Adding the Knife handle — Option 2
This option takes a little longer but is a little more forgiving. If you have some time, I suggest you try it.
You’ll find the first part of the process the same, in both options I epoxy any laminated woods first. So a wood scale with two types of wood laminated is done ahead of time. This just simplifies the gluing.
I also like to use slower setting epoxy. It give a little bit more time to get things right.
I also tape off the blade. I do this for two reasons. First, it helps with cleanup (use the blue painters masking tape) and second it protects your fingers from the sharp edges.
If you’d like you can use a knife to cut the tape to the profile of the scales under the front. This will protect the blade from any squeeze out. I have found wiping with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol does the trick for cleaning off any squeeze out though.
Mark out the scales by tracing the knife handle. Be sure you make a right and left side. There’s not much that’s more annoying then cutting out two blanks for the same side of the knife. With just a pure single species wood scale it may not matter, but I still like to ensure the nicest grain is out. Make the cut a little bigger than the knife. You will grind the excess off later.
I cut mine out on a bandsaw, but a coping saw, Jewelers saw or even a hacksaw will work in a pinch.
Here is where the difference starts.
If you’re using spacers, epoxy the scale and spacers on the scales. You can clamp both sides together by placing some wax paper between them.
Note we haven’t drilled any holes yet.
Once the epoxy is set, clamp the two together and grind the bevel on the front and sand to finish. This so like we did in option 1, but without the holes to keep them aligned.
Now we’ll go ahead and epoxy one side. Clamp it. As we said in option 1, You don’t want the clamps so tight that it squeezes all the epoxy out, but make sure the scale are tight, even and properly set.
Using a damp rag or paper towel with rubbing alcohol (acetone or mineral spirits work as well) wipe off any epoxy the spit out the front. The front part (bolster side) is all you need to worry about. You don’t want the rag wet enough that you pull or dilute the epoxy under the scales, so less is more.
Leave it set until the epoxy has cured.
Now drill the holes from the knife side out.
Now set the second side in the exact same manner. You need to ensure the front of the scales are aligned. Clamp, wipe off any squeeze out and let set.
Once the epoxy is cured, drill from the first side. Coat the pins with epoxy and set them.
Let them cure.
Now drill the rest of the holes and epoxy the pins in. Once the pins are in and cured we’ll move into shaping the handle.
Next you’ll be shaping the handle. This can be done with the belt grinder, rasp, files or any combination of these. I typically cut the pins off with a hack saw first.
Keep in mind epoxy is heat sensitive, so you don’t want to get the handle to hot. When it gets warm to the touch, stop and let it cool or switch to hand tools.
I typically hand sand my wood scales to 2000 grit, then hand rub an oil
finish. Wet sanding about every third or fourth coat will give a nice smooth
finish. Us fine wet dry paper. I use 320 first, then 2000 grit.
many coats are up to you. Coat until your happy with the results. I typically
do somewhere between 4 and 10 coats.