handle material for curves - epoxy filled?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by HSC ///, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. Salem Straub

    Salem Straub

    Oct 20, 2008
    I've been thinking about making a twisted tang integral for some time... one approach I'd thought over would be to lay up rag micarta onto the tang, and vacuum bag seal it. To hold the scales on, I thought I'd either coat the tang with a release agent so I could pop the scales off afterwards, to do the pin work- or, better yet, just press hidden pins into holes in the tang and cast the micarta around and over them. The pins could have a bit of a head peened on, so they'd grip ferociously.

    It was either that, or figure out a way to inlet wood scales in a traditional manner. In that case, the rate of twist would need to be perfectly even, not very forgeable. That would make twisting a tapered tang more problematic...

    The idea, for anyone who can't see it, is to have a spiral full tang, the edges of which are visible all the way down/around the handle.

    Good luck HSC, I've always thought it could be super badass!
  2. RX-79G


    Jun 23, 2006
    Instead of all that, I would apply something thick to the surfaces that you want left exposed, like hot glue, plaster or paper mache. Then wrap everything in epoxy rag and compress. When it is cured, grind the micarta away to expose the hot glue. Peal the hot glue out and you have your exposed twists, with the sides and inside of the curve permanently bonded to the metal. Then your problem is grinding the edges down flush to the steel.

    Alternately, do the above but with a thin layer of plastic running between the two sides so you pry them apart, then grind the handles off the tang. I wouldn't bag this - use some boards and clamp. Once you're done you can just epoxy the two halves together - no pins necessary to bond micarta to micarta with that much interior surface.
  3. MBurks


    Mar 21, 2016
    That does sound badass, and super difficult.

    I really look forward to seeing what someone (much more skilled than me) comes up with!
  4. RX-79G


    Jun 23, 2006
    Another method that might work is start with two wood halves. Flat rectangles - nothing special.

    Heat the twisted steel sufficiently, then clamp the two pieces of wood to either side of the twist and use the heat to burn the twist shape right into the wood. Take the wood off, sand the periphery down to where it exposes the outer twist and contour the sides.

    It may also be possible to emboss the twist into wood by wetting the wood and using pressure. I imagine the density of the wood will dictate which technique works better.

    Wood handle on this type of knife appeals to me.
  5. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator

    Jan 6, 2005
    Nah.... just forge the knife out, HT and finish to 87%. Then hammer the knife through a 1.5" -2" dia sapling, centered on the handle area and wait... a while. Take down the tree once it reaches 5" dia and remove everything that isn't in your knife vision.

    You gotta have patience, sometimes.

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
  6. kuraki

    kuraki Fimbulvetr Knifeworks

    Jun 17, 2016
    If you want to cast I would just find a tube roughly the size of the twist and use it as a mold and pour it with alumilite. The pin with peened head for retention idea Salem posted would make it permanent. Then just grind to the twist edge and any flashing.

    Man I want to try this now. You could get pretty wild with colors using alumilite.

    I like Rick's idea too except I'd forget it in the tree and find it cutting firewood with my luck.
  7. tinkerer


    Oct 6, 2009
    I am a little unsure of your goal, BUT if you're trying to put a handle on a twisted steel tang? Depending on your outer layer, carve/mill out the area so the 2 halves fit over the twisted section.

    Lay one half down and place handle in, drill pin hole, insert pin through both. Make sure pin is coated with wax for removal after setting. Now pour filled epoxy in milled out section until level. Wait 24 hours.

    Lay down other half. Remove pin that was coated to resist gluing. Lay on top half. Drill through both halves. Open up and fill second half with filled epoxy. Clamp on first half and reinsert coated pin and clamp. Wait 24 hours. Remove clamp and handle should be flatly glued around twisted steel handle and pinned in place.

    If you want twisted portion to partially or fully show, grind away excess.

    IF I understand what you're asking.

  8. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    i've got some great ideas to work with now
    thanks for all the great suggestions
    appreciate it
  9. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
    Well I use slow cure epoxy .The process goes like this ,first a thin layer of epoxy on wood and then wind several rounds and put epoxy on top /carbon absorbing epoxy as sponge / then I continue to wrap .When I finish I let some time for epoxy to soak and then with heat gun I warm handle to drain excess epoxy , because I want mat and uneven finish for better grip .I use my tool for fishing rod to rotate knive while the epoxy dries .You can leave a little epoxy on top to get that beautiful deep look of carbon . Sorry I can t find right word how it s look with thin layer epoxy on surface ......
    BW ..... the picture does not show at all how it looks in reality this handle, especially in the sun :)


    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016

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