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Knife Blade Handles

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  • Knife Blade Handles

    I am making a carving knife blade and looking for how to's on the handle.
    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    If you near a carving club, ask the other members if you can try their knife to get a feel for the handle. Buy some cheap clay, put a handle full of it in your carving hand and squeeze until it's comfortable grip. This will give you an idea as the length--this is for people who have very large or very small hands. Usually a comfortable handle is about 4 1/2" long. If you already have carving knives, look at them and use what you like. Some people love the Flex-Cut dolphin handle. I personally lean more towards rectangle profile about 4 1/2" long like the OCCT knives with walnut handles. You can also carve some practice handles out of pine or aspen--even basswood to see how you like the fit. Once you know what you like then you can take a piece of walnut or whatever wood you choose and make the final product(s).

    To each his own



    • #3
      I have a short guide on my website on making northwest coast knife handles:

      I guess I should get around to adding more pictures and details of the process to it. Straight and curved wood carving knives


      • #4
        One of the considerations is how the blade will be connected to the handle - riveted, full tang, epoxied? Another is: who is this handle for? you or potential customers? I recommend that the handle be "correctible," that the shape can be changed as needed.


        • #5
          Find some cedar with a tight ring pattern so you can carve prototypes.
          Just some simple soft wood to learn what's needed to carve a handle.

          Try all sorts of knife handles. Carve with them. Some handles just "feel right."
          Size is like for tennis racquets = the tips of your second and third fingers should just touch the fat ball part of your thumb. That's 7/8" diameter, as an example, for me.
          Brian T


          • #6
            I find that I rarely use my knife with a "full hand grip." Since I use the knife mostly for incised lines or stop cuts in relief projects, it is often held with a few finger tips. The position of my fingers may change depending on the cut being made. So the handle shape may be quite different than for a full time whittler.


            • #7
              Lee Valley publishes an entire page of outlines for FN crooked knife handles.
              I don't know how you might get a look at it without buying a blade or two.
              Jamie's approach is a good idea.

              I studied some in the UBC/MOA collection (I had a little box of blades in my pocket!).

              I brought a couple of knives and some cedar so I went out front and sat down to carve prototype handles. When I got stuck, I went back in for another look at the collection.

              They are quite different. Very effective and likely not in your interests at all.
              Brian T


              • #8
                Originally posted by Muddy Dog
                I am making a carving knife blade and looking for how to's on the handle.
                Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
                So as I read your question you’re really ask a how to question, not a what shape question. A lot of the how to depends on the construction of the blade.

                Like the helvie knife on the left I do a two piece handle construction.

                If the blade has a tang whole I do an exposed pinned tang because I like how it looks.

                I have made a lot of knives using Warren Cutlery blades, they are cheap, hold their edge and are available in several profiles.

                After marking where the blade will sit on the inside of each handle half I carve a recess in each to accommodate the blade and drill the pin whole.

                With the blade in place I glue the two handle pieces with 30 minute epoxy applied to both sides. I clamp tightly in a vise and leave it overnight. Then with the blade taped for safety I finish shaping and finishing the handle. I prefer an oil only finish on my carving tools.

                Last edited by Claude; 01-16-2021, 06:16 PM. Reason: typo
                Local club


                • #9
                  I do my handle basically like Ed, with these variations:
                  1. I have one half about the width of the blade wider.
                  2. On that side I reduce the shape of the tang.
                  3. If I'm going to have pins through the tang & Handles, I drill them now with the tang in place.
                  4. take the other side of the hand lay it in position, a drill one hole use the tangle and handle side as a guide
                  5. Insert a pin in the newly drilled hole. to keep the two haves lines up
                  6. Drill the second hole. everything should line up .
                  7. Glue up with two-part epoxy.

                  Now when it time to clean/shape your handle just remember one side is a little thicker and you may want to address that.

                  I use Forby's Tung Oil Finish on my handles, it treats the wood and makes the handles easier to hang on, not slick
                  . . .JoeB


                  • #10
                    Everyone Finds the shape that works best for them. I have made 4 knife handles and used blades from Deepwood Venture. The first one I shaped like the Flexcut knife I was using at the time but made it a bit thicker. I was not really happy with it so I spent a few months shaping peaces of scrap wood until I found a shap the fit my needs. I made a knife using that basic shap. But there was a differents between hold and working shape. After some ajustment I found what I was looking for. That is one of the advantages of a oil finish . It is easy to refinsh after changes. As you can see the knife is rounder and a bit thicker tha most handles, with what I call a flat fish tail at the end. The flat tail set firm against the back of my palm and stops any roll of the tool in my hand and with the arthritis in my hands makes it more stable when I applie pressure to a cut. Play with different shaps and find what you like.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Randy, I guess I knew along the style I needed. But I just needed someone to convince me. I have arthritis too and you are right, the Flexcut style of handle is more comfortable. I will try that flat tail. Thanks
                      Last edited by Muddy Dog; 01-16-2021, 10:16 PM.


                      • #12
                        I have attached blades to handles simply by drilling a hole in the end that it will slip into. Then i will split a dowel in half so that a piece will fit on each side of the blade. I then use epoxy to hold all of that in place. Easy to do and works well.
                        'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"