Jump to content
I Forge Iron

2 questions: Knife scale thickness


Dewnmoutain

Recommended Posts

I know im overthinking this way way too much, but i have to ask this.

1st question:

Ive read other posts on other sites that talk about 3/8", 1/2", 1/4" thicknesses of scales, but no one says if said thickness is for each individual scale, or total overal width including the steel? If i say "yup. I added 3/8ths scales" am i saying that the total width of the scales is 3/8ths, or am i saying that each scale is 3/8ths?

2nd question.

Im currently working on a few knives, my first time making generic blades to sell to an unknown person. Ive made a couple blades for people i know, had them come to my shop and custom fit the handles to their liking. So im a bit unaware of what a generic overall scale handle thickness should be. Including thickness of steel, am i shooting for an overall width of 5/8th? 3/4s? Bigger? Smaller? 

Thanks for the help

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not a bladesmith guy so I did what I would if I had the same question. I went to the kitchen with a tape measure and measured the handles on the variety of knives there. Seems the most common handles are 3/4" over all, some are 7/8" and a couple 1" but those are contoured cast plastic handles. The only knives I have that are less than 3/4" are paring knives, even the steak knives are almost 3/4". 

The tangs all seem to be close to 1/8" but I'm not walking out to the shop for the calipers. 

I didn't dig out my skinning knife or scaling knife but they fit my hand comfortably so I'm guessing they're in the 3/4"-7/8" range. I don't have large hands and don't like handles of any kind I have to stretch to reach around. For example those big fat pistol grips, I won't fire a pistol with them. 

When you hear from proper blade makers I yield to their experience. I'm just doing a little logical reasoning because you raised the question in my mind.

Thanks. Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For my first couple of knives, I started with scales that were about 3/4" thick each and then gradually carved them down to fit my hand when positioned to use the blade. The thickest parts remained a bit over 1", tapering down in places to almost 3/8". However, I do have rather large hands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Knife handle thickness is, like any other tool, dependent on the size of the user's hands and the intended function of the knife.  A large man with large hands who is intending to use the blade in heavy work, such as chopping, will want a much thicker and heavier handle than a small woman with small hands doing some sort of delicate work.  I would guess around 3/4" is about an average thickness including steel and 2 scales or the entire handle if using a hidden tang.  The geometry of the handle may have some effect too.  A curved handle  may be more comfortable thinner or thicker than a perfectly straight handle.

When I make knives I usually go for what feels good for my hands although I have long, thin hands (like most of the rest of me).  That seems to work OK.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

to frosty: i had the same idea initially and looked at my household knives, but they were plastic handles molded on at the factory. So in my head, i discounted measuring them.

to JHCC: curse of large hands huh?

to george: I was thinking the same way, making the handle for what feels good in my hands. But lots of people are different, and what feels good for me doesnt for others, hence why i was asking if there was a generic thickness that one starts from and works from there, you know? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The "generic thickness" would of course differ depending on what size hands local people have and differ by ethnicity, gender, age, exercise and familial genetics.

Dewnmoutain:  As to replying directly to people---you just did, I just did, nobody stopped us. So what are you talking about?  Not using the "at" sign? These forums don't support it. If you feel you have to use it I guess you will have to stay on social media forums that do support it.  It wasn't in use back in the 1990's when some of us were using various forums to discuss blacksmithing; so it's  a more recent thing for some folks.  (Of course I can drive a stick shift too!)

Also you can send PMs if you don't want to engage the open forum on something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As everyone else has indicated, handle size and shape is influenced heavily by the intended use and the person who will be using the tool/weapon.  When in doubt, always start bigger/thicker.   You can remove material much easier than adding it.  For me the two biggest questions in handle shape are 1) Does it feel comfortable and secure in my hand when holding it how I would use it?, and 2) with my eyes closed can I tell where the cutting edge is just by holding the handle?

Generally speaking, handles that feature swells both in width and on the cutting edge side of the handle make a big difference in the comfort and secure grip on a handle.  Of course those have to be placed and spaced correctly on the handle, but it doesn't take much trial and error to get a feel for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are going to make some knives on spec for sale; why not make a range of grip sizes.  You may suddenly find yourself deluged by the folks who don't fit the commonly found sizes.  Of course it helps to have some friends with a range of hand sizes to give you feedback on what works for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dew. 

1. If someone mentions they had 1/4 inch scales hes talking about that a single scale that is 1/4 inch thick. Hence his total is 1/4+1/4+ blade thickness.  

2. Personally I never tell the client what thickness scale was  used.   If they ask, I'll tell, but generally  they are concerned with metal, maybe Rockwell hardness, Looks and feel.

Buzzill's idea of fit is pretty much it. Does it feel right to you? Unless you've got over/undersized  mitts, it should fit 90 % of the people. Now, if you run into someone who doesn't like the fit its a discussion point and you can then go into a sales pitch. Thomas mentioned having several different  grip styles. I'll one one farther. If its the same blade style try several different handle materials.  A finished wood feels different than micarta or G10. And the client might prefer the manmades over natural. 

Lastly as mentioned a knifes intended use comes into play. I just measured two knives. One a small 6.5 inch skinner. Its .60 inches  at the ricasso, the other, a kitchen knife was .71 inches at thr ricasso. Both feel good for their intended use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Dewnmoutain said:

curse of large hands huh?

Yup. Finding good gloves is such a pain. (I had the most wonderful pair of pigskin mittens with wool liners about thirty-five years ago that were perfect, until the dog ate one of them. Grrr.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...