Best finish for wooden knife handles

Best Finish for Wooden Knife Handles

It is not a secret that we always want the best for our lives: nice friends, good cars and beautiful houses… we wish everything to be as perfect as it could be. So, if we have the chance to give the best finish to our wooden knives, why don’t we do it?

Wood is an exquisite material that requires special attention and care to preserve for many years. Wood is straightforward to work with, especially if you cook a lot. It is handy for the handgrip and prevents the knife from slipping out of your hand. You will also need a wooden handle knife if you are an explorer and you need to cut some branches on your adventure. 

From durability to the final gloss, everything is important in this decision as it makes a great difference depending on your needs. Keeping a knife in good shape is way more important than you probably thought it is, a tool that we use every day in many different ways. That is why we will review the best products to keep knife handles in the best conditions. Remember that knives are not only the blade!

Products Review

Sunnyside Corporation 87232S Boiled Linseed Oil – Great endurance 

Sunnyside Corporation 87232S Boiled Linseed Oil, Quart

With a mild odor and a clear amber appearance, this oil fits perfectly with those wooden knives we need to use in wild nature as linseed is a great resistant oil. This product should be applied to raw wood only (except for additional coats and natural rubbed finishes). 

The manufacturer recommends using it with other products of the company, which I find unhelpful. It is also extremely flammable and dangerous as it is composed of many chemicals.

Advantage. It shows great performance when it comes to endurance.

Disadvantage. Fire hazard. Not eco-friendly.

Hope’s 100% Pure Tung Oil Wood Finish – Experience and pure oil

HOPE'S 100% Pure Tung Oil Wood Finish for Furniture & Floors, Moisture Resistant Sealer, One, 128 Fl Oz

It could be the purest tung oil we can find in the market (cures by oxidation, not by evaporation), characterized by its classic hand-rubbed finish, enhancing natural color and preventing glossy surfaces no matter the number of coats.

Hope´s is also a well-known and experienced company in this market section… who wouldn’t trust the quality of an expert brand?

Advantage. It is very pure oil. It can be your ´forever´ solution because of its long duration.

Disadvantage. Slow drying. It can take more than a day sometimes. 

Watco 65351 Danish Oil Wood Black Walnut Finish – Quick dry

Watco 65351 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Pint, Black Walnut

This oil gives better performance on tight-grained woods. Still, it stands out because of its short drying time: 6 hours per coat are enough while other oils can take up to 24 hours… even some projects are completed in less than an hour (like applying a protective coat to our knife), making it a perfect option for impatient people. 

And not only that, Danish oil is popular for being a low-odor oil when handling it while it does not smell at all when dried. 

Finally, the black walnut finish will produce a very strong look at our knife.

Advantage. Very short drying time, letting the customer use his knife earlier.  

Disadvantage. Poorer durability and protection skills.

Osmo Top Oil Satin – Easy to use

OSMO Top Oil Satin

This oil gives a tough and hard-wearing finish. It is indicated to protect against a great variety of chemicals and liquids such as wine or coffee. 

I find it useful if you want to protect a wooden knife extra, but it is not appropriate for elegant duties as it does not add any wooden-color finish. 

Moreover, some detergents or other household cleaning products like vanish or baking soda will likely cause severe discoloration or staining. Therefore, Osmo Top Oil Satin might be ideal for other purposes, but it does not look helpful this time.

Advantage. It is easy to use and apply.

Disadvantage. It is not useful for wooden knife handles as some cleaning products can damage it.

Tried & True Danish Oil Finish – Best for old knives

Tried & True Danish Oil Finish, Quart

This product does great work bringing back the natural color of the wood with a beautiful and smooth satin sheen finish. It is recommended for interior work and applied with a lint-free cloth, which makes it more difficult to apply it if you are used to working with brushes. 

It works out flawlessly with aged woods (like those knives we have inherited from our ancestors). Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.

Advantage. It is the perfect product for those old-fashioned knives full of splinters.

Disadvantage. It does not dry as well as other modern oils.

Watco Rust-Oleum A65741 Danish Oil Wood Natural Finish – Quick natural finish

Watco Rust-Oleum A65741 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Quart, Natural

Another Watco Danish Oil, like the third product reviewed. Therefore, we can assign it the same properties: short drying time, mild odor… 

The main difference is the finish: this time, the product offers us a natural look of the wood, highlighting those features that make wood so attractive for our eyes.  

Advantage. It dries very quick and brings back the natural color of the wood.

Disadvantage. Poorer durability and protection skills.


We have analyzed six different products to keep the wood from our knife handles in the best possible conditions. Some people may add extra gloss to their knives, and others may want a product that penetrates inside the wood and gives more protection. Others need to conserve that knife from the XIX century found in your old collectible crockery: this is why it is so important to read a buyer’s guide like this one carefully.

You must ask yourself this question: what do you need? If your knife has lost its natural look, Hope´s tung oil could be your solution. Maybe you want to apply a quick coat and use the knife right after: Watco Danish Oil is what you are really seeking. 

Finally, I would like to highlight the importance of following the instructions to get the best possible result and be cautious when using these products. If you follow all these tips, you will not have any problem, and your wooden knife handles will look astonishing again!