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Thread: Newb handle making question

  1. #1

    Newb handle making question

    Hi guys, I'm trying to make my first wa handle.
    The materials I chose consist of koa, copper spacer then buffalo horn.
    I epoxied the pieces together with SIG kwik set epoxy. I clamped the pieces together and let them cure for 24 hours. The next day I attempted to shape the piece on my belt sander but after a couple mins on the belt sander the horn let go from the copper spacer.
    Where did I go wrong, to much heat, wrong epoxy, not long enough cure time?
    Any advice would help tremendously!

  2. #2
    Heated metal spacer breaks epoxy bond. I would say for first few tries, don't use metal spacers and go slowly sanding. For handles with metal spacers, you need to use mortise tenon construction where internal dowel extends into the handle body as well as ferrule and a spacer is sandwiched in-between. This reinforced construction will allow you to shape handle without worrying about components separated.

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  3. #3
    Thanks for the quick reply Marko.
    The mortise tenon method that you use in your handle construction seems to me to be a far superior method. I just though for my first attempt I would try the most simple method I could.
    Guess I'm off to the hardware store for some dowel material.

  4. #4
    Yup, the dowel technique works well. Plus the thin sheets of metal like copper heat up fast and quick! I use 1/2" diameter aluminum tubing as my dowel and then fit the tang of the knife to fit into the tubing.

  5. #5
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Honolulu, HI
    Once the handle is epoxied to the knife, not much can happen anymore. But as you noticed, the metal pieces heat up much to fast on the sander. Drove me nuts when I started out. Rather than inserting a dowel through the whole handle, I just connect the pieces (i.e. ferrule, spacer & handle). I start with predrilling all pieces forming a slot of approx 1/4" x 5/8", then just drill a 1/2" whole through the spacers and into ferrule and handle, and then you can just use a basic 1/2" x 2" wood dowel to connect the pieces. That holds it together very reliably during the shaping process. But, of course, all the other methods work just as well, at least.


  6. #6
    Thanks a lot guy's, this is all great advice.

    I got it fixed up today. I bought some 5/16 dowel and drilled out the pieces, about 1/2" into the ferrule and about 1 1/2" into the koa.
    I epoxied it all together and shaped it on the belt sander and now all I have to do is finish sanding it drill the tang slot.
    Ill be sure to post a picture of the finial product when Im finished.

    Thanks again for all the help!@

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