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Reshaping an existing wa-handle with no power tools
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Thread: Reshaping an existing wa-handle with no power tools

  1. #1
    Senior Member heirkb's Avatar
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    Reshaping an existing wa-handle with no power tools

    I have a parer/mini-petty where the handle works ok, but it just looks a little funky (it's a bit big for the knife and too much of the emoto is sticking out for my taste).
    There's a picture on DrNaka's blog in the post I linked below. It's the 80mm wa-petty:
    http://hides-export.blogspot.com/201...ictures-2.html

    So here are the things I want to do based on a sketch I did to see what size handle would look good without feeling too short/small:

    1) get the knife a little deeper in the handle
    2) make the handle a little less wide. Hard to describe, but I don't want to make it less wide all around the D shape. Just a little off the top and bottom (none off the pointy side of the d, or of the side opposite the point basically).
    3) perhaps as a part of #2, I could also add a little taper. Don't know how to go about doing that, though.
    4) make the handle a little shorter. This would involve removing a little from the ferrule end and a little from the wood end.

    I want to see if you guys have any tips for tools to use and for techniques on how to go about doing some of this stuff.

    Also, I might make a little ghetto saya. Is there any wood that I can easily and cheaply pick up that might look similar to the Ho wood handle? Would cedar be a bad choice for a saya?

  2. #2

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    I usually do everything by hand. I use hand drills, sand paper on a wooden block for profile or a granite block for a true flat, a small rasp and a wood file.
    1) To make the tang go deeper in the handle, the easiest way to go about that is to remove the handle, cut what ever length you need to cut from the tang and just replace the handle. No wood working needed.
    2) Taking material just from the top and bottom of the handle would make it more drop shaped and that might feel a bit wonky. I would recommend to remove an equal amount of material around the whole handle and keep the original shape as intact as possible.
    3) Can be done. Takes time. Use sand paper and go slow.
    4) If you want to remove anything on length even after getting the handle further in on the tang, I would remove material just from the wood end. Removing from the ferrule end will a) weaken the horn ferrule and might cause it to crack and b) require you to drill and carve further into the handle, which requires special tools, or remove even more from the tang, which you do not want to do.

    Just my 2C

    DarKHOeK

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    +1 on what DH said. Just let me add that you can also use scrapers to do the primary removal and sand paper to finish it up. Scrapers remove steel much like 60 grit sand paper but they leave a smoother finish allowing you to jump to 120 grit (or higher depending on your technique). Also, they save you money on sand paper as a good set will last you a life time and are easy to sharpen.

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    Interesting. I'd say you're a little crazy but I'd be interested in seeing a WIP, good or bad.

  5. #5
    Senior Member heirkb's Avatar
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    Haha, Tinh, I've heard that before, but it's usually from people less not more crazy than I am.

    You know, my 150mm petty from Yoshikane came with a thinner oval handle, so maybe I can just switch the two around. The sizes of the tangs might be different, though, so that may cause some problems, right?

    Anybody have tips on installing handles? I've seen videos of how to take a handle off, but I don't remember one of putting a handle on. Should I just go for friction or do I need to heat the tang up like the knife makers do?

    Also, thanks for your tips, Harald. Do you have any specific tips about tapering handles? Just more pressure on one part as I move the handle over the sandpaper on granite?

  6. #6
    Senior Member heirkb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    +1 on what DH said. Just let me add that you can also use scrapers to do the primary removal and sand paper to finish it up. Scrapers remove steel much like 60 grit sand paper but they leave a smoother finish allowing you to jump to 120 grit (or higher depending on your technique). Also, they save you money on sand paper as a good set will last you a life time and are easy to sharpen.
    Any links for examples of these scrapers? Everything I'm finding looks like flimsy sheets of metal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heirkb View Post
    ...it's usually from people less not more crazy than I am.
    What are you trying to say?

    Quote Originally Posted by heirkb View Post
    ...You know, my 150mm petty from Yoshikane came with a thinner oval handle, so maybe I can just switch the two around. The sizes of the tangs might be different, though, so that may cause some problems, right?
    Well, you'd have to either grind them to the right size or carve the hole to the right size and whichever tang is smaller will be swimming in the larger tang hole so you'd have to fill it with something.

    Quote Originally Posted by heirkb View Post
    ...Anybody have tips on installing handles? I've seen videos of how to take a handle off, but I don't remember one of putting a handle on. Should I just go for friction or do I need to heat the tang up like the knife makers do?...
    Sounds scary. WIP vid!

  8. #8
    Senior Member heirkb's Avatar
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    With your knife restoration threads, I think we all know what I'm saying

    Hopefully I can pick up sandpaper and do some work this weekend. Hope I don't do anything stupid, lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by heirkb View Post
    Any links for examples of these scrapers? Everything I'm finding looks like flimsy sheets of metal.
    It sounds like you're looking in the right place. They don't like much but they do very well in their intended use. I sharpen mine about every 3 hrs of use which comes down to once every 6 to 10 handles. Here is a link to a set by Crown Tools. SCRAPERS

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    Senior Member heirkb's Avatar
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    Oh cool. Thanks for confirming. Those are the ones I was looking at.

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