the finishing on a big Bowie, the handle is a composite of wood and micarta for the bolster and "pommel".......couldn't get the wood and the micarta to look nice at the same time.

I applied 3 coats of the mix, allowed to dry, rubbed it a bit and everything came out really nice day.

 

Next day I felt something was of with the (previously perfect) hafting, only to find the wood had separated  from the micarta liner again.....

 

Either the oil is causing the wood to expand, Wild Olive, I doubt it, or........the turpentine is causing the resin and/or epoxy to let go.......?

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