Treating the handle.
Here is my finished saw handle with reshape, wheat carving and applied shellac and wax finish.
I like to apply finish to my handles and shellac works well as both a sealer and coat build-up. I apply three coats.
I sanded the whole handle to 240-grit.
Spirit dyes work well for any colouring operations and I like this oak stain by Liberon. Minwax (US) would work too I suppose. The saw immediately looks old which of course it is.
A rag works fine for this as it’s a wipe on wipe off dye. The colour radiates through the dye and, unlike stain, doesn’t obliterate the grain as you can see.
I use an artists 1” ‘hake’ brush for all my varnish and shellac finishing. It leaves a flawless finish with no brush marks. Applying shellac by brush means you can build the coats up quickly but still allow good drying time between coats. I think an hour between coats will work fine.
Steel wool, super-fine or 0000, will cut the surface to smooth evenness. Try not to cut through the coats on the corners and high spots. This pic below is without paste wax filling the cuts.
I applied a coat of paste wax and buffed for the final coat.
-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog