Blackwood sealer/finish

bmills

Well-Known Member
What do you folks use to seal and finish Blackwood? Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Any photos of Blackwood handles would be nice too! Thanks again!
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Blackwood doesn't require any sealer/finish..... take it to your desired finish, and a good coat of your preferred wax will do the job. In fact, most liquid type finishes will bead up/run off of African Blackwood, or simply never dry/cure. I have seen/used stabilized versions of it, but disliked how they looked in the finished product.....compared to the natural state that was polished/waxed.
 

Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
I agree with Ed. Blackwood does not take much for treatment purposes. On these knives the bolsters are Blackwood. I hit the scales and bolsters with tru-oil. The Blackwood does not absorb it worth a poo. After finishing, I use ren-wax and hand buff with a cotton cloth.





 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Something I did not mention in my previous post..... African Blackwood is one of my favorite woods! I use a lot of it. The fact that it doesn't need a finish is only part of it's allure. The fine grain makes it an excellent choice for carving/texturing, and it can be finished from a rough satin, all the way to a "mirror" and look great at any of those levels. The biggest necessity with African Blackwood is allowing it to "climatize" before use, and after finishing. What that means is that it's unique in the wood world, in that it will only "move" with extreme conditions such as we put woods through when working them. I generally leave any knife with an African Blackwood handle to "rest" for at least a couple weeks before sending it to it's new home! Sometimes it will shrink a tad, and sometimes it will expand a tad.....and I will have to "touch it up" before sending it on it's way. But....once that it done (unless it's going to and EXTREME climate) it's never gona move again.

Something that most newer knifemakers either don't know, or don't consider, is how the handle material they use will be affected over the long term..... that needs to be considered if a maker intends to do this/sell knives for any length of time. You don't want something coming back to haunt you in 5 or 10 years! :)
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
You should always wear a respirator. That goes without saying. But especially with this wood- wear a respirator. In its finished state I have no problem with it, but getting the dust on my skin makes me break out in a rash. The dust can be bad news if you have sensitive skin, and imagine that getting into your lungs. Cocobolo is another one that you need to exercise caution when you work it.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Cocobolo is another one that you need to exercise caution when you work it.
AMEN to that! I'm one of those who is deathly allergic to Cocobolo.... it can get on me, and I'm OK, but if I get the dust in my respiratory system...... let's just say that a night in the hospital taught me that one!
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
AMEN to that! I'm one of those who is deathly allergic to Cocobolo.... it can get on me, and I'm OK, but if I get the dust in my respiratory system...... let's just say that a night in the hospital taught me that one!
That's no joke. Something very similar happened to a friend of mine. His daughter found him on the floor of the shop and had to call the ambulance. He went into anaphylactic shock and passed out.
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
I always wear a respirator when grinding either with the grinder or any other power tool. What about hand sanding? Do you guys wear a respirator when you are hand sanding also? I haven't been and haven't noticed any problems so far.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
It's minor but don't sand African Blackwood in any shirt of pants that you want to keep half way nice. The dust from sanding will stain it.

Doug
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I always wear a respirator when grinding either with the grinder or any other power tool. What about hand sanding? Do you guys wear a respirator when you are hand sanding also? I haven't been and haven't noticed any problems so far.
I do when hand sanding wood. I don’t when hand sanding metal because i’m using oil and there’s no dust.
 

chrisstaniar

Well-Known Member
I love using Blackwood as well. It does not take any coating well. You can get tru-oil on it but not easily.

Respirators are a good thing! Especially in our closed in shops. I didn't know that AB was a bad one but I did know cocobolo was. That one you can tell without being told. The smell and the dust told me all I needed to know.

Just fyi, Blackwood is approaching the "endangered" threshold and will likely make the list. Not sure how that will affect supply but it could.
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
Like everyone else is said, Blackwood doesn’t really require anything. I have used one piece of stabilized Blackwood and it struck me as being a waste of money for the stabilization and less you were absolutely bent on it not getting any darker. In my experience, the true Rosewoods are easy to work with and Blackwood maybe the easiest of the bunch. You don’t have the itchy scratchy issues like you can have with Cocobolo
 
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