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How do you make a saya?

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coffeelover191919

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How do I make a saya? i want to make something similar to the KNS says i just received, with a nice friction fit and felt lined inside.
I just got some free samples of 1 - 1.5in thick wood pieces and one of them is mushroom wood. its supposedly a pretty expensive and not easily purchased wood samples.

I have basic hand tools.. an oscillating multi tool (with diff types of blades) , a dremel (with the diff types of attachments) , drills, basic hand tools.
 

coffeelover191919

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Thanks so much for the message! This will be worked on, on my free weekends. The tip you mentioned with creating the spacer, then just 2 flat pieces of wood really helped (3 piece.) Prior to that, i was thinking of doing a 2 piece, but i dont have a router to clear out the profile of the knife.
 

Taz575

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No problem! Carving out the cavity is hard to do. I tried it and botched up each attempt. Sandwich sayas are much easier
 

birdsfan

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Did someone call me?

I have always used the two-piece construction method. I usually start with thin slats in the 1/4 inch or less thickness. I trace the shape of the blade on one of them, also noting the grind or shinogi line if applicable. To cut the depth, I have used both a handheld router with a 1/4 inch cut radius, and a dremel style tool, using a burr bit. Both certainly require a practiced hand. I got used to the pull of both tools on some scrap wood before attempted it on my good pieces. Using either tool, it requires multiple passes to get to the depth necessary to fit the thickness of the spine. Also, I have used a small chisel to clean out the outline a bit. I have never done a WIP picture series, but perhaps I will next time I do one.

All that being said. The three piece method seems like it would be easier, especially if you want to fill in the space with felt. You can use much thinner outer shell slats, and use a cheaper, lighter, less dense and easy to cut piece in the middle.
 

Taz575

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I will post most of my message here in case it helps other people out.

I think what would work best/easiest is a 3 piece saya. Get some basswood in the thickness that matches the thickest part of the spine of your knife. Draw the blade profile on the piece and cut out with a saw. This will make a spacer of soft material to protect the edge. Local wood stores like woodcraft or rockler have basswood, it's pretty cheap. Then take the nicer wood, cut it down with a saw to the thickness/width you want and flatten it to make sections wide enough to cover the spacer completely. So you have 2 flat pieces of nice wood and a spacer of really soft wood (to protect the edge). Glue and clamp together, trim to size and sand. Easily done with hand saws, files, clamps, glue, sandpaper.

Not sure with the felt, it can retain moisture and cause the blade to rust if going to and from hot/cold environments? If you want, you can cut strips of felt and glue them to the inside of the outer panels in the area where the spacer is open, not sure how thick it is to effect the fit of the blade? Remember, some blade spines are tapered (and may be uneven), so you may need to file a relief in the saya panels to make it fit in or just go with a thickness of spacer that will fit the thickest part of the tang/spine. If using felt, you may want to go thicker to accommodate the thickness of felt, or put the felt lower on the saya toward the edge where the grind is and the blade is thinner. The felt may help with a tighter fit and keep it from rattling, but will loosen/compress over time.

Doing a carved saya was out of my comfort/skill level, you need chisels and need to accurately carve out the pocket. Some people make really nice carved sayas!
 

daveb

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There have been some good tutorials on saya making here over the years. Mikey (don't remember user name) did a very good one three or four years ago. In addition to Taz's notes above, some google-fu may be in order.
 

Nagakin

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parbaked

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There have been some good tutorials on saya making here over the years.
I like this one!
 

jacko9

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Good information above. One tip about using a router and the torque is to use a trim router the new ones have a soft start and are easy to control and most of them have a built in LED light.
 

daveb

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I like this one!
The mousetrap saya is a great one. Liked KnifeKnerds patchwork saya as well (but can't find it).
 

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