View Full Version : Advice Please - Should I stop cutting oversized blocks?

Burl Source
03-24-2013, 03:33 PM
I was hoping that those of you who use stabilized wood handle material could help me decide what to do.
Back when I first started supplying handle material I asked what sizes knife makers preferred for handle blocks.
There were a large number of makers who requested blocks be cut around 6" long, 2" or more wider and at least 1&1/4" thick.
The standard size with most knife making supplies places is 5" long by 1&1/2" wide by 1" thick.

The reason I am asking if I should continue cutting over sized blocks is because while sales are increasing, over sized pieces are selling a lot slower than everything else.
Since I am just a one man operation I need to focus my efforts toward where they can be the most productive.
So I am curious.

Is a block being large enough for 2 matching handles desirable?
Does a block being larger than you need prevent you from buying a piece that you otherwise like?
Should I continue cutting a portion of the blocks over sized?.
Is there a specific size that you would suggest?
I know that there is no "One size fits all" for handle material. Just trying to find out what I should be using as a baseline.

Any advice and answers to these questions are greatly appreciated.
Maybe this way I can do a little bit better providing what you guys want.

Marko Tsourkan
03-24-2013, 05:15 PM
I would say cut as close to a good size block for a handle (1.5"x5x1.125, factor some thickness for squaring) as possible. Unless you can get 2 handles out of an oversize block, extra wood is a waste.


03-24-2013, 07:14 PM
I agree! haha I have only made a few handles and found that i like the pieces to be 1 1/2" squared and anything ~ 5" long or longer is great! If its longer than 5" I can make a ferule piece for another handle possibly or a spacer haha but anything wider just becomes dust.... :thumbsup:

Dave Martell
03-24-2013, 07:22 PM
I'm speaking from a western handle maker's perspective, wa handles might be different but I doubt it, I say 5.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 is about perfect. I can't say that I don't appreciate a 6"+ block as the extra length makes good ferrule material but it's not a necessity and even sometimes not used at all. The extra width and height is basically a waste for me though.

For scale advise (and yeah I realize you didn;t ask for it) then my opinion is 1/2" thick is what I'd like to see. I won't touch scales at the standard 3/8" thickness but I think most knifemakers use 3/8" thick and are fine with that so maybe you don't want to listen to me on this one. :)

Burl Source
03-24-2013, 07:54 PM
Thanks Marko, Roan and Dave for the advice.
Question for Dave;
Why the 1&1/2" thick?
Is that so you can decide which surfaces you want for the faces of the handle and trim away the rest?

Dave Martell
03-24-2013, 07:59 PM
Thanks Marko, Roan and Dave for the advice.
Question for Dave;
Why the 1&1/2" thick?
Is that so you can decide which surfaces you want for the faces of the handle and trim away the rest?

Yeah exactly but upon thinking about it more - just having 1.25" thick would be OK with me too. This would give me some sanding allowance after cutting the block open, leaving me with that 1/2" thick scales I'm after.

03-24-2013, 08:30 PM
I agree with Dave, 1/2" is better foe scales. 3/8" is limiting.

Dream Burls
03-24-2013, 08:48 PM
I'm riding Marks's coattails here. Good information for me too. I've had this discussion with Marko in the past, but it's good to hear other's thoughts on the subject.

03-25-2013, 02:41 AM
I would really appreciate metric on your site!

Delbert Ealy
03-28-2013, 08:13 PM
I know I'm in the minority but I love the oversize blocks.

03-28-2013, 08:20 PM
I like the bigguns because a quick surgery on the bandsaw and one becomes two. Also sometimes a customer is looking for a block for a pair of knives. Maybe just do less of them if they are hanging around.

HHH Knives
03-28-2013, 08:27 PM
Mark, Over sized blocks are awesome if you can easily see 2 knife handles from one piece.. Thicker blocks would be more desirable for me. I like 1.5/8 X 1.5/8 X 5 This allows me to cut my scales from either face and to chose what face I want to use on a project. I can get 2 sets of scales from one block in most cases at this size. So I guess that I would rather have extra thickness over extra width.

Thanks for askin.