Question for Walosi/woodchucks

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by LongRifle, Feb 21, 2002.

  1. LongRifle


    Apr 5, 2000
    After reprofiling my old BAS I am ready to start the handle project, and I am having a few problems deciding on which wood to use. I am pretty sure I want to use Beige Koala Burl / Bud Burl for asthetic purposes only, the knife won't see any use. I have to place a pretty big order, $50, for them to ship to me, I should have enough wood left over to make a scabbard (we will see how well that turns out ;) :rolleyes: ) I was wondering how well will burl wood hold up under shaping with a file (will it be prone to chipping) and how difficult will shaping this wood be. This is my first project of this kind (other than making a "dummy" handle out of pine). Here is the kicker: the knife I reprofiled is a full curve, even the handle, now the issue of drilling a curved hole comes into play. My plan of action is to used a dremel round burr and just SLOWLY bore through the handle (I will be doing more praying than drilling). Here is a pic of the wood in question, it really is pretty (nothing compared to rhododenron burl though) [​IMG]

    Thanks for all the help!
  2. SamuraiDave


    Apr 6, 2001
    Well...from what I know about taking apart 2 Daisen failures is that the kamis dont really drill a curved hole for the curved tang. They just drill a really big hole that the bent tang fits into and fill the sucker with laha, dosent weaken it a bit. As a matter of fact the argument could be made that the bent tang, big hole, and lots of laha provides more strength and 'springyness' to the handle than a perfectly straight one.

    I dont know how to work with burl, I am being edjumacated in chuckery myself, but it sure is purdy!

    Post pics if you possibly can. I am taking pics as I go along with my projects and eventually will mail the developed photos to someone for a neat forum slide show!
  3. Walosi


    Jan 10, 2001
    Dave -
    I have zip experience working with burl, other than sanding and finishing just a couple of small pieces. My relative who turns the bowls/vases from Cocobolo burl says he has many that crack as the stressed grains let go when supporting areas around them are cut away. Question - does your supplier have what you want in a "stabilized" version? This is a wood impregnated with hot resin/plastic, under pressure. It is the natural burled wood, "stabilized" in this fashion, and 1000% easier to work - lasts longer as well. Ron won't use it because those who pay $12-$15,000 for his work cringe at the thought of a "plastic vaahzz" - custom knife makers use it to keep beautiful burl scales from falling off their knives. Same stuff, just stroked different ways for different folks.
  4. LongRifle


    Apr 5, 2000
    Well, here is one reason I really like Cincinnati, I went to check out Lowe's today and pretty much left disgusted with the lack of woodworking selection. BUT as I was leaving the parking lot I noticed a store across the road, a wood working store! I went in and was astounded...they actually had a great selection of wood. I ended up buying an AWESOME piece of California Buckeye burl- great figure and color. I have started to work towards the handle but only have it roughed out with a coping saw. I will let everyone know how it is going, I will also take some scans on it sometime this weekend even though it is nowhere near finished. The clerk at the store told me the wood had been dried and I shouldn't have any problems with cracking (I will find out soon I guess). They had some great figured maple I was thinking about using for the scabbard...but that is later on down the road.

  5. Matt Matheny

    Matt Matheny

    Jan 15, 2000
    Excellent choice.

    Shaping burl...

    1) you can use files. just make sure that you take your time and save enough material to take out any chips that were created by the coarse tools. use your sandpaper after you get done with the filing to bring it to a glass smooth finnish.

    2) you don't really want to use burl to make a sheath. Wood burl is basically wood cancer. Burl is where the cells of the tree have grown in a random/uncontrolled pattern thus causing the incredible figure. There is a drawback to this tho... Burl as a rule is dimensionaly unstable, ie for thin work (veneers) or for solid work (handles) it should be just fine, but for work where you want to not to move (sheaths) you will be out of luck. The burl will twist more that one would expect rendering your sheath completely unusable. For a sheath I would recomend a dense straight grained hardwood. (maple, poplar, oak, ash, etc.)

    3) when working with burls expect to have a few voids that are left in the wood. These are easy enough to fix, save some of you fine sawdust while you are working and set it aside. fix your voids before you do the final shaping and sanding. Take the sawdust and add it to some 5minute epoxy. Mix it till it is teh consistency of warm frosting, then fill any voids. Mixing in the sawdust will make a good patch that will almost disapear.

    4) before finishing use a little bit of mineral spirits to help you find any imperfections in your shaping or sanding. Wipe it on and it will also give you a good idea of what it will look like after you have the finish of your choice on it. Sand lightly 400 grit paper and apply finish.

    Good places to look for woodchuckery info...

    all of the above sites have great info and or books that can provide the info an almost anything you could want to know.

  6. ACStudios


    Apr 9, 2001

    I'll just add to what everyone else said. ... Dave's idea really sounded good. Mine is simply speculation, but it might work out.

    I seem to remember that the kamis get their holes done by burning it into the wood (can't remember where I saw that). If you were to take a hanger, or similar large gauge wire, bend it to the curve of the tang, then slowly burn it into the handle, you should get the correct curve inside the handle. Then, I'd use Dave's info and round it out larger than the tang and backfill it (what is the 'merican version of Laha???).

    If you try it, let me know how it works. I haven't gotten to the point of rehandling yet. .. but it is in my future (I'm going to order some tools this weekend I hope). But this was the method that I was planning on using for getting a hole in the handle. ...

    Good luck!

  7. Bill Martino

    Bill Martino

    Mar 5, 1999
    Alan, you're right. When the kamis are faced with drilling a curved hole they burn the hole which is a pain to get done. In most shops it takes two men and the bow & string drill to get the hole drilled for the tang and it usually takes 3 or 4 tries to get one handle drilled. At BirGorkha they have a couple of hand drills and one man can get the job done in five minutes.

    I don't think I'd use the burl for the scabbard, either.
  8. LongRifle


    Apr 5, 2000
    Thanks everybody, the handle is really coming along. I think I have put about 4 or 5 hours into it so far and I have the profile shaped out pretty well. I was planning on using mystic maple for the scabbard- great looking wood. Thus far I haven't had any problems with chipping, but have noticed some voids in the wood. I have a few madcap ideas for the curved hole (which really isn't too bad) there is an attachment for the Dremel tool that is almost like a spring snake (I am sure there is a real name for this) the spring is in a housing to prevent bunching and keep just the tip moving. I was planning on using a small burr and then onto larger burrs and just keep routing the handle out. If I wasn't using a burl I would just have a machine shop use a fine bandsaw and cut the handle in two and then route it out and epoxy it back together (that is my planning for the scabbard). I will keep everyone updated on my progress! Thanks again.

  9. Bill Martino

    Bill Martino

    Mar 5, 1999
    Take your time.
  10. Walosi


    Jan 10, 2001
    Woodchuckery madness is beginning to rise go to Cave City tomorrow AM...about 1/10 of the way to Cinti....just across from Lowes, you say?....HEH HEH HEH...Should be back by Sunday.
  11. Bill Martino

    Bill Martino

    Mar 5, 1999
    You're right, Wal. It's on the increase.
  12. Walosi


    Jan 10, 2001
    Actually, I'm going to Cave City (funny coincidence of names???) to see a couple of buds I haven't seen for a time. I'm taking a sack of Khuks for "show and tell".....This will be in a gun shop in the Kentucky hills on Saturday morning. I will just happen to have a bunch of notepaper with website and mailing information carelessly scribbled on it. Creating epidemics may turn into a new hobby :rolleyes: Planning on taking the Garuda, carved UBE, BIG UBE, and the militarys, villager and GS. Hope it will stir up something to give Pala a bigger send-off.
  13. Bill Martino

    Bill Martino

    Mar 5, 1999
    Many thanks for help, Wal, and have fun.

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