Iron John Logan
Traditional Blacksmithing and Historical Crafts
Wood and Finishes

I use hardwoods of North America.

Grade "A" choice pieces showing the finest figure, color and grain. Many of the woods I have in stock come from the woods and fence rows around my home. I can also custom order any Native wood from the clients local saw mill, or the client can supply the wood of their choice

These are a few of woods I have in stock, ask me about the current selection

I use Traditional stains.

Handmade chemical and water based stains, no "out of the can" factory made stains. Not all woods need stain, though here is a sample of the few that I use regularly.

Lye / Ammonia stain (on Cherry)

Lye ammonia stain attacks the tannic acid in wood, I like to explain it like upping the saturation on a digital photo. It makes the wood look more like it should, as can be seen with these Cherry handles

Acid and heat on Maple

This can only be used on maple. The acid attacks the sugars in the wood, with heat the sugars carmelize and turn a rich golden reddish brown

Asphalt on Maple

Though not truely a chemical stain, this is a tradional mix of asphalt tar and a thinner. It produces a deep dark brown that really highlights any figure of the grain

Potassium permanganate (pp) on Beach

Potassium Permanganate is an oxidizer that takes the wood to its "100 year old" appearance . Works best on light colored woods

Potassium dichromate (pd) on walnut and ivory

Potassium Dichromate is also an oxidizer, though works on dark colored woods.

Traditional finishes

All my finishes take longer then "fast-drying" polyurethane and other plastic finishes. I use old techniques, not only because they are beautiful; but they are scratch resistant, UV and water proof, truely hand rubbed, and are good for our planet. I use shellac that comes from the lac beetle, spar varnish that comes from pine trees, linseed oil that comes from the flax plant (same as linen cloth), and bees wax that is a by product of making honey.

Old Time Mix (linseed oil, Pine Varnish, Turpentine)

This is my most common finish technique. It slightly darkens the wood giving it a rich amber that only gets better with age


The finish needs between 3 and 6 coats

Gun stock finish on Walnut

True gunstock finish is a process of building up hand rubbed layers of shellac and linseed oil to fill the grain. Then hand polishing the micro film of finish with rotten stone until it is smooth as glass. Most noted for use on open grained woods such as Walnut and Mahgany - this is the fine finish seen on Victorian guns and woodwork


This finish needs between 20 to 60 coats

Honey finish on Locust

Honey finish is another micro film finish like gunstock above, though instead of shellac - bees wax is used. This fills the grain and gives the wood a beautiful shining amber color. Better suited for light colored woods then the gunstock, it will also age and deepen with age like the traditional mix above


This finish needs between 5 to 15 coats

Vacuum sealed Pine Varnish on Mesquite

With this technique I use a vacuum chamber to suck all the air out of the wood allowing the pine varish to penatrate all the way through. Great for kitchen knives and others that will often be in contact with water.


I only get one chance to penatrate the wood, though this technique can be used a base for other finishes. Takes the longest of all of these to dry