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Wooden Handle Help

treetap Dec 31, 2015

  1. treetap

    treetap Little member

    I want to get in to making knives but becuase of lack of space and $$$$ i decided for right now just to make handles for fixed blade knives. My question is what would be a good wood to use. Also if many other folks do this kind of thing any tips and or tricks. Any input is appreciated.
  2. PolishAvenger

    PolishAvenger Average member

    Plenty of makers started out doing kit knives or handle replacements. While any wood can be made into a handle, the nicest looking, most durable natural woods are dense tropical hardwoods.....ironwood, snakewood, rosewood, purple heart, cocobolo, bubinga, etc... Then, there are stabilized woods, woods that are impregnated with resins under vacuum. They can be colored or left natural, and are a great way to use woods that normally wouldn't be durable enough as knife scale materials.
  3. C.Pettersen

    C.Pettersen Knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

    I agree with Mark, most natural hardwoods are beautiful choices.

    If I can add a tip or two: make sure you know what your working with. Some hardwoods, for example, such as cocobolo, is known to be very dagerous and toxic to work it. The dust from sanding has been known to cause respiratory and lung issues. Always wear good respirator, and work in a well ventilated area.

    Another simple tip: make sure you don't use fast setting epoxy. Use some form epoxy with a longer working time, so you don't have to rush through your work.

    Remeber the typical safety items: laytex gloves, safety glasess, ect, ect, ect....

    Good luck on your new venture. As you gain experience, you will find, you end up with more tools than expected.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2016
  4. Scaramouche39

    Scaramouche39 Little member

    what wood

    Many of the mentioned woods are super, but not necessarily the easiest to work with or terribly affordable

    My suggestion would be practice maple or walnut: both are relatively easy to carve/file/finish, as well as durable.

    You can find nice pieces for reasonable prices at Woodcraft or on Ebay

    Tung oil finish leaves a pleasant finish and is relatively quick to dry

    Sanding to about 400 grit following file work gives a smooth handle

    Good luck

  5. Valencourt

    Valencourt knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Lots of options going the wood route. Domestic hardwoods can be gorgeous and won't cost an arm and a leg. Maple, cherry, walnut, osage orange isn't insanely priced and is unique and gorgeous looking.

    As far as safety, get yourself a mask, a P100 respirator is best but for wood, yo might be able to get away with P95, but 30 bucks should get you a good set up as far as a respirator is concerned.

    Ebay is a great source for domestic hardwoods, do you intend to make narrower knives? I went on ebay and found 144 pen blanks for 35 bucks shipped, and that will be enough for me to make at least 144 of my EDC knives, because they are narrow (3/4" wide, and my pen knives are .550" wide).

    About 15 dollars will get you a can of Linseed oil, a good furniture wax (Which personally, having some kind of heat source, like anheat gun, is ideal for furniture waxes, IMO) or a can of Tung oil.

    As far as abrasives go, my system for hardwoods is usually 120-220-400-600, and then I wax/oil, and when the surface is cured I buff with 4000 grit paper and then rewax or re-oil.

    Even if you wanted to work with some exotic woods, going tothe right place and finding the right sources for wood, like turning stock, can get you a lot of different exotics on the cheap, just make sure it is dried and not pre-waxed stock before you use it.

    EDIT: Forgot to link you. This was a pen knife I made with Osage orange: http://i.imgur.com/l8knm8O.jpg

    I wanted to show you this because the wood looks great! And not only that, but at the end of the day, those scales cost me $0.24, great woods can be had cheaply, just gotta look!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2016

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