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knife handle material question


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Recently I had the chance to clean,study and admire a very large old knife collection. The knives were from one maker here in Michigan. He has been dead know for over 15 years. Many of his last knives had handles with multi colored spacers. His skills were not master smith quality but his ideas were. He has some shapes I have never seen done before. Being an avid hunter he knew what shapes worked. I know that Melamine was used for some neat colors. Do any of you have any suggestions for alternative handle materials? Personally I have had enough of all the latest looks. Many knives look like the materials were bought from Jantz or are plain wood. Please share what you have found for interesting handles or handle material in stacked type construction.

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I use a lot of dried, stabalized corn cobbs. I soak the cobbs in a 50-50 solution of acetone and polyurathane varnish for 24 hours then stab them onto a finishing nail in my shop wall. Takes 3-5 days for one to dry. You can cut them into scales or leave them round. Sand and stain them. I've even had a friend turn them on a mini lathe for ball-point pens.
The cobb gives a non-slip grip, even after a light sanding.
All my files have cobb grips. Besides providing a non-slip grip, they are great insulators for hot filing.

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Not long ago I saw an Australian IFI member use sections of bike tires for knife handles....It's such a good clever idea that I'd buy that guy a Sheaf Stout if I could :-)

I always thought that the composite decking material made from recycled tires called "TREX" or something might be an ideal handle material since it is firm, shock and moisture resistant and is easily shaped. Any deck installers in your area would have scraps or possibly pre cut samples to play with.

In Scandinavia they use disks made of birch bark glued together with tree sap

The best advice I can give you is to look around and experiment. Have fun and post pics of your work

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do a youtube search on Micarta its done with cloth cutouts soaked in fiberglass resin and clamped together once this dries its a solid and beautiful design. handle like you would with wood or how ever you like i like this method though I've never used it. also wood is wood pick one you think is pretty. I think a driftwood handle would be cool, or a walnut, cherry, or even a cedar would be pretty in my opinion. pick up some wood cut it open and see how you like the grain number of knots hardness and any other working variable and go from there
Riley

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I cut down a very small blue spruce tree (bush?) that was growing in my yard. I cut it in two and the wood was a beautiful pink and tan layered pattern. (Smelled great to!). To bad I can't find another one, I'd like some of it to experiment with

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banjoe,
I've been making chefs knives. While I appreciate the longevity/water resistance of the resin impregnated wood scales available, they just somehow don't seem "real" to me. I know that most professional knife makers have gone to them, I still have a hard time getting past the feel of natural wood. Yeah, I'm old, but people are buying my knives. It seems to me that chefs who work with knives daily are more concerned with the shape and cutting ability of the blade than with the pretty handle.
Not to misconstrue, pretty blades sell, which is probably 80% of the market.

John

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It was explained to me that back in the day Coco Bolo was used on knife handles which would see a lot of moisture and use in the kitchen. Apparently it doesn't easily soak up stuff like other woods do.


Cocobolo is one of many woods that is naturally very oily. Any of the oily woods would works as well. The problem with them is allergic reactions, I personally can't work with anything from the rosewood family and some people develop problems after long exposure and can't handle these woods.

ron
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A comfortable and neat looking handle have become a focus for me. A lot of my first handles were based on looks with little attention to real comfort. Ed Fowler has a distinct style that I did not appreciate at first. Now I can see his wisdom and experience coming through his design. Ergonomics and usefulness are often overlooked in the pursuit of a certain look or style. I am reminded of chair design. There are crucial angles and per portions that must be present for comfort. I am finding knife handles are the same. Oh- by the way Thomas I found out what you are talking about concerning the bowling balls.We shot one up to find the surprise inside :)

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  • 6 months later...

Bois de arc or Osage orange I think is the prettiest wood there is.for a finish,an old gunsmith told me to rub it w/ another piece of wood it will shine it up an there is some
oil in it.sure pretty

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  • 5 weeks later...

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