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Old 04-02-2010, 02:33 PM
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Default Putting a Handle on a knife (Full Tang)



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From a Request in another thread.......

Quote:
Could you please go into as much detail on the handle work as you can when you're finished with your project.Im actually about to start working on an ColdSteel SRK,its been heat treated but otherwise its a complete blank ( no handle no grind no edge)
Equipment needed:

Knife blank
Knife "Scales" (slabs of wood in the Length and width needed. It is maybe better to go with "Thicker slabs" than necessary. You can always remove some wood, you can't add it.)
Painters Masking tape
Clamps ("C" or something similar)
Drill, Or preferably a Drill press.
Pin material (can be Mosiac pins, or plain Rod stock)
A slow curing Epoxy (slow curing allows time to position and make adjustments as needed. Slow curing Epoxy also is supposed to be Stronger.)
Power sander, files,and Various grits of sandpaper. ( For removal of wood.)

SAFETY EQUIPMENT Some woods can cause rashes and/or are TOXIC. You will need a MINIMUM of:
Safety glasses or other safety eye protection ( I use a full face visor,as I wear reading glasses to see fine details)
A Respirator, (You DO NOT want this stuff getting in your lungs!!)
Long sleeved shirt
Gloves (Leather for protection from the sander/Grinder, and rubber/vinyl for use with the epoxy, Disposable are fine.)
Anything else you might need to be safe(r) working, Adequate lighting is more important than you might think.

It doesn't matter if you start with a kit knife, or you make your knives from scratch the method is still pretty much the same. Tape the whole knife except where the scales(handle) will be.

If there are no holes in your knife or blank, You will have to determine where is the most advantageous for Placement. You will need a minimum of 2 (1 at the front and rear of your scale placement, or 1 front pin and a thong tube to act as a pin.) Not too close to the ends, but well enough spaced to secure the scales. Although it may look "Fancy" you don't want too many either!! If you are working with hardened steel, you will need Tungsten Carbide drill bits. This will "anneal" the metal as it drills in the area you are drilling.

Drill the holes the SAME size as the pin material you will be using!! If you are using 4- 1/8" pins, you will want to use a 1/8" Bit. Use a "Cutting oil"(or Hydraulic fluid) and keep it lubed as you drill. Do NOT try and "rush it" , let your bit do the work. You want a symmetrical appearance,even spacing and patterning. Make sure your drill press material rest/support is set at 0!! (Don't ask me how I discovered this. It was the Hard Way!!) You want to drill STRAIGHT down. This is the reason I bought a Drill press. No matter how good you think you are, a Drill press is better.

If you Purchased a knife blank, these usually come with the holes already drilled so you can skip the above step. Still, it IS a good thing to know. Who knows you might want to personalize your knife with a "Unique pin placement" or design. Just don't get crazy with it, The more pins you use the smaller your pins should be. I wouldn't suggest anything more than 1" worth of pins, for your average size handle Not counting a "thong tube". In other words no more than 8 - 1/8" pins, 4 - 1/4" pins, etc. Remember the saying. "More is Less, and Less is More". Using an attractive wood, the pins would detract from the overall appearance. The same is true with synthetic scales such as G-10 etc. Pins are for securing the scales, and to a lesser degree to "look nice". Two 3/16" mosaic pins would be beautiful, so would 4. 7 is going to look "Tacky" (And too many). (5 - 3/16pins = 15/16" would be as many as you would want to use, at the most IMO)

Now we prepare the scales for drilling/shaping. Remember you really want a little larger scales than you will end up with. Unless your scales are going to be smaller than the Tang (on a Full Tang knife). Always have the front of the scales (Where it will meet the blade) as finished as possible before you place them on the knife. What I do is tape the scales together as tightly as possible on what will be the top, bottom, and Butt (pommel) of the scales. You want NO movement whatsoever, You can even use a small amount of glue to help secure them. Once the front of the scales is as finished as needed, I then tape the scales to my tang in the same position as I want them positioned on the knife (Both scales taped and/or glued together with what will be the "Outside" facing each other on the "Inside". Tape it TIGHTLY. Now we will drill through the Tang as a template, through the scales. Mark your scales as Right and Left. The one closest to the Tang should be in exactly the position it will be in when finished.

At this point I remove the scales and using the holes we just drilled as a pilot hole., I drill them out again with a bit 1/64" larger than we just used. This is only on the scales. Don't worry, the epoxy we will use will fill in that 1/64" gap helping to hold it all together stronger. You may want to draw the outline of the Tang on the scales and remove as much as possible before attaching them to the tang. Leave a little excess so you can finish to fit, if you want it to be flush with the Tang.

Cut your pins to be about 1/8" longer than the TOTAL width of the scales and Tang combined,rough them up slightly so that the Epoxy will have something to "Grab". Slightly Bevel the ends of the pins so the slide in easier..

Mix your epoxy, and apply it to the Tang on one side. Match up the scale on one side with the holes and slide your first pin in just to the exposed side of the Tang flush, do the same with at least one other pin. Coat the other side of the Tang with Epoxy and push one pin through. Attach the other scale using that pin as a guide. Match up the holes and push in the other pin so everything is aligned. Place your other pins in and Clamp everything securely. Place in a position that your pins won't slide out. Let this sit for at least 24 hours, until the Epoxy cures.

24 hours later.... your knife is now ready to do your finish work

If you are using a Power sander, You will want to be careful so as not to heat your pins up, or you can damage the Epoxy and/or the wood. Go slow until the pins are even with the scales. What I do is "Tap and feel" I put the pins on the sander for just a second, pull it off and literally feel the pins. This way I insure I don't overheat the pins. I repeat this until the pins are flush with the scales. I then start shaping the scales, never staying too long where the pins are. I just keep moving.

You just moved into what is Now, basically a wood shaping project. Using the sander, files and sandpaper you shape the handle into the desired shape and texture. Start with the coarsest grit sand paper and stepping down to the next finer grit. I start with rough shaping on the sander with 50 grit, using light pressure. Then moving on to a wood rasp, 100 grit, 220 grit, 320, 400, ...all the way to 2000 grit. You can use different finishes, the same as any other wood working project. On the knives pictured, I used Boiled linseed oil.


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Old 04-02-2010, 08:08 PM
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Thanks for posting this.Now if my knife would just show up.
Old 04-02-2010, 09:55 PM
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Relax brother, it will, it will. Keep in mind what I say about the pins is just my personal preference. Well that is not quite true. It was a choice that was kinda' dictated to me. I wanted to put 11 pins in the bowie originally. This is what I originally had planned.........



You see there are 11 pin holes arranged in a nice little pattern. when I went to put them in, the number of holes had weakened the wood to such a degree that it split one of the scales lengthwise. There was no "repairing" it either. Had this been Stabilized wood, or G-10 scales It wouldn't have happened. But it was just scales cut from a Lacewood plank. When I put pin No. 8 in is when it split. I probably could have done the 11 with the Ironwood, but I didn't want to take the chance with a $25 pair of scales!! So I reduced the No. of pins. I still like it the way it turned out, since I was the "Customer" for this knife,everyone was happy!!

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Old 04-03-2010, 07:39 PM
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Just ordered some scales off of ebay.
Old 04-03-2010, 08:25 PM
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Oooh anything interesting???? I have been cruising sites that sell knife scales lately, looking for interesting scales. I love wooden ones personally, they are just "warmer", if that makes sense.
Old 04-03-2010, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocomoonskyeyes View Post
Oooh anything interesting???? I have been cruising sites that sell knife scales lately, looking for interesting scales. I love wooden ones personally, they are just "warmer", if that makes sense.
Actually ordered black micarta, as you know they're going on my CS SRK that im making, I chose black to match a Blackhawk sheath I ordered today for $13,if I ever make a full custom knife with the skills you have I will no doubt go wood tho, it just looks sexier!
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sluggyslugworth View Post
Actually ordered black micarta, as you know they're going on my CS SRK that im making, I chose black to match a Blackhawk sheath I ordered today for $13,if I ever make a full custom knife with the skills you have I will no doubt go wood tho, it just looks sexier!
Well ... Gee.... uh.... Thanks!! The two knives I have Here in the knives section, are the only two I have ever made!! The Bowie(as shown above) and the Nessie. But I have been doing a LOT of studying in knife forums and Youtube videos and such as that, and I have "The $50 Dollar Knife Shop" on PDF. Until I made these I had NEVER made a knife before. Most of what I "know" is from studying, and just a small amount of actual hands on.

I just started knife #3 today, a small drop point. I have been either blessed or just plain lucky so far!!
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocomoonskyeyes View Post
Well ... Gee.... uh.... Thanks!! The two knives I have Here in the knives section, are the only two I have ever made!! The Bowie(as shown above) and the Nessie. But I have been doing a LOT of studying in knife forums and Youtube videos and such as that, and I have "The $50 Dollar Knife Shop" on PDF. Until I made these I had NEVER made a knife before. Most of what I "know" is from studying, and just a small amount of actual hands on.

I just started knife #3 today, a small drop point. I have been either blessed or just plain lucky so far!!
Here's what I think....You dont really like your bowie alot, you should just send it to me.
Old 04-04-2010, 01:19 PM
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I wish this thread would get more play. I'm a steel lover, but I've never built one from scratch.

Anyone got any favorite places to buy scales/handle material, steel, rivets, screws, etc?

I've always found that no matter what the case, a lot of times the kit sellers are not the place for the best deals.
Old 04-04-2010, 03:41 PM
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OK so you want to get started making your own huh? I'll help by providing some links.

For steel:
https://www.flatground.com/catalog/catalog.jsp

http://www.mcmaster.com/#steel/=6inkwu

For pins you can buy brass rod stock from a local supplier, Or you can order all kinds of parts from these:
http://www.knifekits.com/vcom/index.php

http://jantzsupply.com/index.html

http://www.usaknifemaker.com/store/

http://www.xmarks.com/topic/knife_making_supplies

^^^^ Most of the above also have scales and all kinds of tools and different knife making stuff.

Also for scales:
http://www.galleryhardwoods.com/knifehandle.htm

http://www.alphaknifesupply.com/wood-stabilized.htm

http://jakeknife.com/stabilized_maple.html

http://jakeknife.com/stabilized_maple.html

There, that should be enough to get you started. You can also do searches for Tutorials either with Google or another Search engine. Or try Youtube, They have a bunch there too!!

You may also want to join a couple of knife Forums as well. There are many Professional Knife Makers that are willing to help, and to answer any questions. Some even have links to all kinds of suppliers on their sites as well.

Good Luck!!
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:17 AM
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If you are looking for good wooden knife handle scales you should find someone in South Africa or Namibia. We have lots of nice hardwood and because of the climate the slow growth of the trees result in very hard and dense wood. Most of our natural woods are so dense that stabalizing is impossible and unneccessary.
Old 04-09-2013, 07:22 AM
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check out north coast knives for some of his tutorials
Old 04-09-2013, 08:09 AM
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The only thing that is really important when making a knife is your heat treatment (hardening and tempering).

Make sure you get steel with enough carbon to enable hardening.

Make sure you know what kind of steel you are using and get the proper heat treatment temperatures for it. You need to get it hard enough to retain a keen cutting edge, but soft enough (especially along the spine) for it to be flexable so it does not break in 2 when doing hard work with it.

Hardening and tempering temperatures can be obtained of the internet. The manufacturers of the are usually very helpfull in this regard.
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