View Full Version : Shaping and finishing a knife handle

Burl Source
05-23-2012, 06:45 PM
I thought some of you might find these videos helpful.
They show how a friend (Nick Wheeler) shaped and finishes a handle.
While the knife in the videos is not a kitchen knife, you might pick up some tips that can help with your next knife handle project.
These videos are being posted here with Nick's permission.

This is a photo of the knife profile and the koa block he is using.

Then the block rough shaped.






05-23-2012, 07:17 PM
Ummm, yeah....the only proper way to do this is with a spokeshave. What are you thinking? Just ask anyone on the interweb!

05-24-2012, 01:23 AM
Thanks for the post! Bookmarked.

I was considering using a Spokeshave very gently to get the rough shape.. is this bad?

Mike Davis
05-24-2012, 08:59 AM
I would think that a spokeshave on an octagon handle might actually work quite well. Not so sure about westerns, as where the handle contours, a spoke shave will get "into or in between" the grain of the wood and split that same line of grain until you are out of the block.
I do want to add that much can be learned from watching Nick's videos. He is one of the most prominent makers in the U.S. and maybe the world right now. Also he is a really great guy. His approach is fanatically meticulous and he is always happy to share his knowledge.

05-24-2012, 09:46 AM
I was making fun with the spokeshave comment.........however, you know there are curved bottom spokeshaves. Nevertheless, the grain can be so wild I would think anything other than abrasive would be risky. I also think most of them are designed for fairly rough work, at least the ones I have, where the mouth is just too large to adequately put pressure right in front of the blade on a fine setting.

Marko Tsourkan
05-24-2012, 09:50 AM
Thanks for the post! Bookmarked.

I was considering using a Spokeshave very gently to get the rough shape.. is this bad?

It will tear on a highly figured wood and on most wood if you go against grain. Files or rasps are better and give you much better control.
Spokeshaves work best on longer pieces (like spokes) and straight grain wood.


Burl Source
05-25-2012, 06:30 PM
Here are some photos of the finished knife.


05-25-2012, 07:00 PM
I have yet to watch any others after the first one. I love the finished product, looks very great.