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Thread: Need Western Handles Input - Please Chime In

  1. #1
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Need Western Handles Input - Please Chime In

    Time to give a Western handle a try. I want to do two versions, one with a full tang and one with a hidden tang. Full tang will feature a pinned bolster and 3 pins or bolts, and hidden tang will have a mokume tip, maybe a spacer.

    The handle will be a good size, but not overly fat.

    Now my question is how narrow should I shape the tip? In a wa handle, the consensus has been that a little width at the ferrule seems to be more beneficial than a ferrule shaped flush with the blade (we are talking about thickness of ferrule right at the blade), as it severs as a stop when you move from handle to a pinch grip, especially on narrow knives like sujis.

    Every western handle knife I look at, the ferrule at the blade is pretty narrow. What are your preferences?

    Thank you,

    M


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  2. #2
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    I think narrower is fine as long as they still have a wee bit of height to them.

  3. #3

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    I am giddy with excitement to see pics of these. My personal preference is for a more narrow bolster, not shigefusa narrow...for a 240 about 15mm in width and specifically I like it less tall in height. I prefer my western handles to only be about 20-22 mm high where the bolster/cap etc meet the blade.

  4. #4
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Well, both these will be prototypes, so I don't have high expectations. Bolster will be probably around 1" tall.
    Full tang knife will feature a tapered tang.

    M


    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.
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  5. #5

    knyfeknerd's Avatar
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    I say the smaller the better. A big bolster gets in the way.
    No matter how high the throne,
    there sits but an ass.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Von blewitt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knyfeknerd View Post
    I say the smaller the better. A big bolster gets in the way.
    +1 my favourites are shig western $ DT ITK western, both are narrow where they meet the blade
    Huw
    In order to make delicious food, you must eat delicious food. Jiro Ono

  7. #7
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    As I am not very familiar with Western handles, so can anybody explain to me from a user perspective, why on a Wa hanlde, a ferrule that it not tapered down (similarly to how a bolster is tapered down - think Kramer, or knives with radius bolsters like Shige on Western handle) is preferred, but on Western a tapered down bolster is preferred? It would be good to hear from somebody who has an extensive experience with both.

    Let's say both knives will be blade heavy and both will be used with a pinch grip.

    Thank you,

    M


    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.
    -Niels Bohr

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  8. #8

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    I taper my wa handles too much like "D" handles. When I made the handle for my Hiro I made it fatter and tapered it to meet the bolster. It feels much better than it did with the straight slab sides. I also cut the top of the tang so the handle wraps around the top.

    The bolsters aren't big enough to shape so if you are adding bolsters I recommend making them bigger so you have something to work with. Had the one on my Hiro been bigger I would have approached it differently. After I replaced the pakka slabs with desert ironwood the balance point moved to 1" in front of the bolster - a big improvement IMO as the 2" + in stock form really made the 270mm knife feel tip heavy.

  9. #9

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    Since a wa handle is not contoured at all, the larger ferrule gives you something pinch to prevent the knife from wanting to slide out of your hand on pull cuts. It is a longer handle you control from the front.

    On a proper yo handle with coke bottle shape, the swell at the end of the handle is where you lock in on a pull cut. It is a shorter handle that you don't choke up as much on, therefore you want the bolster and first third of the handle to "disappear" in you hand. You use your ring and pinkie fingers more than a wa handle to help control the knife.

    You can obviously pinch the blade with your thumb and forefinger to lock it in when doing pull cuts. But if you have to do a lot of them, especially through tough product, it is much nicer to have the handle design be able to relieve some of that strain.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  10. #10
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    John,
    thanks for an excellent explanation. I recall you told me this once, but it didn't sink in then.

    M


    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.
    -Niels Bohr

    If my KKF Inbox is full (or not), please contact me via Email: anvlts@gmail.com

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