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Ironwood finishing

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Brock Cutlery, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Brock Cutlery

    Brock Cutlery KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 10, 2015
    OK, so this isn't so much knife related, except that finish!
    It's amazing to watch someone turn something as hard as ironwood, but the finish he got blows my mind.
    Will it stay that way?

    Natlek, John Andrews and AVigil like this.
  2. Marc Cooper

    Marc Cooper

    Apr 7, 2019
    Ironwood will dull a bit with handling but it can easily be polished again. Most times a wet cloth and a vigorous scrub will do. If not 3000 grit will make it like new.
    Brock Cutlery likes this.
  3. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    A friction polish finish on a turned object isn't what we use on knives.
    John Andrews likes this.
  4. Carterwhopkins

    Carterwhopkins KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 12, 2012
    A good polish and several coats of TruOil will maintain a great finish, it won't dull, oxidize or absorb oils/dirt/moisture.
    Brock Cutlery likes this.
  5. LARRYZ10

    LARRYZ10 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 6, 2010
    Ironwood is very hard and looks great with a nice glow from just fine sanding and a light buffing. It looks real and wears well and will not yellow like when a coating is applied. In my opinion it is unnecessary and undesirable. Larry

  6. John Andrews

    John Andrews

    Jan 24, 2003
    I have all my wood stabilized by WSSI, including ironwood. I tried all the finishes years ago and decided the ONLY way to go is use stabilized wood.

    On another note, I discovered two plastic shopping bags of stabilized wood that had been misplaced, was in a closet in the house. :)

    Another way to get knives out there, I traded some knife work for a couple of nice custom wood rifle stocks. You might offer your skills for trade.

    Another tip, I usually do mirror polish finish on most of my knives and it helped very much to get me busy making custom knives. At that time I was using diamond compound to mirror polish hard Rc steel.

    One more tip: ditch brass and use only nickel silver.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  7. Brock Cutlery

    Brock Cutlery KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 10, 2015
    This is probably my best ironwood selection / finish combination. Totally satisfied with it. But always wondering if there is a better way.
    This is simply sanded to 1200, applied mineral oil / beeswax combo, and buffed out with white compound.

    milkbaby, Josh Rider and Scaniaman like this.
  8. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Gorgeous piece Mark.
    Brock Cutlery likes this.
  9. milkbaby


    Aug 1, 2016
    That turned piece seems to have a decent amount of sap wood which should maintain contrast with the darker portion. In my opinion, the biggest issue with desert ironwood is whether it will turn dark as night or not. And it seems like it's just not predictable what will happen. You just use it and cross your fingers.

    I noticed hand sanding up to 2000-3000 grit gives a beautiful finish to ironwood just by itself. Maybe some paste wax and/or buffing if you like a little more glossy pop?
    Brock Cutlery likes this.
  10. Jerry Wang

    Jerry Wang

    May 19, 2019
    I use the "raw lacquer" on my knife handle about ten layer,and use #7000,#14000,#30000 grit to polishing,so it look like glassy smooth,seem more layer will more smooth.
    [​IMG]received_2492355217444392_1[/url] by Jerry Wang, 於 Flickr[/IMG]
    [​IMG]received_915707578760272_0[/url] by Jerry Wang, 於 Flickr[/IMG]
  11. dirc


    Jan 31, 2018
    sand it, and use a tiny bit of pure tung oil - that is all good ironwood needs imho
    (stabilizing imho is needed for weaker wood with voids, like burls etc)
    Brock Cutlery likes this.

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