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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently saw a YouTube video with a finish that was highly recommended for tool handles (and any wood used outdoors) that contained pine tar. It was a mixture of approximately 1/6 pure (creosote free) pine tar, 1/6 mineral spirits (or turpentine), 1/2 boiled linseed oil, and 1/6 beeswax (small bean-sized pellets of beeswax added to the heated mixture). After heating over low heat and mixing until all ingredients were incorporated, the mixture was cooled to room temperature and looked like a very thick but malleable paste. It provided a light stain that brought out the grain but wasn't too dark. I suppose one could increase the amount of pine tar for a darker stain. I read other posts extolling the virtures of incorporating pine tar in finishes because of it's ability to repel insects and mold. Has anyone used something like this as a finish? So far I've used Watco Teak Oil and Homer Formby's Tung oil varnish (separate finishes on different sticks). I used several coats of boiled linseed oil to finish a cedar walking stick I made years ago.
 

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No, I have no experience at all with pine tar. I've used Formby's decades ago, and over the past three years with sticks, 100% tung oil, Watco's Danish oil and teak oil, and high quality marine spar varnish, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss.

For me, it's about personal preferences, the wood, the stick's style, how and where the stick will be used, etc. I have fun experimenting. I like the ease of applying and touching up 100% tung oil, and for really sharp-looking sticks with beautiful wood colors and grains I like the gloss marine spar varnish.

If you don't try it, you'll never know. You can use a scrap first to see whether you'd like it.
 

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I've used Watco Teak and plain Tung oil for for most of my sticks. Been happy w. them. Water resistant, and absorbed into the wood so no surface scuffing like varnishes.

Haven't uses pine tar. I had only ever heard of it for ship building. So I looked it up. By itself, it tends to be sticky. Best used on woods with open pores, which it fills and seals. Highly aromatic, which might be a negative. I used some wood stabilizer that was made from cedar, and the wood needed to air out for 6 months so the aroma wasn't too strong for the stick to be in the house.

Might be good for treating the bottom inches of a stick to keep water and muck, etc from penetrating.
 

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That finish should be ideal for a wading stick

But I just use Danish oil on mine

the old saying is

coat once a day for a week

once a week for a month

once a month for a year

then once per year

That's if you have the patience

I just give mine about 5 coats of Danish oil and for personnel use 1 at the beginning of spring then at the beging of autumn
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all for the replies. I'll post results if I try this combination. I haven't seen pure tung oil locally, but I've only looked in two hardware stores. I've read that it was a really good finish but takes a long time to dry aftter applicvation. Cobalt, your old saying "coat once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year,then once per year" made me grin. I confess that my patience woulnd't go that far.
 

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I am leery of heating flammables, like boiled linseed oil & (I assume pine tar is flammable?) There are so many good finishes out there such as the Tung Oils, stains,Danish oils, straight BLO, urethanes both oil and water borne to,in my mind, heat a flammable solution up. Just my .02.
 

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Looks like a very old school type of finish. I don't have any direct experience with pine tar either.

I keep an electric hot plate in my shop for messy jobs that I don't want to do in the kitchen. A safer way to heat the mixture would be a crock pot. If you don't already have one you don't care abut, thrift stores will usually have them.

Rodney
 

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Can't speak on the pine tar as a finisher but if you look at some pro's baseball bats you'll see the stain it leaves. As far as safety is concerned, my wife makes soap from pine tar with no issues.
 

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... I've read that it was a really good finish but takes a long time to dry aftter applicvation. Cobalt, your old saying "coat once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year,then once per year" made me grin. I confess that my patience woulnd't go that far.
If the oil, and this is true of many oils and varnishes as far as I know, is exposed to UV light, which is plentiful in sunlight, the oils polymerize much more quickly. It is true that each successive coat dries more slowly, but a bright sunny day is enough to set a 1st coat .

FWIW, some fanatic traditional oil painters would let paintings mixed w. varnish dry for up to 6 weeks before putting on another glaze of paint and varnish. American illustrator Mayfield parish was a good example of that.
 

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I haven't worked with pine tar so I'm not sure of the specifics for it but some of the traditional finishes give a look that's hard to achieve using modern methods.

I like experimenting with the old finish recipes too.

Rodney
 
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