This used to be a paring knife that matched the other knives in the knife block. Then there was my son. Somehow, he seems to manage to disassemble things that I did not know came apart. He just has to understand how things work and how they were made. Who knew that the handle can be removed from a knife? (Granted, I did not know that the hands come off lego people so maybe I am just unimaginative.)
I needed to figure out a new handle since the knife is still good. It will probably end up in the camping stash come spring. My 2 boys love to be abandoned in the woods overnight to fend for themselves.
I considered using wood scraps to fashion a comfortable handle but that seemed like a lot of work and I was not sure I was up to the challenge. I really wanted something that was going to stand up well in water. I also wanted something that, if my son decided to disassemble it again, I did not have a lot of effort invested..
I have been searching instructables looking for some sort of plastic handle I could make. Then I remembered reading an instructable about melting plastic bags to make a stiff waterproof fabric. Check out "Plastic Bag Fabric" by Lego man. I did try making this once before (a rather durable wallet) so I had very high hopes it would work here.
Added bonus: This project cost nothing and reused a few plastic bags.
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Step 1: Materials:
Plastic grocery bags--I used 5
Step 2: Wrapping the Handle
To cut the bags into strips, I neatly flattened the bag out. Then folded it in half and in half again. I cut off the bottom of the bag and then started on making the strips. I went with about an inch wide because it was pretty easy to control. Too wide and it just got messy.
Wrap the knife handle as tightly as possible so that you avoid as many air bubbles as possible. I held the strip at an angle so that I could cover most of the handle area and overlap the edges of the plastic.
When I got a whole strip of plastic built up, I got out the iron. Place the knife between 2 layers of parchment paper. You do not want to have to clean up the mess that you get if you touch a plastic bag with a hot iron. The parchment paper just peels off the plastic once it has cooled. Set your iron between polyester and rayon--from the instructable I read. My iron does not have these settings. I choose silk to begin with but I ended up warming it all the way up to almost wool.
Press the plastic to melt it into the holes of the knife handle.
Step 3: Built Up the Handle With More Plastic.
Wrap the knife again with another strip of plastic bag. Press again.
If you wrap too many layers before you iron again, you may not be able to heat it all the way through and the strips slip and slide around.
Be careful. The knife will be hot for several minutes after pressing it with the iron. At the same time, the blade may be sharp. If your blade is not sharp when you start, I would wait until you have finished the handle before I sharpened it.
Repeat the wrap and heat process until you have built up a comfortable grip. You can grind down or sand any rough spots but if you wrap neatly, it may not be necessary.
I found that I wanted the middle of the handle to be thicker than the ends, so I had to iron creatively. I started in the middle of the handle and then slid it down towards the end pressing into the handle with the edge of the iron. I also held the knife blade on its side to iron the edges of the handle.