"handling" a knife
The normal way to secure a hidden tang/rat tail is to drill out the handle to about 6mm down the centre, then heat the tang and tap it in, burning the wood to make a secure to fit. The blade should normally be secured by threading the last 10mm of the tang and bolting it together
However, the tang looks to be a little short for that, so either just use a good fit and lots of epoxy, or drill a small hole through both the handle and the tang close to the blade and pin them together with a bit of brass rod or similar
Edit: Just noticed that it is a 30cm ruler in the pic! That should be more than long enough to thread and bolt.Posted 3 years ago
The tang is 5″ and I intend to use only a 5″ handle so I could put a nut on the end easily enough. I will have a go with the burning thing when fitting first. If it doesnt hold I can epoxy it.
I dont have a ferule to use, does that matter?
I will be caulking/hooking the handle as it’s prone to flying out of slipper yhands 😳
got to pop out, back in a bit.Posted 3 years ago
Nah, works fine without the ferrule. They are generally added to toughen up the work end and to make it look nice. You can easily file out a bit of flat brass/aluminium/steel then glue it to the end once the tang fits if you want.
Also, I tend to drill out a space for the end nut and then cover it over when tightened by hammering a wooden plug in over the top and sanding it back with the rest of the handle, especially on work tools.
Voila! fully hidden, and no blisters on the hands from the pommel!Posted 3 years ago
No, not that kind of “handling”, I mean fitting a new handle to an old tang. I know there’s one or two in here who have posted up some lovely pictures of their own DIY handled knives in the “what was the last thing you made” thread, so I’m after a bit of advice.
I have a “modern” stamped steel plate billhook* for snedding in the coppice, but being stamped plate it’s rubbish at keeping an edge. So i’ve been hankering after an olde forged billhook for a while. Finally came across half a dozen at a local sales and picked out a style that suits what I need for £10. The handle on it was rotten though, so having removed it I’m left with a bare tang.
What’s the process for fashioning and fitting a new handle? I have access to lots of good poplar – would that make a suitable material?
Someone mentioned to me about soaking the wood before fitting so that it swelled and then as it dries it tightens on the tine – does that work? I take it I drill a starter hole down the handle shaft first.
Should I add a rivet hole in the wider bit of the tang? OR even as Ive seen before, die thread the end of the tang and use it to screw a retaining washer on the butt?
Or do I just say sod it and buy a new hickory handle for £10?
* insert Two Ronnies joke herePosted 3 years ago
Pplar might be a bit soft ofr a knife handle. Maybe research something harder I’ve got a beautiful piece of ebony tht is the perfect size for a knife handle, i just have to find a knife tang/blade to hadnle it. Also got some lovely pieces of elm burr, as well as some zebra wood and black walnut. Anyone know where to get good quality tang/blades from?Posted 3 years ago
Here’s a good thread on handles:Posted 3 years agosomafunkSubscriber
Make sure and secure the end of the tang where it exits the handle (have you thought about a leather type handle?), otherwise at some point you’ll take a swing to clear scrub and you’ll be left with a handle as realisation sinks in that your billhook is sailing through the air behind you.
One of my fav tools for clearing undergrowth from my trails, whether that be briars, nettles, ferns or overhanging branches – it’s surprising what you can chop through with a decent swing.
I think mine is made by Sthil, leather handle and a little hook at the end so it can’t come free from your grip.
Posted 3 years ago
Ash would probably make a pretty decent handle, it grows all over the place, and is nice and round, or a bit of yew, or best of all hornbeam if you can find it; it used to be coppiced as a crop for burning and tool handles, because it’s fine-grained, and very hard once seasoned, so needs to be worked green.Posted 3 years ago
Good blade, that, and traditionally there would just be a hole drilled down the centre of the handle, somewhat smaller than needed, and the handle hammered onto the tang, probably with some pine pitch glue, or similar to hold it in place. Treading the end, and putting a large washer between the nut and the handle would make sense, brass would look good, it would help stop any risk of the nut pulling into the wood.
Stoffel, you could try these blade blanks, if you want full tang:
This bloke makes really nice stick tang blades, hand forged from spring steel:
Posted 3 years ago
I never seem to take any picture of stuff I make..
Only one that I have is of this one, for a mates birthday..
Apologies for the terrible pics!
Unknown wood, with red deer antler pommel. The blade was made from re forged block of 1095 steel.
Honestly, it did look much nicer than the pictures show…
The stand is a piece of cherry root.Posted 3 years ago
Personally I would put a ferrule on any wooden handle that’ll be used like a bill hook…. It will help prevent the wood from splitting…Posted 3 years ago
Nice knife and stand there cdoc… I really like the stand, given me some ideas 🙂
And I know I’ve posted this before but I am still proud of it, bronzevwith antler handle and leather trim……. [/url]
Untitled by daftvader77, on Flickr[/img]
Cheers… The bronze came from a local sculpture business… I needed some for the trim on a different knife and they gave me a big lump of the stuff for free which was great. So it was made using stock removal rather than cast, I am hoping to get a small forge built in my garden so I will be able to cast stuff soon and try again to make some cable damascus…Posted 3 years agoTooTallMember
It’s worth having a look at some of the traditional billhook patterns to see what the original handles were like.
Some billhook pr0n for you
Of course – a man like you will have a boatstone for sharpening it and would never take a grinder to the blade.Posted 3 years ago
indeed. I have a boatstone and a cigar.
I’ve also now got over half a dozen other whetstones from my dad for my chisels and knives.
The billhook blade is a Elwell, so I will have to fashion a traditional caulked handle
Ive got some brass somewhere so I might have a go at making a ferule for it too.Posted 3 years ago
Stoner, what you could do for the ferrule is go to somewhere like Plumbase or Wickes, and pick up a copper end feed fitting, like these: http://www.tradingdepot.co.uk/DEF/catalogue/D016001/Plumbing%20Supplies%20&%20Heating%20Supplies/Copper%20End%20Feed%20Fittings/Copper%20End%20Feed%20Fittings%20-%20CouplersPosted 3 years ago
I used some on a walking stick I made, to stop the ends splitting on the top.
Stoner – I knew you’d have the correct tools!
I never made it to Olivemead Forge but I still want one of his billhooks. His work is beautiful.Posted 3 years ago
I think I’m the only man in the state of Virginia with 3 x billhooks and no coppice in sight 🙁 When I buy somewhere with a bit more land tho……
This bloke makes some very tasty stuff, too:Posted 3 years ago
I was looking at a selection at Knife-UK on Sunday, and he turns out a particularly nice line of bearded axes, as well as billhooks, and just about everything else.
Lovely stuff. Makes a change from the usual bickering on here. This thread reminds me that I must make a handle for the stanly hardpoint saws I buy; the supplied plastic ones are crap, and uncomfortable. I’ll make a handle, then just screw the blades into it each time Ibuy a new saw. Send the unused onesback to Stanley for recycling.Posted 3 years agoOrmanCheepMember
I made this one earlier this year, with bog oak, antler and buffalo horn…Posted 3 years ago
Like previously mentioned, just heated up the tang and burned it on. Then pulled it out, filled with epoxy, and refitted.
I just made sure I roughed up the tang a bit first with a grinder, to give a better key for the epoxy.
Cheers chewkw, it’s a hazel stick I actually bought from a bloke who goes round all the steam and country fairs selling harvested sticks for people who want to make their own. Had it a couple of years, but I’m always looking around the hedges and woods for similar shaped sticks, which are pretty rare, if you want something straight enough and strong enough.Posted 3 years ago
I’ve now got another that I cut last year, almost identical shape but a bit thicker, and all one piece, but this one’s Holly, and it’s turned out really nicely. I’ve left the bark on, just trimmed the shoots off, and put a resin-filled copper foot on it and Danish Oiled it.
I’ll take a couple of photos tomorrow and stick them up.
It’s a fun thing to make, they’re useful, or they are when you’ve got a shonky knee, and rather satisfying when they turn out well.
I’ve got a yew top like that one, and a Blackthorn shaft, but they need a bit of work to marry up, so I might look around for a hazel shaft for the yew top, and a hazel top for the blackthorn shaft, possibly a bit easier, there’s shit-loads of old coppiced hazel where I do a lot of walking.
And yew and Holly, as well.
Which is handy. 😀
OrmanCheep, that’s a nice bit of work, especially the bog oak, I tried buying a stick from a bloke who makes bog oak walking sticks with carved tops, but he wouldn’t sell me just a blank stick, which was annoying.
I really wasn’t that impressed with the tops he put on, personally, and I could have used a short off-cut to make a nice knife handle, too.
Where did you get the wood from?chewkwMember
CountZero – Member
Had it a couple of years, but I’m always looking around the hedges and woods for similar shaped sticks, which are pretty rare, if you want something straight enough and strong enough.
Yes, that particular shape is very difficult to find if you want it naturally straight and strong.
You don’t need a shonky knee to walk with one because it helps too if you have lower back pain.
I was looking at those modern walking sticks at the outdoor shop … well they are good but some how I prefer a natural stick for whatever reason. 🙂
Edit: I am going to get the small knife when I travel to Thailand next …
Posted 3 years ago
CountZero – Member
Stoner, what you could do for the ferrule is go to somewhere like Plumbase or Wickes, and pick up a copper end feed fitting, like these:
That chap CountZero isn’t nearly as stupid as he is cabbage looking! 😉
As tootall says, there’s bound to be one of those in here somewhere….
Sauntered down to the wood shed, and after some very complicated stick waving decided that poplar wasn’t going to cut it, so managed to find a lonely piece of highly seasoned willow. Very dense and hard.
Using a hole saw to prepare the ferule end
Fitting the 22mm copper stop end ferule
In the end I wanted a longer handle than it would have been possible to fit a nut to the tang with, so I’ve epoxyed the handle on instead, although there is still the remnants of the through-hole in the butt of the stock, I will fill that in due course.
Now I just need some advice on the finish – do I wax it, oil it (I have some boiled linseed somewhere) or varnish it (Ronseal)?
Cheers for all the help chaps. Chuffed with my new billhook.Posted 3 years ago
do I wax it, oil it (I have some boiled linseed somewhere) or varnish it (Ronseal)?
Please don\’t varnish it! I hate varnish; it has it’s use on stuff that will get wet/used heavily, but it is a pain in the bum to use, and ruins the natural ‘feel’ of wood. Linseed oil is good. You’ve done a lovely job there, and so quickly too!Posted 3 years ago
cheers stoffel – linseed oil it is then.
Will go and get the first coats on it. I guess it will need 3 or 4 goes?
The Mrs was hogging the big computer last night and I needed to do some work so I went out to the workshop instead and did my work on the computer first thing this morning. Just finished off the knife this morning cutting away the excess monkeyspunk/gorilla glue and final sand. It’s nothing like the quality of the other chaps work though ^, I dont think I have the patience!Posted 3 years ago
Oiling; make sure it’s clean and grese free by wiping with white spirit. Leave to dry. Give it a coat of linseed oil, but rub it in well, fill all the little cracks etc. Wipe off excess. Leave to dry. Then use very fine sandpaper, or what Ido, use an ld green wooly potscouring pad (old used clean ones are best) to gently rub it all over to remove any bubbles/flakes etc. Give it another coat. Repeat another 2-3 times, but leave it to dry for longer each coat. For alarger item, it will be 24 hours for first coat, 48 for second, and so on. This time of year you could just leave it for a couple of hours after the first coat on such a small item. You could give it a cople of coats of beeswax paste or similar once the oil has properly dried (in a week or so!) but dependig on the wood’s own texture, it might make it a bit slippery. Probably not worth it on a work tool.Posted 3 years ago
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