Rugged Elegant Blades

 

Handle material weather test

Questions:                How do different material compare under real weather conditions, &

How do different wood finishes compare under real weather conditions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Test:                         Mount in full sun, wind, rain and weather exposure a bar of 14-4 Latrobe stainless steel (similar generally to 440C) for one year and monitor and observe monthly for changes.

 

Process:                    Wood was shaped and prepared with various finishes mostly in advance as noted below.  Stainless bar was briefly scratch ground with 80 grit ceramic belt, laid out and drilled for pins & screw holes.  Wood and steel contact areas were cleaned with alcohol and glued with Devcon 2-ton 30 minute epoxy and left to cure for 24 hours while under hand clamp pressure and heat.  All handle material pieces were drilled and pinned with 416 stainless 1/8” pin.  One stabilized wood piece was pinned with a 1/8” peened  stainless pin with no epoxy.  Eleven were epoxy pinned (as I use primarily mosaic pins).  Additionally, the pieces were cleaned up of excess epoxy and sanded flush with metal edge when possible.  Finally, three final coats of finish were applied to wood finished material pieces H, I, J & K prior to testing.

 

 

All twelve handle samples clamped up!

Handle Material (noted from RIGHT TO LEFT in the above picture):

 

                    A. Linen Micarta butterscotch/natural color (USA Knifemaker)

                    B. CIP Composites (Eugene, OR) #101 Black (Similar to Canvas Micarta)

                    C. G10 Black & Yellow striped (USA Knifemaker)

                    D. Oregon Ash Natural (No Finish from Stock)

                    E. Oregon Ash K & G Stabilized (Stock)

                    F. Black Ash Burl WSSI Stabilized (USA Knifemaker)

                    G. Oregon Ash Peened K & G Stabilized with small crack (Stock)

                    H. Oregon Ash (Stock) – Daly's (Seattle WA) 2 coats Seafin Ship’N Shore & 6 coats Seafin Teak Oil

                    I. Oregon Ash (Stock) – Birchwood & Casey 7 coats Tru-Oil & 2 coats Stock Sheen & Conditioner (Bi-Mart, Brownells, Jantz)

                    J. Oregon Ash (Stock) – 3 coats Permalyn Sealer & 6 coats Acra-Coat (Brownells) - Acra-Coat is a surface coating the rest are penetrating

                    K. Oregon Ash (Stock) – 3 coats Permalyn Sealer & 6 coats Permalyn Gun Stock Finish (Brownells)

                    L. Desert Ironwood Natural (No Finish from Stock)

To contact us:

Phone & Fax: 503-925-9790

E-mail: eric@ochs.com

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Ochs Sherworx

Here are the four applied finishes and noted below are details of what each handle material was treated with and where it was acquired.  On January 5, 2010 I mounted this to 8”x8” Arbor on our front porch.

February 2, 2010 observations (four weeks)

(Above) Samples A through C:  The composite materials were like new with no discoloration even at the pin or metal mounting and no expansion or weathering.  Sample D: The control wood piece with no finish shows signs of moisture and paper flaking but little discoloration which is a bit unexpected.  However, it has the advantage of being able to breath.

(Above) Samples E through G are all stabilized wood samples and seem to be fairing pretty well.  The burl sample has started to warp, as one might expect as burls are generally much more susceptible to warping and it is coming loose from the steel.  Sample G is the peened pin and appears to be fairing the best of all the pins in ash wood.  Something well worth noting.   This sample was the one with a crack in it which was noted earlier and it is very obvious here.

(Left) Samples H through K all have finishes I applied to them as noted above and have great degree of variance.  H and I the Daly’s and Tru-oil respectively show definite signs of spotting in the grain and expansion.  Samples J and K, both of which were sealed with the Permalyn are far superior to the other Ash samples with little sign of expansion like the stabilized samples and additionally they are the best ash wood  samples with almost no discoloration at the pin (like the peened sample) and no signs of weathering.  The Desert Ironwood is like new and is by far the best wood sample with no signs of any expansion, discoloration or weathering. 

February 17, 2010 observations (six weeks)

(Right) Samples A through C the Micarta, CIP and G10: still look like new and no discoloration at the pin.  It is interesting that the only rust on the bar has developed here but this could be the result of something else.  Sample D Ash control with no finish:  Continues to show weathering signs and papering at grain and has started spotting.  It has limited discoloration at pin and minimal expansion in size.  All of these are still attached to the bar.

(Left)  Sample E the stabilized Ash has a crack which has shown up.  Some discoloration at pin. Little sign of weathering but definite signs of expansion and  is coming loose from steel.   Sample F stabilized Ash burl has some discoloration at pin.  Some signs of weathering in small a few small cracks and has definite signs of expansion and wrapping fairly seriously and has come completely loose from steel backing.  Sample G stabilized Ash with peened pin:  Shows little discoloration or expansion at the pin still attached but showing signs of expansion at edges.  Sample H shows some discoloration at pin, extensive spotting, signs of expansion and separating from metal.  The finish still appears intact.  Sample I, Tru-oil, has limited discoloration at the pin and has started spotting similar to the control D.  Finish seems to be disappearing and definite signs of expansion and separating from the metal.  Samples J and K are weathering very similarly with limited discoloration at pin.  They are in very good overall condition and their finish in still in good shape.  They do have some very slight signs expansion but are firmly attached still.   Sample L (I apologize for the picture cutting this one off my other pictures showing this one were out of focus) still has natural luster and looks good with almost no signs of weathering, limited discoloration at pin and very slight signs of expansion.   It is no wonder why this is a popular handle wood.

Just a couple of general comments, first, I am somewhat surprised at how fast things have progressed I thought at first I would be checking this once a month and have gone to twice a month.  Second, (Right) expansion is evident from this picture note the middle four.  Finally, the real story at this point seems to be how well Samples J and K are doing.

March 9, 2010 observations (nine week)

(Left)  Samples A through C: Micarta, CIP and G10 still look like new and still have no discoloration at the pin, all are still firmly attached to metal.  .  Sample D Ash control with no finish:  heavily spotted  now with weathering signs and papering more noticeable and sever than before.  It has limited discoloration at the pin and more expansion in size with slightly raised corners.  It has come loose from the metal. 

(Right)  Sample E stabilized ash: Discolored at the pin similar to before, with more slightly more spotting and weathering.  Minimal finish apparent on exterior surface.  It has come loose from metal and has slightly raised corners.  Sample F stabilized Ash burl:  Discolored at the pin similar to before but more weathering and warping raised corners.  Very loose from metal.  Sample G stabilized ash with peened pin:  Slightly discolored at the pin still similar to before.  More  spotting and weathering but still solid and attached to metal.  More expansion and two corners slightly raised.  Sample H Daly’s: Very discolored at pin and heavily spotted even more than before, still has finished,  but has some expansion, come loose from metal and has slightly raised corners.  Sample I Tru-oil:  Slightly discolored at the pin spotted less than natural sample but more than stabilized ones and looks weathered with little finish showing.  Has some expansion and come loose from metal but no raised corners.   Sample J Permalyn & Acra Coat: Finish is still very good with heavy spotting at pin but minimal spotting.  Slight expansion but solidly attached and no raised corners.  Sample K Permalyn: very minimal discoloration at pin but spotting.  Finish is still very good with slight expansion but solidly attached and no raised corners.  Sample L Desert Ironwood:  Slightly discolored at pin and in wood grain.  Slight expansion and loose from metal with no raised corners.  Surface is still smooth but less natural luster than last observations. 

March 27, 2010 observations (11 weeks)

(Left)  Sample A Linen Micarta:  is slightly darker than when it was place in the weather.  Sample B  CIP: no change.  Sample C G10: yellow has faded slightly since posted.  Sample D Ash control with no finish:  Similar to before with slightly more spotting and weathering. 

Sample I Tru-oil:  More weathered and less finish than before, still some left on North side.  Note: likely Sample I is less resistant to the sun, clear coatings are generally very susceptible to breakdown from ultra-violet rays while stabilized wood seem to be fairing better.   Sample J Permalyn & Acra Coat:  Top performer of wood finishes, minimal color change still with finish but spotting at pin.  Still attached with minimal expansion.  Sample K Permalyn:   Second best still good finish, still attached with minimal expansion, with some spotting but still has natural color and finish.  Sample L Desert Ironwood:  still minimal spotting slight luster still left, still has good shape with minimal expansion.

Sample E stabilized Ash:  Similar to before with slightly more weathering and papering at wood flaws.  Sample F Stabilized Ash Burl: Similar to before with slightly more weathering minimal expansion at the pin like others.  Raised corners are very pronounced likely due to burl.   Sample G stabilized ash with peened pin:  Similar to before with slightly more weathering. Note:  Stabilized ones seem to be fairing fairly well now.  Sample H Daly’s:  More spotted and weathered than before with less finish left.