Introduction: Knifehandle

Knifeless is lifeless, or so I have been told.
I was so lucky as to get a knifeblade stuffed into my hands and was told "go make a handle for it, you'll need it in your later education".
So I began, and here is the result of this process: an instructable :) (and a functionally knife, but that's another story)

First a great thanks for my teacher, I went right into the most advanced design I could, and he supported me the whole way. If not for his unfeeling remarks I would have given up.

Now, for this design you'll need:
 - a knifeblade
 - paper and pencil
 - a lump of a hard type of wood, bigger than the desired handlesize
 - a horn, preferably buffalo
 - copperplate
 - a saw
 - a sawblade for a compass saw
 - a drill, if possible a drill press
 - a rough file
 - sandpaper in different grains
 - two-component epoxy glue
 - linseed oil

Please read the instructable through, before beginning on the projekt.
I am in no way reliable for any accidents happening while following these instructions. Some of the tools are dangerous, please mind your fingers and eyes.
Do not misuse the knife for any violent or criminal activity.

Step 1: Initial Design

Before I chose the wood for the knifehandle I outlined the knifeblade on some paper. Then I began drawing the initial design for the knife I wished to end up with.

Play around with it a little, it will probably not end up exactly as planned, but then you have an idea as to what your goal is.
When pleased with the design, find the materials needed.

Tip: If in doubt on how the handle would fit in your hand, take some playdough and make a roll. Then take it in your hand an squeeze as if you held a knife, the size of the squeezed playdough shows the size your hand is most comfortable with.

Step 2: Wood and Copper

For the main part of the handle I chose yew and copper, a nice blend if I may say so myself :)

Take the woodpiece and mark where the copperplating should go; try follow your design as close as possible.
Cut it at the markings and sand the ends.
Cut the copperplating into squares, aproximatly the same size as the cut through wood ends.

blend some of the epoxy glue and apply it to the wood and place the copperplating between the pieces.
Because of the angle of the copperplating, I had to make a quick casing of nails so the pieces wouldn't slide apart, when I added pressure.
Let the glue dry, consult the packaging for how long.

Step 3: Drilling the Hole

When the glue is dry, it's time for drilling the hole for the knifeshaft.

With the drill press, drill a hole in the end of your woodpiece, slightly bigger than the width of the knifeshaft. The hole should be a little longer than the shaft and right in the middle. If that means that you have to drill through the copperplating, you should be careful that it doesn't get too hot. The glue may slip if it does.

Ofcourse, if you can get heat resistant glue, that would do the trick too.

Step 4: The Hornpiece

For the front piece of the knife I used a piece of buffalohorn.

Saw a piece about 1 cm or 0.4 inches thick and sand the ends.
use a drill slightly bigger than the thicknes of the knife shaft and drill two holes beside each other, no farther than the width of the shaft.
Take the sawblade to the compass saw and saw the holes together, widthen the hole only so much that the shaft fits snugly. The blade should still be able to be taken out of the horn.

Sand the drilled end of the woodpiece and apply glue, make sure that the glue doesn't go into the hole, as the blade should be able to be taken out for a while still. Place the hornpiece with the blade in, onto the hole, so the shaft slides in. Let in sit vertical and let the glue dry.

Step 5: Cutting and Sanding

When the glue is dry, it's time for cutting the handle into shape.

Take out the blade from the woodpiece and transfer your initial design over to the woodpiece, then take a good look at it and determine if it is like you planned or it is time to do some adjustments. Personally did I make the handle longer, and the hornpiece thicker.

To avoid the glue to slip I sawed through the woodpiece by hand, it takes a little longer, but you avoid to reglue the whole thing.

when cutted, it's time for using the file to sand it into it's final shape. If you got an beltsander that can take both the wood and metal, feel free to use it, otherwise you just have to file until you are happy with the shape. One side at the time.

When the desired shape is optained, begin sanding with rough sandpaper until you've got all the ugly grooves from the file.
If you have gaps between the glued parts, you can make a blend of woodglue and sawdust. Fill it into the gaps and let dry, afterwards you can sand it like the rest.
Use finer and finer sandpaper until you are up around 400 or higher, remember to sand the copper and horn too.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

FInal stage, it is time to glue the blade in place.

Blend some glue and fill it into the hole with a nail or something similliar, eg. a toothpick. Slide the blade into the hole and let it dry for about 10 min. then remove the residue of glue from the horn. Eventually sand it with the finest grain one more time to be sure.

Then it is time for oiling it. Apply a generous amount of linseed oil to the handle and let it dry, don't worry if it goes to the blade, it can be wiped right off. Give it oil a second time and wipe the blade clean.
Linseed oil can selfignite, dipose of stained paper and cloth safely in a tincan and then at your countrys appointed office or station.

Before and after use, give the blade oil, not linseed, but eg. sunflower or another cheap food oil to prolong it's life.
Congratulations on your new knife

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