Build An Ark: Making a New Knife Handle

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Making a New Handle

John asked me to make a new handle for his knife because the original leather handle was slick, tapered and hard to grip in cold weather, especially with gloves. Such a nice blade deserves a handle that gives a sure grip.

The knife as it comes from Fallkniven.

You can see how the hand would slide right off the end of the handle. There's nothing here to hold onto.

I like the good solid heavy tang. Would be nice to have a few rivet holes, but I don't want to weaken it so I will place some pins along side the tang. With a good coating of epoxy it will be fine.

Here are the canvas micarta blocks cut and ready to scribe.

I draw the shape of the tang on both sides of each block and then scribe the lines with an awl so they can't rub off.

Some photos were lost in the camera. The inside of each slab has to be chiseled out to fit the tang. This could be done with a Dremel tool or a milling machine, but I wanted to show how this whole project could be done with non-electric hand tools. So, I did it with a wood chisel.

After the slabs are fitted to the tang they are epoxied to each other and the tang. I left it in the clamps for a few days since I only worked on the weekends.

I drilled holes for the pins and for the tubes that will hold a lanyard. You will notice that the sharp edge of the blade is now covered with yellow tape, this is to protect me as well as the knife.

The ends of the pins are peened or upset to spread the metal slightly and make a permanent attachment.

Now I'm ready to start shaping the handle. Again this could be done with a Dremel tool, grinder or belt sander. I used a large round rasp and several round and flat files. I was a little surprised at how quickly the rasp cut micarta. I had to be careful not to take off too much material.

This is akin to sculpting. I stopped often to hold the knife and see how it felt in my hand. I had my son try it too since his hands are closer to the size of John's.

More shaping and smoothing with a fine flat file and it is starting to look and feel pretty good.

This will provide a secure grip for cutting and chopping in wet or cold weather. Even with thick gloves it feels great.

A few more fine touches and some finishing and it will be ready.

I had to make something to ship the knife back to it's owner since it is now too long for the original box.

Think I should double box, just to be safe?

Finished and ready to ship!