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Thread: To Rehandle or Not

  1. #1
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    mr drinky's Avatar
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    To Rehandle or Not

    When do you choose to rehandle a knife? There was some discussion in Peco's 'Fed Up' thread about rehandling Carter's and I didn't want to hijack that discussion.

    But a while back I bought a Stefan handle for my Carter HG, but the handle -- though not great -- is fine, and I have held off on rehandling it. At first I thought the Carter handle was too light, but now I like the lightness and think the Stefan handle might throw off the balance that I have gotten used to. I don't want to mess with it (for now), so now my Carter rests right next to a beautiful Stefan handle in a satin bag...but an unused Stefan handle also seems like a shame.

    So when do you choose to rehandle? I just sent to Dave my TKC for rehandling, but it didn't need it really. I'm also getting my daughter's knife rehandled with leftover wood. That definitely wasn't necessary.

    k.
    "In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote

  2. #2
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    If you are concerned about weight of a handle throwing off a balance on your knife (most handles in stabilized woods or exotic hardwoods will be heavier than ho wood handles), consider using unstabilized koa. It's lightweight and pretty durable. I made one for Oivind (a set) and finished it with tung oil and the handle as far as I know has been fine.

    Another thing about natural koa is that it loses it's brilliant color once stabilized. Below is unstabilized koa.

    Click image for larger version

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  3. #3
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    Interesting. I had never thought of that. And that koa does look amazing.

    k.
    "In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote

  4. #4

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    I read this subject and came here just to vote:
    Rehandle!



    But now I read your thread. You know, I am rehandling my shigefusa because the handle on it is too long for me, and the weight of the new handle will be offset by the fact that I am going to make it considerably shorter. Food for Thought.

  5. #5
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr drinky View Post
    Interesting. I had never thought of that. And that koa does look amazing.

    k.
    Stefan likes to point out that in Hawaii they make paddles from koa, so it seems to have some water resistance, akin to ho wood or cedar.

    @ Eamon.
    I re-handled a good number of Shigefusa, so I have had a chance to observe a balance change. You are fine with going for a slightly shorter handle (5.75" would be my pick), as the new handle weight will still not offset the blade heavy Shigefusa. Your balance point will move closer to the handle, but not by much.

    M


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  6. #6
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    Another good point. I should measure the handles.

    And it would be interesting to weigh the old handle and compare it to the mass of the new one just to know the difference.

    k.
    "In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote

  7. #7
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Definitely rehandle, always

    For my own knives, I have had most of my Western knives rehandled, and in most cases purely for the fun of it and because they look nicer. But, to be honest, a lot of that work was done through bartering and trading, I am not sure I would have had all handles replaced if I had been fully charged for it. Another point is that I am happy with my knives, even if they are not top of the line, and rather than investing in new ones, I decided to invest in prettying up the ones I have.

    For the wa handles even more than for the Western ones, its not only the esthetics, it also allows me to change the size so that it feels comfortable to me. In a very light knife, the balance will certainly be more affected than in a heavier one, but since most Japanese knives are blade heavy, I often don't find the changes in balance overly dramatic. I have rehandled most of my wa knives (or rather had Dave do the work), but then again I am in a unique position. I think I only made one handle specifically for my Carter HG funayuki, in other cases I either had made a handle and thought later that it might be a good match for one of my knives. A few knives also have 'seconds', i.e. handles that have flaws I can live with but that I would not want to sell to somebody. That said, I still have several wa knives with the original handles. I think these all have white or marbled ferrules and I hate to destroy those because they look nice enough and I know how hard it is to get that kind of material.

    So, for me it's a mix of esthetics and functionality to rehandle knives, but overall clearly more an indulgence than a need.

    Stefan

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan View Post
    @ Eamon.
    I re-handled a good number of Shigefusa, so I have had a chance to observe a balance change. You are fine with going for a slightly shorter handle (5.75" would be my pick), as the new handle weight will still not offset the blade heavy Shigefusa. Yyour balance point will move closer to the handle, but not by much.

    M
    Thanks! I'll keep that in mind, for sure.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DwarvenChef's Avatar
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    When I had my Hiromoto AS Wa Suji rehandled with an ironwood handle I did not take into account the weight difference. It took a while to get used to the new weight and now I do not even notice it. If I could go back and do it over again.. I would still have it done. As a whole I love that knife, the way the cladding is and the burl ironwood is, I just love that knife.

    I have a few other knives I want to rehandle, one being the 300 H AS Wa-Gyuto, that have special attachements to me. A few that I probably shouldn't rehandle but I just can't remove them from the list, like my chef knife from culinary school lol a less then stellar knife in so many ways. It's got a bent spine and typical western mass produced look to it. But I have fond memories from culinary school with it and I want to lift it up from the wreckage by rehandling it for a display I am working on. Another knife on the list is my Hiromoto HC, the first quality kitchen Japanese knife. Again it holds special meaning for me, I learned so much from using that knife and I feel those memories everytime I use that knife. Sure I have moved past that knife and rarely use it anymore, but I love it when I do.

    So for me to rehandle I ether have to love the handle or love the knife and want to give it some recognition that sets it apart from others like it. A special handle for a special knife

  10. #10
    All that is not custom = Rehandle.

    Its not only about looks, but its also about grip

    I let Harald rehandle all my old victorinox and some ittosai ´n stuff .)

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