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Rifle checkering on knife handle?

May 25, 1999
Hi All, Has anyone tried checkering for better grip? Seems it would look as good as it does on rifles.
My Project 1's handle is checkered. Some people say that it rubs your hand raw during extended hard use. I have litteraly felled trees with it(well, smaller ones), and experienced no discomfort whatsoever. My hands are not even really calloused or anything. The only problem I had with the Project 1 when I bought it was that it had no pommel. A good pommel helps with retention, and is neccesary with a smooth handle. But, much to my grattitude, the checkering wholy makes up for it's lack of pommel.

In conclusion, checkering is a pretty good idea!
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Checkering?!?! You bet!!


"To earn a million is easy, a real friend is not."
Wouldn't that be called a "ballistic" knife?
Have several knives I have made myself. All use checkering on the handles as I have checkering tools for guns. Easy and works REALLY well when your hands are wet or bloody
Checkering is a great aid to grip. Sometimes it's too sharp when new and abrades your hand; a gentle going-over with 0000 steel wool will fix that.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Checkering comes in three basic types american,english and french for gunstocks and I'm pretty comfortable with the french checkering,it gives a solid grip and looks different from standard cherkering.
Walter (the other walter)
Thanks, am thinking of having this done to the knife i'm going to have made. I like wood handles, but need a better grip surface.
Question: is this for a major-grade fighting knife, a small to medium utility blade or a "heavy chopper"?

See...most people want fighters that "flow in the hand", and the retention mostly comes from grip shape versus rough surface.

The Japanese used a silk wrap that had "enough slick to flow", the Filipino blades almost universally used smooth wood with shapes meant for *serious* retention, go take a look at the Kris Kutlery site: http://www.invis.com/kriscutlery/ and the "Sandata - Weapons of the Philippines" section. The grip pommels are often very elaborate carved wood affairs meant to make *absolutely* sure they didn't go "flying" in heavy chopping but still allowed a lot of tip movement and "flow in the hand". Good Khukuris including all the HIs feel the same way.

Mad Dogs combine a *barely* stippled surface from the material type with "sculpted grips" that still "flow" well.

A smaller utility knife where you want a locked-down grip for precision might make sense checkered but...in anything bigger or for fighting, I'd opt against.

Jim March
I dunno. I find some texture helps grip changing rather than impeding it. Especially in the invisible knife trick when I slide the knife out of a palmed position and back in with my thumb; it helps to have some texture for my thumb to grip and that doesn't keep it from sliding along my palm and other fingers. I can do it with well-shaped smooth handles, too, of course, but I like some texture, especially when my hand is sweaty. Blood is even more slippery than sweat.

The handles of Japanese weapons are usually not very smooth; they use nubbly rayskin or sharkskin and X wraps over that ... I grant you they usually aren't so rough they abrade your skin, but they're not exactly slick, either. Philippine weapons usually have handles wrapped with hemp cord. The same applies to European weapons; they often have spirals on the handle, sometimes carved into the handle material, sometimes a cord is spiraled along the handle under a layer of leather -- there are numerous other forms of grip enhancement, even one that resembles checkering that was particularly popular in Scotland (it's not exactly checkering but it resembles it; if you run a web search for "dirk" you'll find some pics).

Shape is important, too, of course; checkering a poor handle shape isn't going to make it into a good handle. The grip that feels the most comfortable doesn't necessarily work the best. Squirt some liquid dishwasher detergent in your hand and then see if that knife still flows in your hand ... or if it flows out of your hand onto the floor ... watch your feet.

-Cougar Allen :{)
My Spyderco Endura had aluminum scales, they were pretty, but slippery.
My gunsmith took a day to have 25 LPI checkering done to both sides, in 1911 style Diamond pattern. It looked VERY cool, and gripped sweet.

DANG, I wish I never sold that knife!
Ah... If you guys ever come across that knife... I WANT IT BACK!

I mean, if I went around saying I was an Emperor because some
moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, people would put me away!

On Japanese blades, the rayskin does NOT come in contact with you. It's there to prevent the silk wrap from sliding around.

The unique part of silk wrap concept is that it'll slide easily "up and down" but resists sliding "out and away". People who do Japanese-type wraps with cotton cord, paracord or similar on a semi-replica of a Japanese blade are missing the point, bigtime.

Jim March
This knife has a "T" type handle for a fighting knife, the flow comes the movements in your wrist and arm. The hand/grip doesn't have to move for the knife to cut. It's like throwing a punch, your hand is a fist. The arched blade is an extention of the fist/knife.
It just so happens that my favorite Ek and the one I have decided to keep out of all of em is a delux 150 with engraving and checkered Walnut handle. The checkering really gives you a good grip on the knife.


Tom Carey

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Cord and leather wrappings on European swords and knives? Hell! Wire wrapping is the most commonly found surface on the blades meant for battle, secured on one side by a big honk'n pommel, and on the other with a sizable crossgaurd. Even most of the using Rapiers, as opposed to court swords, I've seen are wire wrapped. Well done wire wrapping holds up a lot better than well done cord and silk or even leather wrapping. And makes for a very secure grip.

I do not know what the "flow" you speak of is. It's not the same as the "combative flow", that it from technique to technique. Flow is well understood in the West, and indeed an integral part of those arts. Maybe you speak of a more "spiritual flow", I know that the Eastern arts place more emphasis on spirituality than the Western arts. The only guy I know who got into that was Saviolo, but only in a limited sense.

Oh, as a point of fact, I've seen katanas with the rayskin exposed. The amount and style varied with the status of the individual. I'd reckon with intended use too. Any sword that's gonna see heavy combat is gonna get REAL bloody, and all that cloth wrapping is gonna get gross. I know, I once used a cord wrapped Ek in one of my primitive hunts. Yuck! Now, a small blade=bloody blade, and a sword has some length, but a sword does more killing for longer periods. Also, even the best cloth wrapping starts coming undone with heavy and hard use.

I gotta back up Cougar hear, checkering, texturing, is a plus, not a detriment.
Yeah, wire wrap is nice too, in fact I'm thinking of doing some handles that way myself.

The "flow" we're talking about here is the way we keep constantly changing grip. Cf. my posts about the single edge that's oriented in all directions at once....

I don't think Jim and I are really disagreeing; we both like some texture to a handle. Checkering varies greatly in coarseness and sharpness and when we think of checkering we probably have a different image of what that feels like, according to the kind of checkering we've had the most experience with.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Ah. I see. They say the checkering on a Project is pretty agressive. I don't know about that, it doesn't bother me, but that's what I hear.

What I do know is that I can sling that chunk'o'steel `round into reverse with edge forward or back, sabers or hammers with equal ease and great speed. Maybe I'm a mutant, but the checkering in no way slows me down, and as you said, actualy makes for more secure manipulation.

As to swords, well I do European cruciform swords these days, and I do have some techniques in my bag of tricks that require changing grips, but they rarely come up in a fight. Even there, wire wrapping is no hinderance.