Handle making questions

Jan 24, 2001
Hey y'all,

I've got some handle making questions I need answered. Thanks in advance for any help y'all can provide.

1.How do you make the hole in a one piece handle for a partial tang knife? I've been taking a piece of metal and heating it up red hot and burning the hole into the material, which works OK for wood but doesn't work that well for deer antler.

2.When you use deer antler for a handle is there a difference between antlers that have been taken off a buck and sheds that you find on the ground? The sheds seem to be more bleached and a lot harder, and they usually have some cool looking teeth marks on them from things trying to eat them.

3.If you are using deer leg bones for handles, how do you keep them from splitting when you try to drill them. I've just been letting them crack and then I take them and clamp them together and dip them in epoxy so the handle is really bone embedded in epoxy. Oh, and then I fill the hole in the bone with epoxy too when I put the tang into it.

4.If you are drilling a hole all the way through a solid piece of material, how do you do that when the drill bits are all too short?

I reckon I am going to be going to the blade show this year. I will be there with my father Patrick Fogarty, who many of you already know, as he is a regular attendee and general knife nut. I hope to see and meet as many of you as I can while I am there. Y'all are one nice bunch here.

Hillbully, the best method I found yet on antler is Wallowing. Take a bit a little longer than you need and the correct diameter, drill the center and move the bit up and down. After that I use a checkering tool to do any adjustments.

As long as they are dried and cured I haven't found any difference between sheds and cut from the deer (other than color).

Start with smaller bits on the legs and work up.
If you have a drill easy way to drill a hole through a block or horn is to first make yourself a little helper. All this has to be is a spike sticking out of a block of wood at 90 degres with the bottom of the block level (or a steel plate with a sharpened i/4" pin) ^The spike or pin should stick out about 2" just for handiness. Mark the spot on each end of the block where the center of the hole is to be and center punch the spots. Place the helper in a position on the drill press table so that when you bring the chosen size of drill bit down it will meet with the point or the spike or pin. Place one mark of your block on the spike or pin, hold the block with your hand so that the other center mark aligns with the drill bit. With care drill into the material. Once you have the hole drilled an inch or so deep you should be able to complete the hole by placing the block in a drill press vice. It may sound difficult or dangerous but it isn't and it sure works swell. Frank.
Thanks for the reply Frank and thanks for the useful info. I will give that method a try on my next knife.