want to modify my own tsunami, but i have a few questions

Jan 5, 2006
hi all, im a little new to these forums, so please pardon anything horrificaly ignorant that i say. a friend of mine has gotten me into bali's recently, and i've been looking at customizing a tsunami kit for myself, but i have several questions about the various effects i'd like to encorporate into it. the basic idea is to take a tsunami milled kit (http://www.knifekits.com/store/images/Knives/FoldersAutos/tsunami/tsunami1_550.jpg). the kit i'm interested in is basicaly the bali on top, and would have wood inserts like the ones on the bottom handle. there are 3 modifications that i want to do to the stock kit, but i'm not exactly sure how to do each one. the are as follows:

1. hand hammered effect on all exposed metal of the handles. i knew a jewler a few years back that described the process on silver to me. from what he described, he would basicaly take a rounded punch and pound divents into the metal in random patterns and then polish it to a mirror finish. here is an example of the finishing http://mtngems.tripod.com/images/bs125g04_small.jpg .

2. mosaic pins added to the metal swatch inbetween the two wood panels on each grip. there are a few things about these pins that i'm unclear about. first, is it possible to fit a mosaic pin into a metal handle? or are they dependent on having a tight wood niche to fit into. if metal works, i assume i'd have to find a funky drill bit to be able to make an acceptable cavity for it. also, when buying mosaic pins on the knifekits.com site they describe the pins in lengths of 4-6 inches. are the pins rods of this length that must be chopped into little slices?

3. acid etchings on the blade. i have a friend who has done a few types of acid etching on metals and glasses. i was hoping to etch some shallow chinese characters running along the blade. if this is possible, will it endanger the integrity of the blade? if not, can anyone direct me to where i might find appropriate etching products?

thanks in advance guys! i'm really hoping i'll be able to start this project soon, assuming that the ideas are doable (at least one, anyway). thanks!
Jan 5, 2006
i know this isnt the place for building knife kits, but my questions arent so much about the kit as they are about some processes that i'd be willing to be people in the kit forum wouldnt be able to answer. i'm just inquiring about some of these difficult seeming processes. if this is still not a appropriate for this forum, just disregard it, but i dont think there is a better place.


Platinum Member
Jun 16, 2004
1) Chasing the handles will have a real negative effect. In pounding in the divots you mention, the handle will be lenthened and widened on the hammered surface only, leading to a big warp and dimensional change in them.
Better to grind the pattern in with carbide burrs, or mounted stones, then polish...
2) in fitting mosaic pins into the steel handle, you'd want to get the holes to be a slight interference fit, as you cannot peen a mosaic pin to have it tighten up in a loose fitting hole.
You'll probably have to use a straight reamer to get the holes perfect.
3) Search around here for logo etching. Electroetching...
Jul 2, 2000
Welcome to the forums!

1. Howie makes a very good point:thumbup: about the "hammered" finish.
Here are two links that illustrate the technique he suggest:



2. Again I agree with Howie (must be a calibration thing) as to the fit. You might try making the hole slightly undersize and freezing the pins (not sure what effect that will have on the epoxy) then inserting them. I've inlaid brass rod doing it the other way (by heating the steel and inserting the rod) with good results. Do some test pieces. You'll need special bits for flat bottom holes (if that what you want).You do need to cut the pins to the length.

3. Here is a link to an acid etching tutorial:


David Boye's book, Step by Step Knifemaking “New Edition”, has good info on acid etching in it.

You can find links to elctro-chemical etching here.

Jan 17, 2005
there are people on the knifekit forum who are years above you in experience,knowledge and practical alterations of that particular kit. try them and learn...............