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kalaeb
05-05-2011, 11:53 PM
When I started to try some western re-handles I looked everywhere for a tutorial and did not find much luck. Of course it seemed simply enough, but it is harder than it looks. I thought I might post a thread on how I do it, however amature it may be, so if anyone else wants to take a stab at it they have a little help.

My only disclaimer is that I am not a professional, I don't do it for money, just for something to keep my mind off work. The handles I have done, including this one are completely amature and don't hold a candle to Dave, Stefan, Pierre (making some wicked hybrid handles), Adam, Brian or really anyone else. But, it is fun none the less.

First, start with the knife:

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0645-1.jpg?t=1304653427

Find awesome scales that are going to fit, or buy a block and cut it yourself.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0646.jpg?t=1304653524

Protect the blade and your fingers with an edge protector or tape and remove the old scales. I use a drill press to drill out the existing rivets, then gently pry off the old scales, they are usually not on very well. In some situations my press slips off the rivet and I end up fighting the stock scale removal for a while.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0651.jpg?t=1304653808

Once the old scales are off I sand the surface of the tang to remove any residual epoxy or burrs.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0652.jpg?t=1304653980

Now I work on the new scales, first I get the rough shape by using a disc sander.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0678.jpg?t=1304654063

Then I make sure the scale is flat but putting it in a belt sander.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0677.jpg?t=1304654190

More to come...

kalaeb
05-06-2011, 12:17 AM
Now it is time to stick the new scales to the tang. I line up the scale where I want it to go, epoxy it and clamp using the poor man clamp, (essentially anything I can find, usually c-clamps).

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0682.jpg?t=1304654658

I usually wait 24 hours before I remove the clamps, this is probably overkill...After I remove the clamps I drill the appropriate sized hole in the opposite side of the wood. In this situation I was adding a 1/4 inch mosiac pin and I drilled a 5/16 hole for the corby rivets.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0685.jpg?t=1304654658

Once the holes are drilled I line up the opposite scale and attach it to the tang. One more time with the ghetto clamps.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0686.jpg?t=1304654848

After curing, copy the holes you drilled in the first scale to drill the second.
If you are using corby rivets you will also need to drill a seat in the holes that will accept the rivets, in this situation I needed to seat a 1/4 inch rivet in the 5/16th holes.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0704.jpg?t=1304655055

I usually use a little epoxy for the rivets and the pin, just in case.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0693.jpg?t=1304655136

Now its on to the fun stuff, shaping. I cheat and do all my rough shaping on a belt sander at a 220 grit. For the areas I can't reach with my belt sander I use a hand files.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0695.jpg?t=1304655285

Then starts the hand sanding, I use a 320 grit, 600 grit, 800 grit, 1000 grit and 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper. This photo is after the 320 grit.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0694.jpg?t=1304655396

After I get to 2000 grit I put on two layers of Tru-Oil gunstock finish and buff with 0000 steel wool after each layer, then I apply a few coats of gunstock wax to finish it off.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0696.jpg?t=1304655551

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/Tojiro%20Re-handle/IMG_0697.jpg?t=1304655628

Sorry about the remarkably poor picture quality, thanks for looking.

steeley
05-06-2011, 12:27 AM
Really like these DIY handle segments and nice burl wood .

Jim
05-06-2011, 12:29 AM
What a nice job. Thanks for showing us your "system"!

JohnnyChance
05-06-2011, 01:34 AM
Thanks for the write-up. Going to have to do a few of these myself pretty soon. Wood looks good too. Where did you get it from?

EdipisReks
05-06-2011, 07:53 AM
that's great!

Pensacola Tiger
05-06-2011, 09:07 AM
Nice WIP post. Thanks!

kalaeb
05-06-2011, 06:56 PM
Thanks for the write-up. Going to have to do a few of these myself pretty soon. Wood looks good too. Where did you get it from?

Johnny, I got the wood from Arizona Ironwood and I am very happy with the purchase. It was the first stabilized piece I purchased that did not feel like plastic.

I will definately be using them again.

Dave Martell
05-06-2011, 07:37 PM
Nice write up, thanks for doing this. :thumbsup:

JohnnyChance
05-06-2011, 08:27 PM
Nice write up, thanks for doing this. :thumbsup:

Yeah, YOU needed a step by step guide for this! :P

Dave Martell
05-06-2011, 08:29 PM
Yeah, YOU needed a step by step guide for this! :P


I do....I'm sooooo faking it. :D

Nah but what's interesting is to see how other people do it.

JohnnyChance
05-06-2011, 08:32 PM
I do....I'm sooooo faking it. :D

Nah but what's interesting is to see how other people do it.

Haha. And it is good content for the forum. Stuff like this gets you new visitors from google searches.

Dave Martell
05-06-2011, 08:40 PM
Haha. And it is good content for the forum. Stuff like this gets you new visitors from google searches.

Hey good point! :EDance2:

RRLOVER
05-06-2011, 09:17 PM
That looks like a great handle:thumbsup2:

oivind_dahle
05-16-2011, 01:01 PM
It turned out great! Congrats :)

NO ChoP!
05-16-2011, 07:33 PM
how do you get the rivets smoothed out without damaging wood? (by the way, looks great- bet you could sell 100 of those rehandled Tojiros... everyone needs one!)

kalaeb
05-17-2011, 01:30 AM
how do you get the rivets smoothed out without damaging wood?

It has never really been a concern. I do the rough shaping with a belt sander, then everything else by hand. On the flat surfaces, like the face of the handle I use a rubber backed sander that fits in your palm, if I an not using that I use variable pressure around the rivets with my fingers to get even sanding. This wood was stabilized so it is a little harder and has a larger margin of error where sanding is concerned.

bcrano
01-06-2012, 07:51 PM
Great thread. As a hobbyist wood worker I've thought about giving it a go. But only on my ****** old knives...

PierreRodrigue
01-06-2012, 08:07 PM
Interesting, I have a vintage Premier Cuttlery bull nose butcher knife, circa 1950's my dad aquired when he worked in the mines (from one of the kitchen cooks) as well as a big dirty matching steel. I have been contimplating doing a rehandle, but keep wondering if it best to leave it as is...
3500

Eamon Burke
01-06-2012, 08:12 PM
I say if it's old and worn down out of love and use, leave it. If it's old and gunky looking like that, refurb!

Eaglewood
01-06-2012, 10:46 PM
Good tutorial-- Those clamps are probably used by most here!!!!

PierreRodrigue
01-06-2012, 10:53 PM
I say if it's old and worn down out of love and use, leave it. If it's old and gunky looking like that, refurb!

Thats the way I'm leaning, I need to find someone with a wood lathe and some skills, to replicate the handle on the steel. Probably use a nice burl, and matching scales for the knife.

kalaeb
01-06-2012, 11:27 PM
Pierre, I realize you are on some form of pain medication, perhaps you have forgotten you are a knife maker and kick A handle maker.


Or perhaps there was some sarcasm that I missed.

TB_London
03-19-2012, 06:44 PM
Cheers for this, was looking for pics of an ITK without it's clothes on last week but couldn't find them. Am half way through my own rehandle at the mo. Did you use the same thickness scales as the originals?
Cheers,
Tom

kalaeb
03-19-2012, 07:34 PM
Cheers for this, was looking for pics of an ITK without it's clothes on last week but couldn't find them. Am half way through my own rehandle at the mo. Did you use the same thickness scales as the originals?
Cheers,
Tom

I usually use thicker scales because I like to shape it to my hand and I like to add palm swell. The very front and butt of the scales are probably the same thickness as the original scales, just a little more in the middle.

UCChemE05
03-19-2012, 07:56 PM
Nice write-up indeed!

The stabilizer seems to do a pretty good job of clogging the sandpaper. Just for my own curiosity, how much can you get out of a disk and a belt?

kalaeb
03-19-2012, 08:42 PM
Nice write-up indeed!

The stabilizer seems to do a pretty good job of clogging the sandpaper. Just for my own curiosity, how much can you get out of a disk and a belt?

I get pretty good longevity out of my belts. Some woods clog more than others and poorly stabilized wood can clog them too. If you take it slow and don't heat it up, they last longer. Generally I get 6 handles out of one belt.

PierreRodrigue
03-19-2012, 08:55 PM
Pierre, I realize you are on some form of pain medication, perhaps you have forgotten you are a knife maker and kick A handle maker.


Or perhaps there was some sarcasm that I missed.

No sarcasm at all my friend. Handles on knives are one thing, but I have yet to work in a round medium. I have a couple of custom shaving brushes to build, if they go well, then maybe I'll tackel the steel and butcher knife. The knife is easy, the steel, has sentimental value. If I do a restoration, I need it to be an improvement. Both pieces were my dads, circa pre 1950.

Don Nguyen
03-20-2012, 10:52 AM
Are you clamping the knife down in the drill press in any way?

Great procedure by the way. This isn't how an amateur does it, by the way.

kalaeb
03-20-2012, 12:54 PM
Are you clamping the knife down in the drill press in any way?

Great procedure by the way. This isn't how an amateur does it, by the way.

For oily woods I clamp the knife down with a quick clamp, for light woods I usually just use my hands, I have never had one bind up, but I face the spine of the knife in the direction of the drill rotation just in case.

kalaeb
03-20-2012, 01:00 PM
Are you clamping the knife down in the drill press in any way?

Great procedure by the way. This isn't how an amateur does it, by the way.

For oily woods I clamp the knife down with a quick clamp, for light woods I usually just use my hands, I have never had one bind up, but I face the spine of the knife in the direction of the drill rotation just in case.

Bishopmaker
03-27-2012, 03:17 PM
LOL nothing like the helicopter of death to scare the hell out of you

apicius9
03-27-2012, 05:39 PM
Some day I will do one of those also...

Stefan

VoodooMajik
05-25-2012, 03:20 PM
LOL nothing like the helicopter of death to scare the hell out of you

:rofl2:

stereo.pete
05-30-2012, 11:23 AM
LOL nothing like the helicopter of death to scare the hell out of you

I for sure just laughed out loud after reading this.

swarfrat
05-30-2012, 06:27 PM
Some day I will do one of those also...

A helicopter of death?

Taz575
05-30-2012, 11:10 PM
Its when the drill bit sticks in whatever you are drilling and the piece starts spinning around like crazy!

Burl Source
05-31-2012, 11:32 PM
LOL nothing like the helicopter of death to scare the hell out of you
I know that trick. No blood, but I think I might have wet myself.

Eamon Burke
06-01-2012, 01:16 AM
I did it a few weeks ago with the lid from a 10# can. Got my hand, too.

Andy777
06-01-2012, 02:41 AM
Great post kaleb. This is basically how i do my handles as well with a drill press spindle attachment thrown in for the inside curves. Oh and i'll also add i gave up on epoxy ages ago. I swear by gorilla glue now.

Taz575
06-01-2012, 03:54 AM
Do you guys find that the Gorilla expands too much?? That's the only thing keeping me from using it on handle scales and stuff, but when I use the aluminum tubing inside the handle, I will want some expansion. Any thoughts??

Helicopter of death is a great term for that! Gotta think of a term for when the belt sander whips something out of your hand and ricochets it around the shop :)

Eamon Burke
06-01-2012, 11:07 AM
For me it does. Also, I made my first handle scales with gorilla glue, and they have since popped off.

Andy777
06-01-2012, 11:25 AM
I use the clear fast(er) drying Gorilla glue and I don't find it expands too much at all. Sure it expands out the sides, but that gets sanded anyway. I will say, you have to clamp the hell out of that sucker though. I've used probably 5 or 6 different epoxies and they have all failed at one time or another, sometimes while still grinding, and a few others a year or two down the line. I know no adhesive is 100% foolproof. I started using Gorilla glue exclusively about 4 or 5 years ago and haven't had a single failure. Maybe I'm just lucky. Eamon, how long were your Gorilla glue scales on before they failed?

Heat is the biggest enemy of epoxies, and when doing a wa-handle with metal spacers the classic amateur move is to over heat a spacer and have it fail while grinding (never done that before :wink:). Just for fun on one of my handles I did the endcap with gorilla glue and let that sucker get nice and red hot when grinding, the glue never failed and three years later it's still rock hard in place. Anyone else have a bad Gorilla glue experience? Maybe enough time hasn't passed for me. After battling with epoxies so long, everytime I use Gorilla glue now I think to myself, it can't be this easy?!?!

Oh and I should add, you can't use gorilla glue for things that aren't clamped - ie mosaiac pins etc etc. The clamping is how the glue reacts and cures. I only use it for scales, end caps, and piecing together a wa-handle etc.

kalaeb
06-01-2012, 11:52 AM
I used gorilla glue for a long time and had no issues with it. All my personal handles (and even a decking plank on my boat) have had it for years with no issues and sever abuse. I just used the standard gorilla glue. Andy is right, you have to be very diligent in clamping, but once its on, its on!

However...about six months ago I moved to G-flex epoxy from West systems and I will never look back.

I just screwed up a scale that was only held on with gflex and I could not pry it, twist or knock it off. I ended up having to sand it off.

Andy777
06-01-2012, 12:01 PM
I'll have to look into that stuff, althought I may not really do enough handles to be worth the switch. I've tried several "fancy" epoxies over the years, the last being the K&G stuff, I wasn't super impressed.

kalaeb
06-01-2012, 12:03 PM
I'll have to look into that stuff, althought I may not really do enough handles to be worth the switch. I've tried several "fancy" epoxies over the years, the last being the K&G stuff, I wasn't super impressed.

Next time you do a handle let me know and I will give you some. I have a quart that will last me a long time.

Andy777
06-01-2012, 12:09 PM
A quart! Ha, I'll say that should last you. :biggrin: I'm actually working on a handle right now. By the way, when are we going to get together and have a show and tell?

Dave Martell
06-01-2012, 12:11 PM
Matt (kalaeb) turned me onto the G-flex and I'm loving it. This is the first epoxy I've tried in at least 4 years that impressed me beyond T-88 and it impressed across the board in all ways. I haven't yet tried Acra-glass though so I can't discount that one (and it's highly respected by knifemakers) but everything else on the market I've tried so this G-flex is really something. One thing is that it won't hold for the metal spacer heat issue, I tested it and it let go on copper but it's hold strength on non heated parts is incredible.

*Note - when sanding wa handles with spacers you need to mount the handle first or use dowel rods inside to hold them together when sanding although metal butt caps can be problematic regardless.

West Systems also makes a thicker G-flex version that's supposed to be even tougher and guaranteed waterproof. I'm going to score some of this soon to try in some different applications where running is a problem.

Yeah this G-flex stuff is tough for the short term for sure, now we just need to see how it holds up over the years. I feel good about it though.

kalaeb
06-01-2012, 12:18 PM
A quart! Ha, I'll say that should last you. :biggrin: I'm actually working on a handle right now. By the way, when are we going to get together and have a show and tell?

Once my custom projects come through we will have get together. I have sold most things and the rest is being loaned out.

@ Dave, +1 on heat aspect I have had one fall apart for the same reason. I started adding more hardener and it seems to work a little better, but Gorrilla glue of all things has been fairly heat tolerant for me.

Justin0505
06-01-2012, 01:07 PM
Great little step-by-step! Thanks for sharing.

I havent done any handle work yet, buy ive been using gorilla glue for various projects for years. The only times I saw it fail wherr when the surfaces werent properly prepped (sanded and glued) or clamped tight enough. One of my favorite applications is for putting crappy ikea furniture together: every joint and every peg and fastener gets a little g-glue. It prevents the ikea wobble from setting in later. I broke appart a piece for the dumpster once and the wood and chipboard failed before the glue.

Dr. T
06-01-2012, 03:45 PM
Pierre- find someone with a copy lathe. They can take the brush handles you have and copy it exactly.

I use G-Flex and it is 85-95 F all year long where I live. This usually accelerates the failure of glues. I have not had any problems with G-flex.

After flattening and cleaning both the wood and metal, I use a dremel or sandpaper to rough up the gluing sides. This gives the glue something to attach to, all the crevasses.

I use a cutting disc on the dremel to make a slot on the rivets holding the old handle onto the knife and then unscrew them to remove the handle.

Taz575
06-01-2012, 04:11 PM
I clamp the heck out of the stuff anyway! I normally use JB Quik Weld and have shaped metal liners and spacers w/o a problem, even when they got hot and sizzled when I dunked it in water. I will have to try the G Flex one of these days!

Dr. T
06-01-2012, 05:39 PM
how do you get the rivets smoothed out without damaging wood? (by the way, looks great- bet you could sell 100 of those rehandled Tojiros... everyone needs one!)

I use the Bosch Zirconium sandpaper which seems to take them both down at the same rate. It not, I use a little file about the size of a pencil but flat, that a friend gave me. I think it is meant for woodworking, but does the job on the rivets.

Taz575
06-01-2012, 06:22 PM
I found that those rubber sanding blocks they sell 3" wide by 4" long, uses a 3x6" sheet, work well for sanding pins/rivets flush to the handles. I cut them down into smaller sizes, remove the little tacks used to hold the sandpaper in place and use those. Harder than the cork block I used and kept the pins nice and flush to the handle material!

Crothcipt
06-03-2012, 08:42 PM
welcome to the forum Dr.