Knives have been the first tool ever made and used by the mankind. Whether it is for chopping vegetables in your kitchen or to use as a tool in camping and hunting knives are used widely in our day to day lives. If you love to collect high quality knives then you know that these knives come at a very expensive price. Usually the price is charged for the handle.
The more customized the handle make the more expensive the knife becomes. But did you know that you can make a customized knife handle in your kitchen with some exotic materials for a much lesser price? Apart from drilling and sanding all other steps to make a handle can be done on your kitchen table. Of course, if you are like me who takes pride in showing your craftsman’s ship then come along and learn how to make a knife handle in few simple steps.
Knife handles can be made with different materials. The materials commonly used to employ knife handles include bone, stag, wood, plastic, injection molded, rubber, micarta, titanium, carbon fiber, aluminum and stainless steel. Sometimes handles can also be customized to meet the needs of the user. A typical knife kit comes with a prefabricated blade and pins. With some attention to detail and minimum tools you can make a customized knife handle in few hours.
Things you need to make a knife handle
As told earlier knife handle can be made with a variety of materials. But if you are a beginner, then I would suggest you to go with hardwood. Buy an affordable knife kit that comes with an 8 ¼” hunting hollow ground blade which is polished and measures 11/16” wide and 5/32” in thickness. The kit also contains three brass pins that measure 5/32”.
Knife kits are available at various sources at different price ranges. The knife should be made of 6A high carbon steel metal. Then to make handles or scales purchase any type of high quality hardwood. Following are the steps that teach you to make a knife handle at your home.
Instructions for making a knife handle
- Choose wood of your choice: To make knife handles you will need two pieces of hardwood that measures 3/8” in thickness, 5” long and 1 ½” wide. Use a masking tape to cover the sharp edge of the blade to prevent any accidental cuts to your hands.
- Trace the scales: Now take the wood pieces and select the side that will face away from the tang of the knife. Trace the shape of the tang on both the scales using the blank and a pencil.
- Cut the scales: Trace the tang with perfect orientation. You should be able to see the tracing on the outer side of the scale. Now cut the scales as per tracing on a saw.
- Sanding and polishing: Once you cut the scales as per the tracing, sand the torn parts of the scale on the side that you are going to attach to the tang with a 120 grit sandpaper. Then polish the edges of the scale that are outside and nearer to the blade with a buffer. This is really an important step because once you glue the scales to the blade you will not be able to polish it or sand it again.
- Drill the holes for pins: Now take one of the scales and position it on the tang perfectly where you exactly want it to be placed and clamp it securely so that it does not move from the position. Drill holes for the three brass pins using the template (blade) with a 5/32” bit.
- Test the drilled holes: Test the holes drilled with the pins before placing the second scale in position. Then align the second scale and clamp it in position. Then using the holes drilled in the first scale drill holes on the second scale.
- Clean with acetone: Now line up both the scales on the knife tang and secure them with the brass pins pushing them through the holes drilled. Make sure that everything fits perfectly and that there is no misalignment between the scales. Now disassemble the scales and using acetone clean the insides of the scales to make them look even and straight.
- Epoxy coat: Now wash the scales and the knife blank to clean them of any dust or oil. Mix epoxy and coat the scales inside out along with the pins. Now put scales on the tang and push the pins through the holes. Clean the epoxy that oozes out with acetone and a rag. Let the clamped knife sit for at least 12 hours. Once the epoxy dries remove the clamps and sand it to the shape you desire.
- Shaping: For shaping all you need is a drum sander. Shape it the way you want it to be. It can be round, fat, thin or thick. You will know the shaping is complete when you feel your knife comfortable to hold in your hands.
- Final touch: Finish the knife handle with gunstock oil to give a look.
In about 2 to 3 hours time you can make a customized knife in your home with some minimum tools like sand paper, drill, clamps, saw, epoxy and a set of pliers. And the total cost incurred will be much less when compared to the price that your will pay when you buy it from a shop. You need not be a craftsman to finish this task. All you got to have is some patience, effort and a little know how. And in 12 to 24 hours you can have a finished knife in your hands.
Hope this write up had been informative and has inspired you to go ahead and make a knife for your collection. Let me know how much this helped you to make your own piece. Do not forget to leave your constructive feedback.