Making an Olive Wood Handle

Being the second knife I’ve ever made, I decided to play it easy and to focus on the handle. I purchased the blank blade and an olive wood chopping board.

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I chopped down two pieces of olive wood, roughly of the same shape of the handle, plus some excess material.

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I traced the outlines and drilled the pin holes on the drill press. I went for 4mm holes, enlarging the ones already present on the blade.

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I prepared two brass pins and two pieces of G10 red liner.

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I de-greased all the surfaces with acetone and glued all together with two-part epoxy.

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Clamped them down and let it cure for 24 hours.

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After the glue was cured I removed the clamps.

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I had plenty of excess material, so I thinned it down with a metal saw. I went for a total width of 22mm: 4mm blade, 1 + 1 mm liner, 9 + 9 mm scales.

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I taped the blade and started to get closer the final shape on the belt grinder.

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I realized that the finish I had on the scale on the blade side it was wrong. I had to do it again, and it was not nice because I scratched the blade in a few points.

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Got to a nice rounded shape and finished the sanding by hand.

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Went up to 1000 grit on hand sanding but the tool marks on the tang were very hard to remove.

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I finished the wood with beeswax. I let it dry and reapplied three times. Then polished.

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And this is the final product.

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Three things that went well:

  • Following the steps I watched on videos was super easy and effective.
  • Adding a red liner between the blade and the scales added a nice twist.
  • Beeswax made it a nice finishing on the wood.

Three things that did not go well:

  • I wasn’t able to remove all the tool marks from the tang.
  • There are scratches on the handle.
  • I scratched the blade while shaping the handle.

Three things I’ll do differently next time:

  • I glued way too excess wood on the blade so I had to re-do a few bevels on the scales. Next time I’ll refine the scales to a thinner width before glueing.
  • I will dedicate more attention to the final sanding of the tang.
  • I will sand more carefully the handle to avoid tool marks on the wood.