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I Forge Iron

handles for a cleaver and herb knife

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I was going to make some cleavers and herb knives for christmas presents. I was wondering what kind of wood to use for the handles. It doesn't need to be exotic or fancy, just something easy to come up with, that'll hold up to the ocasional washing and such. I was thinking of useing some old hammer handles and a old sledge handle that didn't get installed correctly and came off shortly after being installed. They should be hickory, but will these work?
I was thinking of using some kind of rivets to hold the slabs on. Any ideas as to what to use and where to get them would be useful info.
I got the idea for the cleavers from "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" by Alexander G. Weygers. If you don't have a copy, I'd highly recommend it. This guy uses nothing but scrap iron for his projects. Lots of heat treating and tool/machine making.

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RICHARD-- Any hardwood will work fine. Just make sure you epoxy the wood to the clean and sratched handle. Leave your wood sratched and the metal you attach it to. Devcon makes a pretty good choice for the epoxy. With the epoxy you will not have the wood curling away from your handle, after washing and using the tools for a while.

Pins for the handle can be anything you have handy. With the epoxy you don't have pein the pins. The reason for not peining, is to keep from splitting or cracking the handle wood.

Good luck.


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Meco-- On the handle for your kitchen tools. I would not worry about rivets or peining, neither are neccessary. The pins in Epoxy is all that is needed.

If you have some real tight grained wood and just want to rivet or pien, you can get by with it. Butt you will still have to epoxy the handles to keep them from pulling away from the metal, after being wet and dry for a few months. Been there, did not like it.

I clamp my handles with two small C lamps for about twelve or fourteen hours after attaching them. Then grind them down to what ever I want. I will cut the pins off as close to the wood as I can. Then when I start to grind the pins down they will not get hot enough to damage the epoxy



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I like brass Brazing rod for pins 1/8" or 3/32, get the stuff with the white flux on the outside and wire brush it off (it seems to be softer brass and won't split as easy) As far as wood goes , I prefer dense tight grained oily hardwoods for kitchen knives otherwise you have to seal the heck out of them. "Pakkawood" Or "Stabilized Wood ( injected with some kind of epoxy or plastic monomer or polymer ) is even better, that stuff is water proof! Even though YOU TOLD the owner to hand wash and oil the blade frequently, dosent mean the kids, spouse or mother in-law won't throw it in the dishwasher and split the handle off of it. Though I do prefer REAL wood or bone in my hand, the man made stuff does have its place.

Hope this Helps

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