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Handling handle wood


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I have a finishing question.  I am looking for a wood finish that will not darken or yellow with age.  I am also looking for a finish that will really highlight the grain of an exotic wood (olive).  It should be tough enough to tolerate use when out in the weather (elk hunting) as well.  Is there such a finish or am I snipe hunting?

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Water-base polyurethane over tung oil.  The oil makes the grain pop, the water-base poly seals it.  Looks like plastic, but there you go.

Or use stabilized olive, if they offer it.

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For color, I would recommend Shellac. It is easier to use, quicker to dry, seals better, and is safer than Tung oil (and just as traditional to boot ;) ).

 

I whole-heartedly agree with Alan on the second, though: water based polyurethane is my absolute favorite. Just remember that for any polyurethane, the full curing time is about a week.  (Water or solvent based doesn't matter: full hardness is a chemical reaction, not evaporation)

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Besides being oil and therefore needing petroleum products to work with (minor quibble to be sure), it's quite poisonous before it dries, though that's usually not brought up a lot. The most direct quote from the Tung tree article on wiki:

 

The tung tree is poisonous in all of its parts, including the fruit and the seeds, although some parts of the tree have been used for medicinal purposes in the past. According to the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, just one seed from the fruit can be fatal, and other symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, and slowed breathing. The leaves can also give a rash similar to that from poison ivy.[9]

 

Once it's fully dry, it's fine of course.

 

You can eat shellac flakes without harm, and a great many people drink the main solvent (ethanol) on purpose every day .

 

 

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Yes , the seed if eaten can kill and the leaves can result in skin irritations.. However we are using the oil which extracted from the nut. Pure tung oil is not poisonous. The chemicals used to thin can cause adverse reactions in some people. Real tung oil based products are FDA approved for food contact. For example to use on food cutting boards.. NOTICE I Said real Tung oil based. There are products that use tung oil in their name or product description but are in fact not true tung oil. The bottom line is. Many of the products we use to make our products look beautiful are dangerous when used improperly. Read the instruction and information sheets then use them in the the manner intended. 

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To add to Vlegski's post, yes, you need PURE tung oil.  If the ingredients include petroleum distillates or heavy metals, don't buy it.  That's why  I recommended tung over linseed for a kitchen knife handle.  You can find boiled linseed oil that is all natural, but it's not at all close to easy or cheap.  The hardware store kind that I use on hawk handles contains petroleum distillates and heavy metal (now cobalt oxide and carbonate, pre-1980s usually red lead oxide) drying agents.  Tung is also more water-resistant than linseed.  Of course, if you top it with the polyurethane, you're putting a layer of waterproof plastic on top anyway, so whatever you want to do. ;)

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I suspect the presence of paint thinner and metal accelerants is why my Grandfather always cautioned away from Tung oil. I was raised in the cult of Shellac from a very young age :D  But I can certainly appreciate my second-hand "advice from the late 40's" is a bit out of date with due care to get the correct purity of the oil.

 

Linseed oil was also always right out in his book unless you pressed the flax yourself. There are just too many tempting shortcuts in making it cure well.

 

(And I stand by my claims that it is easier to use and smells nicer :D )

Edited by Ted Stocksdale
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I've never worked with Olive wood, but have you tried just buffing it? 

 

I've never used any oil or sealant on my handles. I just sand to a fine grit and buff with a fine pink or white rouge. Sometimes I put a coat of floor wax on the grip after, but not often.

 

This only works with hard, dense, oily woods of course. Ironwood, ebony, blackwood, cocobolo, all look pretty good with this technique.

 

Dave

 

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As far as 100 percent tung oil goes, the only danger I’ve heard about it is that the oil soaked rags, paper towels, etc. used for applying, can possibly spontaneously combust. Tung oil looks great on walnut by the way.

 

Jon

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I found this site that sells pure tung oil, real milk  paint (https://www.realmilkpaint.com/category/oils/). 

People use their tung oil products for countertops, turned bowls, butcher blocks and cutting boards. They has MSDS sheets too. I have used their pure tung oil and half & half tung oil and citrus solvent. I use a couple of coats of the half & half letting it dry off then 1-2 coats of pure tung oil a day for about 5-7 days before letting it dry then buff however long that takes.


I used it on these wenge handles with no problems at all. I use both every day and they get moisture exposed a lot. The wenge is very porous so I put more coats of the half & half to penetrate. Gives it a nice non glossy, satin finish you can put wax on to shine it up.

 

B3C69A49-B96E-4652-BD9A-BCC58D65D087.jpeg
 

16 hours ago, Jon Bishop said:

Tung oil looks great on walnut by the way.

100% correct.

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