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By fasterbyelan
Good Morning,

What finish did Stanley use on the knobs and handles to their hand tools? I recently stripped the two knobs from a hand router as the finish had cracked; the underlying wood was not stained. I am keen to use an original product rather than a stain/oil for example. I have tried a dark shellac but this was no where dark enough.


User avatar
By Pete Maddex
It was a coloured varnish you would have to mix your own to replicate the original finish.
I prefer stain and wax it feels nicer.

By D_W
you can use an alcohol based dye on the wood or in the shellac, or you can apply micronized pigments if you want something more permanent, and then shellac over it.

I never did anything other than apply shellac to tool handles, but have recently had to get more serious about pigment stain than what's available at the home store here.

There's a huge world of difference between artist colors with micronized pigments in them (or micronized pigment and you put it in whatever carrier that you want) and hardware store stains. The color goes on uniformly and will stick in stuff that's usually reserved for dyes (maple, beech, etc).

(this is a single light coat with 1/2 artist color and 1/2 hardware store stain base).

A can of artist/japan color (which would probably be enough for about 7000 plane handles) is something like $12 over here, and it's permanently lightfast.