View Full Version : Cleaver handle replacement tutorial needed

08-29-2012, 06:42 AM
Hi guys! I recently purchased a Shibazi Chinese vegetable cleaver, and, as a fun project, would like to replace the stock handle. It is similar to the handle on the small CCK's or Dexter Russell. I can post a picture if necessary, but I'm sure you are all familiar with these.

What I am looking for is a tutorial for replacing this type of handle that starts with removing the stock handle and goes all the way to installing the new handle.

I have a small shop to work in, but need some help as I am new to woodworking and this type of project.

Thanks for any help you can offer!

08-29-2012, 08:49 AM

Eamon Burke
08-29-2012, 08:56 AM
Got a lathe? If you don't have a lathe, you won't be able to make those barrel handles unless you have the patience of a mythological creature. Using a lathe, it's insanely easy--you just put a block of wood on there, shape it how you like, and bore a hole through the entire thing with a drill press--drill halfway, flip it over, meet the hole in the middle, so you are only drilling ~2" deep. If you are really really careful(maybe get a metal glove so you don't sue me) and have wood to make mistakes with, you could probably bore it with a hand drill.

Look at the butt of the handle. See the metal strip? That's the last few inches of the tang. They basically make a tang super narrow and 1-2 cm longer than the handle length and knock it over, thereby affixing the handle. Genius!

You can cut the tang short with an angle grinder, or file it off if you don't have one and are patient, if you want to epoxy a Wa style handle on it.

If you are looking for tutorials on making Wa handles, one could write volumes about that, for many reasons.

08-29-2012, 12:28 PM
Hi... yes, sorry I should have mentioned. I want to replace the barrel style stock handle with a Wa style handle.

Eamon Burke
08-29-2012, 12:52 PM
So you will need to cut the tang short. This will require either an angle grinder, hacksaw, or file. It's not hardened, so it's not too difficult to cut to length.

I would suggest you try making a few Wa handles out of scraps before making one in wood you will be keeping, because it's not the easiest thing in the world to do correctly. The other options are to do a different handle construction, or buy a Wa handle from one of our experts here and mount it yourself. Stefan's got a sale going on, but they might end up being a little long/skinny. I like a beefy handle on a cleaver.

You can go buy some poplar and practice making a few Wa handles and then use some good wood once you make two in a row without bungling up anything important.

Eamon Burke
08-29-2012, 12:55 PM
I should add that the tang on a cleaver is often pretty soft and bend-able, and to compensate for this, the tang gets suddenly VERY wide where it meets the blade. This will need to thinned down(with a grinder or a file) by the blade in order to accommodate a less-than-colossal Wa handle, and might end up being bendy. You could skip this and just let the Wa fit where it fits, and leave the tang exposed, but it's often pretty unsightly and might make for a strange and uncomfortable emoto.

08-30-2012, 01:09 PM
You could also think about making it more Sugimoto style which is much more boxy than the handles on the CCKs. That tall rectangle shape should accomodate the tang easily and I find it very comfortable.

08-30-2012, 04:42 PM
You could also think about making it more Sugimoto style which is much more boxy than the handles on the CCKs. That tall rectangle shape should accomodate the tang easily and I find it very comfortable.

Yes, I think this is more what I had in mind, actually. I have a pretty decent idea, in my mind, of what needs to happen, except for maybe some of the details about installing the new handle.

Eamon Burke
08-30-2012, 06:32 PM
What details?

08-31-2012, 01:27 PM
What details?

Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate the help.

Some of the things I am not sure about regarding installing the new handle: What size hole should I drill in the handle? Should I use an adhesive? What kind? The tang is a flat piece of metal... should I just be hammering the new handle down onto it?

Any specifics will be helpful to this newb!

Thanks again!

08-31-2012, 03:13 PM
If you want to use an adhesive, I'd suggest a good epoxy. I use the Gorilla Glue brand stuff but I know there's specialty epoxies the pros like to use. I've never done a hidden tang handle yet so I'll let someone else speak up for the rest.