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Nick Woo

Wood choice for sayas

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Hey guys I am looking for advice about a saya I made. I made a saya out of red oak for a kitchen knife i made out of 1095. I finished it and when I pulled the knife out about a month later so i can give it away the blade was quite rusty. I had put Renaissance wax on it before I put it in the saya but it was attacked through the wax.

My question though is red oak simply a poor choice for a saya? 

I have made some out of poplar, curly ash, and pine and none of those have had the rusting issue even with 1095 blades in them.

 

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Oak and walnut are notorious for causing rust.  They are extremely acidic woods by nature.  Also, some glues (specifically Titebond 2 and Titebond 3) will rust a blade quickly months after it's supposedly dry.

 

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When wanting to use the more acidic woods, would stabilizing them beforehand help to prevent the rusting issue?

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1 hour ago, Alex Middleton said:

When wanting to use the more acidic woods, would stabilizing them beforehand help to prevent the rusting issue?

No idea.  I suspect stabilizing would help, but I have no experience with that.  

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Alder and poplar are better choices, along with magnolia. Plain white glue, original Titebond, or rice glue are mostly used.

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HA, I found out about the Titebond rusting issue after I finished a beautiful wood carved black walnut sheath for a wonderful sword from Arms and Armour.  I glued in a felt liner to hold the sword in place, drew it out after it sat for a day and saw a terrible mess.  I spent a ton of time on the sheath and a ton of money on the sword.  At first I thought that maybe I trapped some moisture in the felt, so I took all the time to make a second black walnut sheath, without the glued in liner.  To this day if I put that sword in that sheath, where ever the Titebond touches the blade brown rust still shows up, this is 10 years later.

The piece of black walnut I used was seasoned, and dry when I used it.  I've had no issues with the wood causing any trouble with rust or oxidation.  Sealing the inside of the sheath with wax or something else may help if I ever make another sheath out of black walnut. 

However, as a wood worker of sorts too, I really want to transition from using modern glues in wood working to either a bone glue or hide.  Hide glue especially because it never fully cures allowing you to take things apart if you have to.  (or so I've read)

 

 

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Hide glue is great stuff.  Get the dry kind and mix it as you need it, the premixed has stabilizers that don't play well with leather grip wrapping.  And if you're ever unhappy with a joint, just steam it and it'll pop right off.  With a leather wrap, you'll need to remove whatever waterproofing you used on it to remove the hide glue.  Hide glue and veg-tan leather are one of the strongest bonds there is because it's basically the same thing.  A wood grip core bound in cotton, linen, or hemp twine, then wrapped with leather, all held together with hide glue, is an incredibly tough composite package.  Which is why European sword grips and scabbards have been done that way since around 700 AD. Without stitching.  Just leather and glue.  

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Titebond was making a 'bone glue' for a while I never used it, and now I can't find it.  But have read that its not the same stuff anyway. 

Yes I was turning toward traditional hide glue - a wood working retailer a few countys away does carry it.  I just havn't had a reason to go get it yet. 

Correct me if I'm wrong Alan but I thought that hide glue was on the spongy side or at least - has like an elastic quality to it? 

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No, it dries to a hard film.  Nothing elastic about it other than it moves with humidity just like wood and leather, which is why it is such a good match for gluing those things.

It doesn't stick to metal, lest anyone get any ideas in that direction.  It needs porous organic materials.  Even though luthiers use it for pearl inlay it is not great for that purpose, which is why old instruments usually lose their inlays.

Wood, leather, bone, cloth, paper.  Not suitable for wet locations.  Not recommended for heavy leather-to-leather bonds as it is not flexible.

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