Okay, so I discussed what finishes I selected, now this post is essentially just to show and discuss the results of my little finishing experiment.
As a reminder, this is what I did;
1. I sanded a piece of scrap of bubinga, leopardwood, wenge, Carribean rosewood, redheart, and paduak. and zebrawood to 800 grit.
2. I finished one side of each with Tru-Oil.
3. A few days later, sealed the other side with dewaxed shellac and used Tru-Oil.
4. Formby's on a piece of each.
5. Lastly, I took a final piece and tried the submersion technique.
Results after the jump:
|Knife scale materials, unfinished|
Experiment 1a - Tru-Oil:
|Finished with Tru-Oil|
Process: Rubbed on a thin coat of Tru-Oil, let dry 8-12 hours, sanded with 1200 grit sandpaper, rubbed on another coat. I put a total of 5 coats sanding between each. (After the last coat I tried finish sanding with 1500, but it just dulled the finish, so that's out). Also, there were no issues with the material interfering with the oil drying/curing (here's looking at you paduak).
Pros: Smooth as silk, feels durable, great gloss finish, great tactile feel in the hand. Easy to apply, fast drying.
Cons: Honestly, none are apparent.
Experiment 1b - Tru-Oil over dewaxed shellac:
Process: Applied a coat of dewaxed shellac, then repeated the same process that I used in Experiment 1.
Pros: None are apparent over and above using only Tru-Oil. Essentially, the outcome was the same.
Cons: It takes an additional step.
Experiment 2a - Soak in boiled linseed oil overnight:
|Top to bottom: Paduak, bubinga, Carribean Rosewood, zebrawood, and leopardwood, all unfinished|
|Soaking in BLO overnight|
|After a week + of curing time|
Pros: Easy to apply (I guess? I imagine it would take some rigging if there were knife blades attached to these pieces of wood, like I'd have to clamp the blade and dunk it into a tall deep container maybe?).
Cons: It uses *a lot* of oil to submerge the material, and almost all of it is going to waste. Wiping that down is messy, and it takes a long time to dry. Also, after review, it's tough to make sure *all* of the excess is wiped off. I ended up with some spots where the surface was gummy because I didn't quite wipe all down perfectly.
Questions of taste: It darkened the wood more than the Tru-Oil. I guess whether that's a pro or con is up to your taste. The oil varnishes (Tru-Oil and Formby's) both built up a very smooth finish that had a distinct feel. This kind of felt like a finish but retained more of the "I'm touching raw wood" feel.
Experiment 2b - Tru-Oil over Boiled Linseed Oil Soak:
Process: Six coats of Tru-Oil wiped on over the Boiled Linseed Oil Soak, sanding at 1200 grit between coats.
Pros: Imparts the gloss (though that maybe a question of taste), improves the tactile feel of the pieces.
Cons: None really that are different from before.
Experiment 3a - Formby's Tung Oil Finish:
|Three mediocre control photos? Surely you jest.|
Process: Wiped on Formby's Tung Oil Finish
Pros: Easy to apply. After a few coats it built up a tactile feel of being "finished." Built a nice gloss shine. Visually, it's not too dissimilar from the Tru-Oil. Fast drying.
Cons: None particularly apparent. However, in comparison to the Tru-Oil, it didn't build the same tactile experience, which I think in the context of something in your hands is a key consideration.
Honestly, it's hard to convey properly by way of amateur photography. The handles just felt an awful lot better in the hand finished with Tru-Oil. I know, kind of unsatisfying, but honestly it had the best visual, tactile, finish of any of the things I tested.