This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
The wooden parts of tools, such as the stocks of planes and handles of chisels, are often made to have a nice appearance by French polishing; but this adds nothing to their durability. A much better plan is to let them soak in linseed oil for a week, and rub them with a cloth for a few minutes every day for a week or two. This produces a beautiful surface, and at the same time exerts a solidifying and preservative action on the wood.