How to Finish my Handle
What is the best custom finish for my New Hickory Handle? This is considering that you want something different than a Wax, Lacquer, or Painted Handle. As ten different people and well...
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What we have had good success with here at the Beaver Tooth Handle Co. is using boiled linseed oil on the plain sanded hickory tool handles. This will give your new handle a smooth finish when dry that will not blister your handles are readily as a lacquer finish. It will give your handle some degree of water resistance and this will depend on how many coats you apply. Note: Boiled Linseed Oil will give a yellowing and darking color to the wood. We do not recommend leaving any wood handle out in the elements for an extend period and especially keep a handle that is wet out of direct sun light to help prevent checking (drying) cracks from appearing. The boiled linseed oil also helps keep your wood from drying out too much and dry rotting. It feeds the wood like a good leather preservative keeps leather fed and healthy.
Boiled linseed oil is made from Flax seed and today has chemical (metal) driers added to help it dry fast than just plain oil flax seed oil. Years past the was achieved by boiling the oil. The name stuck. B. linseed out oil can be found in most hardware stores in the paint section in a quart can for under $10.
Tips for best results
Once you have your new handle the way you want it. i.e. You have sanded it, used a rasp, used a broken piece of glass as scraper (use care with this!) etc. You have the shape you want you have the eye fitted to the head. Most of this can be done before or after attaching head. You are now ready to put on the linseed oil. We recommend a hand sanding with a 220 grit sand paper then putting on the linseed oil. We do it by hand with our fingers, but do what works best for you. Once it is dried can take a few days at least several hours. You will likely feel the grain has been raised. Just like if got your handle wet and it dried out. So to sooth this out hand sand it again with the 220 grit paper. You may want to repeat this steep two, three..... however many times you like to try to get your final finish as smooth as possible.
There are folks who like to heat their B.linseed oil and melt a little bees wax into it.
Some folks like to use Tung oil or Tek Oil (paint section of most hardwares).