I'm new to the board and had a few questions for those of you who do this professionally, or have more than my very little experience woodworking for knives. I've made new handles for two of my knives and while I am happy with the results, I wonder how I might improve the results. The first handle was made with a walnut core between book-matched lacewood, a pre-ban elephant ivory spacer and a Gabon ebony ferrule. I used the spacer because the only info I could find online was a Murray Carter video in which he does the same and cuts the profile of the stick tang. The handle was glued up with 2 ton epoxy. On this piece, I also turned a tenon on the ebony that goes through the ivory and into a mortise in the lacewood/walnut for strength. Initially, I finished it with Danish oil, but the grain has raised over time. So I sanded it down again and refinished it with a different oil that cures harder. Also, I made the saya out of poplar.
The other handle was made with the same construction, but without the tenon. I opted for butt-joints to test it for strength and also changed the glue to Titebond III. The woods are walnut and book-matched cocobolo, boxwood spacer, and tulipwood for the ferrule. This one was finished with the latter oil that I used above. Also, I softened the edges and tapered the profile for comfort after having used the lacewood one for several months. So far, this one is much more comfortable to use.
I'm happy with them, so far. But, I wonder what others use to finish their handles? I am most interested in a glossy finish, not matte. And also, I saw other threads mentioning the use of a dowel to give the whole handle strength. Is this used for the burn-in method? If so, what are the chances of harder wood handles splitting? And is the ferrule always hand filed to size for the tang? Thanks in advance for the help.