Knife scales are the panels that make up the handle of a knife. They can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, bone, horn, and synthetic materials.
The scales come in a set of two pre-cut pieces or in a block which is then cut into two. Each scale is usually attached to the knife tang with screws or rivets. then shaped to make a handle.
The rivets can be made from numerous types of material but are most commonly a metal, although coloured acrylic can give a nice contrast in colour.
What materials can be used to make knife handles?
Traditionally knife handles are manufactured using wood. Wood species used include beautiful burls/burrs, exotic and spalted woods such as Beech. Wood can also be stabilised in resin to create a stronger handle.
Other natural handle materials can also be used such as bone and horn. Ivory has previously been used, however thankfully Ivory is now banned under international law to protect Elephants.
More modern knife handle scale materials include Acrylic, such as Kirinite, G10 (A fiberglass) and Micarta (Layered fabric or paper in resin). Glow in the dark knife scales can also be used as handles or as a liner between the scale and metal tang.
How to fit knife scales?
Each scale is usually attached to the knife tang with strong adhesive such as Epoxy and also with screws or rivets.
The rivets can be made from numerous types of material but are most commonly metal such as brass. Rivets can be made in many designs using metal and coloured resin and are called mosaic pins which give an added decoration to the handle.
How to shape knife handles?
There are a few different ways to shape knife scales, but the most common is to use a belt sander.
First, you'll need to determine the desired design of your handle. Next, you'll need to cut the scales to that design using a jigsaw or similar tool. Once the scales are cut to size, you can begin shaping them with the belt sander. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer grit until you achieve the desired results.
Quality knife making takes time and the finish is extremely important. A high-quality knife will have a smooth, even finish that is free of any blemishes or imperfections. The blade should be made from a high-quality steel that is designed to withstand years of use. The handle should be comfortable to hold and should not slip in your hand when wet.
Knife Making Supplies
Greenvill Crafts - Knife Making Supplies