How Many Coats of Boiled Linseed Oil on Axe Handle: 6 Tricky Tips

It is highly recommended to oil the axe handle to protect it from rusty elements and keep it strong and flexible. Oiling your axe handle has no better alternative that can make the axe too durable and keep it in good shape. Working with a wooden handle is much more complex as it fractures when it dries. To know how many coats of boiled linseed oil on the axe handle is good enough to make the wooden handle last longer, this content might be a great help.  

What is Boiled Linseed Oil? 

Boiled linseed oil is a widespread solution for an axe handle to give the tool a smooth furnishing. There are different types of linseed oil like tung, teak, hemp, walnut, and linseed oil. Boiled linseed oil is very commonly used for its polymerization. Linseed oil for axe handles is collected from the dried flax plants and some matured seeds. This oil is very effective in keeping lumber from deterioration. Though some users avoid linseed oil due to its long drying period, most people choose it due to its ability to give durable finishing and make the axe long-lasting. Some solvents and metalloids can make boiled linseed oil more user-friendly and handy to use. 

Recommended: What Is a Michigan Axe? The Best Informative Guide

Benefits of Coating with Boiled Linseed Oil 

  • Provides weather resistance to the axe handles
  • Waterproof coating with boiled linseed oil feels great on hand
  • It inhibits mildew and, unlike other oils, it is less likely to grow rancid when it is exposed to the sun or rain
  • Gives long-lasting effects
  • Prevent the wood from prematurely drying out

Things you Need

  • Sandpaper (100 & 220 grits)
  • Lint-free cloth or a paper towel
  • Boiled Linseed Oil
  • Axe wax (if needed)
  • Rubber or Nitrile gloves (optional)  
  • Knife (for removing varnish) 
  • 400 grit sandpaper (optional)

Steps of Using Boiled Linseed Oil on Axe Handle 

Step 1: Preparing the Necessary Tools

First, prepare the tools needed to work with your axe handle. If there is any varnished wood remaining on the wood handle, make sure you remove it before starting the work. Though some use a glossy finish to give it a new and shiny look, it can be problematic as the surface gets slippery and is hard to grip. Take a knife to erase the varnish from the hardwood axe handle. 

Step 2: Sanding to Smoothen the Axe Handle

After taking the preparation with the tools, you need to use 100-grit sandpaper to smooth the rough surface. After using the 100-grit sandpaper, take 220-grit sandpaper to have a smoother finish. After the sanding process, use a dry cloth to wipe off the remaining dust with your hand. Don’t use a wet cloth that may cause the grain to open up. So, avoid using a wet cloth if you don’t want to sand again. Alternatively, you can use a paper towel to wipe away the dust. 

Step 3: Apply Boiled Linseed Oil 

Wear hand and eye protection as you move forward to the task of applying the oil to the axe handle. Do the task in a well-ventilated area. Once scraping the polish and removing the dust from the old axe handle, apply a single layer of boiled linseed oil. Then, blot out the maximum amount of the oil with a clean rag. Take the towel and rub the grip until the wood seems brown. After that, you are ready to apply the linseed oil to the whole axe surface. Don’t forget to oil coat both ends of the axe handle as the wood is absorbent. 

Read: How To Remove Mineral Oil From Wood [Definitive Guideline]

Step 4: Leave the Axe Handle Dry

After applying the oil to coat the handle, allow it to dry in the sun to speed up the drying process. Leaving it near any heat source can also work well to soak the oil and dry quickly. You can also dry it in a windy atmosphere, but that will take more time and effort. 

Let the axe handle dry overnight after applying the first coat. It may require at least 8 hours, but wait for a better result for 14-24 hours. If you have less time and want to invest 8-10 hours in the drying process, you should not apply oil coating twice or thrice daily. Otherwise, it may mess with the drying procession and timing of the further coats.  

The drying time depends on which oil you use between raw or boiled linseed oil. Talk to an expert to get advice regarding each type of oil’s drying time. 

Step 5: Wipe the Handle & Oil it Multiple Times

As the handle absorbs the oil, the outer layer is dry. Take a clean paper towel to wipe the handle to remove the extra grease. Single oil coating is insufficient; therefore, repeat the whole process of oil coating three times. The entire project may take a few days. 

Step 6: Ensuring Maintenance 

Following all the above steps will fail if you don’t ensure proper maintenance later. Remember to oil your axe handle once a day for a whole week. After the end of the week, start oiling once a week for a whole month. Then, do it a month for a year. After that, once a year of oiling the axe handle is pretty good. This is the routine you need to stick to; otherwise, you can’t make the axe handle durable. 

Learn more: How to Blacken an Axe Head: 4 Tricky Steps Ever

Tips about Drying Process  

Always remember the boiled linseed oil’s dryness duration; otherwise, the other coating might not yield the expected results. You must ensure the previous coating is dry enough to find no issue applying the subsequent coats. Don’t move to the next coating when the previous one is still sticky. 

Even if you are done with all the coating, you should not use the axe immediately. Please rest the axe for a couple of days before using it continuously. Don’t feel so worried about the drying duration. Depending on the coat’s temperature, humidity, and depth, the drying period may differ. As a user of boiled linseed oil, you must wait a couple of weeks for the axe handle to get a solid and hard texture. 


Will I get a good result using a single coat?

Coating a single time on your axe handle is inadequate. You need to make at least three to get a better result. The more coats the axe handle gets the better performance and looking you can expect. 

Important read: How to Identify a Collins Axe: 3 Profound Ideas 

Why should I apply multiple layers of boiled linseed oil? 

Applying at least three coats of boiled linseed oil to the wooden axe surface is suitable for making the wood fibers entirely saturated. Multiple layers of boiled linseed oil provide a fantastic finish to the wood items. 

How often should I oil my axe handle?

You must apply boiled linseed oil once daily in the first week of getting a brand-new axe. Then, you can apply oil once a month for a month and then move to oil once per month for a year.

How long should I keep oiling my axe handle? 

If you are done with oiling your axe handle once per month a year, you need no more to apply boiled linseed oil on the axe handle. Using 500-grit sandpaper will be enough to sand the axe handle.

Final Words

When it comes to maintaining wood, all kinds of oil are not recommended due to their different effects on the items. Oiling your handle with the tricks discussed above will help to keep your axe handle tight, flexible, and look fabulous. Hopefully, you have clear ideas of how many coats of boiled linseed oil on the axe handle will give the best result. The more coats the axe handle gets, the better looking it will achieve.

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Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

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