How to Make a Hidden Tang Knife

Written by sienna condy
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With the dawn of online shopping, the supplies needed for making your own custom knives are more readily available than ever. One of the most popular designs in custom knife making is a hidden tang knife. The tang is the part of the blade that fits into the handle. In a hidden tang knife, none of this tang is seen. This is often done to showcase exotic, colourful or stylised wooden handles.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Knife blank with a rattail tang, 1/4-inch thick
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • 1 board foot of hardwood, 1/4-inch thick
  • Scroll saw
  • Wood glue
  • Drill and bits
  • Bench vice
  • Epoxy
  • Wood rasp
  • Sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Trace the shape of your knife blank with the pencil on a sheet of paper. Add to this a drawing of the shape of handle you want.

  2. 2

    Cut three pieces of 1/4-inch thick hardwood with the scroll saw. Make these pieces long and wide enough for the handle shape you drew in Step 1 to fit on.

  3. 3

    Trace the shape of the tang on one piece with the pencil. This piece will become the middle layer. Carefully cut out this shape with the scroll saw, checking it for fit on the real knife blank.

  4. 4

    Glue the three layers of handle together with wood glue by clamping them together in the bench vice. Clamp them with the layer with the tang cutout in the middle.

  5. 5

    Cut the wood into a rough shape of your finished handle, using your paper drawing as a template.

  6. 6

    Drill small holes about 1 inch apart along the length of the tang of the knife blank. This will give the epoxy something to grab. Drill as many holes as the length of your tang allows in the 3/4 of the tang furthest away from the tip, to avoid creating a weak section where the handle ends.

  7. 7

    Squeeze epoxy into the handle and insert the knife tang. Clamp the knife between its tip and butt into the bench vice. Use a scrap of wood to protect the tip. Carefully wipe up any epoxy that squeezes out. Allow epoxy to fully cure.

  8. 8

    Clamp the blade into the vice and shape the handle with the wood rasp. Check the grip with your hand to make sure it's comfortable. Sand the grip smooth with sandpaper when you're satisfied with its shape.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear proper eye and hearing protection when working with power tools like scroll saws.
  • Knives are dangerous weapons and should be handled properly to avoid injury.

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