In this tutorial we will make a knife using a Damascus blank with a full tang. The handle scales will be micarta and we’ll pin it with brass pins. This is the simplest way to make a knife and is a great project for the beginner.
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Things you need
- Knife blank
- 3/16″ brass pins
- 100 grit and 220 grit sand paper
- 2 part epoxy
- Angle grinder with 60 grit sanding wheel
- Coping saw for cutting out the micarta
- Drill with 3/16″ drill bit
The knife blank
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Drill holes for the pins
In this tutorial, I’ve chosen to use 2 pins, but you can put as many pins as you want in the tang of the handle. The drill bit should be the same size as the pins that you choose to secure the handle. Some blanks will come with the pinholes already drilled in which case you just need to match your brass pins to the hole size.
Trace the shape of the handle onto the micarta.
Lay the blank onto the piece of micarta and trace the shape of the handle then flip the blank over and trace the other side of the handle.
Cut out the scales
Cut the pieces out of the micarta with the coping saw (or a jig saw). Leave a little extra material around the trace lines to be removed later
Drill holes for the pins
Drill holes for the pins into the micarta. Clamp one side of the scales to the blank. Drill through one of the pinholes and all the way through the micarta. Place a brass pin through the hole so the micarta doesn’t shift. Drill out each hole placing a pin in as you go. Repeat with the other side of micarta.
Pin the micarta scales to the blank
Pin the micarta scales to the blank without using the epoxy and shape the outline of the handle. I use an angle grinder with a sanding disc, but you can use a belt grinder or even sand by hand.
Shaping the handle scales
Shape the front of the handle scales. To do this you have to remove the handle scales from the knife blank and pin them together. Now the front end of the handle scales can be shaped to match exactly.
Finish the shaping
Pin the scales back onto the blank and finish shaping the handle. You want to get the rough shape completed before you epoxy the scales to the knife blank permanently.
Attach the handle scales
Epoxy the shaped scales to the blank. Remove the scales from the blank leaving the pins in place.
Use the two part gorilla glue to epoxy the scales to the blank.
Now clamp the scales tightly to the blank and let set for the recommended time noted on the epoxy directions.
finish the sanding
Finish any rough shaping with the angle grinder. This will usually be around the pin areas to get them flush with the handle scales.
Do the final sanding by hand with 220 grit sandpaper.
Tape off the blade and seal the handle with Deft exterior grade polyurethane.
This will take several coats. Allow to fully cure between each coat. Sand between each coat stepping up to a finer grit each time. When to stop is completely up to you. It depends on how smooth you want the handle to be. The more coats and the higher grit used in the sanding the smoother the handle will be. I do recommend at least three coats.
If you’d like to take a deeper dive into how to make a knife with simple tools check out this book.
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