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Adventures in handle and saya contruction by hand
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Thread: Adventures in handle and saya contruction by hand

  1. #1
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    Post Adventures in handle and saya contruction by hand

    I am a workaholic. I need a hobby, but I can't stop thinking about work. So why not pertain my hobbies to work?

    I recently bought a 240mm masamoto white steel gyuto without a handle on another forum. I love white steel and I'm a huge masamoto fan. Along later in the project will be my masamoto yanagi and my suisin usuba. I decided to further impart my heart and sole into this project by doing 95% of the work by hand with the little time off I have. The masochist in my had me sawing out the first handle blank after working 15 hours. Why? I had just got the ryoba saw in the mail that day and it was perched against my apartment door begging me to use it.

    I bought a large piece of almost dry spalted maple, a truely beautiful piece. I originally wanted to do a walnut burl, but this wood got me off from pictures alone. I got it off ebay and let it dry a few more months. Here is a pic of the wood slab with the masamoto blade on it. Anyone know of any other good sources to get large pieces of hardwood like this?


    I purchased a ryoba from japanwoodworker. My first time using a pullsaw, which went great!



    Handle blank. I saved the most figured piece of wood for the gyuto since it is going to be my main knife.





    Then I cut two thin pieces for the saya blank, god it was a ***** to cut since I am new to sawing by hand, but in both handle and saya blanks I allotted myself plenty of room for when I mess things up.





    So now I have to stabilize this rotten old wood. As beautiful as the spalting is, I can feel just by handling the wood that it's very fragile at this point. The main handle is as light as cork, almost. Instead of sending it out to be stabilized, I decided it was a good idea to do it myself. haha. I was originally following the tutorial on northcoast knives' website using miniwax wood hardener ($10 a pint!) but cracked the mason jar like an idiot by adding water that was too hot. After it cracked I ran to get another jar and only lost half of the hardener. So now I just have two of the handle blanks chilling in the half full mason jar. I am turning it upside-down periodically to soak the whole piece of wood. I'll probably do this for about a week (until my next day off) and try to figure out what I am going to soak the saya blanks in since they are too long and cut saya blanks for the other two knives this work-week.


    on the handle I plan on having a ferrule, a spacer, and an end cap. All from 1/8" thick metal. I decided to go with m3 white mokume. Here is a picture of it on another custom handle.


    I would love to do a custom mosaic pin as well, but I'm not sure if that's actually going to happen... We'll see. I just bought a set of husky files that I'm hoping will work well to shape the handle once the metal and wood are in place. I nicked a stationary belt sander off my dad, but I'm not sure if I'll use it now... like I said before, I want to do as much of it by hand as possible. But I have a feeling I am going to cut the metal with a dremel... I don't really have any other tools to cut metal with besides a reciprocating saw. Any suggestions? I'll update this thread as I go.

  2. #2
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Interesting, keep us updated on the progress! For cutting the M3 a plain old hack saw will do, this material works almost like stabilized wood. If you really want to do a lot on the handle by hand, I can recommend these shinto saws

    http://www.japanwoodworker.com/produ...&dept_id=12881

    I made the first handles just with a small vise and this saw, then I got lazy

    Stefan

  3. #3

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    I think maybe you are a glutton for punishment. That is some beautiful ink line going on in maple. Good luck, once the custom bug bites it never lets go.

  4. #4
    That is a really nice piece of maple. I give you credit for attempting this all by hand. I'd never want to do that.

  5. #5
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    eh, something to keep me busy...

  6. #6
    Yeah, I understand that.

    It always kills me.....200 years ago they had no power tools. Today we have jointers, shapers, drill press, band saws, table saws with daido blades, pocket hole jigs, dove tailing jigs, etc. and they could still make better things than we can today.

  7. #7
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    Well I certainly doubt im doing things better, but im having fun lol

  8. #8
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    Great stuff! I transitioned from power tools to mostly hand tool work around 10 years ago, and not having the machines screaming is a good thing! I have some physical limitations so I do use the machines when muscle isn't up for the job, but the right hand tools will get many things done before the machine setup is done!
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  9. #9
    when I first started making knives all i had was hand tools, I worked for 2 years with nothing but hammer/files/sandpaper to finish knives.
    it would take up to 3 or 4 weeks to make one knife (all weekend and several evenings)

    now I have a belt grinder that I built myself and honestly I could go almost just as fast with a good file as I can on the grinder, but I'll sweat more

  10. #10
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    Been going slow... combination of no time and laziness, I need to get my ass moving!



    How do you guys hollow out the saya? I was going to dremel it, but my dremel is as old as I am and it just seems like a bad idea in general. I was thinking about chiseling, but I have no chisels or chiseling experience... File that **** and hand sand I suppose?

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