Slippery handle problem

Joined
Oct 16, 2011
Messages
3,050
I have a commission from a fella who wants a skinning knife. I came up with a blade shape that he's happy with. The problem is, the handle material.

I did one with micarta, and he told me it gets very slick during the dressing process.

Some commercial knives have a handle material made out of Santoprene, or similar material. He's used these, and found it very satisfactory.

Santoprene is typically molded, and I have no way of doing this.

I have been told that a low surface-tension adhesive will glue these kinds of materials to steel, but after half an hour on the phone with 3M, and four separate call transfers, they could only give me three possible adhesives that might do what I want.

I thought of wrapping the handle in some variety of rubber stripping.

I don't think he'll go for cord-wrap; too "mall ninja".

At this point, I have more questions than I have answers, and I hope somebody here can help me. The color of the material and the method of attachment isn't really important, just so long as the handle stays put on the knife, and stays put in the user's hand, even when covered in "deer fluid".

Any help?
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
2,504
Have you tried leaving a rough finish on the Micarta (i.e. 60 grit)?

I have used Neoprene rubber on full tang knives, and have had customers tell me that it is very "grippy", even when wet. I used micarta rod as pin material and epoxied the rubber and pins on. It works best to leave at least a 220 grit finish on it, as it doesn't polish up anyway. You can get Neoprene at Texas Knife and probably other places.

Here is a photo of one with Neoprene scales.............. Robert

DS1.jpg
 

Jason Fry

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jun 5, 2008
Messages
2,694
What about horse stall mat? I've used it a few times with good results. Finish out to 120 grit or so, nice and grippy.
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2010
Messages
2,690
Lots of handle materials will get slick once covered in blood and gunk, that's an obvious statement. It's often the handle shape that helps with the grip. If if were my knife, I'd rather keep the micarta, and just put a ranger band (bicycle inner tube) over the handle for the hunting trip. Once home, it can be taken off, the handle washed, and the same rubber can be put back on for the next time around.
I've never owned a knife with horse stall mat, but I would think that although grippy, it could be hard to sanitize?
 
Joined
May 23, 2011
Messages
1,631
What about G-10? IMHO it is very grippy, sometimes too much so. I have a few knives that I had to smooth up the scales because of the aggressive grit to the G-10. I don't know about the addition of blood on it as I have not used any of them for deer. I have also used knives with santoprene and kraton, both are very good for wet use. Good luck.

SEMPER-FI TIL I DIE
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2011
Messages
3,050
Yar, no problem with epoxy and Micarta.

Problem is, epoxy doesn't glue santoprene to steel.

JKF, Robert: what epoxy did you guys use?
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
2,504
Devcon 2-Ton. There is a whole other thread devoted to epoxies floating around somewhere. Its a good read if you don't mind getting a headache.

Devcon has worked for me, even on Neoprene.

Robert
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2010
Messages
1,054
I'd go for somehow texturing/shaping the G10 or micarta type material if you don't want to go with neoprene. Personally I prefer a solid handle to neoprene but everyone's different and it really depends on what the customer's after.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2010
Messages
3,911
Maybe something more aggressive than checkering... carve finger slots specifically designed for the way your customer grips the knife. That way it becomes TOTALLY customized to the customer. You'll practically be carving his fingerprints into it.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Messages
281
If your gunna use some kind of rubber then you could use hollow pins and flare them to secure the slabs then the glue only has to hold the sides down
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2011
Messages
3,050
Texturing the handle, something like what Jens Anso does, is an appealing idea. It would give more surface area for the hand/handle interface. However, an increase in surface area would only present more surface area to get slippery.

I want to get this right, and to do that, I'm going to have to use a different material.

A skinning knife travels through an arc during use, requiring the knife be re-gripped at regular intervals. Likewise, if the user chokes up on the blade, a handle which is too customized can actually get in the way.

I appreciate the advice, because it would be nice to stick with Micarta. But I don't think I can manipulate it to serve my needs this time.

Anybody know where to get some Neoprene in small lots? Say 12" x 12" x 1/4" thick?
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
1,331
The horse mat material is really good for staying non-slip even covered in gore or fish slime. I've made several hunters, choppers, and filet knives handled in the stuff with very good response. Like Robert, I use the Devcon 2 ton epoxy with corby bolts or flared tubing.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2011
Messages
3,050
It's a working knife, all right. The first time I met the guy who commissioned the knife, I almost missed him, he blended into his office so well! Flannel shirt, camo Dekalb ballcap, work boots. He's also my heat treater. I don't think he'll care, as long as it works.

It's also a guthook knife, which, personally, I think is ugly as sin!

But that's just me...
 

Bill DeShivs

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jun 6, 2000
Messages
11,217
An electric engraving pencil will add a very grippable surface to Micarta. You can even do it in patterns, and you can do it on any material-even steel.
All for less than $20, and a little practice.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2006
Messages
230
I have made a number of knives with horsestall mat handles. It is made from shredded tires. Very grippy, but not soft. I used a guard and pommel on these knives to make sure the rubber stayed in place. Used acra-glas epoxy, stainless pins and no finer than 220 grit, usually 120. While it is not as nice as ironwood, it is very stable, like a tire! Put in a palm swell and you have a handle that is comfy in any position. I bought a large mat at Tractor Supply for about $40, about 4/8 feet, enough to make a lot of blades.
Chip Kunkle
 
Top