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I bought some Restor-A-Finish after seeing it on YouTube to redo my saw and plane handles, but now I’m not so sure after reading the directions.

It says not go below the existing finish and I sanded mine. Not all the way, but close so now I’m not sure if I should continue. I didn’t realize that this was for restoring existing finish and not for bare wood.

It also says do not use polyurethane on top of it. I’m not planning on it, but I may decide to use polyurethane later on if it doesn’t look right. Anyways should I take this back and buy something else?

 

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I'd return it and use something else. It is a mix of solvents, stain and mineral oil (from their website).

Can't believe they even sell that in California - from the MSDS - it contains isopropanol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, xylene and ethyl benzene.
 

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I'd return it and use something else. It is a mix of solvents, stain and mineral oil (from their website).

Can't believe they even sell that in California - from the MSDS - it contains isopropanol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, xylene and ethyl benzene.
Thanks, I was really thinking hard about taking it back and you convinced me, so its going back.

I just don't know what to use. Its not going into a museum, but I would like it to look somewhat original. I wonder if maybe I should use shellac or varnish if its even sold anymore.
 

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Shellac might be your best bet. It is easily repairable and will also allow you to apply poly or lacquer later if you decide to. Just remember to get de-waxed shellac so your options are open later.

Here is where I get my shellac flakes from: http://www.shellac.net/ Lots of different options for colors, and they even offer small 4oz packs if it is something you might not use a lot.

Another option with a shellac finish if you like it is to apply paste wax after the shellac.
 

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woodman73446
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Finish for Old Saw & Plane handles

I use Boiled linseed oil on mine, That is what they originally used on older tool handles. Provides a tough finish, and you probably won't need to poly them later.
 

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I use Boiled linseed oil on mine, That is what they originally used on older tool handles. Provides a tough finish, and you probably won't need to poly them later.
Thanks, I have boiled linseed oil and did think about it originally. I have only used it once on a MDF TS sled and I’m not sure if it was just the MDF or what but I wasn’t real pleased with it. I may have to give to it a second chance on some other hard woods because I notice a lot of people use and like it.

I looked into the Shellac with the flakes and all, but that was too much for me. So I went to Lowes to find some ready-to-go stuff decide to pass after reading the labels. I did read that Shellac was used on old tools although I can’t remember at the moment if they used it on Disston hand saws. I also read that varnish was used as well.

I found a can of Spar Varnish in my paint locker and thought about just using it and be done with it. So I tried it out on a tool case project first, but the results are taking longer than I thought because of the drying time.

I don’t want to destroy any potential value on these 100 year old saws by using the wrong stuff, but I am going to be using these and want them to look nice. When friends come in and see my tools, I don’t want them saying I should buy new tools. LOL
 

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Forget about the Restore a Finish. It's junk.

It looks like there is a fair amount of the previous finish still left on the handles, therefore you'll need to either match it up with what was used originally to try and make it seamless or remove it all.
My guess would be either shellac or varnish or possibly a mix of both was used.
A test with denatured alcohol, ethanol, or methyl hydrate would determine if the finish is shellac.

BLO would be good (mix 50/50 with mineral spirits) and is easy to reapply later, but you'll have to remove all the old finish.
 
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....
A test with denatured alcohol, ethanol, or methyl hydrate would determine if the finish is shellac.
Thanks Webster,
I wasn't sure what you meant by that so I searched for "denatured alcohol and shellac" and found this" http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-Shellac

So now I know how to tell if its Shellac. Thanks again :thumbsup:
 

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If it is shellac, and you can wipe/spread what's left on there with the solvent, then top coat it with more layers of shellac. This should blend it in nicely.
Shellac will darken with age, so if you can move around what is on there, it'll be helpful in the end result.
Other than that, remove the old finish and apply new.
 
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Thanks, that really sounds great about the shellac. I thought I had some denatured alcohol, but it looks like I'll have to take trip to the store. I'm not sure if I'll make it tonight, but I am looking forward to see what it is.
 
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