How to Stabilize Knife Blanks

Written by bill arrowhead
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How to Stabilize Knife Blanks
Stabilising a wooden knife blank will make it resist weathering. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Hand-making wooden knife blanks lets you personalise the part of the knife that you'll be using the most--the handle. But when you make a knife handle, you want it to be tough enough to last. Wood is naturally porous, making it prone to rot and wear, but you can stabilise a knife blank and made impervious to most weathering. This will cost less than buying a pre-stabilised blank, and you can take pride in your homestyle ingenuity.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Coffee can
  • Can opener
  • Glass jar with lid
  • Wood hardener
  • Kettle
  • Oven gloves

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  1. 1

    Make a small hole in the bottom of the coffee can with the point of the can opener.

  2. 2

    Place the glass jar inside the coffee can. Make sure the can is in a well-ventilated area where it won't damage anything by being hot and where water can drain freely.

  3. 3

    Place the wooden knife blanks in the jar and fill it almost completely with the wood hardener.

  4. 4

    Put the lid on the glass jar loosely. You want bubbles to be able to work their way out but not to let water in if you accidentally pour some on top of the jar.

  5. 5

    Boil water in the kettle and pour it into the space between the jar and the coffee can. Repeat this process for about half an hour, letting the water drain slowly through the bottom of the coffee can, until the wood hardener is hot. You should see bubbling in the jar as the air in the wood works its way out, to be replaced by the stabilising wood hardener.

  6. 6

    Remove the jar from the coffee can with the oven gloves and tighten the lid firmly. Place it in a safe, warm place for a week.

  7. 7

    Remove your stabilised knife blanks from the jar and place them in a well-ventilated area to cure for another few days. The knife blanks will be much heavier, shinier and more durable.

Tips and warnings

  • For smaller pieces, apply a coat of hardening solution and let them dry for a few days might suffice.
  • Read the manufacturer's instructions on how to handle the wood hardener--contact with it and breathing the fumes can be dangerous.
  • Keep the hardener away from open flames, since its vapours are flammable.

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