Old '50s set ... loose wood scales - ideas to fix?

Apr 11, 2019
Hi there,
I've got this set of forks and knives from the '50s and the scales are loose on most of them.
Before I refinish the wood I was hoping to find a way to make them feel securely attached.
Maybe someone has an idea or 2 of how to approach this.

Sorry, not finding a way to attach images so please see them here:


Basic Member
Nov 26, 2002
They have that "I've been through the dishwasher a couple too many times" look about them.

The wood appears to have shrunk. I suppose you could try peening the fasteners, or tightening with a very small-faced hammer, but I don't have high hopes for success. An arbor press also might work. Splitting the wood is a very real possibility for any of those options. You also might still be left with those unsightly gaps around the rivets.

The last picture (closeup of a fork?) seems to show sanding marks on the rivet, as if someone has already repaired these once.

If you decide to go ahead with the refurb, I'd be interested in seeing the results.

Good luck.

Nov 7, 2017
Many times they are cutlers rivets and can be pressed back together. Worse comes to worse they should be easy to replicate with walnut.

As Aardvark said the wood can split if you over do it. I remade a similar handle for a lady who had her grandmothers knife but the wood fell apart.

The tang was just the right size to slide into a bandsaw kerf and made it easy. Cutlers rivets can be bought and Lee Valley and knife making supply vendors.
Apr 11, 2019
Thanks - both of you.

Yes. Ardvark. To many washings with out maintaining the finish.

I initially thought (without really thinking) that those fasteners wound be one fixed piece but ... of course ... the only way to get the wood on there would be with 2 piece fasteners.
I'll try one with a flat headed punch and something to back the other side up and see if they're able to be tightened.

I don't think I want to do a full rebuild but I'll keep in mind the terms "Cutlers rivets" just in case.
Native XF ad, Below bottom BC