Hemp Oil

A couple of days ago I was reading the Lost Art Press blog where Chris Schwarz mentions the different types of finishes he uses and which of those finishes look good immediately versus those that look good over 20 years. He then lists examples like; milk paint, waxes, and oils of all sorts (linseed, tung, walnut, etc.) Then I thought to myself, “Well hell, Anita has been using hemp oil for years. I wonder how many people know about it?”

Hemp oil is a 100% natural, biodegradable finish pressed from hemp seeds. As you may know hemp and marijuana are sometimes confused with one another. Hemp contains no THC and you can’t get high from it’s fumes. Hemp oil is food safe, has no chemicals, no VOC’s and is completely breathable which is HUGE for me.

My shop sits in the basement of our house. Getting proper ventilation down there with little basement windows is nearly impossible. I can’t use any type of solvents or chemicals down there as it stinks up the whole house. I can’t even spray WD40 without my wife getting upset about the smell. It’s one of the reasons I use shellac on many of my projects and coat my antique tools with my own blend of mineral oil – orange oil – beeswax solution. I even have to use Minwax stains in the garage.

Hemp oil doesn’t stink up the house as it smells like crushed walnuts. My wife loves the stuff! She uses on nearly everything she paints. And if she doesn’t mind the smell, then it must be good! We’ve been buying it by the gallon at Homestead House Paint company in Canada. Because hemp is often associated with marijuana, it’s been tough to find a supplier for it in the states (but that may change as more states legalize marijuana and become more educated about hemp). Unfortunately, the majority of hemp oil that is available around here is sold as an essential oil for outrageous prices.

According to their website, they sell smaller quantities of the stuff, but I can only select to buy one gallon or five gallon buckets. If you want to try hemp oil without jumping in too deep, you can find a store that sells Miss Mustard Seed milk paint. Miss Mustard Seed is a lady who has a popular design and painting blog and she partnered with Homestead House to brand her own line of paint. It’s basically the exact same stuff.

I applied two coats of hemp oil on some scrap hardwood samples to show how they turn out on various species. In my opinion cherry looks the best as it really pops the grain. Poplar is shown just to show how the oil would look on secondary woods like the sides of drawers.

You apply hemp oil the same way as tung oil with a brush or cloth and allow it to dry wiping off the excess in about twenty minutes. Because the oil doesn’t have any solvents, it takes a bit longer for it to dry. In fact, I’ve seen some extra oil to wipe off after 24 hours when the oil has been allowed to absorb in the wood. It takes about thirty days to fully cure. Because hemp oil is food safe, you can even use it on cutting boards and wooden utensils.

Below are a few pieces Anita has painted or stained over the years with hemp oil as a top coat. As you can see, it gives off a matte finish with little sheen which looks nice on old furniture. If you have a basement shop and can’t take the fumes, give hemp oil a try.

Repairing the Foot of a Walnut Table

A few weeks ago, my wife and I, were visiting thrift shops in Cincinnati when we ran across a round walnut table for $20.00 at Goodwill. There was nothing special about it. It had a dull flat finish and was missing the extension wings that go in the middle. It even had two feet that were broken. Anita asked me if I could remake them and I told her I could, so we took it home.

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In order to fix the feet, I grabbed some scrap walnut and glued pieces to them to re-sculpt the feet.

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Once the glue dried, I cut the arch of the foot with my band saw, then I sawed off the sides with a hand saw.

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Next, I stuck the leg on the lathe and turned the pad of the foot.

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I then brought the foot over to my workbench and carved the rest of the foot by hand using chisels and rasps.

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After shaping the foot was complete, I started to sand the leg with 80 grit sand paper working down to 220 grit.

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With the foot finished, I was happy with the way it turned out as it matched the other two. I then repeated the same steps for the other broken foot.

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Noticing the top was solid walnut, I decided to sand off the dull stained finish. You can see how bland the table was when we bought it.

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A few minutes of sanding, the table was really starting to shine again.

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After applying three coats of hemp oil, you can see how the table has been brought back to life having much more character between the sap and heart wood of the walnut. Looks much nicer than the boring spray toner stain that was on it before. This piece will be a nice addition in my wife’s booth as a display table.

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Making a Replacement Handle for a Knew Concepts Saw

Back in October I bought a Knew Concepts saw at the Woodworking in America marketplace in Covington, KY. I always heard that the biggest complaint about the saws were that they came with a cheap handle that didn’t fit with the looks of the saw. I was willing to live with the handle for awhile until I had the time to make a replacement, but I did think it was uncomfortable. In fact, the more I held it, the more I hated it. There is a company on the internet who sells replacement handles for Knew Concept saws out of exotic wood, but those handles are thicker than the original. I don’t want something that is thicker, I want a handle that is thinner.

Then a few weeks ago, I saw this antique knife sharpener in an antique store. I didn’t care about the knife sharpener part. What interested me was the feel of the handle. I knew as soon as I grabbed it, it would make a great replacement for my Knew Concepts saw. So, I ended up buying the knife sharpener simply to use the handle as a template.

In order to make a new handle, I needed to take the old one off. The handle on the Knew Concepts saw had a small little cotter pin that needed to be removed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a special tool to get the thing out, so I had to do it the old fashioned way.

I basically had to trash the handle in order to get it off. I drilled through cotter pin and tore into the handle to remove all the wood around the pin in order to grab the pin out with a pair of pliers.

Now needed a piece of wood nice enough to make a new handle. I bought a slab of apple from a guy on eBay and cut off about 10″ from the end.

I then milled the piece into two 1″ pieces and a third piece to 1/2″

I took one of the 1″ thick slabs and milled 1″ square blanks. Each blank will be used as handles for something or another.

I attached the apple blank into my lathe and turned a new handle using the knife sharpener handle as a template. The handle is nothing fancy, but it is comfortable to hold.

The handle is turned and sanded. The end of the handle where the ferrule goes is 5/8″ in diameter because the inside of the copper fitting I used to be the ferrule of the handle is 5/8″ in diameter.

I used a 5/8″ socket wrench while the handle was on the lathe and used the wrench as a gauge to know when to stop when I turned it to size with my parting tool. As you can see, the fitting fits perfectly over the ferrule end of my handle. I trimmed the extra part of the copper fitting flush to the end of the handle with a hack saw.

The biggest challenge in making the handle fit, is cutting the mortise slot into the end. I found the center of the handle and carefully drilled an 1/8″ hole straight down the shaft. I then took an 1/8″ chisel and cut a rectangular mortise down the hole. Carefully checking every few minutes, I took my time and pared away the wood so that the entire tang of the saw would eventually fit snuggly into the handle.

Once everything fit well, I figured out where the hole of the tang lined up with the copper ferrule and drilled an 1/8″ hole through the copper. A 16 penny nail fits perfectly into the 1/8″ hole to act as the pin. I cut the nail to size and hammered it with a ball peen hammer to act as a rivet. I also used some JB Weld in the hole to give everything a bit more strength.

With a little oil on the handle, here it is. A Knew Concepts with a much more comfortable handle ready for years of use.