Knife 46 – 4” Hunter – EDC – Dyed Wood Framed Tang – Stabilizing Scales
Steel – 1/8” 1095
Overall – 8 7/8”
At this point I decided I wanted to stabilize the wood I used for handles. Stabilizing Scales (and handles) helps eliminate the possibility of the handle going bad because of moisture causing expansion or contraction if it dries out. It minimizes or eliminates warping, cracking and other issues that can occur with wood when used under extreme circumstances. It also would allow me to use some spalted wood that wouldn’t normally be a good handle.
The equipment required for Stabilizing Scales is a bit expensive, so if you’re only going to make a few knives, and have no other use, it’s may be best to just buy scales or use wood that’s dry and stable. You may also want to focus more on making knives. Either way using stabilized scales is a great way to get some interesting figured scales.
If you want to stabilize your own however, you’ll need a vacuum pump, a vacuum chamber, a scale and stabilizing liquid. You’ll also be using the toaster oven. I chose Cactus Juice (it’s a brand name, not real Cactus Juice) for the stabilizer. This process also allows you to dye the wood in multiple colors, although it will add expense for each color.
I dry the blanks in the oven. I built a rack so they would stay separated. I weigh one and put it in for a couple of hours at about 210 degrees. Some documentation says to use 220 degrees, but I’ve had scales start to burn at 220 degrees. Other documentation says to leave it for 24 hours, but I refuse to leave wood roasting in my shop when I’m not there.
After a couple hours I start weighing one piece and tracking the weight. When it stops losing weight, I give it one more 30 minute cycle and stop it there. I immediately put it in a zip lock bag, wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container to keep it from sucking up the moisture from the air.
From here follow the manufacturer’s instructions to stabilize it.
You will see the results in some of the knives.