I was looking for a different material I can use for liners. I constantly use liners in the handles between the handle scales and the blade on full tang knives and between the guard and the handle on hidden tang knives.
I usually use Micarta I make out of resin and paper and was looking for other ideas and came up with some felt my kids use for handicrafts. So I gave it a try and made some simple tests:
I brushed a good amount of epoxy resin on the felt and pressed one between two pieces of scrap wood and the other one I just pressed flat and let both experiments rest for 24 hours. This long wait is just because I use a very slow hardening epoxy.
After removing the clamps I cut out the flat piece with scissors. The wood pieces I sanded flat on 3 of 4 sides to simulate the effect when I use them as liners on a knife handle.
I made some stress tests with the wood pieces trying to break them apart but they are solid and well bonded to the surrounding wood. I wasn’t able to break them apart with a realistic amount of force.
There are some advantages to felt. First of all, it is thicker and the layers needed to reach a certain thickness is clearly lower, this might save some time. Second, the darkening effect when the material is soaked in resin is not as extreme as when using paper so I can better predict the resulting color.
As a disadvantage I have to check if there are air bubbles left in the material. You can see the effect of air bubbles in the flat piece in the picture above – the brighter part in the middle results from tiny air bubbles.
The top picture shows how I fit a Kukri III that I am working on while dry fitting the pieces of felt between the different parts of the handle. Pictures of the finished built Kukri III will follow.
I started working on a leather sheath for a current project. A new craft I try to learn is leather punching. For this i needed to transfer a draft from paper onto the leather and used a metal pin I had. The pin was not very durable and a small part of the tip broke off. Also the tip was not very smooth (like a good pencil is) from the beginning.
So I thought about how to make a perfect tool for me – and who said selfmade tools should not look beautiful? Also I needed a durable tool to punch through up to three layers of leather to transfer the stitches through all layers. So I needed to make a tool for that, too.
I cut off some 5 mm and 6 mm round steel rods and put them into my cordless hand drill. I put the tip against the running belt sander and so i got a perfect round tip. One of them I did a bit longer and sharper. The other one i rounded of like the tip of a used pencil.
For the pencil tip I wanted to have a wooden handle. I had a bit of apple wood scrap laying around and so I cut myself a 15 by 15 mm wood bar, drilled a 5 mm hole into the top and stuck the metal pin inside. This way i could mount the wooden handle into the hand drill too – and back to the belt sander. That is what I call the poor man version of a wood turning machine. The result looks great and i have a perfectly round and ergonomic handle for the steel pin.
I hardened the tips of both tools (yes: before mounting the pencil tip to the woode handle) and polished the oil scales off afterwards. Then I hammered the pencil tip into the handle.
Finally I treated the handle with linseed oil varnish to expose the beautiful pattern of the apple wood.
When I built my first hidden tang knife, I needed a tool to sew out the slot, where the tang would fit into the wood. As I had nothing that worked, I built one myself. I called it a hidden tang handle saw (HTHS) as a joke on Instagram.
When I used my first self made kitchen knife for cooking I was a bit scared when I saw my knife afterwards. I had been cutting a lot of onions for the meal and the blade had lots of spots and stainmarks on it. I wasn’t even able to srub them off. I thought that I probably made something wrong with the knife like chosing a wrong steel or something.
When you work with knife steel there comes the moment you want to harden the steel. There are companies offering it as a service – and as I am living very close to Solingen, which is world famous for its long history of blade industries – there is most certainly a company who could do that for me. But is there anything more beautiful than a piece of red hot glowing steel?
I bought some vulcanfiber liners and read a lot about how to make my own micarta grip blocks. And as I am always happy to try to build things myself instead of buying everything ready made I wanted to give it a try.
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