Knife handles

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Project by L3Woodworks posted 05-29-2013 04:42 AM 1532 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When we moved into our house, we were thrilled by the large mature silver maple in the front yard. The house I grew up in had a silver maple in front too so this just seemed perfect to me. Unfortunately a couple years ago, there was an intense drought that followed an uncharacteristically cold winter for us and we lost the tree (The number of woodpeckers searching for food in it were another warning sign).

My wife and oldest son held the ropes while I made the cuts and together we brought the tree down. Alot of the tree went to the curb because it was only good for landfill. Most of it went to the burn pile because it was either too small or in too bad of shape for woodworking. But I saved a few scraps to see if maybe after I dried it for a while, it would make something interesting.

Well, a few weeks ago, I saw Woodcraft had some knife kits on sale (I’m sure you’ve seen a few more knives posted here than usual; I know I have) and I remembered that little bit of maple I had stashed away, and I thought they just might make perfect knife scales(handles)!

As I worked this wood, I realized I was really in for a treat. The more I cut and sanded, the more the figure really started to come out. These pictures don’t even do it justice. I had known about the spalting (that was the reason I saved this particular piece), but the tiger stripes were a real surprise.

The middle knife (in the first picture) is supposed to be a surprise for my son when he receives his Eagle Scout rank later this summer. I like the idea that some of his hard work has gone into the gift he receives. The bottom knife has real problems with the scales (it was the first one I made), but I think it might still be my favorite; I’m going to try it out as my every-day-carry knife for a while. I won’t defend the big tanto, except to say that I learned alot from those mistakes, too.

If you look at my other projects, you’ll see I mostly do furniture, etc. so this really taught me to pay attention to details, because at this scale, details are just about all there is!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the finish is mineral oil. It’s not going to be very durable, I know, but I wanted something easy that would give me a more natural look. I’m tired of everything turning yellow because of the polyurethane!

-- We are all just one moment of arrogance away from disaster

3 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


16864 posts in 2608 days

#1 posted 05-29-2013 11:38 AM

Nice looking set of knives, great wood as well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Skelatile's profile


70 posts in 2216 days

#2 posted 05-30-2013 04:19 AM

nicely done! ive done a few handles and have used danish oil with good success. should be posting them soon. It just darkens the wood a bit and leaves a good feel in the hand. Youre right, working small scale like this really stresses attention to the little details. keep up the good work

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 1595 days

#3 posted 06-03-2013 01:38 PM

Good looking knife handles as well as the blades. Love the wood and the finish which really set off the wonderful figures on the wood. Great job!

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