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View Full Version : Reshaping an existing wa-handle with no power tools



heirkb
10-28-2011, 04:30 PM
I have a parer/mini-petty where the handle works ok, but it just looks a little funky (it's a bit big for the knife and too much of the emoto is sticking out for my taste).
There's a picture on DrNaka's blog in the post I linked below. It's the 80mm wa-petty:
http://hides-export.blogspot.com/2011/07/more-knife-pictures-2.html

So here are the things I want to do based on a sketch I did to see what size handle would look good without feeling too short/small:

1) get the knife a little deeper in the handle
2) make the handle a little less wide. Hard to describe, but I don't want to make it less wide all around the D shape. Just a little off the top and bottom (none off the pointy side of the d, or of the side opposite the point basically).
3) perhaps as a part of #2, I could also add a little taper. Don't know how to go about doing that, though.
4) make the handle a little shorter. This would involve removing a little from the ferrule end and a little from the wood end.

I want to see if you guys have any tips for tools to use and for techniques on how to go about doing some of this stuff.

Also, I might make a little ghetto saya. Is there any wood that I can easily and cheaply pick up that might look similar to the Ho wood handle? Would cedar be a bad choice for a saya?

Darkhoek
10-28-2011, 05:07 PM
I usually do everything by hand. I use hand drills, sand paper on a wooden block for profile or a granite block for a true flat, a small rasp and a wood file.
1) To make the tang go deeper in the handle, the easiest way to go about that is to remove the handle, cut what ever length you need to cut from the tang and just replace the handle. No wood working needed.
2) Taking material just from the top and bottom of the handle would make it more drop shaped and that might feel a bit wonky. I would recommend to remove an equal amount of material around the whole handle and keep the original shape as intact as possible.
3) Can be done. Takes time. Use sand paper and go slow.
4) If you want to remove anything on length even after getting the handle further in on the tang, I would remove material just from the wood end. Removing from the ferrule end will a) weaken the horn ferrule and might cause it to crack and b) require you to drill and carve further into the handle, which requires special tools, or remove even more from the tang, which you do not want to do.

Just my 2C

DarKHOeK

Mike
10-28-2011, 05:25 PM
+1 on what DH said. Just let me add that you can also use scrapers to do the primary removal and sand paper to finish it up. Scrapers remove steel much like 60 grit sand paper but they leave a smoother finish allowing you to jump to 120 grit (or higher depending on your technique). Also, they save you money on sand paper as a good set will last you a life time and are easy to sharpen.

tk59
10-28-2011, 06:05 PM
Interesting. I'd say you're a little crazy but I'd be interested in seeing a WIP, good or bad. :)

heirkb
10-28-2011, 06:23 PM
Haha, Tinh, I've heard that before, but it's usually from people less not more crazy than I am.

You know, my 150mm petty from Yoshikane came with a thinner oval handle, so maybe I can just switch the two around. The sizes of the tangs might be different, though, so that may cause some problems, right?

Anybody have tips on installing handles? I've seen videos of how to take a handle off, but I don't remember one of putting a handle on. Should I just go for friction or do I need to heat the tang up like the knife makers do?

Also, thanks for your tips, Harald. Do you have any specific tips about tapering handles? Just more pressure on one part as I move the handle over the sandpaper on granite?

heirkb
10-28-2011, 06:35 PM
+1 on what DH said. Just let me add that you can also use scrapers to do the primary removal and sand paper to finish it up. Scrapers remove steel much like 60 grit sand paper but they leave a smoother finish allowing you to jump to 120 grit (or higher depending on your technique). Also, they save you money on sand paper as a good set will last you a life time and are easy to sharpen.

Any links for examples of these scrapers? Everything I'm finding looks like flimsy sheets of metal.

tk59
10-28-2011, 06:36 PM
...it's usually from people less not more crazy than I am. What are you trying to say?


...You know, my 150mm petty from Yoshikane came with a thinner oval handle, so maybe I can just switch the two around. The sizes of the tangs might be different, though, so that may cause some problems, right? Well, you'd have to either grind them to the right size or carve the hole to the right size and whichever tang is smaller will be swimming in the larger tang hole so you'd have to fill it with something.


...Anybody have tips on installing handles? I've seen videos of how to take a handle off, but I don't remember one of putting a handle on. Should I just go for friction or do I need to heat the tang up like the knife makers do?... Sounds scary. WIP vid!

heirkb
10-28-2011, 06:47 PM
With your knife restoration threads, I think we all know what I'm saying :lol2:

Hopefully I can pick up sandpaper and do some work this weekend. Hope I don't do anything stupid, lol

Mike
10-28-2011, 08:24 PM
Any links for examples of these scrapers? Everything I'm finding looks like flimsy sheets of metal.

It sounds like you're looking in the right place. They don't like much but they do very well in their intended use. I sharpen mine about every 3 hrs of use which comes down to once every 6 to 10 handles. Here is a link to a set by Crown Tools. SCRAPERS (http://www.amazon.com/Crown-376-Cabinet-Scraper-Gooseneck/dp/B001C06BLE)

heirkb
10-28-2011, 10:35 PM
Oh cool. Thanks for confirming. Those are the ones I was looking at.

SpikeC
10-28-2011, 10:49 PM
Scrapers are the simplest and most effective tools that exist. A piece of broken glass will also work!

apicius9
10-29-2011, 04:59 AM
Scrapers are the simplest and most effective tools that exist. A piece of broken glass will also work!

What? Now, after making 300 handles you are telling me ? ;) To be honest, I don't have the slightest idea how to use a scraper, but it sounds like it is worth looking into. Other than that, I think you got some great tips, I can't think of anything to add.

Stefan

Mike
10-29-2011, 11:10 AM
What? Now, after making 300 handles you are telling me ? ;) To be honest, I don't have the slightest idea how to use a scraper, but it sounds like it is worth looking into. Other than that, I think you got some great tips, I can't think of anything to add.

Stefan

Stefan, scrapers are very simple to use, just run them along the area that you want smoothed or removed until you get the desired effect. Once you get enough practice you'll be able to skip most grits of rough to medium sand paper and jump into 400 without much issue.

SpikeC
10-29-2011, 01:47 PM
The trick with scrapers is in the prep. To get the most out of them they need to have the edge filed and stoned flat and then have a burr raised with a burnisher. This makes a very sharp fine cutting edge on each side of it. When properly prepped you can make fine little curly shavings like what you would get from a tiny handplane, with a surface that can be finish ready.

heirkb
10-29-2011, 10:06 PM
So if I were to make my own little saya, what type of wood would work for that? I want something like the handle in color and easy to deal with. Nothing fancy by any means. I also want to know if the woods (e.g. maple or pine) would need some kind of special treatment before I use them.

SpikeC
10-29-2011, 11:11 PM
Poplar is a good choice as far as ease of working goes, and it should match up well with the handle wood.

heirkb
10-30-2011, 01:28 AM
Thanks, Spike. I'll look around for that. Not always easy to find woodworking shops in Manhattan.

SpikeC
10-30-2011, 12:39 PM
For the size piece that you need you could mail order it. For example:

http://www.woodworkerssource.com/Poplar.html