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Refinishing Wooden Tool Handles?

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by TC, Dec 20, 2007.

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  1. TC

    TC TS Member

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    When I was a little boy my grandfather would buy old rusty shovels, rakes, and other garden tools at auctions and rummage sales.

    He would clean them up to where they would look as nice as anything hanging in the hardware store. I know how he cleaned up the metal with steel wool and oil, but cannot remember what he used on the handles.

    I know he wrapped them with cloth strips soaked in something (Neatsfoot Oil?}first and then there were a couple more steps in the process.

    Anybody know how to do this? Tony
     
  2. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Tony- I have seen some wood products treated with cloth bindings soaked with linseed oil. By keeping the cloth saturated with linseed oil, the oil is able to penetrate deep into the wood. Neatsfoot oil is generally used for leather products.

    Pat Ireland
     
  3. thespan

    thespan TS Member

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    Lemon Oil is another option.

    Peter Greenspan
     
  4. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    Tung oil works very well on wooden tool handles. After a few coats and a little rubbing a nice hard finnish is achieved. HMB
     
  5. Ron Frazier

    Ron Frazier TS Member

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    HMB,

    Please don't suggest "rubbing your tool" in front of Lumper!
     
  6. TC

    TC TS Member

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    There were several steps involved, it may have been linseed oil as the first step. These tools were usually very rough and weathered but when he got done they looked like new.
     
  7. CharlesR1100

    CharlesR1100 TS Member

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    There are basicly only two types of oils: Those that dry hard when exposed to air and those which never dry.

    Neatsfoot oil never drys. Nor does motor oil. Or 3-in-1 oil. They will evaporate, verry slowly. You do not want to use that kind of oil on wood unless you want to make it mushy. That kind of oil is used on leather. It will make it flexable. You do not want flexable or mushy wood.

    Linseed oil drys in wood. It is minimal protection. But it is very easy to apply and impossible to make a mistake with if it is wiped off the surface after allowed to penetrate the wood surface. But it will dry in the wood. Not on it. So the protection is not so much. Frankly, Linseed oil is cheap, easy to apply, mistake free, smells good and kind of fun to use.

    Tung oil, with varnish, will dry in and on the wood and provide protection. Most wood finishing experts say that Tung oil uses linseed as the "oil" and varnish as the protection medium.
     
  8. Capt. Morgan

    Capt. Morgan TS Member

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    My father used to protect his new garden tool handles with a 50-50 mix of raw linseed and turpentine. (Raw linseed takes 3 to 4 days to dry while boiled linseed drys over night.) He started his maintenance over the winter and followed this schedule: rub the oil into the handle once a day for a week, then once a week for a month, then once a month for a year and then yearly from then on.

    Please remember that linseed oil-soaked cloths will combust spontaneously. DO NOT DISCARD them indoors. Burn them instead outside.

    Morgan
     
  9. CharlesR1100

    CharlesR1100 TS Member

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    When you see a gunstock described as "oil finished" it will be boiled linseed perhaps mixed with a varnish in small percentage. Again, ease of application, no mistakes. Given enough coats of linseed, it will be near water proof. But the addition of varnish to the mix gets that job done also and adds gloss.

    My new K-80 has the standard factory plastic poly-u finish which is on top of the wood, hard as rocks and totally water proof. But no where near as attractive as an oil finish.
     
  10. AJ100

    AJ100 TS Member

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    This is the kind of finish you get when tung oil or BLO is used. AJ100
     
  11. TC

    TC TS Member

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    I suppose it probably was linseed oil, but not sure what he did after that. It was somewhat involved as he usually had different tools at different stages in the process. When he started they looked gray and about as rough as a tree trunk with all kinds of cracks and splits.
     
  12. TC

    TC TS Member

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    Thought I would bring this back up. Still haven't been able to figure out how to do it.
     
  13. ArmySGM

    ArmySGM Member

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    To clean up the wooden handles to look like new, use linseed oil and a piece of broken glass from a beer bottle. Soak the handle in oil for about an hour and then wipe dry. Using the edge of the piece of glass gently scrape the handle until all soil or finish is cleaned off. After scraping the handle, soak the handle again and then let air dry. Handle will look like new.

    We did all our wooden handles like this in the service, and they never wore down or broke because of dry wood..

    For the metal parts we soaked them in motor oil and used wire brushes to remove the rust. Cheap fix, but look good after.

    Gary
     
  14. jwatts

    jwatts TS Member

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    TC, When you are removing the rust from the metal part(s) you may want to try "navel jelly" to clean the tool. The product is found in any hardware store. Oddly enough, it also does wonder on the old wood, esp rust stained stuff. Try it clean the wood and you may be very happily surprised. I used it on old whiskey barrels and I was astonish as to the cleaning properties. Once the handle and iron is cleaned off with the jelly (water and drying) then Watco Tung Oil finish is excellent on the wood. Plain old motor oil works on the iron. On the wood, use several coats, after you sand the wood to the texture desired. You can get the Waco Tung Oil in several tints to include natural finish. Excellent product and it soaks into the wood for a long lasting durable coat. I use it all the time while enjoying my hobby of building furniture. Dummy proof application. Capt Morgan is correct as to being careful with oil soaked rags.
     
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