Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Knife making materials

There are lots of ways to create knives and knife handles. For instance, I have used reindeer and deer antler for spacers, vulcanized fiber materials for spacers, and leather (both tan and black). My brother (Fisker Fjord Knives) has used different types of wood to create his knife handles as well, and this is something I find very interesting. All the knives I have made thus far have included only one type of wood, although on a few I have cut pieces of the wood to create an upper and lower wood portion to the handle. I also have moose antler I am planning on using soon.
Some of the other materials to use include birch bark, camel bone, giraffe bone, zebra bone, mammoth bone, walrus tusk, and even walrus oosik. If you don't know what oosik is, it is the penile bone found in most mammals (humans excluded). These are fossilized mostly, and can be up to two feet or more in length.
For a list of all woods used in my knives, or woods I am planning to use, please click on the Woods link at the top of any of our blog's pages.
There are a lot of places that sell knife making materials on the internet, but I predominantly use Thompson's Scandinavian Knife Supply. They have a very good inventory and shipping/response time is very quick. I would highly recommend them if you are interested in purchasing materials.
I try to think of good combinations of materials and woods to use in conjunction with one another. For example, I made a large puukko once and wanted to use traditional, Scandinavian materials for the knife. As with all my knives, I use Lauri carbon or stainless steel blades, all with the Scandinavian grind of one bevel - and a very sharp one at that. For the handle, I used reindeer antler and Arctic curly birch, both found in Scandinavia. Here is a photo of the knife after the items were put together and sanded, yet before Danish oil was applied:

Also used were a nickel bolster and black fiber spacers. Notice a small scuff mark on the blade, As I was sanding, the blade cover came off and the belt sander hit the blade. I had the blade section taped up, which is a necessity, but the sawdust must have got into the taped section and through the force of the belt sander the taped covering came off before I could stop it. This is a mistake that could have a) caused me injury, and b) decreased the aesthetics of the knife. I have since learned from my mistakes and tightly tape the knife using masking tape along with cardboard for further protection. I think this is a very nice knife even with the small blade scuff, but image is everything, so I will do all I can to prevent these types of mistakes from ever occurring. I also think I could have sanded down the handle more, or used a smaller bolster, but I did want to create a large handle capable of withstanding a lot of force. Here is a photo of the knife after using Danish oil for sealant and protection. 

The last step will be to put some wax (beeswax or carnauba, for example) on the handle and buff it to a satin finish. This Naali knife is the "Poro", which means "Reindeer" in Finnish.

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