Hello again, fellow DIY addicts!
In just a few weeks time I will be going fishing for tiger fish in the Zambezi river with my kids. A knife is needed. What better reason for starting a new knife project...?!
This instructable will show you how to make a knife of your own design using a very simple method - with the shaft of the handle mounted in a bed of leather.
Advantages of this method:
- no previous knife making experience needed
- less than a few hours build time
- no power tools or special tools needed
- possible to shape the handle according to your own design (something which full tang knife blades does not allow)
Step 1: Materials Needed
All you need is:
- a small piece of thick leather(2-3 mm thick or same thickness as the blade shaft)
-a piece of nice wood (approx 10 mm thick 30 mm wide and 300 mm long
-a knife blade with a thin shaft (not a "full tang blade") Remember to cover the edge with a strong tape to avoid cuts or more serious accidents!
(Pls disregard the white piece of micarta in the picture. I decided not to use it in order to keep the process as simple as possible)
Step 2: Making the "leather Bed" for the Shaft
Cut out a strip of leather slightly larger than the handle you are planning. Cut out the profile of the shaft. The pictures explain it better than words!
Step 3: Glue the Handle!
Cut your piece of wood into two eqally sized pieces. These will be the "sides" of the handle (also referred to as scales).
Glue your piece of leather to one of the wood scales. Place the blade's shaft in the space you cut out.
Add more glue and put the second scale on top. By now it will look like a box of wood with a leather center and a knife blade sticking out of it. Not very pretty. Like a badly made prison knife. This is exactly what you are aiming for at this stage!
Step 4: Add Some Pressure!
But not to much. Too much pressure will cause too much of the glue to be pressed out - resulting in weaker bond. Let it dry.
Step 5: Shaping the Handle
At this point you can choose to shape the handle using a simple drill with a spindle or a rotating sandpaper. Or you can use handtools such as files and rough sandpaper. The difference in time/energy is less than you think. Using power tools gives less room for mistakes as things can go wrong more quickly....
Step 6: Get That Smoothhh Finish
When you are satisfied with the basic shape of your handle it is time to sand it to a nice and smooth finish. Do this by sanding the handle with finer and finer grade of sand paper. Starting of with perhaps 80 - then change to 150 and then 240 and 400. Make sure you make all scratches from the previous grade dissapear before you switch to a finer grade. Stop after using the 400 grade paper. It is time to dye the wood!
Step 7: Dye the Wood
Cover the handle with black wood dye. You can use a piece of cloth to soak it. Do use rubber gloves. If not, your hands will have a pretty grimy zombie look to them for the next couple of days....
Step 8: Sand It Again, Sam
Sand down most of the dye using 600 or 800 grade sandpaper. It will now look pretty much like before dyeing but with some subtle black lines marking the different layers in the wood.
Step 9: Dye Handle, Dye!
Soak your handle (again) but now using any brown nuance dye of your preference. I chose "Mahogany brown"...
Step 10: Final Sanding
Use a grade 1000 or 1200 to sand the handle. This will lighten the brown dye somewhat.
Step 11: Polishing
Add some oil to your handle. You can use cooking oils, but they need to be re-oiled quite often. Grape seed oil is supposed to pentrate quite well.
Or you go for a special wood/furniture oil from your local hardware shop. More expensive and more poisonous. But keeps the shine longer.
When the oil has dried you may want to polish it with some kanuba wax. But this is optional...
I hope you have enjoyed this instructable!
Step 12: Catch Some Tiger Fish!
Wish us luck!