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Dave Martell
07-28-2011, 08:25 PM
What do you guys think about bolsterless western handles?

I'm sitting here thinking about the purpose of bolsters and realizing that they play more of an aesthetic role than anything. What's your take on bolsterless western handles?

so_sleepy
07-28-2011, 08:32 PM
What do you guys think about bolsterless western handles?

I'm sitting here thinking about the purpose of bolsters and realizing that they play more of an aesthetic role than anything. What's your take on bolsterless western handles?

Haslinger's kitchen knives are all bolsterless as far as I can tell. I think you just have to figure out how you want the front face of the scale to be finished. I.e. squared off or rounded.

mhlee
07-28-2011, 08:37 PM
:Ooooh:

:yeahthat:

James
07-28-2011, 08:38 PM
I personally like the bolster for aesthetics and heck, I think it makes the knife more comfortable to hold. I also find that stuff builds up right next to the handle when there isn't one...

Dave Martell
07-28-2011, 08:41 PM
A friend recently asked me why they're used, here's what I replied.....


Bolsters are (suppose to be) for protecting the edges of the wood scales (from moisture and knocks, etc) as well as balancing the knife. Today, with stabilized woods, bolsters aren't necessary for this purpose of moisture protection but can serve to protect the front edges from chipping. With the thin knives we use bolsters don't help but hurt balance so metal ones aren't the way to go always. I feel their greatest reason for being used is looks alone and maybe they also offer some value of quality perception since many people feel a bolsterless western means "cheap knife".

obtuse
07-28-2011, 08:44 PM
Aesthetics mainly, but I think a knife can look good in either case. I like the looks of Thomas Haslingers handles. I guess the preconception is that bolsterless equals cheap. Bolsters also add a nice contrast to the handle material. If you can figure out a way to make it look good and feel comfortable, I'd be for it.

so_sleepy
07-28-2011, 08:55 PM
Yeah, if you go bolsterless, it would have to be well executed to keep it from looking cheap. Murray Carter does his IP line with and without bolsters. The ones without don't look nearly as nice.

tgraypots
07-28-2011, 09:07 PM
Dave, I don't think they're necessary. I'd like to see what you can come up with sans metal bolster.

peterm
07-28-2011, 09:37 PM
Yeah I'd like to see too. I think Thomas's handles look nice on his page, but I haven't seen one in person.
I haven't done a rehandle yet without bolsters, but it would be a lot easier to cut out that step that's for sure.

Pensacola Tiger
07-28-2011, 09:40 PM
Dave,

Fish made bolsterless look good. Maybe he could be your inspiration?

http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/gallery/19280/1147587976-IMG_2468_1_1.JPG

http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/gallery/19280/1149227170-IMG_2647_1_1.JPG

deanb
07-28-2011, 09:42 PM
I prefer the look and feel of a bolster on western styled knifes and western styled handles. Aesthetics do mean a lot to me. On many Japanese knifes I prefer Wa handles. It's all personal preference, of course, but before I discovered Japanese knives I thought bolsterless meant cheap stamped knives. The presence of a bolster meant forged and therefore higher quality. Now that I know better I still can't get that reaction out of my mind.

Salty dog
07-28-2011, 09:51 PM
Personally speaking I wouldn't use a Hasslinger as a good example. His handles are probably the reason (originally) I don't own one of his knives.

Granted his newer ones aren't as offensive.

Dave Martell
07-28-2011, 09:51 PM
I can see it both ways and I myself am stuck with the quality look and feel to mean something to me. I know that many makers don;t use them anymore and Rick bringing up some of Fish's work as examples does show how there are other options.

BTW, I'm not just asking this question for my work (although I am considering it for a future project) but I'm very interested in this subject and thinking a lot about it recently.

kalaeb
07-28-2011, 10:51 PM
Would Dels hybrid handles be considered bolsterless? His look great with the two tones of wood, even though it is not a traditional western or wa. I think the possibilities are endless and with your attention to detail and meticulous nature anything you crank out would look pretty good.

Mattias504
07-28-2011, 11:09 PM
I have a Carter IPNB. I find it to be awesome. I don't really think bolsters are always necessary.

apicius9
07-28-2011, 11:14 PM
I don't think bolsters are necessary but I also would not buy one without bolster, just like the look better. However, something like the Fish knife above with a differently colored wood in place of a metal bolster would be fine with me.

Stefan

l r harner
07-28-2011, 11:24 PM
i dont think i have ever made a bolstered knife but i have made a few that had the look

Dave Martell
07-28-2011, 11:28 PM
This also got me thinking about wa handles and how I'd never consider buying a wa handle without a ferrule and it's the same thing, it's about a style - a look.

Dave Martell
07-28-2011, 11:29 PM
However, something like the Fish knife above with a differently colored wood in place of a metal bolster would be fine with me.



Those cutoffs are looking a hell of a lot better all of a sudden. :D

apicius9
07-28-2011, 11:39 PM
Those cutoffs are looking a hell of a lot better all of a sudden. :D

Why do you think I wanted them? :D

Dave Martell
07-28-2011, 11:44 PM
Why do you think I wanted them? :D


I think that I.....err threw them out...yeah that's it. :p

NO ChoP!
07-29-2011, 12:14 AM
I think for wa peeps, blade heavy is the norm, so bolsterless seems to make sense for that transition, but for long time western handled fans, bolster is +++. After using wa's exclusively for some time, westerns seem handle heavy, and less precise to me... Aesthetically, I agree 100% about bolsters and ferrules!

goodchef1
07-29-2011, 12:31 AM
Ima bolster guy myself, never really thought of it being a necessity or not, just preference. And I like that nice clean break/divide between handle and blade. Seen it done with wood on western handles, but to me it just looks wrong. I would like to see maybe an outline or frame with some kind of filler but for me, the metal definitely needs to be there. As far as a balance issue, I've seen holes knocked out of the tang to balance it out anyway, so I don't think thin blades would be a problem with a bolster as far as balance is concerned.

Eamon Burke
07-29-2011, 01:03 AM
I love the look and feel on an integral bolster, but it's mostly just because its what I grew up with. They serve no functional purpose that cannot be served by a well made piece of wood. I can see how they create balance issues, too, and I think the "bolsterless=low quality" thing would fly out the window if someone uninitiated used a carefully ground, masterfully HTed blade on a bolsterless handle. I certainly wouldn't care.

tk59
07-29-2011, 01:08 AM
I like the look of integral bolsters. I don't like the wierd metal bolsters on knives like the UX10. However, I would no problem going bolsterless, as long as the wood could stand up to being dropped into a block repeatedly. People seem to love pulling out my knives and then dropping them back into the block. Drives me nuts. Haslingers are fugly.

Dave Martell
07-29-2011, 01:16 AM
However, I would no problem going bolsterless, as long as the wood could stand up to being dropped into a block repeatedly.


I never thought about this - interesting thing to consider though.

JohnnyChance
07-29-2011, 01:58 AM
I also thought of a contrasting wood as a bolster, like Del or others. A metal or synthetic spacer between the two might help as well.

Would the contrasting wood need a pin, or would a hidden pin be easier on the wood than mokume?

Dave Martell
07-29-2011, 02:09 AM
I'd vote for a pin one way or the other.

l r harner
07-29-2011, 10:26 AM
the nicest way i have gotten this lok is on andys cleaver i made
the "bolster/linner" was all one piece i milled the micarta and then put the burl in the space

Lefty
07-29-2011, 11:48 AM
Bolsters to me, are more for aesthetics, nowadays. However, I'll agree with a few others on here, and say that Haslinger makes a mean bolsterless handle. It is one of the more comfortable handles I've held, and looks great!
You just need to find that balance of going without, yet making it still look like a top quality knife.

Vertigo
07-29-2011, 12:09 PM
Pardon the stupid question, but since bolsters are being discussed, what is done on manufactured "factory" knives to give the appearance that the bolster is a part of the blade itself... like this: click. (http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/images/Img598.jpg)

Are the bolster and blade welded together and then blended/polished?

Dave Martell
07-29-2011, 12:28 PM
the nicest way i have gotten this lok is on andys cleaver i made
the "bolster/linner" was all one piece i milled the micarta and then put the burl in the space


That sounds really nice, do you have a picture of that Butch?

Dave Martell
07-29-2011, 12:30 PM
Pardon the stupid question, but since bolsters are being discussed, what is done on manufactured "factory" knives to give the appearance that the bolster is a part of the blade itself... like this: click. (http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/images/Img598.jpg)

Are the bolster and blade welded together and then blended/polished?


This style is either welded on, pressed, or forged. In the case of Japanese westerns they're welded using a different steel than the main blade is made out of.

jmforge
07-29-2011, 01:36 PM
In the case of most Euro knives, they are true integrals and the blade and tang are drop forged/stamped to their final thickness from bar stock that is at least as thick as the bolsters. Some custom knifemakers do the same thing either by forging downthe blade and tang iwth things like guillotine fullers, power hammer, hydraulic presses, etc or just grind or mill away the excess steel.
Pardon the stupid question, but since bolsters are being discussed, what is done on manufactured "factory" knives to give the appearance that the bolster is a part of the blade itself... like this: click. (http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/images/Img598.jpg)

Are the bolster and blade welded together and then blended/polished?

Vertigo
07-29-2011, 01:40 PM
Awesome, thanks for the info guys!

WildBoar
07-29-2011, 03:40 PM
I'm not a fan of the Haslinger look, but it is good to hear those handles are comfortable.

Using a contrasting piece of wood instead of metal is okay to me -- that first Fish handle looks really, really nice. I don't like the look of the second one, though.

SpikeC
07-29-2011, 04:17 PM
I just received the Halinger passaround yesterday and am using it right now. The handle looks really nice to me, butt I will address my issues in the review.

Lefty
07-29-2011, 05:11 PM
Great! Thanks Spike.

JohnnyChance
07-29-2011, 05:29 PM
That sounds really nice, do you have a picture of that Butch?

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-xYtbSS3CXN0/TjMZkvVvEZI/AAAAAAAAAzY/Kh1XbaKO5Cs/s800/1175892418-2.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-MtbFMi0Uev0/TjMZk2jlhjI/AAAAAAAAAzc/A11AH79eLKY/s800/1175892397-1.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-G9BfJ7jY_8M/TjMZkZTkXdI/AAAAAAAAAzU/zBXMeP-3WOg/s800/1175892483-3.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Lxu0RDZnFEI/TjMZljlOS7I/AAAAAAAAAzg/i8vqBuWboYY/s800/1175892531-4.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-6LyrtJjLftI/TjMZmOfJVkI/AAAAAAAAAzk/dSJgnZSLJQ4/s800/1175892600-5.JPG

One of my favorite cleavers. And if Butch ever decides to grind another he better call me!

jmforge
07-29-2011, 05:39 PM
Nice work on that cleaver! Tricky. More than one way to skin a cat. I noticed that Bob Kramer knives do not have bolsters, but and soldered and pinned "bolster guard" It is one piece of solid metal that has had a slot milled out and a lug let onthe bottom that slides into a notch on the bottom of the tang. That is pretty much how a lot of guys do their single bought guards on full tang knives.

JohnnyChance
07-29-2011, 06:05 PM
I noticed that Bob Kramer knives do not have bolsters, but and soldered and pinned "bolster guard" It is one piece of solid metal that has had a slot milled out and a lug let onthe bottom that slides into a notch on the bottom of the tang.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yTTF0TNx4s8/TjMiebciXzI/AAAAAAAAA0I/2PkWCBhb65I/s800/IMG_0642.JPG

Dave Martell
07-29-2011, 06:37 PM
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-xYtbSS3CXN0/TjMZkvVvEZI/AAAAAAAAAzY/Kh1XbaKO5Cs/s800/1175892418-2.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-MtbFMi0Uev0/TjMZk2jlhjI/AAAAAAAAAzc/A11AH79eLKY/s800/1175892397-1.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-G9BfJ7jY_8M/TjMZkZTkXdI/AAAAAAAAAzU/zBXMeP-3WOg/s800/1175892483-3.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Lxu0RDZnFEI/TjMZljlOS7I/AAAAAAAAAzg/i8vqBuWboYY/s800/1175892531-4.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-6LyrtJjLftI/TjMZmOfJVkI/AAAAAAAAAzk/dSJgnZSLJQ4/s800/1175892600-5.JPG

One of my favorite cleavers. And if Butch ever decides to grind another he better call me!


NICE!!!!!!

Thanks for posting this.

SpikeC
07-29-2011, 06:40 PM
OK, how is a bolster different from a "bolster guard"?

Eamon Burke
07-29-2011, 07:04 PM
I think by bolster guard he means "non integral bolster". Cause I've seen more than one BK with a bolster.

obtuse
07-29-2011, 08:07 PM
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-xYtbSS3CXN0/TjMZkvVvEZI/AAAAAAAAAzY/Kh1XbaKO5Cs/s800/1175892418-2.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-MtbFMi0Uev0/TjMZk2jlhjI/AAAAAAAAAzc/A11AH79eLKY/s800/1175892397-1.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-G9BfJ7jY_8M/TjMZkZTkXdI/AAAAAAAAAzU/zBXMeP-3WOg/s800/1175892483-3.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Lxu0RDZnFEI/TjMZljlOS7I/AAAAAAAAAzg/i8vqBuWboYY/s800/1175892531-4.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-6LyrtJjLftI/TjMZmOfJVkI/AAAAAAAAAzk/dSJgnZSLJQ4/s800/1175892600-5.JPG

One of my favorite cleavers. And if Butch ever decides to grind another he better call me!

Now that's a handle. Beautiful.

WillC
07-29-2011, 08:14 PM
Love the oval in the handle on that one and the swirled polishing technique on the blade. Looks a simple clean effect but not very easy to achieve I reccon.

WillC
07-29-2011, 08:16 PM
Dave,

Fish made bolsterless look good. Maybe he could be your inspiration?

http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/gallery/19280/1147587976-IMG_2468_1_1.JPG

http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/gallery/19280/1149227170-IMG_2647_1_1.JPG

Oops that comment was in reference to this one.:O

obtuse
07-29-2011, 08:49 PM
The new carbon gyuto that HHH knives posted has a beautiful bolsterless handle.

Dave Martell
07-29-2011, 10:10 PM
The new carbon gyuto that HHH knives posted has a beautiful bolsterless handle.


Yeah he did that well.

jmforge
07-29-2011, 10:24 PM
OK, how is a bolster different from a "bolster guard"?
When I think of non-integral bolsters, I think of two pieces of material soldered, pinned or what have you to a full tang blade.

ajhuff
07-29-2011, 10:44 PM
I thought this was an informative blurb about bolsters not long ago:

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php?1570-Knives-I-Recommend-Part-1-Shigefusa&p=24303&viewfull=1#post24303

-AJ

SpikeC
07-29-2011, 10:47 PM
These bolsters are one piece.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-JLSanbPM_W8/ThY7RRf-iJI/AAAAAAAAAQU/_oDHjJ3JeSs/s640/PICT0031.JPG

jmforge
07-29-2011, 11:21 PM
I would call that a ferrule, but some would say that it is actually a spacer because a "true" ferrule is hollowed out on the back side so that the end of the handle fits into it.:biggrin:
These bolsters are one piece.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-JLSanbPM_W8/ThY7RRf-iJI/AAAAAAAAAQU/_oDHjJ3JeSs/s640/PICT0031.JPG

SpikeC
07-29-2011, 11:23 PM
How do you know that is not the case?

Eamon Burke
07-30-2011, 02:07 AM
How do you know that is not the case?

well, is it? you made those, yeah?

jmforge
07-30-2011, 03:00 AM
Well, after thinking about it, the could be as they are Japanese style knives. Personally, I don't make that distinction, but some folks do. I called the thicker "spacer that goes behind the guard on my bowies a "ferrule" :biggrin:
How do you know that is not the case?

SpikeC
07-30-2011, 02:27 PM
Those are not ferrules. I consider them bolsters because they are attached to the blade, and the handle is attached after they are in place. They are there to reinforce the structure, which is one of the definitions of "bolster".
This one more fits the definition of ferrule:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-SKajJL0K7HM/TayytBDEuPI/AAAAAAAAAJ8/rJMMMlmVHpg/s800/PICT0443.JPG

jmforge
07-30-2011, 03:57 PM
Actually, if it is slotted and slipped over the blade, I might call it a guard.:wink:

JohnnyChance
07-30-2011, 05:07 PM
You might, but you didn't make the knife, Spike did. So they are bolsters. On your knives you can call them guards. Since they are structural, they are more bolsters than guards.

Lefty
07-30-2011, 10:29 PM
Spike, is the picture above a knife you're making? It looks really promising, if so.

Eamon Burke
07-30-2011, 10:43 PM
just saying, a ferrule by definition exists to reinforce a joint. i call them ferrules on wa, bolsters on yo.

SpikeC
07-30-2011, 11:23 PM
It's finished, but I'm thinking of modifying the blade. The handle ended up tapered more.

Lefty
07-30-2011, 11:26 PM
I'd like to see the end result.
Is it an older one, or a secret new creation?

SpikeC
07-30-2011, 11:31 PM
It was the second one that I made, back in April.

AFKitchenknivesguy
07-31-2011, 02:13 AM
I like bolsters.

ecchef
07-31-2011, 08:26 AM
+1. Aesthetically, bolsters (or ferrules, or tsuba, whatever you want to call them) just kinda finish the handle. It doesn't matter if it's just a thin cap or something more robust. Metal, micarta, wood, horn... whatever works the best with the other components of the entire knife.
Mechanically, I like the idea of having something to protect the face of the handle material.
Not that I've ever come close to hitting a stone or anything :O.
Also, I've noticed that for some reason, the joint at the front face of bolsterless handles is always the first to lose integrity, allowing water and other nasty stuff to start undermining the epoxy bond. Like ice in a sidewalk crack...just keeps getting bigger. Not that it can't happen on bolstered handles as well, it just seems to happen quicker on those without.