How to Make Folding Knife Handles

Written by jeff miller
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How to Make Folding Knife Handles
It's not hard to make a new handle for your old knife. (knife image by Madrider from

After several years of hard use, the handle of that trusty folding knife you take everywhere may begin to loosen, crack or completely fall off. That does not mean it is time to throw away your favourite knife. In fact, you now have an opportunity to customise the knife with new handle sides so they will have a more organic feel and look. You can give an old folding knife many more useful years of service, with some planning and a little work.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • Hardwood block
  • Wood-carving knife or belt sander
  • Electric drill with bit
  • Brass wire
  • Epoxy resin glue
  • Wood clamp
  • Ruler
  • Jigsaw
  • Wood stain (optional)
  • Polyurethane or lacquer

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  1. 1

    Remove the old handle sides from the knife. Some knife handles are attached with screws. If this is the case, remove the screws and the sides will come off. If the sides are attached with rivets or pins, remove the sides by prying them from the knife body with a small screwdriver.

  2. 2

    Measure the length, width and depth of the area where the new sides will be mounted. Double the depth measurement and add one-fourth of an inch to each measurement.

  3. 3

    Cut a single block of hardwood to the specifications from Step 2 by clamping the block to a bench and cutting it with a jigsaw.

  4. 4

    Mark guidelines on the block of wood and roughly shape the handles with a woodcarving knife or belt sander.

  5. 5

    Cut the block in half lengthwise with the jigsaw to make one handle for each side of the knife.

  6. 6

    Mark where the screw or peg holes need to go. Drill the holes using a drill bit that is slightly larger than the peg or screw you will be using.

  7. 7

    Make new pegs, if necessary, from a piece of brass wire that is the same diameter as the holes in your knife casing. Cut the pegs one-eighth inch longer than needed. This step is not necessary if your scales are attached with screws.

  8. 8

    Insert the pegs into the holes in the knife casing and glue in place with epoxy resin glue. Allow the glue to dry completely.

  9. 9

    Coat the mating surface of the handle sides with epoxy resin glue and slide the them in place over the pegs. Clamp the handle sides against the knife casing with a wood clamp until the glue is dry. This step is not necessary if your handle sides are attached with screws.

  10. 10

    Clip off any extra brass wire that protrudes from the handle. Finish shaping the handle with sandpaper. You should be able to sand the tips of the soft brass pins flat with sandpaper. If your handle sidese are attached with screws, be careful not to sand the screw heads.

  11. 11

    Apply a finish of polyurethane or lacquer to the sides. Optionally, you can stain the wood before applying the finish.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure the wood is completely dry -- stabilised -- to avoid shrinkage.

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