Re-scale a TF western handle

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tostadas

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Curious if anyone has photos of what a western TF tang/bolster looks like with the scales removed.

I'm considering re-scaling one of my TFs as a future project. Just from visual inspection, in general the handle looks pretty uneven. Also, everything I've read about this work should steer me away, but I'm still curious. I've seen some nice finished products of rehandled TFs, but the question is what work is needed to get to that point?
 
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Many use g10 liners between the scales and tang since the tangs are usually pretty rough. This makes it easier, without the need to make the tang super flat.

PXL_20211016_215215894.jpg
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McMan

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I had one rehandled by Dave 5+ years ago. It's in hiw re-handle thread (and he may have even posted another thread). Long story short, he had to convert to hidden tang because the TF tang was jacked--multiple low spots filled with black epoxy. I'll see if I can dig up the thread.

Edit:
It's post #559:
 
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McMan

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And here's the thread that shows the TF tang:
 

new2brew

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I too have a TF western handle that I would like to “rehandle”, not rescale. If I went from western to wa would the balance of the knife be thrown off too much? Could / should I use a heavier wood to counter this? Is this a possibility? Any comments would be appreciated.
 
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I too have a TF western handle that I would like to “rehandle”, not rescale. If I went from western to wa would the balance of the knife be thrown off too much? Could / should I use a heavier wood to counter this? Is this a possibility? Any comments would be appreciated.

do you want to sell it to me and just buy a wa instead :p

Usually TF wa is more forward balanced than yo. This is because of the full tang (metal all the way through the handle). Removing a good portion of that steel in a wa conversion would tip the knife forward.

If you prefer the balance of a yo but the shape of a wa then yes you could choose a heavier wood/longer handle/install further back.

Also IME the tangs of TF wa is thicker than the tangs of TF yo
 

new2brew

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I’m thinking your joking about selling you the western, but yes I would. I mistakenly chose the western by default as I went back and forth on their website thinking my original choice held, but reverted back to western default. They would have taken it back but….shipping is on me. So if your not joking and it’s amicable sure!
 
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I’m thinking your joking about selling you the western, but yes I would. I mistakenly chose the western by default as I went back and forth on their website thinking my original choice held, but reverted back to western default. They would have taken it back but….shipping is on me. So if your not joking and it’s amicable sure!
Is that a 240 denka? I have a WTB thread for a 240 western denka just so you know.
 
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Did anyone give this a try in the mean time?
I am about to give it a shot on my TF Mab 210. I feel the handle is too narrow. Bought some stabilized walnut that I plan to install with brass pins.

I am just a bit concerned about unknown unkowns that may appear from under the scales. Not a pro and it doesn't have to achieve Dave's standards but I would still like it to look pretty good.

Thanks for any input!
 

tostadas

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Did anyone give this a try in the mean time?
I am about to give it a shot on my TF Mab 210. I feel the handle is too narrow. Bought some stabilized walnut that I plan to install with brass pins.

I am just a bit concerned about unknown unkowns that may appear from under the scales. Not a pro and it doesn't have to achieve Dave's standards but I would still like it to look pretty good.

Thanks for any input!
I ended up ripping off the scales, but haven't gotten around to installing new ones yet. There was minimal epoxy to contend with. Mainly just 2 pakka scales held on with compression pins. Comes off fairly easily with some prying. The dremel wasn't necessary but helped a little.

My tang is also tapered, just fyi

Here's some pics
 
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So yesterday as part of the rescaling project I started out with reshaping/tapering the tang (or is it bolster?) with the factory handle still in place. I figured this would give some guidance when shaping new scales.
Took inspiration from pics in this thread and pics of beautiful Shigefusa western handles and convinced myself that the factory tang shape had to go.

The tang is really soft stainless that can easily be reshaped with a file. Clamped it to a cutting board on the kitchen countertop.

Really happy with the result, tang is now tapered and has wider flats on the sides which makes it much more comfortable.

Some before and after pics.
Didn't go all the way because I want to save some steel for later.

EB552919-78F7-46F2-9B7A-8ACF38CFFEEF.jpeg
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So now I knocked of the original scales, using an old screwdriver as a chisel and a light hammer to carefully chip away. Took 5 minutes.
What is underneath was pretty decent and flat. And it has the stainless cladding so no risk for rust underneath the scale.
 

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I made a dummy handle in soft pine wood to see if I could actually make what I had in mind, something more sculpted. I cut it in 2 halves and installed it as a mock-up just to find out whether I like the shape (which I do!).
Next step will be making real scales with stabilized walnut.
 

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Here some process pictures of my TF western rescaling project, a 210 Maboroshi Gyuto. I have long hands and wanted a larger more voluminous handle without wanting to change the tang profile. So the whole project was more function than aesthetics driven but of course I wanted it to look good. I figured I'd post it here rather than make a new thread so others can benefit from our combined experiences.

I used hand tools only except for buying a 2nd hand drill standard to ensure the pin holes were true and perpendicular to the handle. So otherwise a steel file, sandpaper, figure (jig) saw, steel saw for the handle pins, small hand plane, 2 clamps... that's it really.
The wood is stabilised walnut. This turned out to be quite soft and very easy to work with. I don't have power tools to polish the wood but I am happy with the final finish.

Overall no disasters or nasty surprises, except for enlarging one tang hole.
Used materials are stabilized walnut scales (16 euro), Araldite 30 minutes epoxy (11 euro), a short length of 6mm brass pin (4 euro leftover piece at the hardware store) and some tung oil.

Step 1: Removing the scales. Wonderful TF handle smell. The state of the tang was quite good, required some cleaning up with sandpaper to create a clean surface for epoxying the scales.
tf scale removed.JPG


Step 2: Drilling new pin holes in the tang. I wanted the pins to be distributed more evenly. The most forward hole was terrible to drill, took me perhaps an hour with a fresh good drill. It just didn't grip on the core white #1 steel. Surprisingly the 2 new aft holes went easy and smooth, but enlarging that forward hole to 6mm diameter... damn.
tf new tang holes.jpg


Step 3: Trimming the bolster. The bolster was quite uneven (lh vs. rh) and I wanted some symmetry and more or less right angles. Took ages with a hand file, some heavy trimming... But the end result is much better than original. Bolster steel is very soft and easy to file and sand.
tf bolster trimmed.JPG


Step 4: Glued the 1st scale with Araldite 30 minute epoxy. Drilled through the holes afterwards (few days later when fully cured). After applying epoxy I wrapped it in cling foil (to avoid a mess) and then clamped it down.
tf first scale glued.jpg


Step 5: Initial shaping of the first scale so it would be easier for the 2nd scale once that would be glued.
tf first scale trimmed.jpg


Step 6: 2nd scale glued and drilled.
tf second scale glued.jpg


Step 7: initial shaping of the handle. Finally I ended up removing even more wood with a hand plane to make the handle somewhat more narrow.
tf initial shaping.JPG


Step 8: Glued in 6mm solid brass pins. I oversized the holes very slightly to ensure there would be epoxy around the pins to properly fill the holes and avoid gaps for moisture. Sized the length of the pins fairly accurate to avoid having to file/sand too much later on.
tf pins glued.JPG


Step 9: Final shaping of the handle (picture halfway in the process). I took off quite some thickness with wood backed sandpaper. The brass pins were easy to sand together with the wood. The fairly soft wood is (for me) impossible to get entirely smooth, some grain texture on the surface remains.
There are some imperfections in the tang that are impossible to get rid of (short of opting for a hidden tang like the pro's do).
tf handle shaped.jpg



Step 10: Final shape and oiled with a few coats of Tung oil. Will apply some more coats later on.
tf final.jpg


Really happy with the end result! Very comfortable. Will post some pictures in the Sticks thread. Thanks for looking, hope it will be useful to some of you!


edit: typos & some extras.
 
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