Rehandling a Shigefusa
I recently had someone contact me to rehandle a Shigefusa gyuto. It was made without handle scales. Shigefusa's western handled gyuto have an incredible grace to them that always inspires me when I'm working a handle. This one was suminagashi. I brought in a bunch of different woods to choose from and the curly koa really seemed to go well with the pattern. Mark brought in a central pin that he liked. I'm a big fan of using a central mosaic pin with side hidden bolt rivets. I've had a number of folks ask to see a some of my process creating handles and thought this would be a fun one to show. For the most part, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
It's always a little nerve racking to slice a new piece of wood. Having the blade glide to the side can be pretty frustrating!
I like to align the holes straight with the spine and have about the same distance from the very back of the beak as from the back edge of the bolster. If I'm working with a material that has more tendency to move over time, I move the front and rear rivets outward.
I hollow out the tang of the knife a bit. This both gives a better fit, but it also lightens up the handle and brings the weight forward into the blade.
We've got all the shaping and profiling done here. We're at about 600 grit.
A little elbow grease moves from 0, 00, 000 and finally to 0000 steel wool. I really like the control that the steel wool gives me without rounding anything I don't want rounded or changing the shape.
awesome as always! Love the Koa!
Nice looking handle...interesting process. Haven't heard of anyone hollowing the tang before.
Is it just me or is the hook/knob at the very back especially large for a western?
Amazing handle, thanks for sharing your process. Very impressive, and I can see why they are held in high regard.
You're absolutely right. Great observation ... Shigefusa creates his western knives with a longer beak than is typical ... It is longer, rather than taller, which makes it doesn't affect finger clearance over a cutting board. Japanese 'wa' handles are significantly longer than western handles (perhaps to better counter balance the blade?). Several of the Japanese makers (Shigefusa and Tadafusa, most notably (who are in the same town)) have created their western handles a little longer than typicaly and I like both the visual effect and the feel.
Originally Posted by Zwiefel
I can't claim to have invented this technique, though I wish I had. It is a really useful way of affecting balance on a knife without changing other design characteristics. Also, it is a lot easier way of bringing the weight forward than changing the tang's taper. Bob Kramer taught me this technique while I was apprenticing under him. I think it is fairly common, but to be honest, I'm not entirely sure. I believe Bill Burke also uses this technique when creating a lot of his western handles -- though I don't want to speak for him in case I'm wrong.
Originally Posted by Zwiefel
Nice work, and welcome to KKF as well.
Happy to have you here and look forward to many more WIP's.
Welcome and thanks for the pics. You rehandled a Blazen in koa for me a while back with a more Kramer-esk shape which is very comfortable to hold and still of my favorites.
A yo-shig is one of my unicorn knives. I love the elongated beak. Super elegant.