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Best Oil for Wood Tool Handles?  RSS feed

 
Matt Stern
Posts: 44
Location: Williams, OR
7
forest garden hunting woodworking
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I always used regular old boiled linseed oil from the hardware store until I found out it is not actually boiled, just full of icky additives that make it act like it were boiled. So I switched to this lovely oil which is made the old fashioned way, without any additives besides beeswax. I really like the stuff, but it got me thinking, what other alternatives are there to linseed?

Would olive oil work? Lard? Walnut Oil?



 
Ben House
Posts: 18
Location: East Tennessee
forest garden hunting woodworking
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I prefer boiled linseed oil, I have known about the drying agents for a while. I have used Organic Raw Linseed oil and it works the same just slower to dry. I don't like olive oil because it gets sticky. I also use food grade walnut oil for the spoons I make and it seems to dry alright but nothing really gets close to the protective qualities of linseed oil, and I did find an organic source for boiled linseed oil.

I like the Sunnyside brand I seem to get the best finish with it on my axe handles. https://www.doitbest.com/products/raw-linseed-oil

But I also found boiled linseed oil that was non-chemical. Its high as a kite though. http://www.solventfreepaint.com/cleaned_linseed_oil.htm#linseedoil
 
Michael Bushman
Posts: 144
Location: Sacramento, CA
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Matt Stern wrote:I always used regular old boiled linseed oil from the hardware store until I found out it is not actually boiled, just full of icky additives that make it act like it were boiled.  So I switched to this lovely oil which is made the old fashioned way, without any additives besides beeswax.  I really like the stuff, but it got me thinking, what other alternatives are there to linseed?

Would olive oil work?  Lard?  Walnut Oil?


The reason certain oils are used to finish wood is because when they oxidize, they harden, others like olive oil and lard just go rancid.

Raw linseed oil can be used as a wood finish but it can take weeks for it to fully cure. It is for this reason that we use a polymerized linseed oil which is somewhat more viscous than raw linseed oil (making it more difficult to spread and apply) but dries considerably more quickly. The polymerization of the oil is accomplished by applying heat to the oil in the absence of oxygen. Be aware that this process produces a final product that is not the same as the “boiled linseed oil” that you might find on the shelves of home improvement and hardware stores. As counter-intuitive as it seems, boiled linseed oil has not been “boiled” or heated at all but instead has had petroleum-based solvents and metal driers added to it so that it supposedly behaves as if it was “boiled”. The most commonly used heavy metal dryer in “boiled linseed oil” is cobalt that is considered toxic. Additionally, a finish generically referred to as “Danish Oil” is produced by large paint manufacturers and contains some linseed oil but the majority of the components may be carcinogenic, petroleum-based ingredients such as Naptha, Mineral Spirits, and Dipropylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether.


Until the advent of polyeurethane, the best gunstocks were finished with a polymerized oil, it dies much harder than does boiled linseed and is vastly more waterpoof.  Downside is that is also vastly more expensive but for using on hand tools, you use so little that it isn't such a big deal.  

I don't like this oil in a can because unless you are using it all right away, it WILL harden in that can and you will only get to use a portion of it.   Buy a bottle of TRU-Oil], poke a small hole in the aluminium top and store it upside down.   Make sure you wipe the top clean with a towel before putting the cap on or you will h ave hell to pay getting the top back offf.
 
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