Introduction

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

Supplies

  • Knife blank
  • Micarta
  • 3/16″ brass pins
  • 100 grit and 220 grit sand paper
  • 2 part epoxy
  • polyurethane

Tools

  • Angle grinder with 60 grit sanding wheel
  • Coping saw for cutting out the micarta
  • Drill with 3/16″ drill bit
  • Clamps

The knife blank

If you don’t have a knife blank don’t worry. Knife blanks aren’t hard to find online. Some really great deals can be found on Amazon and free shipping most of the time. Just one example is below. Click the link below to browse all the different blanks available on Amazon.

https://amzn.to/2YAtomM

Step 1

Drill holes for the pins into the blank. 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 pin holes already drilled in which case you just need to match your brass pins to the hole size.

The knife blank clamped and a hole for the brass pin being drilled

Step 2

Trace the shape of the handle onto the micarta. Lay the blank onto the piece of micarta and trace the shape of handle then flip the blank over and trace the other side of the handle.

The knife blank laying on the micarta piece and the shape of the handle being traced onto the micarta
Don’t forget to flip the blade over to trace opposite sides.
Thumbnail for the how to make micarta article.
Click the picture above to see the article on making your own micarta.

Step 3

Cut the pieces out of the micarta with the coping saw (or a jig saw)

Step 4

Drill holes for the pins into the micarta. Clamp one side of the scales to the blank. Drill through one of the pin holes 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.

The knife blank clamped to the micarta cut out so the pin hole can be drilled into the micarta

Step 5

Pin the micarta scales to the blank without using the epoxy and shape the outline of the handle.

both micarta scales are pinned to the knife blank with brass pins.
both micarta scales are pinned to the knife blank with brass pins.
The edges of the handle have been shaped with an angle grinder.
I use an angle grinder with a 60 grit sanding disc to do this, but you can use a belt sander or even a hand file.

Step 6

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.

Handle scales have been removed from the knife blank and pinned together to shape the front of the scales.
The handle scales pinned together with out the knife blank.

Step 7

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.

The rough shape of the handle has been finished.

Step 8

Epoxy the shaped scales to the blank. Remove the scales from the blank leaving the pins in place.

Handle scales have been removed. brass pins are still in place. the knife blank is ready for the two part epoxy.

Use the two part gorilla glue to epoxy the scales to the blank.

Handle scales have been removed. brass pins are still in place. the knife blank is ready for the two part epoxy.
Click the picture to get the current price of gorilla epoxy

Now clamp the scales tightly to the blank and let set for the recommended time noted on the epoxy directions.

Handle scales have been epoxied in place and they are clamped tightly to the knife blank.

Step 9

Finish any rough shaping with the angle grinder. This will usually be around the pin areas to get them flush with the handle scales.

Step 10

Do the final sanding by hand with 220 grit sandpaper.

Step 11

Tape off the blade and seal the handle with Deft exterior grade polyurethane.

Deft brand spray polyurethane
Click the picture above to get the current price for Deft polyurethane
The knife blade is taped off and clamped so the handle is in the air ready to be sprayed.
Use a clamp to hold the knife in place with the handle in the air for hands free spraying.

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.

The knife is finished
a close up of the micarta knife handle.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into how to make a knife with simple tools check out this book.

Just click the image below to get current prices on Amazon


Tags

diy, homemade knife, knife, knife blank, Knife making, Micarta


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