How to Put a Handle on a Knife.




About: Hi. My name is Caleb. I am a guy who likes to make things. My all time favorite thing to do is blacksmithing, and knife making. I also enjoy wood working, beekeeping. I like making things the old fashion way...

This knife is one of my favorite ones I have made, but it does not have a proper handle yet so I will show you how I put my handles on my knives.

Before I get started some people might wonder how I made the knife so I will give a little explanation.

The blade was flat stock that I shaped and drew out in the forge, then I tempered the blade so It would stained up to being used. This knife I made for every day adventuring on the farm, so I did not spend too much time on the polishing it.

I Designed this knife as a all around work knife for being outdoors. The 1 inch hole in the handle is placed so you can slide you finger in it to prevent slipping. There is also a glass breaker on the back of the knife, and a gut hook/string cutter at the base of the blade. The knife is 12" from end to end and I am very happy with how it turned out.

Step 1: Tools and Materials


  • Wood rasp
  • Half round file
  • Small files
  • Clamps
  • Sand paper 60-400 grit
  • a scroll saw


  • Wood, I am useing lace wood
  • Some sort of glue or epoxy
  • and a finish, I used danish oil.

Step 2: Preping the Blade

This blade I have already polished, but I have to clean up the handle a little. So I sanded the whole thing down to the bare steel and then used acetone to get any debris off so the glue will adhere better.

Step 3: Cutting the Scales

Then I trace and cut out the scales, making sure that to wood grain is going lengthwise down the handle. It is also better for them to be a little over sized then too small.

A note on the wood I am useing, It is lace wood. I have used it for lots of my projects and I really like working with it.

Step 4: Glueing

This is a very important part in putting the handle on, if it is not glued well your handle could, Fall off, slip, or crack. If that happens it is extremely hard to get the glue off. So make sure that your scales are clamped on very tight, as you can see I have three clamps covering the whole handle. I would recommend letting the glue set up over night, this ensures that it will be cured 100%.

Step 5: Shapeing

Place your knife in a vise so that you have no movement as you are shaping the handle. It is important to remember that you can take wood off but you can't put it back, so go slow and steady. I start by getting all of the edges smooth all the way around the handle. Use a file for this, so that when you hit the steel it smooths it out even with the wood.

Then You will need to get your rasp and start profiling the wood, once you get a rough shape with the rasp smooth it out with a file. Smoothing with the file helps with the next step, sanding.

Step 6: Sanding

Now start sanding the handle, when your sanding stop and test the grip of your handle. It is important for it too conform to your hand, so that there is less chance of it slipping when your using the knife.

Step 7: Finishing

Now you need to finish your handle, I like to keep the wood feel in my handles so I used a finishing oil. You could use any finish, but I have been very happy with useing oil for my knife handles. As you can see the lace wood really pops out with the look of the knife.

Step 8: End

So there you have it how to put scales on a knife, it is not to hard and it looks pretty good in the end.

Thank you for taking a look at my instructable.

If you have any questions or comments, I would be more than happy to hear them.


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    10 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Relying on glue alone is not so smart. Drill a hole on each end and put a copper ,brass .or steel nail through and turn the nail into a rivet .Washers optional.

    For a clean white look use lemon or citrus type wood . . Dries very hard and little shrinkage and glues reasonably well.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Yes I know wear you are coming from most of my knifes I use brass rod on. Like I did on my hand forged kitchen knife. But I really wanted the handle to have more of a stream line look, I might end up adding in brass rod if I am not happy with it. But so far it is working great.


    4 years ago

    Like the knife. Keep up the good work. How is the strength of the scales? I always wonder how it does without pins in place.

    2 replies

    Thank you, well I am really impressed at how well they hold up. I have even used this as a trowing knife and they have not fallen off yet. Gorilla glue I have found works the best, it just seams stronger then normal adhesives.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thats good glue - Polyurethane based so its waterproof too . Best results though for timber on steel is Epoxy.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This turned out looking really great! The blade is super wicked looking, and the handle is wounderful!