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ayjay

Wooden Handles.......

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...........for pots.

 

I making a baskety/bowly *thing* which will have a wooden handle, it's a piece of Gorse.

 

I've stripped off any bark and soaked it in hot water and bleach and it's now drying out.

 

The question is, do I treat the handle any further and what with?  Varnish, wax, something else, or just leave it natural: are there any sort of conventional procedures for wooden handles?

 

The glaze is likely to be pale rather than dark - not yet reached an exact decision on that one.

 

Pic below, the finished handle will be about an inch shorter at each end.

 

post-7271-0-07612000-1396874559_thumb.jpg

 

 

post-7271-0-07612000-1396874559_thumb.jpg

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Hi ayjay,

 

I'm entirely unsure as to how to treat a wooden handle, but given your project I thought I'd share this:

http://walterslowinskipottery.weebly.com/teapots-with-branch-handles.html

 

I stumbled upon an exhibition of Walter's branch handle teapots while visiting family in Southern Vermont and was blown away. He may share some wisdom via email. Otherwise, just enjoy the eye candy.

 

C

Karen B likes this

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I'm a big fan of oil based finishes.

Sometimes known as hand rubbed oil finish. (Using this buzz word will get you $20 more for piece)

 

It tends to keep grain open , while protecting and still keep organic feel.

 

If you want Ihave a three part recipe. Even easier isto go to Home Depot/lowes/ hardware store. And buy some Watco Danish oil.

I'd still finish with a coat of wax.

Or for a simpler finish. Some butcher block oil.

 

Even the neutral will darken wood slightly

 

Thanks for link Chris. Now I have more pottery lust....

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You can finish those however you want. You can stain it, oil it, whatever. Oil finishes are great, as they look more natural. I used to make steam bent teapot handles and just finish them with boiled linseed oil. Any oil finish will do the job.

Pres likes this

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Smaller pieces of wood can be immersed to soak in oil to allow deeper penetration. Once  taken out and rubbed with soft cloth they are gorgeous.

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ayjay,

 

Firstly, the water/bleach thing is completely unnecessary.  Wood as it comes from the tree is nearly sterile.  In the years I've made maple syrup (not this year, propane was too high in price and the season never really happened), sap from the tree is completely safe to drink as is.  No need to sanitize.  More harm than good from doing so.  If it's deadfall, by the time you're finished, there won't be any chance of dirt or bacteria interfering with anything.

 

As it comes from the tree, though, you'll need to dry the wood.  I'm assuming you found the wood in a "green" state, since you say you peeled the bark off it.  The best way is to have a wood sealer/glue on hand when you cut your branch from the tree.  When you make your cuts, dip the cut ends into the sealer and let dry this way.  This will prevent the possibility of drying "checks," or cracks that run lengthwise along the grain.  They're caused by uneven drying.  After forgetting about the wood for a few months.  Peel the bark and shape as you'd like.   You can steam bend wood more easily when it's green, but letting it dry a little while is better for stability.

 

As a side note, if you really like a cracky or otherwise unsuitable piece of wood for its unique character, you can send it out for stabilization.  They impregnate the wood with an epoxy or wood hardener.  The result will be a tough, plastic-like material that won't break down for anything.  Spalted maple is a beautiful example of this.

 

When sanding, take the finish up to 320--400 grit, then wet the grain with a little water.  You'll find it gets rough again.  Sand back up to 400 or so, beginning with 220.  This step is important to a quality finish.  For the absolute most popping amazing finish, use only scrapers.

 

As for finish, it's up to you.  I would stay away from commercial linseed oil for food grade surfaces, however.  The reason is that they usually employ a cobalt dryer (cobalt carbonate), in addition to other nasty additives that make a finish look good and dry fast, but aren't great for you.  You can make your own linseed oil finish, if you'd like, by bringing linseed oil to 300 F and holding it there for a while (like an hour or two), repeating a few times.  Think of broken-down fryer oil, it's breaking down because its polymerizing.  This is what you want.  Or you can use Safflower oil treated in the same way.  Safflower isn't as bright, but it's a little tougher.  

 

To apply, wipe on liberally with a rag, let set for 30 minutes, and then remove the excess.  A solvent like turpentine (plant derived is better, IMO) will help you penetrate deeper.  Allow to dry in a warm place with sunlight (sunlight's important to the polymerization of the oil) for 24 hours or more.  Lightly sand with 800-1000 grit.  Repeat for as long as you can stand it.  Two weeks or longer wouldn't be out of place.  Tung oil is pretty good, as well, and you can build up a good finish much faster.

 

If you take a resin like colophony and add it to your linseed oil, along with a solvent like good quality, pine-derived turpentine and you get a varnish.  Plenty of recipes out there.  Apply this like the oil.  Depending on your climate, you can also get away with adding a little beeswax, pine tar, etc.  In Canada, I'm particularly fond of a 2 to 2 to 1 to 0.5 mix of linseed oil(2), turpentine(2), beeswax (1-1.5), to venetian turpentine or pine tar (0.5).  Test recipes for durability and toughness before using it on anything of value.   You can colour your varnish with artist's pigments, but remember that doing so will give you a matte finish.  Use a few clear coats over top to get a gloss.

 

I would stay away from anything shellac based if your wood is to be around water or steam.  French polish is lovely, but not very durable.  Spray urethane is cheap, tough, and easy to use. 

 

-Tyler

Karen B likes this

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OK, looks like an oil of some sort is favourite, Danish oil is fairly easy to come by (and maybe a wax to finish).

 

 

ayjay,

 

Firstly, the water/bleach thing is completely unnecessary.  Wood as it comes from the tree is nearly sterile.  In the years I've made maple syrup (not this year, propane was too high in price and the season never really happened), sap from the tree is completely safe to drink as is.  No need to sanitize.  More harm than good from doing so.  If it's deadfall, by the time you're finished, there won't be any chance of dirt or bacteria interfering with anything.

 

 

 

I wasn't sure about the bleach thing, it just seemed like a good idea as it was picked up off the ground, probably the worst it's seen is horse poo, but could be dog too (lots of both around the New Forest).

 

It's not particularly green, what bark was left  just scraped off very easily, there's plenty to choose from after they've been round burning it off so I just took a half dozen of the most suitable bits. 

 

Many thanks for the rest of your comprehensive answer, it's very useful.

 

 

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I used to put handles on ladles  inserted into a decorative cylinder which extended above the basin of  the ladle.

This extension was to keep the  wood out of the soup/mulled wine etc, because as you know wood will take in water and swell... cracked cylinder.

I haven't made them  for years and had acouple of people who left the ladle in the sink or bowl of wine over the wood/clay join. Yes and were disappointed in the result. The cylinder extension from the basin was in my opinion long enough, but not for slack cleaners! 

So be aware of that.

B

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Finished............with a liberal coat of molten Beeswax;  a light run over with a heat gun and a rub down whilst still warm,

 

post-7271-0-62876600-1399311385_thumb.jpg

 

..........and sold today. :)

 

 

post-7271-0-62876600-1399311385_thumb.jpg

Chilly likes this

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Nice! I was going to suggest boiled linseed oil. I finished a danbong (martial arts weapon) with a few coats of linseed oil and its not slippery and just barely accentuates the grain of the wood. As it wears it just gets better and better.

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How did you atach te handle to the actual pot?

I rolled a short 12mm cylinder of clay and attached a  ball of clay to the end (you can see it at the end of the handle)

 

there's a 12mm hole in the sticky up bits 

 

I drilled a 12mm hole in the ends of the wood

 

glue the12mm cylinders  (smaller now fired)  into the 12mm hole in the end of the handle.

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Good replies in this post. Especially like some of the ideas in Tyler's write up. Some things I haven't thought of that might want to try.

 

You can also bleach wood prior to finishing if you are going for a particular look. Just google "bleaching wood". Usually this will lighten the wood. There are also pickling recipes out there for getting certain pre finished looks.

 

Good luck

 

Lee

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