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How to achieve better results using leather in handles

Ariel Salaverria

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With this method you avoid some issues that arise when you use a leather / metal combination as a spacer.


When you sand and polish the metal parts that sandwiched leather pieces, these metal layers get hot and transmit that heat to the leather strips, which gets contracted, resulting in an end piece with the metal and leather parts at a different level. You can feel and see the difference, and it's not the proper finish I'd like my customers to get on their knives.


I've been doing this for over a year now, with excellent results.



Strip of leather (8" x 1 1/4" x 3/16"), plastic bag to contain the leather and resin and about 50 grams or prepared polyester resin. This ammount will be more than enough to impregnate this piece.





Leather strip and resin already inside the plastic bag (if anyone's wondering, bag thickness is 60 microns)





After pressing the bag to get rid of the extra air inside, I tie the bag to close it.





Getting the bag inside the pressure chamber.

You can read more about it here: http://www.aescustomknives.com/docs/tutorial14.htm





Closing it.





This time I use pressured air. This means that I put 120lb/inch for 15 minutes to the hermetically closed tube / pressure chamber.







Once I get the bag from the pressure chamber, I open it to get the leather strip out (resin doesn't get glued to the polyethylene bag)





Then I remove the extra resin in gel-like state from the leather.







After cutting to size and drilling them, I use the leather as spacer material directly on the knife.









This precess gets the leather to aquire a better hardness, estability and impermeability while also allowing a better finish.



And here's the finished knife and for set.


Cable (1085) damascus.

8 1/2" overall lenght. Knife edge is 3 1/2"

Curupay wood handles, with bronze and leather spacers. Buttcap in nickel silver and copper mokume.








More pictures of the finished set here:





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Thanks for looking!




Ariel Salaverria



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I've tried a few of your methods for knife finishing and in most cases it requires a lot more effort than it appears. Your finished products have inspired quite a few of my current projects. Clearly you've got more experience in these matters than I have, but it is quite embarrasing when i compare the results of my efforts to yours. It appears as though I have forged my products with a torch and a couple of rocks, with an angle grinder finish when compared to your stuff.


Thanks for writing up your numerous tutorials. They really do inspire folks to try methods that they normally wouldn't think of.

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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