How to care for wooden handles

Taking good care of your kitchen knives is crucial as we have stated many times before. But many people overlook the care of their knife handles, which is not good for the knives’ longevity. If you don’t want to end up with a very uncomfortable and dried out handle you need to pay as much attention to it as to the blade. Now, we’re going to teach you how to properly take care of your wooden knife handles and give them a longer life. 

Although some types of wood are more susceptible to it than others, in general a wooden handle feels a lot better after a couple drops of oil once in a while. Oiling not only makes the handle look more beautiful, but it also prevents drying and cracking. You need to also remember that not all types of wooden handles can be oiled. If a handle is already enhanced with polish or paint, it won’t be able to absorb oil. 


Wash and immediately dry the knife by hand to avoid wearing it out in the dishwasher. Remember to never leave it soaking in the water or under direct sunlight. Both of these things can damage the handle for good. Just store it in a knife rack or a drawer away from other tools that can damage it. Make sure to oil the handle frequently. Some people can’t be bothered, so they use olive oil, which you can do too, however, you must know that after a while it could get rancid and start to smell slightly stale. To avoid this, we’ll introduce you to some of the more appropriate oils for wood care. 

Ballistol oil 

This might be the best one out there if you can ignore the strong smell, although some people love the pine forest notes. It was Originally developed as oil for weapons but now it’s used for the maintenance of many different materials. Ballistol can be used on all types of wood, with the exception of handles that have been painted, of course. It is an oil that revives dry wood…

Danish oil 

This oil has been praised by woodworkers for years and we’re glad to say that it can be used for kitchen knife handles as well. Just remember to wipe off the excess oil with a dry cloth because if you leave it, a lacquer layer will form, which is not ideal especially for a knife handle. 

Linseed oil 

This one also has a long history. It works the same as with Danish oil. You need to apply a thin coat, let it set and rub it afterwards to remove access oil, which you don’t want to dry. 

How to apply oil to a wooden kitchen knife handle: 

  1. Spray some oil on a clean and dry cloth. 
  2. Apply it gently and equally on the handle.
  3. Allow the handle to absorb it for a couple of minutes and wipe it out with another clean cloth. 
  4. Repeat this process until the wood is saturated, which you’ll know when the wood stops absorbing any more oil. 

In conclusion: If you invested money into buying a gorgeous handmade kitchen knife with a wooden handle, you can definitely invest some time into maintaining it. That’s your guarantee of longevity. 

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