Chipped scales - first knife

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Elmstone, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. Elmstone


    Apr 5, 2020
    Hi all,
    I’m making my first knife. (Technically I’m only adding scales as I bought the blank before diving in head first).

    Unfortunately I chipped one of the scales on my knife.
    I was curious what you guys would do now?
    I’d love to not have to tear the scales off and start from scratch and further damage the blank.
    In a perfect world I could just file off the Damascus steel exposed edge but I don’t think I have the tools to make that happen since it’s already been heat treated.
    Any thoughts?
  2. Stang Bladeworks

    Stang Bladeworks

    Feb 19, 2018
    I would grind your tang to match the handle then reshape until its comfortable.
  3. Elmstone


    Apr 5, 2020
  4. Stang Bladeworks

    Stang Bladeworks

    Feb 19, 2018
  5. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
  6. Busto

    Busto KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 26, 2011
    I'm going to agree with gluing the piece of wood back on since there is still some handle shaping to do. Not sure what type wood that is but looks like you might have issues in the future if it chipped off easily.
  7. 3fifty7

    3fifty7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 24, 2016
    Were the scales pinned only?
    I don’t see any signs of epoxy. If that’s the case, and seeing as the handle is chipped in two places, I suggest you remove it and try again.
    What is the handle material?
    How was it damaged?
    What is the intended use of this knife?
  8. john april

    john april KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 27, 2006
    no offense, but it looks like old weathered wood that is weak, usually i determine if the wood is suitable by noticing if i can make a mark on the wood by pressing my thumbnail into it. if it leaves a mark, it too soft.
  9. milkbaby


    Aug 1, 2016
    If the new shape of the handle works, you can grind off the extra metal if you keep the blade from heating up. The scales may delaminate from the tang depending on how hot the metal gets because epoxy (or other glues) will fail when the temperature rises to a certain point.

    If you still have the pieces of wood that fell off, you could also reglue them, but there might be a visible seam however you could just call that "character".

    +1 to @john april that the wood looks like it might be wood that might be soft and not very durable. After fixing it, you could flood the surface with cyanoacrylate glue or thinned epoxy glue to help give a little more structural integrity to the wood scales. You'll want to do that then sand back down to the wood surface unless you like the wet plastic look.
  10. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
    In a perfect world you could save that fancy pins and make other scale from better wood.Seems that that wood would easy crack so you can save pins ...............
  11. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    Do those scales have sentimental value? If not, I'd get new scales.

    If you're careful enough you should be able to re-use the pins. It'll give you practice on taking a knife apart and re-handling.
    Steve Beckwith likes this.

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