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AndrewB

I think I should be good on handle material for a while at least

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Not sure if these were worth the extra cost but I've got one Scales: Olive wood, Rose wood, Ebony, Mesquite, Purple Heart.  Blocks Rosewood Olive wood Ebony Purple Heart.  I mean they are pretty wood choices I dunno but I am really thinking I like the ebony the best out of all the handle materials what do you guys think is this a good start?  Or should  I have gotten more lol.

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Purple Heart is one of my favorites to work with but those are all good choices.

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I'm liking the Ebony after all black is one of my favorite colors.  But I do want to eventually get more choices to have for handle material.  I don't want to be in a pinch like I was at the start of this venture waiting for a package to get delivered so I could finish off a knife lol.  I'm also trying to source places out here locally in the small city that I live in where I can buy handle material that I can form and shape myself.  Like maple and oak so I don't have to order those.

Edited by AndrewB

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On that note, I've been ordering my handle materials from Texas Knife Makers Supply online. Now what I'm wondering does any one have any good recommendations for types of wood that are nice to work with and easy to acquire?  Aside from the obvious ones like maple and oak.

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I get all my scales from RCI Industries on FB.....Rob Carper. He has some killer stuff. More than once have I bought scales and not even had a blade in the works. lol

Edit; I guess it Rob Carpet Industries now. He does alot of hybrid stuff like this.

 

rci.jpg

Edited by Kreg Whitehead

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17 minutes ago, Kreg Whitehead said:

I get all my scales from RCI Industries on FB.....Rob Carper. He has some killer stuff. More than once have I bought scales and not even had a blade in the works. lol

I'm not sure I've done pretty well with Texas Knife Maker Supply although they are horribly expensive when it comes out to shipping lol.  Not too big of a deal.  I may have to do some research on this one you're referencing.  But I've also been trying to source out a place here locally where I can get material as well.  But that's coming to be kind of a pain lol.  Some of his stuff does look good but I think at the moment I'm kind of planning on sticking to using wood scales and blocks.

Edited by AndrewB

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7 hours ago, AndrewB said:

I'm not sure I've done pretty well with Texas Knife Maker Supply although they are horribly expensive when it comes out to shipping lol.  Not too big of a deal.  I may have to do some research on this one you're referencing.  But I've also been trying to source out a place here locally where I can get material as well.  But that's coming to be kind of a pain lol.  Some of his stuff does look good but I think at the moment I'm kind of planning on sticking to using wood scales and blocks.

You may not want it but here is my spiel on wood:

I got most of my handle material from "Woodcraft" They sell most of those nice hardwoods in 3 inch by 24 inch slabs between 1/8 and 3/4 inch thick. One of them will be enough to make 10+ normal knife handles if cut right, which would be a comparable cost benefit (say $20 for 10 knife worth, vs $10 for one knife worth) They have a shop in Seattle, I think if you get going making a lot of knives I would first try out some different to see if you like it or not (which looks like you have a good variety already!) Then pick two or three and make the drive (when we are not in snowmaggedon) to buy more in bulk.

I like purpleheart, but it is a little more porous and it will chip / peel / split if worked against the grain wrong. You can make it more smooth by rubbing some water on it to expose the grain then using fine steel wool to polish after sanding.

Rosewood is my favorite, especially Bolivian rose wood, it looks great, pretty much no pores, solid. It can however cause a slight allergic reaction in my experience (along with other similar dense woods)

Ebony is expensive, I never tried it but it might be worth it for special projects.

I always wanted to try olive wood, never got around to it because I only saw it for sale in huge chunks.

I also loved bloodwood, pretty much like rosewood but deep red, for some reason it stopped being sold, I tried redheart in it's place, which was still a nice red color but more along purpleheart in terms of toughness / quality.

Cocobolo looked like a good option but I don't remember if I ever got around to making any knives with it.

I made a few with oak harvested from an old tree that was cut down, I got a whole chunk that was cut right out of where several main branches met, it had crazy grain patterns and ingrown bark that looks really cool, that in itself is it's own process though.

Typically the denser the wood the stronger the scales will be and the nicer the result.

 

    As far as wood working, well I think it is one of the most fun parts of knife making, I only did full tang knives, it was a process to cut, drill holes, shape, and epoxy. I used mostly files and rasps to shape the handle material, then finished with hand sanding up to a higher grit and linseed oil. The whole process involves a lot of detail and material selection, and is a whole subject apart from knife forging itself. Maybe I can get a more knowledgeable forum member to chime in here, but from what I have heard historically knife forgers would not even make their own handles, that was someone else's job.

Edited by Stephen Asay

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Sorry, double post.

Edited by Stephen Asay

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Not sure about ordering that tpe of quantity though

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If you are just planning to use plain domestic woods, then I would just find a local hardwood supplier and buy some large boards of walnut/maple/oak/cherry/whatever and cut it up on your bandsaw. Or just order some boards of stuff like stephen mentioned. Lots of places online that sell you any size you could imagine. The smaller the blocks you buy, the more you pay for them.

I'm sure you can find other suppliers of very nice wood. If you're looking for something really nice that won't break the bank, you can get some of the more plain desert ironwood from Arizona Ironwood at $13 a block. Crazy dense wood. Not necessarily easy to work but doesn't get much better than that for a wood handle. Obviously they also have burl but that gets pretty spendy.

I went a little wood crazy years ago and have an outside storage building chock full of very nice knife handle material. A few lifetimes worth.

I even took a CT scan of a block of big leaf maple burl to try and see where the bark inclusion was in order to cut it up in the most efficient way. :unsure:

In case anyone is interested in what a CT scan of a block of burl wood looks like... lol. you can see the bark inclusion starts on slice 15 and goes up to about 33.

People always said with wood (particularly burls) you don't know what you have until you cut into it... well..... there are other ways :D

BLMB-CTScan.gif

Edited by Cody Killgore

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So very true.  But I will say the supplier I’ve been using to get my material is relatively quick at getting it out the door and shipped it’s just that the shipping is insane lol.  I’m probably going to order it through amazon if I can on the next batch I get.

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You ran a CT scan on a burl? :o  That's hardcore, dude!  I love it!  :lol:

Most of the tropical hardwoods we like are now on the CITES list restricting international shipment.  And cocobolo is a potent allergen.  I like to stick with good old domestic hardwoods, curly maple first and foremost.  I am allergic to cherry, unfortunately.  I do love African Blackwood.  And I have a tiny amount of very old Brazilian Rosewood that came from a pool cue factory.  Not that it matters, the point is, buying sets of scales is the absolute most expensive way to do it.  Some things like presentation grade desert ironwood or mammoth ivory are almost only sold that way, but for everything else it is far far (like up to 50 times) cheaper in both cost and shipping to buy a big hunk and cut it yourself.

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

You ran a CT scan on a burl? :o  That's hardcore, dude!  I love it!  :lol:

Most of the tropical hardwoods we like are now on the CITES list restricting international shipment.  And cocobolo is a potent allergen.  I like to stick with good old domestic hardwoods, curly maple first and foremost.  I am allergic to cherry, unfortunately.  I do love African Blackwood.  And I have a tiny amount of very old Brazilian Rosewood that came from a pool cue factory.  Not that it matters, the point is, buying sets of scales is the absolute most expensive way to do it.  Some things like presentation grade desert ironwood or mammoth ivory are almost only sold that way, but for everything else it is far far (like up to 50 times) cheaper in both cost and shipping to buy a big hunk and cut it yourself.

I've been looking locally to get a stash of maple from my own city a place I can drive to and pick up lol,

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Look up the wood database, probably one of my top favorite websites of all time. 

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I figured out a few weeks ago that theres an imported and domestic hardwood store about 20 mins away from where i live, for now on im going to buy big slabs of wood and process it into scales/blocks.

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2 minutes ago, Conner Michaux said:

I figured out a few weeks ago that theres an imported and domestic hardwood store about 20 mins away from where i live, for now on im going to buy big slabs of wood and process it into scales/blocks.

By all means especially if you're on a tight budget that's the best way to go.  I just like the different colors of woods so I try to get a variety of different colors.  I think I'm gonna order another bundle of them on Wensday lol.  I wouldn't mind if a couple blocks of cherry wood fell into my lap though lol, that would be nice.  I've made boxes out of cherry before it's really fun to work with.

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You do know that bloodwood, purpleheart, yellowheart, etc. all end up brown after a couple of years, right?  

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13 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

And cocobolo is a potent allergen

Yep yep yep. I figured that out on my own. Nasty, nasty dust. Felt like I was breathing ground cinnamon.

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I probably won’t be attempting to use cocabola wood agin just because of that reason.

3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

You do know that bloodwood, purpleheart, yellowheart, etc. all end up brown after a couple of years, right?  

No I didn’t but that’s good to know thanks.

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I have curly mahogany from a chair I found in a creek, I used a bit of birch from a paintbrush in the street, curly crate myrtle from the side of the road, ive got mesquite and ash logs, the ash was on the side of the road for the citys bulk brush pickup. Id like to find pecan and osage, theres walnut here one in my backyard. Wood is everywhere if you can identify it.

If you do hidden tang its not too hard to take a chunk of wood from a log and burn your tang into it, then you shape the rough block with knives/planes/grinders. 

Firewood for sale at grocery or convenience stores can be birch, oak, mesquite, or some other stuff you dont want.

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You can certainly harvest wood yourself... just make sure it's dry before you use it. And to prevent checking coat the end grain with paraffin wax or better yet anchorseal. You want it to be probably < 10% moisture content before using it on a knife... at least around here.

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I may or may not try that one day.

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