Replacing a Wa handle - Should I attempt it?

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Gongoozler

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I’d like to replace the handle on my Yahiko Ginsan 210mm Gyuto with this handle from Knives & Stones:



As someone who has never done it before, is it something I should attempt? Or maybe just send the knife and handle to a pro?
 
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I’d like to replace the handle on my Yahiko Ginsan 210mm Gyuto with this handle from Knives & Stones:



As someone who has never done it before, is it something I should attempt? Or maybe just send the knife and handle to a pro?
I think as a new member your link got deleted.

Handles if just replacing with another good one (not like ones I've been trying to make 😅) KS has some quality handles. The main thing I think you'd have to worry about is the tang slot size and if that needs adjustments and how handy you are at fine tasks like filing.

Other than that, pop off old handle, clean tang, prepare new handle with adhesive of choice (or burn in, but some handles arent set up for that, sometimes you get lucky and a tang on another knife is just a tad bigger than the current slot and it can work, but other problems can arise if done improperly or on a handle not designedfor burn in), insert tang and make sure it's straight and where you want it, done.

There are quite a few quick simple tutorials on YT, if you search "replacing a wa handle" one vid might even be from the KS guy. I forget...

Hope that helps. If you have more specifics, I'm sure other more knowledgeable members can step in. 🙂
 
I think as a new member your link got deleted.

Handles if just replacing with another good one (not like ones I've been trying to make 😅) KS has some quality handles. The main thing I think you'd have to worry about is the tang slot size and if that needs adjustments and how handy you are at fine tasks like filing.

Other than that, pop off old handle, clean tang, prepare new handle with adhesive of choice (or burn in, but some handles arent set up for that, sometimes you get lucky and a tang on another knife is just a tad bigger than the current slot and it can work, but other problems can arise if done improperly or on a handle not designedfor burn in), insert tang and make sure it's straight and where you want it, done.

There are quite a few quick simple tutorials on YT, if you search "replacing a wa handle" one vid might even be from the KS guy. I forget...

Hope that helps. If you have more specifics, I'm sure other more knowledgeable members can step in. 🙂
The fiddliest bit is cleaning up all the glue/wax if you don’t tape things off properly, so make sure you tape things off!
 
I had difficulty my first time but it isn’t too hard. Heat gun/oven to loosen the current handle if you’re not able to knock it off with a scrap wood and a mallet.

Small files to adjust new tang slot if needed, get it snug with a dry fit then epoxy or hot glue. I used a plastic syringe to push melted hot glue into the hole first and then put the tang in instead of heating the tang to melt the glue to avoid making the tang TOO hot and warping the wood
 
Thanks all for all the great replies!

Yeah, link got deleted that’s on me. The particular handle I’m looking at has an acrylic ferrule so I’m wondering if that will change the procedure at all.
 
Thanks all for all the great replies!

Yeah, link got deleted that’s on me. The particular handle I’m looking at has an acrylic ferrule so I’m wondering if that will change the procedure at all.
Acrylic? Is it just a ring of acrylic or solid? If solid, don't burn it in. File the tang hole bigger. If it's a ring surrounding wood, you can use the burn in method.
 
I had difficulty my first time but it isn’t too hard. Heat gun/oven to loosen the current handle if you’re not able to knock it off with a scrap wood and a mallet.

Small files to adjust new tang slot if needed, get it snug with a dry fit then epoxy or hot glue. I used a plastic syringe to push melted hot glue into the hole first and then put the tang in instead of heating the tang to melt the glue to avoid making the tang TOO hot and warping the wood
Or too hot and making the hot glue spit out. Ask me how I know 👀
 
I’m 99% sure one of the handles I put on mine was over heated and the wood & spacer moved.

It was smooth when I had it off and then when I attached it now you feel the spacer proud of the wood and it’s sharp lol
If it was natural wood, and it wasnt fully dry to start when the handle was initially made, it's possible that heat just sped up the drying (and shrinking) of the wood.
 
Use an Exacto knife to cut a glue stick into slivers. Drop them down into the hole. Generally not necessary but it can vary by tang and handle so you can drop pieces in up to the top. Heat tang well (not glowing) and slide down into hole. Hold in place to set.

I have a coil stove top. Wedging the end of the tang in the coils and turning them on high takes about 90-120 seconds to be hot enough. Small torch just on the end works too.

Wrap a slim piece of carboard over your edge and tape in place.
 
I have a coil stove top. Wedging the end of the tang in the coils and turning them on high takes about 90-120 seconds to be hot enough. Small torch just on the end works too.
I hold the knife with bare hands at the spine above the heel whilst I’m heating the tang, and back off if I start to feel heat - helps ensure I don’t overheat the tang enough to start messing with the heat treat on the blade.
 
I’d like to replace the handle on my Yahiko Ginsan 210mm Gyuto with this handle from Knives & Stones:



As someone who has never done it before, is it something I should attempt? Or maybe just send the knife and handle to a pro?

It can be either be super easy or a pain in the ass depending on 1. how the handle was attached (burned in is a cinch to remove, hot glue not too bad, epoxied in place? good luck), and 2. how closely the tang fits your new handle (filing can be so annoying to do).
 
If you are going to use hot glue, you can cut it into chunks and put it between parchment and use an iron to flatten it into discs. Then, you can use scissors to cut slivers and it’s super easy to cut and insert into the handle. In my opinion this is easier than other methods of breaking down the glue. Someone suggested this elsewhere on this forum, can’t remember who to give the credit to.

Make sure to use enough glue. It’s really disappointing to finish the install only to realize that you don’t have it filled enough. And yeah tape the handle and blade. I have made that mistake as well. 😬
 
Make sure to use enough glue. It’s really disappointing to finish the install only to realize that you don’t have it filled enough. And yeah tape the handle and blade. I have made that mistake as well. 😬
Currently dealing with this 😞
I bought some bees wax and am hoping that I’ll be able to get it in the gaps. I’d like to avoid a reinstall. The heating seems rough on the wood.
 
If you are going to use hot glue, you can cut it into chunks and put it between parchment and use an iron to flatten it into discs. Then, you can use scissors to cut slivers and it’s super easy to cut and insert into the handle. In my opinion this is easier than other methods of breaking down the glue. Someone suggested this elsewhere on this forum, can’t remember who to give the credit to.

Make sure to use enough glue. It’s really disappointing to finish the install only to realize that you don’t have it filled enough. And yeah tape the handle and blade. I have made that mistake as well. 😬

Small hot glue pellets have been fantastic for me.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CMD8BFGP
 
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