1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

  2. Week 29 of the BladeForums.com Year of Giveaways is live! Enter to win a Ron Flaherty Folder

    Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Ron Flaherty folder , Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!
    Be sure to read the rules before entering, and help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread!

    Entries will close at 11:59PM Saturday, July 20 ; winners will be drawn on Sunday @ 5pm on our Youtube Channel: TheRealBladeForums. Bonus prizes will be given during the livestream!

    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

Shaping stacked leather handle next to guard

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by tmerkl, May 22, 2019.

  1. tmerkl


    Jan 8, 2007
    What is a/the technique for shaping the stacked leather handle part directly beneath the guard, without cutting into the guard? Would this be a case where you somehow glued the stack together and shaped it separately from the knife, sort of like a block of wood, then attach to the tang? I'll try to post a picture below
  2. Lieblad


    Jul 24, 2015
    That handle example is partially finished on a mandrel (without a guard)what replicates the tang.
    Then its placed on the tang along with a guard for final finish grinding and coating.
    Notice that handle originally slightly larger diameter near the guard. The its pressed against the guard, final grinding making handle sides somewhat flat.
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    John Andrews likes this.
  3. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
    I would do this way if it is mine .I will shape tang to be equally wide the entire length.Next I will make some punch for hole in leather to match tang dimension and make hole in all piece leather I will need. Then glued them together ,make temporary bolster/gard in shape how you want to be leather handle from piece of plastic , wood ....assembly all that and shape handle .After that assembly all for real with real gard and there should be minor sanding to get everything right ....
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    tmerkl likes this.
  4. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    In the case of Randall, the guard is "sculpted" not flat, so they may shape after gluing up.
    John Andrews and tmerkl like this.
  5. tmerkl


    Jan 8, 2007
    I'm working on one right now using this method. I couldn't help but start thinking about what if I wanted to have a plain guard like the one referenced. I think a sacrificial guard like Natlek suggests, or shaping the handle as a separate piece is the way to go. Thanks guys.
  6. elasmonut


    Feb 15, 2006
    I have used a stainless spacer in place of the first leather washer, the spacer is finished to the size and shape of the finished handle before assembly.Then leather washers are placed on glued and shaped down to match the spacer, if your careful you never really touch the guard and can use tape or something to help orotect it anyway
    Natlek likes this.
  7. jwccustom57

    jwccustom57 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 13, 2017
    Reading with great interest thanks, as I've never done one but have one in progress. I've got my washers cut out and wet compressed but was considering gluing/pressing them first, then drilling the tang hole as one operation instead of cutting tang holes in each washer first. How would that work? Then grinding to the final shape and even begin initial polishing before final assembly.

    As for final fit up to the guard, I would think if the guard plate is to extend out past the front washer as in the OP picture apparently, there might always be some need to touch up the front washers so maybe duct tape the guard and proceed slowly be hand?

    If it's to be flush with the leather I'd think you could glue up before final shaping but the leather would come off so much faster than the metal guard that could be an issue?

    John Andrews and tmerkl like this.
  8. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    Ka-bar sells pre-cut leather washer kits for replacing handles on their iconic knife.
    Doesn't solve the guard problem, though.
    tmerkl likes this.
  9. tmerkl


    Jan 8, 2007
    Thanks for all the replies, here's what I came up with.
  10. tmerkl


    Jan 8, 2007
    Also, some of the lessons learned for the next time:
    1. I'm going to get a punch from Osborne to make the slot in my leather washes all in one go. Drilling and cutting out the web with a chisel is for the birds.
    2. Size my tang to fit said punch, not as drastically tapered as I made this one
    3. Get the handle closer to final dimensions before trying to shape it on the grinder. It took forever to grind off that much leather (washers started at 1.5"x1.5")
    4. Closely related to above, the most coarse belt grit I had was an 80 grit. I wish I'd had a 36 or 60
    5. Shape pommel before attaching
    6. On the next one I think I will stack and glue the washers on a simulated tang and do the shaping first, and use a flat guard like the Fallkniven example above
    7. I'm sure there's more but since this was my first stacked leather handle, I'm pretty happy with it overall.
    Alex Topfer, john april and Jrmysell like this.
  11. john april

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

    Feb 27, 2006
    looks very good !
  12. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    We even used 24grit for leather at my old job.
    36/40 should work
  13. John Andrews

    John Andrews

    Jan 24, 2003
    Above all, be sure to wet form the leather washers first and stack them on the tang in the exact order they were wet formed.

Share This Page