Knife-making is a craft that dates back thousands of years. Back in the day, people used simply rocks they found on their property to make tools, then eventually learned about cutting wood, bones, and even stone. But not every tool can be made from natural materials. Knife handles are a perfect example. They are made from materials that are not found in nature, typically metal. That’s why knife making requires tools, some of which can be very expensive.
What is Knife handle
Knife handles are more than just an aesthetic addition to a gun, pencil, or knife; they determine the way your blade feels in your hand and what sort of grip you have while cutting or stabbing. You can make a knife handle entirely out of wood, some out of leather, and some out of metal; each material has different properties, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into when you make a handle.
Knife handles are an essential component of a knife’s overall design and can determine the feel, functionality, and even durability of a knife. You’ll have to put your creative skills to the test when deciding on a knife handle since each knife is different, and you’ll need to consider how the blade and the handle work together.
Different Types of knife handle material
Most knives are equipped with a handle. The handle on most knives is the single most important feature in terms of the overall feel, the aesthetics, and how well it functions. So, what makes the handle material for a knife? There are three main types:
Wood is known as an all-natural material, and while, in theory, it all comes from trees, the reality is there are different types of wood. Some wood is harder than others, and some are softer. The softer the wood, the softer the material the knife handle will be. The harder the wood, the harder the material the knife handle will be.
Plastics are a class of manufactured materials made from a polymer compound. There are thousands of different plastics, and each one has a specific set of characteristics that make it perfect for a specific purpose. Plastics that meet a number of criteria have generally been categorized as one of two types: thermoplastics, which are malleable at room temperature, and thermosets, which become hard after heating. Thermoplastics, such as PVC and polycarbonate, melt and resolidify when heated and were once the only plastics available.
A metal knife handle material is generally made up of a stainless-steel alloy, aluminum, or carbon.
How to make a knife handle
Making your own knife handle is a great way to personalize your knife, and it’s a surprisingly easy way to customize a knife. There are a lot of great knife handle tutorials online, and most of them are pretty easy to follow. This tutorial will walk you through the steps to make your own knife handle, step by step guide.
- The knife blade
- A scales
- An epoxy
- Masking tape
Procedure to start:
- Prepare the materials needed and cut the handle material to its right size
Now that you have your materials laid out on a clean surface unwrap your blade, flick and dry off the blade, and then cover the blade’s sharp section in masking tape. Prepare Scale Handle by trimming off excess material, cutting handle down to square if necessary. Many craft materials come in square shapes, and when you need to cut the material down to a smaller, more specific shape, you need to rescale. Rescaling simply means that you change the length of the craft material, and you’re not cutting it.
- Nest is to drill the pinholes
The knife handles are typically drilled with 1/2-inch holes, but the holes are drilled all the way through the handle. They actually represent where the pins and screws will be positioned. The hole size should be about 1/4 inch smaller in diameter than the pin or screw. This allows you to install the screw into the handle, then turn the screw and pin together. You have to be careful when you drill these holes because the handle is made of aluminum or steel. If you drill all the way through, you could damage the handle. To avoid this, you have to place the drill bit into a drill press. The drill press will basically drill the hole for you in one single pass. This is sometimes called a Step Drill Bit. The handle hole is drilled at one degree off-center.
- Cut pins in the size
Put your handle together and let the end of the pin stick out of the handle a 1/8th. Mark 1/8th on the long side and cut out the desired number of pins on the Metal Band Saw to the right length. It is better to cut your pins longer than closer. It can be a bummer to realize you cut your fancy mosaic pin too short.
- Add the epoxy to the blade
Epoxy will pretty much cure all your hard work, so you want to get it right. After you’ve separated your parts and cleaned them, it’s time to put them together. Using two clamps will put more pressure on your parts and will help to hold them together better.
- Sand your blade
After curing the epoxy, remove the clamps from the blade. Thoroughly clean the blade and remove any debris. Using the sandpaper, file the blade flush with the edge. Clean the blade again and inspect for any imperfections. If the blade shows any imperfections, sand again until the blade is flush.
Using your hands to polish a blade is much quicker and easier than using a motor or a buffer. I only used 400 grit sandpaper—a gentle abrader that removes scratches and leaves an evenly textured finish. I used the sanding block to sand the blade edges, then wiped the blade down with a rag. I also wiped the surface of the wooden handle with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris. This next step is optional, but I chose to polish the blade blades using Windex. The gel-based cleaner worked really well, and I wiped it down with a rag after polishing the inside of the handle.
You can’t sharpen a dull knife, and a dull knife will cut you. It’s that simple. Sometimes you get busy, and your knife gets dull before you have a chance to sharpen it. What then? There are all kinds of ways to repair a blade, but one of the most efficient is to fill it in with wood filler, then sand it until it’s smooth and even. Then you can apply any finish you like.
Knife handles are an important part of a knife, and you want to take care of them. This doesn’t mean they need lots of maintenance, but you do need to have them sharpened, and you also need to clean them regularly.
Maintaining a knife or knife set can be easy or complicated, depending on how much effort you’re willing to put into it. So, how can you keep your knife in top-notch shape? Your knife is an important part of your kitchen. It’s where you prepare meals, trim the vegetables you eat and sharpen or de-burr your knives. It deserves a place in your home that is clean and protected. One of the best ways to keep your knife in pristine condition is to use a knife block. A knife block is a stand that holds your knives. These stands are available in a variety of styles, but for day-to-day use, you’ll most likely use a woodblock.
Knife handles are quick to show damage. It’s often a result of everyday use, and with little prevention, you can end up with a knife handle that’s dull, chipped, or even cracked. Fortunately, that’s an easy fix. Knife handle care is probably something that’s only necessary for serious knife collectors. After all, you rarely use a knife on a daily basis, and most blades aren’t going to last more than a year or two. Still, it’s always a good idea to take care of your blades and handle.
Knife handling is really important. Believe it or not, a good knife handling technique can considerably improve your knife’s performance. The process can involve a lot of practice, but learning good knife technique is easy if you understand the basics and are willing to put in some time.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could find the exact knife handle you want? Alas, you can’t, but you can definitely make your own knife handle. If you have the right tools, you can make any type of knife handle you want. When you make your own knife handle, it’s totally up to you how you use it. Maybe you want an attractive handle for aesthetic reasons, or maybe you want a knife that is easier to hold. Maybe you need a handle that can be broken down and used with other knives. The possibilities are endless.