calling all knifemakers???????

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Forum topic by SCOTSMAN posted 08-04-2009 11:07 PM 1787 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5849 posts in 3581 days

08-04-2009 11:07 PM

Since from what I can see you guys in the good old USA are excellent at knife making , and it is a well developed skill over with you.I have a basic question that sprung to mind,as I am about to make a knife style handle to a very long 2” scraper for woodturning bowl turning. So here it is I have done a fair bit of metal working over the last decade machining mostly and I have a full machine shop myself with lathe milling machine, etc, etc and everything needed to do machining .However I have always been fascinated with knife making technique,so I wondered how you affix the wooden handles rivets .I have thought about it obviously you cannot use normal rivets and hammer them as this could damage the wooden scales and also make an unpleasent finish to the project.The handles I see are always finished very nicely with the rivets beautifully flush or sunken but at least not marked in anyway during the finishing process how do you get this so nice?Is it a special rivet that screws ttogether or what?Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

7 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18268 posts in 3672 days

#1 posted 08-05-2009 02:09 AM

Everything is epoxied into place. The “rivets’ are really just decorative posts or pins.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4397 days

#2 posted 08-05-2009 02:24 AM

Scottsman I had a friend come over for some assistance in putting his scales on a knife that he was modifying. He used these Nickel Silver Corby Rivets. they come in different head sizes. You screw them in and then grind off the top flush with the handle.

Iit was new for me but we had to drill out the knife handle so the rivet would go through it and then we drilled the scale with a special drill that alligned up everything and cut the appropiately sized hold in the scale. It was then just a matter of screwing it together and then finishing off the handle.

I don’t know if this was the company where he got them, He bought a couple of different sizes so that he could get the correct one. I had to use a diamond grinder on a rotary tool to get one of the holes the correctsize. That end of the tang had been hardened. The other holes I was able to drill with a cobolt drill bit.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)'s profile

Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)

176 posts in 3947 days

#3 posted 08-05-2009 02:30 AM

My uncle makes knives out of old files. He does not use any epoxy. (even if I tell him he should)

He usually uses a brass dowel that is a little proud of the wood handle. He then uses a punch and taps the end of dowel to compress it. This compression causes the pin size to incease and locks the handle scales in place. He then grind the pin down flush and sands both the pin and wood.

Seems to work well for him.

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3498 days

#4 posted 08-05-2009 05:11 AM

Alistair, you made me go drag out my old Chef Knives to take a look!Chef KnivesChef KnivesChef Knives
It seems that the American knives are Brass riveted, pretty much by the methods described above. The Swiss-made Victorinox, in the foreground (my favorite and the only one that’s ever needed at the house!) looks like it’s Aluminum riveted. Which would make perfect sense, soft, malleable metal…
If I was going to attach the scales, with a pre-drilled tang, I’d clamp each half, one at a time, and drill “Inside Out” to get proper alignment. I’d take the rivet material, clamp it low in the vise and peen down an end, then pass the rivet through scales and tang, cut to an appropriate length, and peen the other end. A grinder could be used, but I’d probably use a file to remove excess and bring it flush. I noticed on a couple of these knives the rivets seemed counter sunk but, at least on these, that’s actually the handle swelling from water and cooking oils…The White Handled Bread knife is industry standard these days, coldly impersonal, stamped, surgical steel with molded plastic handles. Adequate certainly, but none of that one-of-a-kind feel of the older ones…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3523 days

#5 posted 08-05-2009 06:08 AM

Hi Alistair, professional knife makers have all sorts of cool grinders and buffers to make it look easy. It really is not complicated just the craft you put into it.
Basic pining with a brass, copper, aluminum rod cut to length will work for pins. Fancy screw type pins are available for the really cool custom look.
Littlecope’s methods sound good. I’d countersink the handle just a bit for best tight fit. Careful sanding and polishing will bring it all together. I also use epoxy, sometimes I don’t even pin the handle if I keep it myself. Figure I can fix it again if it were to come apart. So far none have.
Folding knives I re handle I don’t use pins. I don’t have the equipment and it’s a big hassle. I epoxy them and have not had any come apart.
Careful polishing the steel and the wood or any porous handle material because the steel of the knife puts out a black residue that might get down in the wood or bone. I polish them with separate buffing wheels. Cover the handle material so as not to stain. The black comes off with some goof off.
Everything is basically soft enough for hand filing and sanding, just take your time.
Good luck, think you’ll like it…...........

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 3275 days

#6 posted 08-05-2009 06:53 AM

Alistair I believe that the reason is also that here in the US you can find suppliers of hardware specific to make knifes.
I have purchased from this guys, they a nice catalog

you can also check:

You can browse this sites and maybe you could also get a stab at it you probably already have most of the tools needed to make knifes….

Have fun

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4073 days

#7 posted 08-08-2009 06:32 PM

i notice mark decou has not commented…he is an AMAZING knife maker and must have missed your question…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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