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mr drinky

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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.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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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.

DSC_1418.jpg
 

mr drinky

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

k.
 

Eamon Burke

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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.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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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
 

mr drinky

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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.
 

apicius9

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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
 

Eamon Burke

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@ 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.
 

DwarvenChef

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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 :)
 

oivind_dahle

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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 .)
 

Justin0505

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I have quite a few knives with custom-level handles, but none that i have sent off to be handled myself.

The handle on my Carter HG is nowhere near the level of the Marko handle on my Shige, but it is actually pretty nice. When I was ordering the knife over the phone, Jason said that it was the nicest handle of the batch. It fits my hand well and fits the knife in a nice simple kinda way. I've gown to appreciate it more over time, and now the thought of replacing it for something "nicer" makes me sad and feel like I'd be somehow betraying a loyal friend. At the least, it would be wasting a nice piece of ebony and a unique little piece of horn.

But, on the other hand, the handle on my TKC has annoyed me since day 1. I've always felt that it was both too small for my hand and too small for the blade. I finally found someone (whos actually WAAAAAY over qualified for the job) that agreed to take on a special project to remove the scales, grind the tang, and install something really awesome. The knife will go out to be "fixed"after the new year.


So, my vote is don't re-handle your Carter. I saw it and I also liked the handle. However, I also got to oogle that amazing little handle in the silk bag and agree that it needs a blade of its own too.
So, I think that the right choice is actually option "C": buy another knife! Or least a handless blade. Maybe you can talk Carter into leaving the handle off one from his next bath of small pettys or maybe Jon from JKI can include a naked blade in his
next order. Or, if you wanted to rescue a great blade from a substandard handle, you could look at one of the Richmodd blades or even a cleared up tojiro ITK.

-Just thought I'd play handle's advocate to all of the handle killers out there.
 

bcrano

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I have to agree with Stefan here. The knife that you like to look at is the knife that you will want to use more and more. And you'll adjust to the new weight (if you can even tell) almost immediately.
 

Peco

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Hmmm. I have had other things custom fit for me BUT when it comes to handles I have never heard any of you guys talking about hand size and that the handle will be customized from this criteria. Maybe you change it for the looks but for me a custom fit has to do with - as the word says - fitting specific for the users specs. So does this ... once again ... relates to bling bling or do you really get customwork done for your needs?
 

Twistington

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I rehandle all my knives with wa-handles about 2 or 3 times because i always find something that im not happy with when im done.


So im going to chime in with the choir and say: REHANDLE LIKE IT'S 1899! :)
 

Peco

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2-3 on each knife - expensive hobby you got Twist!
 

Justin0505

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I rehandle all my knives with wa-handles about 2 or 3 times because i always find something that im not happy with when im done.


So im going to chime in with the choir and say: REHANDLE LIKE IT'S 1899! :)
Aaahhhhhk! Nooooo! Won't someone save all those poor innocent handles!!!:no:
 

RRLOVER

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I would not worry about the balance if the carter is 240mm or bigger.My carter has mammoth tooth,giraffe bone,desert ironwood,and a bronze end cap handle with out any balance issue. Go for it.
 

Andrew H

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When I can't stand the handle. If it is fine, it stays. If I cannot stand a handle or it makes me not want to use the knife, rehandle it.
 

Justin0505

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My carter has mammoth tooth,giraffe bone,desert ironwood,and a bronze end cap handle
You sir, are the king of bling!
Also, I think pictures would be very useful to help...uh... Karring make an informed decision...yeah, thats it...for Karring's sake....

That handle is probably worth more than most blades. A bit of the tail wagging the dog/ handle wagging the knife?
 

stevenStefano

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I think some knives suit rehandling more than others. Like Masamotos, I think they suit the plain handle for some reason. And I think a lot of kurouchi knives look better with a plain handle. I'd only get a knife rehandled if it was really special to me or if I really liked the knife but really hated the handle
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I rehandle all my knives with wa-handles about 2 or 3 times because i always find something that im not happy with when im done.


So im going to chime in with the choir and say: REHANDLE LIKE IT'S 1899! :)
Is the reason for you redoing the handle your workmanship, or the size?

I think a handle has to be made with a knife, as well as an user in mind. For example, if you have a thick, blade-heavy knife, you don't put a small handle on it (seen it on one of Carter custom that was sent back to Murray), or if you have a small, a blade-light knife like petty or small gyuto, you don't put a huge, heavy handle on it.

Other than that, there are acceptable to most users sizes for each type of knives (i.e, 6" long handles for 270-300mm slicers) and the rest, a person making handles should play by ear. I admit there are people who have preferences (thick, bulky handles for example) that are outside of a norm, but it should be their responsibility to tell it to the maker.
 

mr drinky

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So im going to chime in with the choir and say: REHANDLE LIKE IT'S 1899! :)
Isn't that supposed to be 1999? If you are referencing Prince that is.

Anyhow, the 1899 reminded me of something I saw in that TV show, Pawn Stars. Someone brought in an old revolver and they said that in the old west days they only put cheap handles on the guns because they expected that people would remove the stock handles and add something better. I thought that was interesting, so I guess to 'rehandle like it is 1899' is actually correct. We should be treating that knife like an old peacemaker.

k.
 

RRLOVER

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You sir, are the king of bling!
Also, I think pictures would be very useful to help...uh... Karring make an informed decision...yeah, thats it...for Karring's sake....

That handle is probably worth more than most blades. A bit of the tail wagging the dog/ handle wagging the knife?



Here's some handle porn justin.
 

Andrew H

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Great handles, what is the knife / handle at the very bottom?
 

Andrew H

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I was suspicious with the pin and distinctive handle shape, but it's always good to check :lol2:
 

apicius9

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Cool stuff Mario, great to see them all together like that.

Stefan
 
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