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Is it possible to polish knife handles without a buffer?  

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Have you tried shoe shining with a piece of hessian and some green compound

 

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+1 on what Garry said.  Hessian (burlap to Americans) is great, but any coarse cloth works.  A little tube of green chrome rouge, white diamond compound, or Zam compound and you're good to go. Takes longer than with a powered wheel, but it works fine and it's safer.

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I almost never touch a handle with a buffer anymore.  After sanding the blade, hand sanding the handle bits seems to go very quickly, and I can keep my nicely defined edges. 

 

The buffer seems to smear the shape too badly.  (I may just be bad at buffing!)

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6 hours ago, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

Polishing wood works best using: wood. Take a piece of round wood, and just rub with it. It both burnishes and polishes the handle beautifully. 

 

Damnit, now I have to try to find the time to try this!:D

@Jeroen ZuiderwijkIs there a specific type of wood (hard/soft/oily/etc.) that works the best?

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