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Author Topic: Walnut stabilizing question  (Read 3805 times)

Offline KSCATTRAPR

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Walnut stabilizing question
« on: November 17, 2018, 12:49:35 PM »
I have a pretty cool block of tiger striped walnut that I've been saving for a knife handle on a hidden tang but I'm wondering if I should stabilize the block before I use it. I've read in several other forums on the subject and several people say it should be stabilized and several others say it's not necessary. I figured I would ask you guys your opinions on whether to stabilize walnut before using it as handle material.

Here are a couple questions I have:

1. Will walnut loose it's luster if it's stabilized? Some say it does, some say it doesnt. This piece has alot of depth to it and I would like to keep it that way.

2. This wood block has been properly dried and if it is properly finished with oil, will the wood still shrink or expand with use? I take pretty good care of my knives that get used but I still do not want one shrinking or expanding.


I would love to hear everyone's thoughts or opinions on this question, thanks!



Offline luciusx5

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2018, 08:41:34 PM »
Do you have a moisture meter to check the moisture content of the wood? You said it was properly dried? What was the process? I’ve never worked with tiger stripped walnut but most types of walnut are pretty stable. Black walnut for instance. If you could check the moisture content with a meter over a couple of weeks in different temperature and humidity environments that would give you an idea of it’s stability and if it would “move” around. A Tru-oil finish with a light buffing will maintain and probably enhance the depth that you are trying to keep.

Offline KSCATTRAPR

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2018, 09:41:44 PM »
I guess I should of specified properly drying. I got this chunk from a gun stock maker several years ago and it's been in my basement ever since. I would assume the moisture content in the wood is very very low.

Offline luciusx5

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2018, 10:10:00 PM »
I wouldn’t be afraid to use it without stabilizing. You should be fine.

Online Tim Finley

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2018, 08:05:57 PM »
stabilizing will make it harder, stronger and really bring out the curl .

Offline tippit

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2018, 01:57:42 PM »
Another option is to soak it in thin super glue.  Once you grind the surface back, it polishes up like marble.  This handle was made from a similar piece of punky walnut root....

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Offline KSCATTRAPR

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2018, 02:47:27 PM »
Thanks for all the responses. I've read a couple threads here and there on guys soaking scales in super glue and having great results from it. How far into the wood do you think the super glue soaks in? Those scales are very nice by the way!

Offline tippit

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2018, 04:21:44 PM »
That piece of wood under the handle is from the same cut as the finished knife scales.  Soaking penetration depends on how open/porous the woods is.  The punkier the wood, the greater uptake of glue.  I've used this method on chalky bone too.
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Offline Bladepeek

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2018, 10:00:39 PM »
I got some super fancy claro walnut, which runs rather porous. I could have finished it with Tru Oil and gotten a nice finish, but it doesn't penetrate very deep. I had them stabilized and then cut for a pistol grip. I will still use Tru Oil as the final finish just to fill the pores that were opened by machining, but the wood is far more stable after the process and much harder.

Untreated walnut has been used for gunstocks and knife handles since long before Jim Bowie, but I see it as just one more advance that wasn't available earlier.
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Offline KSCATTRAPR

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2018, 10:52:42 PM »
Great point. I'm leaning more towards sending it off and getting it stabilized. I have a few other pieces I might throw in as well.

Offline KSCATTRAPR

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Re: Walnut stabilizing question
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2018, 11:31:06 AM »
I went ahead and sent the piece off to be stabilized along with some other stuff. I'm pretty excited to get it back and get it put to use. I will post some pics when I get the blades done. Thinking about making a set of knives for skinning and boning out deer.

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