Instructables
Pier 9 Starter Project

Make your own Knife handle

As some of you have seen, shop staff here at Pier 9's Workshop have dived deep into the exciting art of making Knives, particularly beautiful Knife handles. We have made Kitchen Blades, Hunting Knives, Fishing Knives, Retractable blades and rumor has it a mystical samurai dagger is in the works. Please remember it is important to follow all Shop rules and to treat shop staff in a respectful way.

This Instructable will detail all the steps you need to follow to make your very own custom knife.

Classes Required:

Basic WoodShop.
Basic Metal Shop (For metal Pins)
Paint Booth for Epoxy.

Machines used:

Wood shop Sanders, Wood Band Saw, Metal Band Saw, Metal Sanders, Scribe, Files, Drill Press, Clamps.

Necessary Materials

Knife Blade
Scales (Material for handle; wood, plastic, stabalized corn cob, mammoth tusk, stone ect.)
Epoxy
Masking Tape
Sand Paper (200-600)


Optional Materials

Pins (Mosaic, Solid, or Rivits)
Color spacers (Small spacers that add a line of color between your wood and metal Knife handle.)

Good websites to purchase materials:

Coming Soon.

Ordering:

Make sure to get the correct size pin for the Knife blade you chose.


 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Preparing Materials and Cutting handle material to size.

Picture of Preparing Materials and Cutting handle material to size.
photo343.JPG
Step 1: Preparing Materials 

Once you have received your materials lay them out on a clean surface. Unsheathe your blade and cover the sharp section of the blade in Masking tape. This will protect you from cutting yourself and protect the blade from getting scratched. 

Prepare your Handle Scales and cut them down to a square with .5-1 inch of extra material around the blade handle. Using a Pencil trace the edge of the blade handle onto your Handle Scales.

Step 1.5: Cutting Handle Material to size

Next, use the Vertical Band saw to cut out the shape of your handle. Make sure to leave an eight of an inch of extra room so you don't cut away too much material. That will be done on the sanders. 
tsturtevant8 months ago
5 minute epoxy is not resistant to water. A two part with a 24 he cure is better and will always remain waterproof.
egdette9 months ago
I made one just now its really cool man
finn029 months ago
Great job. I'd like to add some information if I may.

First, some sources for knife blades include Woodcraft (from whom I believe you bought the Damascus) and Jantz. I particularly like the Green River Paring knives from Russell. They are a great value though some don't like the way high carbon steel stains.

Second, a simple brass rod makes a great pin for a knife handle and it should be piened. However, limit the amount of mushrooming as this can easily split your handle scales.

Finally, a great finish for a natural knife handle is super glue. Wear gloves and don't breathe the fumes. Drip the glue onto the handle and rub it in with a paper towel. Keep the pad of paper towel moving or it will become part of the finish. Most of the glue is absorbed instantly into wood (and I would guess corn as well) so you are mostly spreading it around. You can start the final smoothing almost immediately. I like a bit of wax on the handle after finish, but that is merely my preference.

Thanks!
spark master9 months ago
need to show setting rivets and pins. Possible iit was there and I just missed it?
gabrieltaft (author)  spark master9 months ago
I had a small section on drilling holes for the pins. The pins are really easy and just push in the holes with epoxy and then sand down. The rivets are more challenging. I'll try and add a more detailed section later.
Ok, I must ask though. when pocket knives are made they do not glue anything, so why use the epoxy. Are they smacking the pin at both ends to slightly mushroom it? ( essentially a a rivet )
gabrieltaft (author)  spark master9 months ago
These pins don't mushroom from the process so the standard knives need the epoxy to hold the handle scales in. If you are making a knife with Rivets or in the case of poket knives, screws you probably don't need epoxy.
I did not realize pocket knives used screws. I thought they pressure fit pins so tight they were almost like rivets. Then the process of grinding flattened them , just enough!

thanks
gabrieltaft (author)  spark master9 months ago
Never made a Pocket Knife... Didn't know they were pressure fit. I have a couple of flip blades that use screws to attach them.

Thank you!
rnshaw9 months ago
Awesome damascus steel blade, worthy of a custom handle. Well done.
Damascus Steel blade, look alike, The blade looks as either layered or folded steel then acid etched to draw back to grain. Original Damascus steel centered along a mould to which different sized metal bearing were put in ,in sequence,as each layer melted it blended into the next giving both vertical and horizontal layering.This gave the blade both strength and lightness . To add to the effect when used poison was put onto the blade ,to render even a small cut as fatal
gabrieltaft (author)  stephenfitton9 months ago
Kinda bummed, but thanks for the info really interesting.
gabrieltaft (author)  rnshaw9 months ago
So true and thank you, I love Damascus steel!
Pins provide more support for the scales on the knife. They are not required as a result of the strength of today's glues and epoxies, but essentially look better, and do provide some benefit. This is my understanding. BC
bstarling9 months ago
Thank for the neat project and quick reply on the corn cob scales.

Bill
Ninzerbean9 months ago
So the pins or rivets are for decoration only? The epoxy is what is holding the handles (why call them "scales") together? Why bother with them then? If they are there on all handles they must be important, maybe you could show how you used them.
gabrieltaft (author)  Ninzerbean9 months ago
Nice video Find! And your right the pins (especially mosaic, look really good) are pretty much just for looks. The rivets actually do hold it together but the epoxy is doing the real work. I'll try and add a more detailed section on the pins, as they are a great addition to a blade handle and drilling the right sized hole can be challenging.
I did some research and found a great video that explains all the pinning stuff here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79HzrIEknzAI
clazman9 months ago
epoxy doesn't "dry" it "cures"

Other than that nice tutorial.
gabrieltaft (author)  clazman9 months ago
Thanks, that makes a lot more sense, fixing it now :)
Nice job! I love the corn handle. :)
gabrieltaft (author)  Chikpeas Brother9 months ago
Thanks you, It makes me happy :)
Please tell us how you made the corn handle blank. It is real or faux? If real is it resin bonded?

Bill
gabrieltaft (author)  bstarling9 months ago
It's called stabilized corn cob. It is made from a real corn cob but I bought a scale that had already been stabilized. It was a really cool material and comes in different colors so maybe I will try making my own sometime and writing an instructable. I think it was bonded with a super glue material.
veeguy9 months ago
Great project! I have a question, what type of handle material is shown? It looks sort of like corn cob but appears to be a flat scale type of material. I really like the look of it and would like to use it on a knife I'm making.
gabrieltaft (author)  veeguy9 months ago
It actually is corn on the cob and is called stabilized corn cob. I believe they take dried corn, cut off a slice of it and stabilize it with a super glue material. You can make it yourself or purchase it in different corn colors. Just search Stabilized corn cob to find it.
tutdude989 months ago
how long is your handle? i made one for my survival knife and its about 8 cm long its perfect for me ( i have small hand :D) but other people are saying that it's too small to fit comfortably in hand
gabrieltaft (author)  tutdude989 months ago
My corn handle is 10 cm long from the front on the bolster, to the back and fits my hand perfectly. Handles can't be the wrong size since everyone has different proportions. Surivial kits are meant to be small and light, I wouldn't want a samurai sword in mine... I'm sure your knife is the perfect knife for you! :)