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Day 77 of 365

Handle it

Today was a rather sticky experience. My youngest kid and I are blacksmiths and as much as he likes to make knives I prefer to create candle holders or hummingbirds. I've never made a knife with a handle for or by myself. Day 77 was the start of this adventure.

When we forge knives, shaping the steel is just the first part. It's a process to decide what you plan to use the knife for and to shape your blade so you can accomplish that objective.

Today our focus was on the second step of knife making, the handle material. This takes time and patience. On day 77 I made a super sticky mess in an attempt to glue up micarta handle scales.

If you aren't familiar with the process, when you put a handle on a blade you can either hide the knife tang (the part you hold in your hand) or you can sandwich it. When making micarta we intend to sandwich the pieces together so that you can see the tang.

The process for making micarta isn't complex but it can be time consuming. We decided to do two types, cotton layering and yarn filling.

When layering the first pieces we used cotton fabric cut in strips. Each layer is slathered in epoxy and stacked together. We used about 30 strips of fabric for this project. When it was soaked through completely we put wood covered with waxed paper on the top and bottom. We clamped the entire project together and left it to dry.

When doing the yarn filling we used a plastic container with a skein of string leftover from Day 59. We mixed our epoxy and poured it over the top of the material and pressed it together so it would soak up the resin. Once we were sure it was coated we compressed it using a heavy weight.

We made a video of the process. I hope to share it once we edit it down. I'm sure you don't want to see 45 minutes of gluing and clamping.

Day 77 was the start of something good.

Love & Light

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