Many of our customers assume that stabilized woods are completely impregnated with resin. In reality, the system of capillaries, cells, and voids within the wood can only be filled to a certain extent, depending on the wood type and its characteristics. However, stability and durability are still provided by the net of partially filled capillaries and cells, and with 100% saturation, the natural wood structure would no longer be visible.
Stabilization is, therefore, a balancing act between the amount of resin infused into the wood, the associated stability, and the natural appearance. As a result, the sanded surface of stabilized woods may still have some open areas. Cracks and inclusions are often only partially filled with resin, so additional work is required for an optimal finish. For my knives, I use sanding dust and low-viscosity cyanoacrylate adhesive, such as Starbond EM02.
First, I sand the surface up to a 220-grit finish and then rub the resulting sanding dust into the holes and recesses. Often, open areas in the surface become visible only after this step.
Next, I coat the entire surface with cyanoacrylate adhesive, ideally sealing all open areas in one pass. If not, a targeted filling of the defects is sufficient afterwards.
To apply the cyanoacrylate adhesive, a chemical-resistant nitrile glove has proven effective. I touch a drop of cyanoacrylate adhesive with caution and use it to coat the surface. Nobody wants adhesive on the blade. Adequate ventilation is crucial during this process as the fumes from the cyanoacrylate can irritate the eyes and nose.
After drying, I continue sanding with a 220-grit paper until all the cyanoacrylate adhesive has been removed from the surface. Then, I switch to progressively finer grit papers, up to around 800 grit. For a high-gloss final finish, the CCL - Knife Handle Polishing Set in high gloss is recommended.
Alternatively, instead of cyanoacrylate adhesive, you can mix a paste from sanding dust and epoxy resin adhesive and apply it to the surface. I choose this method when a matte finish is intended for a handle. Larger accumulations of cyanoacrylate adhesive in cracks will remain glossy after fine sanding and stand out on a matte finish. Therefore, this method is better suited for achieving a matte overall appearance. For the matte finish, I can recommend using Naturhaus Cream Wax, which also slightly darkens the surface.
PS: Both methods can also be used with natural, unstabilized woods.