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Thread: Finish for tool handles?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    St Marys, West Virginia

    Finish for tool handles?

    I turned a few handles for my patternamaker files from some oak.

    Does anyone apply finish to their handles? I didnt on these, but now think maybe I should. Not sure what would work best. I know the store bought tools have some type of finish on them.
    One good turn deserves another

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Columbia, SC
    I use BLO and wax.

  3. #3
    Seems like I recommend this weekly: Danish oil. Impossible to mess up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    St Marys, West Virginia
    Thanks guys. I dont think I have any BLO on hand, but there might be some Danish oil on the shelf. Have to look when I get home.

    I had a thought before hand to use CA glue. I have a couple bottles that are old now and dont want to use them on the pens. Thought it would be a good test for wear and see just how well the CA holds up in that manner. Changed my mind and thought Id just leave them plain. The CA thought was out of curiosity. But I do think they need something wiped on them.
    One good turn deserves another

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Toronto Ontario
    I use either polyurethane and wax, or shellac and wax.

    I find that with good buffing/sanding between coats of finish, and a nice wax top coat, the handles are extremely comfortable to use.

    Regards, Rod.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Frederick, MD
    On "secret sauce" I've been wanting to try is:

    2 coats of Danish Oil - per mfg. directions.

    2 coats of Tung Oil FINISH (like Minwax or Waterlox - NOT Pure Tung Oil) - leave the workpiece wet after applying finish - DO NOT wipe dry. Buff with an old sock between coats.

    Finish by buffing with an old sock.

    Supposedly - this will leave a super smooth finish that looks like a dozen coats of Tung Oil. The finish is quite durable and can be easily repaired.

  7. #7
    My favorite is "palm oil"...not the kind that comes from trees, the kind that comes from using the tool...


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Libertyville, IL (Chicago - North)
    Normally, I like to sand tool handles to a very high grit, almost polished - then leave it alone, to gradually acquire Yoshikuni's genuine hand-rubbed finish.

    However, (white) oak presents an interesting problem because the tannins stain my hands and leave dirty looking finger prints on the wood.

    In this case, I vote Danish Oil. Easy to maintain and repair.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Shoreline, CT
    I favor shellac, because I like the feel under hand, and because it is so quick.

    Incidentally, about Tung oil finish. The Minwax and Waterlox couldn't be less alike. The Minwax is an oil varnish mix, while the Waterlox is strictly a varnish. They will apply differently and look very much different.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Southport, NC
    Traditonally, the treatment for tool handles was raw linseed oil. You don't want anything smooth or anything that will not absorb water. When a tool handle is smooth, it takes more muscle to hold the tool in position. The tool handle will also become slippery when your hands sweat.

    Raw linseed oil allows the tool to still be gripped--and even improves the grip--and sweat is absorbed into the wood without making the handle slippery.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Melbourne VIC Australia
    I prefer finishing tool handles with natural beeswax while handle is still on the lathe. Just hold the beeswax against the wood until the heat softens it and smears the wax on the wood, then with a cloth just grip the wood until the beeswax is smoothed out and the surplus removed.


    Everyone is entitled to my opinion

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