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Thread: Lightest handle material?

  1. #41
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    Regarding warwood, it is a shock absorptive composite made from corn stover and natural resins. Not very expensive, comes in some basic colors, is pretty durable and somewhat resembles a very hard rubber. It takes a decent polish, but with small occasional specks of actual corn coming to the surface... I make some user-grade chefs with handles made of it.
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  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdm61 View Post
    Some folks have told me that Terotuf "moves" which really defeats the purpose of using a composite, especially an ugly one.
    Hmm, it didn't move on me . Just epoxy and clamp like any other material. I have an extra set I can send you if you want to try it.
    Last edited by Josh Rider; 03-18-2017 at 06:48 AM.

  3. #43
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    I have never observed TeroTuf moving. I have used several sheets of it on rough use knives. Not really my favorite composite, but it is tough. I keep a sheet or two in the laminates box for use on camping type knives and tools that will get used and abused. It is merely polyester cloth (boatbuilding and auto body repair) and polyester resin. It is softer than the fiberglass/epoxy laminates (G-10) or the phenolic/cloth laminates (Micarta). Polishing TeroTuf to a shine can be tricky without the right abrasives and equipment (best done with diamond compound and polyester belt on a VS grinders or on a clean muslin buffing wheel). Otherwise, it gets a somewhat dull ( but grippy) finish. For my money, Micarta is far better on a knife.

    Horse stall matting also makes a tough and light handle for non-pretty knives. The grip is probably the most secure, wet or dry, of any handle material.
    Stacy E.Apelt
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  4. #44
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    Grippy finish . I'd like to see some comments on dealing with finish.
    I have a Survive!Knives phenolic/cotton handle which I find very good for a working knife as it's quite grippy even when wet. I also have a Micarta [fiber unknown ] that has been highly polished . The too smooth finish is not good as a working knife as in skinning and butchering a deer . Suggestions ??

  5. #45
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    Mete, I have had some thoughts about canvas micarta sand blasted to give the grippy texture and then lightly sprayed with some kind of poly (?) "fixative" to give it back it's original color. To my eye there are very few things uglier than green or black Micarta that is gray.
    Quote Originally Posted by mete View Post
    Grippy finish . I'd like to see some comments on dealing with finish.
    I have a Survive!Knives phenolic/cotton handle which I find very good for a working knife as it's quite grippy even when wet. I also have a Micarta [fiber unknown ] that has been highly polished . The too smooth finish is not good as a working knife as in skinning and butchering a deer . Suggestions ??

  6. #46
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    I had thought about the horse stall mat and the prettier "commercial" rubber/neoprene mat. I saw the guys in Belgium and the Netherlands using the latter and it was much cleaner looking than the recycled tire stuff you see at Tractor Supply, etc..
    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith View Post
    I have never observed TeroTuf moving. I have used several sheets of it on rough use knives. Not really my favorite composite, but it is tough. I keep a sheet or two in the laminates box for use on camping type knives and tools that will get used and abused. It is merely polyester cloth (boatbuilding and auto body repair) and polyester resin. It is softer than the fiberglass/epoxy laminates (G-10) or the phenolic/cloth laminates (Micarta). Polishing TeroTuf to a shine can be tricky without the right abrasives and equipment (best done with diamond compound and polyester belt on a VS grinders or on a clean muslin buffing wheel). Otherwise, it gets a somewhat dull ( but grippy) finish. For my money, Micarta is far better on a knife.

    Horse stall matting also makes a tough and light handle for non-pretty knives. The grip is probably the most secure, wet or dry, of any handle material.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdm61 View Post
    Some folks have told me that Terotuf "moves" which really defeats the purpose of using a composite, especially an ugly one.
    Terotuf is sort of a stretchy material, it has some give which is one of the things that makes it so nice on a chopper. It also bonds well because it is porous so the epoxy can actually soak in a little and bond to more than just the very surface. So, like wood, if you're bonding it to your tang it will probably be fine. The problems I've seen with Terotuf shrinking occurs when it's made in one area and shipped to another and some time passes. Particularly if it was new or wet when it was ground. In these cases, when used on loose (removable) scales I have seen it shrink onto pins tight enough they couldn't be removed and areas of the tang became proud by .010" or more. So it's fine if you're bonding to the tang, but otherwise you should bond it to a thick piece of micarta or similar to reduce dimensional changes on unbounded scales like I use.


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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdm61 View Post
    Mete, I have had some thoughts about canvas micarta sand blasted to give the grippy texture and then lightly sprayed with some kind of poly (?) "fixative" to give it back it's original color. To my eye there are very few things uglier than green or black Micarta that is gray.
    I just did a scalloped/scooped micarta handle that I put the scallops in with a 120 belt, and had this issue. I wiped on a single coat of boiled linseed oil and the colors popped right back out. I don't know how durable that will be, but they're on a mule I made for testing so I'll find out.

    I think a coat of spar varnish would do the same thing and probably last a lot longer.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdm61 View Post
    I had thought about the horse stall mat and the prettier "commercial" rubber/neoprene mat. I saw the guys in Belgium and the Netherlands using the latter and it was much cleaner looking than the recycled tire stuff you see at Tractor Supply, etc..
    Yes, I now use the neoprene rubbers sheets mostly. The hunters like it a lot. But for some jobs horse stall mat is the choice.
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith View Post
    Yes, I now use the neoprene rubbers sheets mostly. The hunters like it a lot. But for some jobs horse stall mat is the choice.
    Its not quite on the same level of pure performance, but I have a few clients who have started to replace their go to High grip handle material "Blasted Canvas micarta and rough sanded linen" With bias cut palm that has been hard buffed. They tell me the grip is about equivalent but a lot showier.

  11. #51
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    People say to use WD40 but you have to reapply it every so often. My understand is that light blasting eats away the resnbeowwnethe cloth fibers, but leabves the coated fibers standing proud. I would think that a VERY thin coat some hard finish would be best and yet still leave most of that texture, at least with canvas. What little micarta I have used has been buffed so i have no personal experience.
    Quote Originally Posted by kuraki View Post
    I just did a scalloped/scooped micarta handle that I put the scallops in with a 120 belt, and had this issue. I wiped on a single coat of boiled linseed oil and the colors popped right back out. I don't know how durable that will be, but they're on a mule I made for testing so I'll find out.

    I think a coat of spar varnish would do the same thing and probably last a lot longer.

  12. #52
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    Hmm. I might blast the handle in question and see what happens if I dunk it in varnish. That's what mules are for.

  13. #53
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    But , if you coat micarta with some hard finish it is no more micarta and why you would use it for handle on knive ?

  14. #54
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    If you paint a fiberglass boat with Imron, Awlgrip or Interlux topside enamel, it is still fiberglass boat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Natlek View Post
    But , if you coat micarta with some hard finish it is no more micarta and why you would use it for handle on knive ?

  15. #55
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    If you say so Look ,only reason why I will use micarta for handle is how good grip is when it s wet and because it looks like it is one hundred years old when you finish work on handle

  16. #56
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    I also don't care for heavy handle materials on a large knife, since it can throw off the balance. So far I'm content with figured walnut. I have heard of ultralight rifle builders who make the stock out of foam, and then cover the whole thing in a layer of fiberglass.

    Smallswords and rapiers often had handles made of hollow metal sheet, including pierced steel. If you used a grade that could be spring tempered, I imagine the strength to weight ratio of the finished piece would be very high indeed.



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