Top 5 Best Finish for Wood Tool Handles [Reddit Choices]

Many of us own tools that have wood handles and may have been neglected for a while. You may also have a new tool that needs a good finish. The beauty of wood lies in its finish. Selecting the best finish for your tool handles will not only protect the wood but will also enhance their look.

Experts have recommended oil finishes as the best. In particular, penetrating oil finishes will offer a unique look and protection. However, even though there are various oil finishes in the market, not all of them will give a perfect finish.

In this guide, we have selected some of the best oil finishes. Stay tuned as we discuss more on them. We will also delve into other information regarding wood finishes that will help you choose the best finish for your tool handles.

Best Finish for Wood Tool Handles Reviews

1. Watco 65851 Danish oil Wood Finish

Watco Danish Oil Wood Finish

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To protect your wood tool handles, use Watco 65851 wood finish. It is oil-based and contains oil and varnish for deep penetration into the wood to offer maximum protection. The wood finish stains, seals, and protects wood at the same time. It comes in a variety of colors such as dark walnut, cherry, fruitwood, among others.

 This oil-wood finish is easy to apply on wood surfaces. Simply brush or wipe on the piece of wood and allow it to dry. Wipe off excess stain. It also dries up in less than 6 hours after application. It can be applied on new or previously stained wood surfaces.

For wood surfaces that had been previously stained, sanding should be done first. Once dry, the wood surfaces will have a natural hand-rubbed look with a soft feel. You can also use it to renew damaged or faded surfaces. This finish produces excellent results in woods that have tight grains. 

One tin can cover up to an area of 85 square feet. This is enough to ensure that your wood surfaces are against chipping, cracking, and peeling; hence handles will last longer. Apart from wood handles, I also recommend them for use on a variety of indoor wood surfaces.


  • Provides very nice finishes
  • The finish dries up without leaving a mess.
  • Easy to apply with a brush or a piece of cloth.
  • It has a medium thickness for easy penetration
  • It protects wood with a waterproof film.


  • It is flammable
  • It leaves a strong smell

2. Beeswax Furniture Polish and Conditioner with Orange Oil

Beeswax Furniture Polish

Are you looking for a wood finish that is naturally formulated? Then I recommend Beeswax Furniture polish. It is made from beeswax and other natural components to protect wood surfaces. This can be used for both finished and unfinished wood surfaces to enhance the natural beauty of wood surfaces in your home.

The polish can be used on different kinds of wood surfaces such as floors, kitchen cabinets, and furniture. You can choose to use it as a conditioner on your hardwood floor or to preserve your furniture. It is a perfect product to use to restore and protect your wooden cabinets. 

A touch of beeswax furniture polish can be used on antique woods as a preservative. With its deep penetrating power, this polish restores surfaces that have been damaged by water or the sun. It reconditions faded surfaces and brings back the natural beauty. You will love the lustrous and polished shine on the wood.

 It contains natural orange oil, the best cleaning agent that does not contain toxic and harsh chemicals. This makes it safe to use around children and pets. It is also easy on the hands. Also, orange oil and carnauba wax are good for repairing scratched surfaces. Apply and allow to dry overnight for best results.

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  • Made from natural ingredients hence safe
  • It restores old-looking surfaces
  • The smell is good
  • Cleans, polishes, and conditions wood surfaces
  • The polish easily soaks into the wood, leaving no residues on the surface


  • Cleaning up is not easy

3. Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood Furniture Polish

Linseed Oil for Wood

Furniture Clinic offers the most superior quality polish that can be used for both indoor and outdoor wood finishes. The Boiled linseed oil transforms old and dry wood surfaces into an attractive and glossy finish. In addition, it is useful in sealing furniture and protects it from further cracks.

The polish is suitable for all types of wood except exterior oak. It brings out the natural color and grains of the wood. It quickly dries and forms a hard-wearing finish on the wood. This protects wood surfaces and also acts as waterproof. It can also be used in terracotta tiles, concrete floors, and other types of stone finishes. 

Boiled linseed is naturally formulated and can therefore be used for all projects around the house. You can use it on wood handles, Kitchen furniture and cabinets, tables, bedroom furniture, and garden furniture, among others. It comes in a 250ml container which goes a long way to give you a perfect finish. 

Furniture clinics offer excellent customer service and guarantee that products work well when used correctly. Experts are also available to ensure product issues are resolved within the shortest time and ensure that you get satisfied. However, in case of dissatisfaction with the product, the company offers a money-back guarantee.


  • It seals and protects wood
  • Safe to use for wood surfaces throughout the home
  • Boiled linseed oil dries up quickly
  • It can be used for both indoor and outdoor wood finishes
  • Fairly priced for the quality offered


  • Complains of product leaking 
  • You have to dispose of rags used safely as it can cause combustion.

4. Tried and True Original Wood finish

Tried & True Original Wood Finish

The original wood finish from Tried and True provides a simple and environmentally friendly way to finish wood surfaces. It naturally preserves wood and restores wood, bringing to life the wood grains. In addition, it has been proved to be nontoxic and food-safe. It is widely used to finish tool handles, wooden bowls, cutting boards, and even kids’ toys.

The wood finish is made from pure polymerized linseed oil and beeswax. This makes it safe to use even on food contact surfaces. So you can apply it indoors without worrying about toxins. There is also no need for protective gear when applying since it causes no harm if it comes into contact with skin.

Each coat provides a soft matte sheen with added moisture resistance. With just 3 coats, your wood surfaces will have a deep natural look. Just like other tried and true products, it contains no heavy metals, solvents, petrochemicals, or synthetic additives. 

 A gallon can cover up to an area of 1000 square feet, but this can vary depending on the type of wood and application technique. This product can be used with other products from tried and true but always apply as the topcoat.


  • It does not contain harsh chemicals; hence safe
  • It is thick and can go a long way.
  • Simple to apply on wood
  • The polish easily soaks into the wood
  • It contains linseed and beeswax that offer great protection to the wood.


  • User reports product takes a while to dry
  • It gets dull when the surface gets in contact with water 

5. Mahoney’s Finishes Walnut Oil and Wax Combo Wood Finish

Mahoney's Finishes Walnut Oil

 Mahony’s walnut oil and wax offer the best food-safe finish to wooden surfaces. The oil is100%purely filtered walnut oil, while the wax is a blend of beeswax and carnauba. The combination of oil and wax finish provides extra protection and leaves a beautiful satin finish on hardwoods and exotic woods.

It contains no petroleum distillates and is completely safe on wooden utensils, wood handles, and other wooden objects for perfect finishes. 

Unlike traditional mineral paste waxes, the oil and wax soak into the wood and hardens as it dries, producing a durable finish; hence you do not have to reapply frequently.

To get perfect finishes, sand grit the surfaces until it is smooth, then apply oil, rub it into the wood, and allow it to dry for 24 hours before applying another layer. The oil gives the wood surface a good sheen, contrast, and depth. The result is a natural and smooth finish.

 Each package includes 16Oz of walnut oil and 8Oz of wax. For best results, apply oil on the surface, cure it completely, and then apply the wax. The result is a beautiful natural finish. It is easy to apply both the oil and wax with a cloth or a bare hand.

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  • Preserves the beauty of the wood.
  • It is not toxic and is safe for use with bare hands
  • The oil spreads cleanly and clearly on the wood
  • It comes as oil and wax in one package
  • It is made from 100% pure walnut oil


  • It takes a long time to dry
  • Since it is an oil finish, it does not provide a long-lasting protection

What is the best wood finisher for tool handles?

Tool handles require a wood finisher that will protect the handles and make them last longer. With a good finisher, you will have smooth handles that are gentle on your hands. A great finish will also protect your wood handles from becoming dry, cracked, and brittle.

An oil-based wood finisher is the best for wood handles. Choose a product that contains linseed oil, tung oil, or walnut oil. These oil finishes cure slowly, thus allowing the oil to penetrate deep into the wood. Oil finishes like watco and Danish oil also offer solutions that dry quickly.

A good wood finisher preserves and keeps your wooden handle beautiful. Since linseed oil is the best, you can settle for the boiled linseed oil since it dries faster than the raw oil. I also recommend choosing a wood finisher with no toxins or harsh chemicals.

Tung oil vs. boiled linseed oil 

Tung oil and linseed oil are pure natural oil finishes that are best for good results on wood surfaces. Both wood finishes are nontoxic and are considered safe for use. They are also environmentally friendly products. These wood finishes penetrate the woods and do not leave a sticky surface. They can be easily rubbed into the wood.

There are differences between them. For instance, the drying time for Tung oil is longer since it is pure with no additives. On the other hand, boiled linseed dries faster since it contains metallic driers. Tung oil results in a harder finish which is durable compared to linseed oil. Natural linseed might take a long period to dry too.

When you use boiled linseed, you will get perfect finishes with two to three coats with minimum sanding. At the same time, it might take five or even more coats to get a good finish with Tung oil. You will also need to sand between coats; hence might take longer to complete a project.

In terms of water resistance, Tung oil offers a better outcome compared to linseed. However, since both do not harden quite well, they do not offer durable and protective finishes like polyurethane, varnish, or water-based finishes. 

Tung oil results in a more honey-like color finish and does not drastically change over time. Boiled linseed finishes almost the same as Tung oil, but as the wood surface ages, the color turns to a dark orange look.

Danish oil vs. boiled linseed oil 

Both finishes offer great solutions and result in protective and appealing finishes. They are both easy to apply on wood by simply wiping with a cloth. Also, with a few coats, both oils produce a glossy finish. 

Again both finishes are considered food safe and resistant to water; hence can be used in food utensils, cutting boards, and kitchen tops. In addition, both finishes do not last long; hence need to be reapplied often or use wax to enhance their durability.  

Danish oil has a mixture of linseed oil, Tung oil, synthetic resins, and solvents, making it easy to work and dries faster. On the other hand, boiled linseed oil has been added with metallic driers and dries within a day.

Danish oil protects wood from the inside as it hardens below the surface. As a result, you also get a light finish that does not change over time. On the other hand, boiled linseed penetrates through the wood and hardens as it dries. As a result, it has a yellowish color finish but changes to dark orange with age.

While Danish oil offers a clean and smooth finish, boiled linseed can be sticky on the surface when drying. You can also apply Danish oil as a primer or a sealant, but linseed may not work.

Boiled linseed oil is a good wood preservative and is also cheap. On the other hand, Danish oil may not offer the best preservative properties.

In conclusion, each oil finish has its advantages and drawbacks, and the choice will highly depend on what you are looking for.

Why care for your wooden tool handles 

When tool handles are well taken care of, they last longer and are easy on the hands. Therefore, it is good practice to care for them routinely, e.g., once a year. Here is a step by step guide on the care of tool handles:

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Dirty tools need to be cleaned after use. If it is not possible, just clean your tool handles to remove any dirt to make the smoothing process easier and quicker. Cleaning can simply be done with a bristle brush and water and wipe with a rag.


Smoothing is done to get rid of any splinters or rough spots in the wood handle. You can easily smooth the wood handle using sandpaper or a spokes shave. For rough handles, start with low grit sandpaper as you move to high grit sandpaper.


Oiling protects handles from dryness and makes the wood beautiful. Choose a good oil finish for your handles. For example, boiled linseed and Tung oil protect wood without being sticky and are also nontoxic. Applying the oil is easy as you only need a rag. Allow the oil to sip into the wood as it dries. Oiling the metal parts with any oil is recommended to protect the tools from rusting.


Burnishing is polishing the wood handles to enhance their appearance. The handles will be free from cracks and will last longer. Burnishing can be done after each coat or after applying the last coat. You can use a soft rag or a 0000 steel wool.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to apply boiled linseed oil to wood?

Before applying oil on a wood surface, proper sanding should be done. It should be between 320 grit to 400 grit sandpaper to ensure you get a very smooth and fine surface.
Apply the boiled linseed oil using a soft cloth. Start applying hard-to-reach areas first and move in circular motions across the wood grain. Next, apply generous amounts of oil and allow it to penetrate through the wood. Once the oil fully absorbs, wipe off the excess and allow it to dry. After it cures, sand lightly and applies another coat. Finally, apply the last coat and give it time to dry. You can coat as many times as possible until you achieve your preferred look.

Who makes the best axe handles?

When looking for the best axe handle, you probably want something of high quality and durable to last longer. Three companies make the best axe handles. These are House Handle Company in the USA, Tennessee Hickory in the USA, and Gransfors Bruk in Sweden.

How many coats of boiled linseed oil?

Three coats of boiled linseed oil applied between 12 to24 hours from an expertise angle will give wood surfaces a lustrous look. You are required to apply the first coat generously and give it time to cure. 
Slightly sand and apply a subsequent coat. Allow it to dry, then apply the third and final coat. With three coats, the wood will have absorbed enough oil to seal and protect it.
However, you may not like the appearance of the wood surface. Therefore you may need to apply many coats until you achieve what you are looking for. 

How to make a wood handle?

First of all, you need to select a piece of wood that is strong and long-lasting. Then, you can get rich woods such as mahogany or rosewood.
Design your tool handle for the specific tool and ensure the design revolves around the use of the tool. This will make the tool work well and also comfortable to use. The handle should also be strong.
Once the design is complete and the handle for smoothness, you can start with low to medium sanding and move up until you have a perfectly smooth surface. I recommend sanding up to 220 grit. 
The last step is to apply the best finish to seal and protect the wood handles. 

How to remove linseed oil from wood?

Sometimes, unwanted linseed oil can remain on wood surfaces. Therefore, it needs to be removed. This can easily be removed using turpentine which dissolves and removes layers of linseed oil from the wood quickly.
Ensure that the surface is free from dust and is dry. Next, pour turpentine on a piece of cloth and rub it on the wood surface in a circular motion to dissolve the oil. Leave it to rest for 10-20 minutes to ensure that oil is dissolved. 
You can now clean the surface with warm soapy water and wipe it thoroughly. Repeat the process until you are certain that the surface is clean, then allow it to dry.

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