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Which oil should I use?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by ZIVANOVIC, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. lessismore

    lessismore Redmeadow Knives Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 29, 2010
    For Ebony? Nothing. Oils won't penetrate the grain. You could use a wax but that can sometimes make a buffed handle feel sticky.

    Sometimes less is more.
  2. drail


    Feb 23, 2008
    Yup. Ebony will not absorb oil - it's already filled with natural oil. My recommendation would be Kiwi black shoe polish. Very sparingly applied and buff it good. But it really does not need any applied finish. Guitar and violin makers have been using ebony for hundreds of years for fingerboards and it wears like cast iron.
    Alberta Ed, annr and lessismore like this.
  3. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    Take that piece of red oak scrap out of the oil and let it drain. Give it a brief dunk every couple months. If it hasn't been previously treated to block oil absorption, it should turn pretty ugly in the next few years.
    Those timbers I mentioned earlier were oak, not sure if it was red or white. They were just sitting in an inch of oil. I've seen the same thing happen to oak pallets that set on an oil soaked floor for a long time.
  4. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Here is a new photo more than twenty four hours later.
    It may have dropped a smidge. Hard to say. Certainly not dramatically different than the dry control.
    So far.
    From here I will give it a full week and then another photo. I don't want to over do it.

    But that is not what we have here. There is still enough oil on the popsicle stick that it will make my finger a little wet when I pass my finger over the surface.
  5. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    A bit of side trivia :
    Shoe polish comes from the waste products from making Shellac. The bug that spits it out around the egg that is inside the shellac based protective shell (huhn ? huhn ? Shell - lac) . . . well anyway the bug adds a little tubular component so air can get to the egg through the pretty much water proof shell and that little tubular component is basically made of wax.

    The shoe polish is made from the waste from making shellac which is mostly waxy products with a little shellac residue. ;)
  6. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Just for conversation . . . was that oil plain mineral oil
    was it motor oil for internal combustion engines with detergents and oh I don't know what all "magic" additives in it that might attack the wood ?

    Maybe it was USED motor oil which we all know is JUST CHOCK FULL of lethal, as well as wood eating, mutant chemicals.
    I'm mostly kidding but it might make some difference.
  7. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    Gearbox oil. Not sure the viscosity but was non detergent.

    Your popsicle experiment is showing the slow absorption rate.
  8. scottc3

    scottc3 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2014
    I've been jones-n for wood handles with one of my lightweights, have some left over furniture grade ash, interest in oiling wood brought me here, and re-purposed bug juice made me smile, carry on:).
  9. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Well perhaps more than one photo.

    It's been a week.

    First, to my eye there hasn't been much (any) change in a week. I came home from work and took these first photos then wiped mineral oil all over the thus far dry popsicle stick and let it sit while I changed clothes and settled in.
    This is how it looked when I first came home with no change to the original set up :

    Now before you jump on this consider what I found when I unclamped the dry stick :
    The stick was bowed. But bowed upward toward the ceiling ! Even though it has rained here off and on the last couple of days and hasn't been as hot in the shop.
    You can see the bow in the stick where the ends are lifted off the top of the work bench. By the way this bench is hand planed to a high degree of flatness so it can be used as a reference surface for making VERY accurate components for high end cabinetry.

    Anyway . . . I then took the stick that had been sitting out with oil on it while I changed clothes . . . I let it absorb oil for as long as the original oiled stick and clamped it back on the vise pedestal. I put the bow downward. Is that cheating ?
    I put the clamp back on . . .
    hmmmmm the week wet with oil stick isn't so progressed from this one oiled tonight.
    So what is supposed to happen next ? I would think the last stick oiled should bow more toward the floor than the old one ? In any case the old oiled one SURE isn't catching up with the water wet one . . . poor thing is all alone way down there . . .
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  10. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    A couple of days later.
    Not exactly a race to the bottom is it ?
    Here's day one.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  11. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    Extreme short term exposure looks great so far.
    Mineral oil seems to be ok for applying to a popsicle stick knife handle, for a couple weeks.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  12. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    Buck uses mineral oil on their Ebony handles. Since the 60’s AFAIK.
  13. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    It's been another month. I've been meaning to take another photo and tonight's the night. I went to the shop carrying my new Voyager Vaquero (XL ;) ) to remove the clip to bend it open a smidge and grind a smooth spot under the clip.

    While there I added a fresh, dry pop stick as a zero indicator of where all the sticks started on the "Meter" before the oil or water was applied and the clamps put on.

    You be the judge.
    Here was tonight's photo

    Here was the original from day one.
    (the bowed stick in the foreground is dry. A month into the test I oiled it down to see if the first oiled stick would stay ahead in the race downward. The first photo has two oiled sticks with a dry one in the back added tonight.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
    Bloefield and Mr.Wizard like this.

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