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 Post subject: How to smooth a ho wood handle?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:35 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am
Posts: 116
Location: Long Island, NY
Hi. What I don't know about wood working is ..... pretty much anything. So how would I go about smoothing a ho wood handle?

I have a recently acquired Tanaka Damascus 135 petty and I love it. Truly enjoy the feel of this blade and what I can do with it. It is my first ho wood handle though and it isn't to my taste. To me It feels a little rough and unfinished.

I thought about rehandling but gave that idea up for two reasons:

1. The knife wants a very light handle. Keeps it blade heavy and the knife agile.
2. Let's face it. It is only a $100 knife. Kind of silly to spend that again on a rehandling.

So if all I really want to do at this point is smooth the handle what should I do?

1000 grit sand paper and painter's tape on the ferrule?



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 Post subject: Re: How to smooth a ho wood handle?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:57 pm
Posts: 573
Given the Tanaka handle I'm holding right now (from a Ginsan), my personal bet would be on starting no higher than 400 grit on the sandpaper, get the surface smooth. Then if you want to keep the grain down, wet the handle with a damp sponge and sand again lightly around 400-600. I like to finish with a coat of mineral oil, possibly even doing a little "wet sanding" at 600 with the oil which seems to give the surface more of a sheen, but if you haven't oiled the handle already that will also darken the color a bit. I'm not sure what your current handle-care routine is, if any.


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 Post subject: Re: How to smooth a ho wood handle?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:05 am
Posts: 52
I just gifted a tanaka g3 gyuto to a cousin. Had to sand it down to 320 grit and then rub it with 0000 steel wool to smooth it out before applying a beeswax and mineral oil mix. I found that even with the mineral oil and beeswax, the handle still got rough so I gave it a super glue finish.

If you're interested, here's a good youtube vid of the finish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zsJXC-17rU


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 Post subject: Re: How to smooth a ho wood handle?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am
Posts: 116
Location: Long Island, NY
Wow. Great advice all around. The super glue finish is fascinating. Going to need to try that down the road.

The 400/600 didn't take long at all to do and I had mineral oil and tung oil around. Just to see what would happen I wet sanded with mineral oil at 600.

Handle feels much better now. Who knows if it will last but will tackle that bridge once I get there. Maybe with the super glue for durability but, since it's a D handle would need to sand it out by hand.

Thanks guys!



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 Post subject: Re: How to smooth a ho wood handle?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:05 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:57 pm
Posts: 573
Glad to hear you had success. Since you have it, the tung oil may give a more lasting finish, and there's no harm in re-coating over time if it seems to need more water repellency. But you may as well leave it for now and see what you think it needs in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: How to smooth a ho wood handle?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:50 am
Posts: 78
You could also try a varnish, but that might be too slick or glossy for your liking. That would be the most water resistant, durable, and lasting option.



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 Post subject: Re: How to smooth a ho wood handle?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:14 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:08 am
Posts: 75
Location: Maryland
Tru oil gun stock finish works well for me


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 Post subject: Re: How to smooth a ho wood handle?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 3726
Cpeggs wrote:Tru oil gun stock finish works well for me

I use the same thing on my Ho wood handles.



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 Post subject: Re: How to smooth a ho wood handle?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:23 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:06 pm
Posts: 185
I wouldn't start with anything higher than 220 grit sandpaper, anything more and you won't be removing any material to speak of. It's just like sharpening, you start course and work your way to finer paper. I go 150, 220, 320, 400 on the handles of every knife I own, and sell if needed. I recommend a mixture of 2oz beeswax to 3-4 ounces of olive oil as a great polish/sealer.


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