Picture this- you finally cave into that passion for the culinary arts and buy an expensive knife. If you value comfort highly, we’d be willing to bet that you picked one with a wooden handle.
Since you’ve splurged on this excellent tool, we suggest also investing in the best oil for wood knife handles. Even if you haven’t bought a fancy chef’s knife, it is an important component for knife maintenance.
The oil and knife go hand in hand. Skipping out on the oil is like not buying a honing kit. Don’t tell us you didn’t make that purchase either. Well, if you haven’t, your knife is certainly going dull.
Just like you need honing tools to keep your knife from getting dull, the oil is going to help keep your handle in tip-top shape. That is why we’ve compiled a list of the most reliable products on the market for you.
HOWARD Butcher Block Conditioner
5 out of 5
Thirteen Chefs Food Grade Mineral Oil
5 out of 5
Mevell Food Grade Mineral Oil
4.5 out of 5
Bamboogle Food Grade Mineral Oil
4 out of 5
Tried & True Danish Oil Finish
4.5 out of 5
What Are The Benefits Of Oiling Wooden Handles?
While the oil isn’t going to have an impact on the sharpness of your knife, it will help do a few other things. So, before we take a look at the cream of the crop, let’s first address it because you even need a knife handle oil.
1. Avoid Shrinkage and Swelling
It doesn’t matter if you use your knife every single day or once every blue moon, your handle naturally goes through a bit of wear and tear. You’ve certainly seen rusting on those steel handles that aren’t well-managed, but what happens to the wood?
When wood is exposed to a new environment, it either absorbs the excess moisture in its surroundings or lets out some of its own. This action means that the handle either shrinks or swells.
The best oil for knife handles makes sure that no excess moisture finds its way in or out of your knife, and it stays in one shape.
2. Maximize Comfort
Other than the change in size, the drying out of wood has another nasty effect on it. It feels horrible to touch. One of the good parts of a wooden handle is how amazing it feels in your hands and letting it dry out is like throwing that advantage away.
In some cases, the shrinkage and swelling can cause cracks that make the affair even more uncomfortable. So, make sure you keep it well-oiled so that you feel the same satisfaction using it every time.
3. Maintain Aesthetics
If it weren’t obvious, cracks won’t make your knife handle look very presentable. It’s not just the cracks that may hurt the looks of your great knife. The shrinking and swelling might misplace the blade a bit and that is going to look sloppy.
What’s more, if the environment is rough enough, your handle may lose its original color if not well-maintained.
4. Protect The Blade
Last but not the least, as we already mentioned, the change in size might displace your blade. Needless to say, this is going to affect the performance of your knife and in the long run, may damage the blade itself.
Applying a bit of oil to your handle can prevent this damage. In other words, it improves the longevity of your knife.
Our Recommended Best Oil For Wood Knife Handles 2022
1. HOWARD Butcher Block Conditioner
- Versatility champion
- Food-grade mineral oil
We kick things off with a very strong product. HOWARD was determined to make the best oil for wooden kitchen knife handles with this product. It pretty much ticks all the boxes.
For starters, the type of oil is perfect for kitchen application. As this is food-grade mineral oil, it isn’t going to impart any taste or odor to your knife handle. It is completely food safe as well.
What makes this oil stand out however is its versatility. It not only works on both hardwoods and bamboo, but you can also use it for other kitchen utensils around your home, such as your cutting board.
On top of that, the oil does not affect color, so you don’t have to worry about making sure it matches your wood.
The oil is also entirely waterproof. You don’t need to worry about washing it off once the oil has dried
Speaking of drying, that’s where we face a bit of a bump. The thick nature of this product means that it takes a little time to dry but it is well and truly worth the wait.
- Colorless, odorless, and tasteless
- Works on multiple types of woods
- Not impacted by water at all
- Thickness means a slightly longer drying time
2. Thirteen Chefs Food Grade Wood Knife Handle Oil
- Easy application
- Food-grade mineral oil
Thirteen Chefs is a great brand when it comes to oil for wood handles and they prove it with this product. You can’t do much better than this oil if you are looking for the perfect one for kitchen usage.
As we talked about before, food-grade mineral oil is pretty much a match made in heaven for a kitchen knife. You don’t need to worry about the handle having any funky scents or tastes making their way to your meal.
If you have the misfortune of having a gluten allergy, you’ll be happy to know that this oil is completely gluten-free too.
The ease of application is what sways us with this product through. The viscosity makes it spread our handle like warm butter on toast. The squeeze bottle design makes it even easier to use.
Another benefit of the low viscosity is the short drying period. It pretty much dries instantly.
The only downside to this product is that- it isn’t entirely waterproof. This means that you may wash off your layer of oil. But since the application is so easy, it isn’t that much of an issue.
- Colorless, odorless, tasteless, and gluten-free
- Super easy to use
- Takes barely any time to dry
- May wash off
3. Mevell Food Grade Mineral Oil
- Durability king
- Food-grade mineral oil
Mevell may not be a household name in this industry, but don’t underestimate this product. It is a great-quality wooden knife handle oil. If longevity is a top priority for you, you’re going to love this product.
The standout feature of this product is its longevity. It is going to last for a very long time after a single application. The waterproof nature of this product means that it doesn’t wash off. Furthermore, you won’t feel the need to reapply either. It locks in the moisture excellently.
Again, this is food-grade mineral oil. Much like the last two products- the lack of scent and taste makes it great for cooking purposes. Your food is going to taste exactly how you intend it to if you use this oil.
You don’t need to worry about any allergies either as it is made with non-allergic ingredients. Additionally, it can also be used on surfaces other than wood such as marble and granite.
The great durability comes at a cost. That cost is the fact that the viscosity is a little high. In other words, it is a little hard to spread and takes time to dry. The challenging application shouldn’t be a concern as you’ll rarely have to do it.
- Colorless, odorless, tasteless, and allergen-free
- Going to last for a long time
- Decent versatility
- Tedious application process
4. Bamboogle Food Grade Mineral Oil
- Lemon and orange scent
- Food-grade mineral oil
The name might sound a little funny but there is no funny business going on with this wood knife handle oil. You’d be hard-pressed to find a food-grade mineral oil that also has such a nice scent.
That’s right. While all the previous products discussed were also food-grade mineral oils, none of them featured any scents. You might be wondering, “isn’t that a good thing?”
Not necessarily. The light lemon and orange scent of Bamboogle’s product is very much an intentional decision. They mixed the great food-safe oil with some essential oils to get this iconic perfume. It smells refreshing but it isn’t overwhelming either.
The application process is also really easy. The viscosity is pretty low. This means that it is going to easily spread across your handle and dry pretty soon. You can just leave it to soak in the good stuff overnight and wake up to find a protected handle.
It’s a good thing that the application process is this easy because you might need to do it a few times. As you can probably tell, low viscosity usually means it isn’t very long-lasting. But, as we said, it shouldn’t be a bother since the application is so easy.
- Great refreshing scent
- Easy to apply
- Not long-lasting
5. Tried & True Danish Oil Finish
- Aesthetic elevator
- Danish oil
Last but not the least, we have a very unique product. For starters, it isn’t a food-grade mineral oil. This is the only product on the list that is a danish oil finish. That makes it stand out quite a bit already, and the feature set is no sloucher either.
In case you were wondering, yes, this is completely food-safe too. You can apply it to your kitchen knife without the fear of poisoning your guests.
Jokes aside, Danish oil is a great type of oil if you want an attractive finish. It amplifies the looks of your handle giving it a natural gloss. It doesn’t cover up the natural grain of your wood either, it simply accents it elegantly.
Danish oil by nature is very long-lasting, despite its low viscosity. This is the one exception to the trend that we’ve been noticing so far. Also, it’s easy to apply because it’s really thin.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t smell great. The smell isn’t rancid but it isn’t as amazing as the lemony fresh scent of Bamboogle’s oil or as safe as going odorless. You can learn to live with the scent rather easily but it may catch you by surprise initially.
- Food safe and non-toxic
- Attractive finish
- Easy to apply
- Unusual scent
Wooden Knife Handle oil Comparison Chart
Lemon and orange scent
Tried & True
Oil For Wood Knife Handles Buying Guide
On that list, you will find the ultimate wooden knife handle oil on the market for you. The keyword here is ‘for you’. Each product has different perks and downsides.
You need to sort out what your priorities are before making a decision. To help you, here are a few things to watch out for before buying a handle oil.
1. What Type Of Wood Is Your Handle?
First things first, inspect your knife. This is going to indirectly impact almost every other criterion on this list such as drying time, the type of oil to use, and the color effect of your oil.
For example, if your handle is a lightly colored wood, you have to be extra careful about what kind of oil you are using on it. Fortunately, most products on our list don’t affect the color of your handle. We’ll cover this more in-depth soon.
2. Is The Oil Food-safe?
If you are planning to use your knife in the kitchen, this is a non-negotiable point. The oil must be completely non-toxic so that it doesn’t poison your food. You have no reason to panic as all the products on our list are non-toxic.
3. What Is The Type Of Oil?
We already hinted at this when discussing the type of wood. The type of oil is a very important issue. It is going to determine a lot of the other factors on this list too.
The top products are either food-grade mineral oil or Danish oil. These two oils are a cut above the rest.
4. How Viscous Is It?
Viscosity is how thick a liquid is. This factor can determine two things- how easy it is to apply the oil, and how long it takes to dry. The latter is not entirely dependent on viscosity, however.
5. How Long Does It Take To Dry?
While viscosity plays a major role here, there are a few other things you need to take into account such as the environment you are around, and the amount of oil you put on.
6. Is It Water-Proof?
This is going to be crucial if you are someone who wants a long-lasting coating. Let’s face it, you need to wash your knife. It is a necessary sanitary practice that if you are skipping, we urge you not to.
Not having a waterproof oil doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to wash away as soon as it hits the water. However, it isn’t going to survive multiple barrages of water either. You need to reapply sooner rather than later.
7. Match The Color
Lastly, you need to make sure that the oil you are choosing lines up with your knife’s handle. For instance, a dark-colored oil may ruin the appeal of a light chestnut handle.
Don’t fret over this. Most oils on our list are colorless. Those that do have color have little effect on that of your life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need A Handle Oil?
If you want your knife handle to develop cracks, become uncomfortable to hold, and look ugly, by all means, be our guest and skip out on the oiling. But, if you want your handle to be in pristine condition, handle oil is an essential part of your tool kit.
How Do I Apply Oil To My Handle?
It’s quite simple. You need to start by washing your handle thoroughly. Next, pat it dry with a towel. Now, massage the oil into your handle either with your bare hands or with a cloth. Leave it to dry and you’ll find yourself a coated handle soon enough.
How Often Do I Apply The Oil?
This is going to depend on several factors. What is the type of wood your handle is made of? How often do you use your knife? What is the environment like where you live?
All these questions need to be answered before determining what will be the best oil for wooden handles for you and how often you need to oil up your handle.
As a rule of thumb, we believe it is wise to do it in regular intervals such as every few months.
Is There An Alternative To Oiling My Handle Regularly?
Not really. You cannot keep wood from reacting with its surroundings unless you somehow isolate it completely from the air around it. But we reckon it’s much easier and cheaper to just rub some oil in every once in a while.
Is Brand Name Important In This Case?
Unlike most products, knife handle oil does not have industry dominators. Most brands are on a level playing field. As such, we don’t think you’ll be achieving anything by going by brand names.
We hope this article helped you find the best oil for wood knife handles. Like most other things in life- finding the perfect oil for yourself may take a bit of time & effort.
We love Tried & True Danish Oil Finish, but we understand that the scent may not be for everyone. No one knows you better than yourself. All of the products on our list are top-tier. We’re sure you’ll find one that meets your demands from this article.