How To Put a Handle On a Knife In 8 Steps Complete Guide

How To Put a Handle On a Knife In 8 Steps Complete Guide

I love spending a lot of time in my workshop but faced a lot of issues while assembling my knife, especially while putting the handle on the blade as this is one of the most challenging parts.

Well, it’s quite difficult to put the handle on the blade if you are not an expert and don’t have the right tools.

Are you struggling with the same? Maybe yes. 

So I have decided to make a complete guide on how to put a handle on a knife as this can help a lot of people like me who are facing similar issues.

Because the handle is the most important part of a knife your blade must have a good handle that provides comfortable handling.

There are several ways to fix a handle on a blade, but first, let’s talk about safety. The blades are sharp, so before you start working on the blade you must be careful.

Well, if you are working on a Japanese knife, you must be extra careful because they are really sharp and will easily cut through the tape if you grab them wrong.

To overcome all these problems, you need to make sure that you take all the safety measures before you work with your blade.

Make sure you use a good quality knife scale that is waterproof so that it lasts long. So I recommended you go with the guide.

Additionally, I have shared an FAQ section and tried to answer some of the most commonly asked questions people ask.

But first, let’s move to the knife handle types.

Understanding Knife Handle Types 

While most people think that the most important part of a knife is the blade, they are actually misguided. The handles are also equally significant as the blade.

Without a proper handle, the knife loses all its functionality, and you might but your fingers.

Whether you are a chef or an outdoor man, and you are looking for a new knife. You must make sure you overlook the style and type of knife handle.

Wooden Handles

Wood has been one of the most popular knife handle materials for years for a variety of reasons. One of them is comfort and cost.

Wood is soft and easy to handle, which makes it ideal for all types of knives such as kitchen knives, hunting knives, and other varieties of knives.

Also, wood is extremely easy to carve and design, unlike steel. Some of the most common types of wood are Ebony, Cocobolo, and Rosewood. 

Well, I have made a detailed guide on the best wood for knife making. You can go through the post to get a complete understanding of knife scales.

Metal Handles

Metal is also a very popular choice for making knife handles because of its strength and durability. There are usually two types of metals used for making knife handles: Stainless steel and Titanium.

The benefits of using stainless steel are its corrosion resistance and similarly, Titanium is lightweight and has a higher threshold that can withstand tension.

Micarta Handles 

Micarta is a synthetic material that is a composite of linen or even paper. They are extremely strong and durable and are commonly used for making heavy-duty survival knives.

This type of knife easily withstands freezing and heat and is resistant to wear and tear. Micarta handles come in a range of color options such as red, black, tan, or even bright colors.

Stag Handles 

Stage handles are typically made of naturally shed deer antlers, and that makes the knife increasingly rare and costly.

Knives made from stag handles are extremely beautiful, and it has a rough texture that makes a sturdy grip and comfortable handling.

How To Put a Handle On a Knife: Step-By-Step Process 

The process will take only a single day, so you don’t have to worry about putting a lot of time into it. Just follow the steps on how to attach knife handles, and you can fit your scales.

So mark down that you have all the tools and materials that you will require during the process.

Tools Required 

  • Half-round file
  • Clamps
  • Wood rasp
  • Sandpaper of 60-400 grit
  • Safety glass
  • Drill Machine

Materials Required 

Once you are ready with all the tools and materials, you are ready to start working.

1. Prepare The Blade 

Get a full-tang knife blade which includes a metal blade and bare metal handles. You need to make sure that you are using the best quality steel for knife making.

I have noticed that many people don’t use good quality steel and face a problem while forging the steel.

So, if you are planning to shape the steel, then always use good quality steel otherwise it will ruin all the things.

Also, there is another better option, like if you don’t have much time to shape the steel then you can go online and buy a knife kit online that will contain full-tang blades with pins.

2. Wrap 3 Layer Tape Around The Blade

You can use duct tape as that will work best. If you don’t have duct tape, you can use masking tape, but you will require more layers.

When you are wrapping the blade, make sure you don’t cover the complete blade. Do not cover the tang.

You must make sure that you bade is properly wrapped around because this will reduce the chance of cutting your fingers. Or even the epoxy getting into the blade.

The tape will not only protect your fingers, but also it will protect the blades from getting scratched and chipped. 

3. File The Scales To The Required Shape And Size

Choose a strong and durable wood for making your scales, Some of the most common woods are rosewood, ebony, and cocobolo are some of the most commonly used wood.

Here are also your two options, either to make a knife scale out of wood, or else the better option is to get ready-made scales from the market. This can save a lot of your time.

Now start filling the scales to the required shape and size. You can go length-wise down the handle.

While filing the scales make sure you leave them a little oversize than too small, as this will help you give a proper finish once you complete your work.

4. Drill Holes To The Scales And The Blade 

Now, this step is very important. Once you are completed with filing the scales, then you are ready to drill holes into the scale and tang.

Now stack the scales together with the sides that you want to be outside, and then wrap a piece of masking tape holding the blade.

Then, by using a drill press, make the first hole. Insert the drill bit to make the hole in the tang. Make sure that the drill bit must be out from both sides of the scales.

Make 2 or 3 holes, depending on the size of the scales. It’s recommended to make three holes so that the scales can tightly hold the tang.

The holes are made so that you can tighten the scales with the bolts.

5. Put Epoxy Glue On The Scales And The Blades

Once you are ready with your scales, you are 80% done.

Now you have to use high-quality epoxy to glue the scales from both sides.

But before you apply epoxy to the scales and the tang, sand polish the top edge of the scales. Polish it with 220 – 400 grit sandpaper. This will help the glue to tightly hold the scales.

Clean the blade and start applying epoxy on the tang. i.e. Handle Part. Make sure you apply epoxy only on the tang and not on the scales.

Spread the epoxy and make an even layer on both sides of the tang.

Related Post: Best glue for knife handles

6. Glue The Scales And Clamp It 

You have applied epoxy to the tang and now glue the first and second scale quickly because epoxy gets dried quickly.

Make sure that the scales fit the place tight.

Squeeze the scales and wipe off the extra epoxy that has leaked between the two scales.

You are done. Now clamp the scales and the blades and allow the epoxy to set. Some epoxy set within 1 hour and the others need up to 1 day.

Read the label on the packing of the epoxy. I recommended letting the epoxy dry and set for about a day.

7. Fit The Bolts To The Holes

Once the epoxy gets dried and fits the bolts into the holes that you made earlier. This will ensure that the scales fit tightly to the tang.

You can use a bench grinder to remove the excess pins that are sticking out from both sides of the scales.

8. Polish It And Apply Danish or Mineral Oil 

Now polish the scales to the required shape and size that you require. You can need a wood rasp to file the scales.

Use 220 to 400-grit sandpaper and polish the scales.

Once you are done, remove the duct tape or the masking tape that you have applied to the blade.

Apply a food-safe danish or mineral oil for a nicer finish. You can apply 1 or 2 coats and let it dry for some hours.

Great! you have put the handle to your knife and you are ready to use the knife.

Wrap Up On How To Put a Handle On a Knife

Putting a handle on a knife is quite a simple job if you are having all the right sets of tools.

If you are following the above steps to fit the handle, then it might not cost you much. However, if you are going to a professional, it would cost you more.

Professional knife makers might charge you from $100 to $150 and this is quite expensive.

Personally, I prefer to make my own blades because it’s cost-effective, and also like the process of making the knife.

However, make sure that you are using good quality epoxy so that you can permanently fit the scales to the tang.

Because knives are mostly used in kitchens and they come in contact with water. If you are using low-grade epoxy, then it might lose over time.

Most people don’t know about it use an inferior quality epoxy to glue the scales. This might create problems in the future.

That’s why I have provided the link to some of the best epoxies for knife handles that are recommended by professional knife makers.  

FAQ: How To Put Scales On a Knife 

Have read these questions related to putting a handle on a knife. I have seen many peoples asking questions on different online platforms are don’t find the right answers.

I have simply tried to answer them. Well, if you have similar questions, then you can simply ask them in the comment section below. I will try to reply as soon as possible.

1. Can You Replace Knife Handle?

Well, if your knife handle is broken or cracked, then there is no need to throw the blade. You can replace the handle and the knife will be ready to use again.
Usually, the knife blade is made from wood or steel for the last centuries. You can remove the broken wood from the knife and replace it with a new scale.

2. Does a Knife Handle Need Pins?

Pins, bolts, or some other mechanism lock are absolutely needed to tighten and hold the blade. Epoxy is used in the scales to hold the blades. Epoxy is strong enough to tightly hold the scales, but it’s always recommended to use pins or bolts for extra safety.

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