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Handle Materials

Discussion in 'Steel, Hardware, & Handle Material' started by winchester, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. winchester

    winchester New Member

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    In my research to begin knife making I've seen more than a few posts, on this site and many others, in which guys state their misgivings about using wood which isn't old or hasn't been stabilized, seasoned, etc. for their handles due to its tendency to crack and warp out of shape.

    My question is: what's a beginner without ready (or really any) access to wood like that to do? It seems like my only real choices are micarta and Dymondwood, which leaves me a bit disappointed as I've always kinda had a thing for nice hardwood and was hoping to use it for most, if not all, of my knives. Heck, I've got some bloodwood that's been sitting here for a couple weeks (and is looking really good thus far) and now I'm afraid to use it for fear it'll eventually turn on me and crack or warp and wreck the knife or something.

    Advice?
     
  2. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    I'm no expert on the subject but I have used wood I've purchased for knife projects and, so far, haven't run into problems with it. I think if you buy smaller amounts specifically for a project, you're less likely to run into problems than if you buy a large block of wood that may not be properly seasoned. Any wood can and will change over time with the environment. It will either dry out, shrink, and crack, or it will suck in moisture, swell and crack. You can offset that by using a good wax (like Renaissance Wax) or oil to protect the wood. Stabilized wood is going to be much less prone to issues.
     
  3. winchester

    winchester New Member

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    Thanks again Myth, don't know what I'd do without all the help I get around here.

    That's good to hear. I only got a foot of that bloodwood so maybe I'm OK to use it then.
     
  4. Grayzer86

    Grayzer86 Active Member

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    You may be ok to use the piece you have. There are also many sources for small stabilized blocks that are relatively low cost. I have found a pile of companies just by using google, and have had good luck with any i have ordered from. Burlsource.com has some very nice stuff and were excellent to deal with when i have placed orders, and they seem to be pretty reasonable in the price versus quality side, one of the cheapest i have found. Burlsource.us is more expensive but will do free shipping most times and has a very good selection of higher end and harder to find materials. With them you are paying for what you get as they have very nice stuff and one of the best stabilizing processes around from the reviews i have heard.
     
  5. winchester

    winchester New Member

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    Thanks Grayzer, I'll check out those sites for sure.
     
  6. metal99

    metal99 Member

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    Hey man, if you want to use that bloodwood you should cut it into scales as soon as you can. The longer the wood sits after you cut it the better. That way it prevents any further movement once installed. A good oil finish and proper care of a knife should get you long lasting results.
     
  7. Happyknife

    Happyknife New Member

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    I've had good results processing burl by roughing out slabs while "green" and soaking them in Pentacryl (available at Lee Valley Tools), then drying for a month or so in a cardboard box. I seal them with top coats of low viscosity CA glue, sanding with 800 grit and buffing between coats. I've done my fair share of experimenting with DIY stabilization, various preservatives, vacuum chamber, heat etc, and still find that nothing beats the professionally stabilized stuff. I can come pretty close, but going from raw burl to finished scales is a mountain of work in itself.
     

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