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How to Make a Katana Handle

Updated February 21, 2017

A katana is an oriental-style, martial arts sword. These swords have been made by master craftsmen for centuries. Fortunately today's tools allow you to make a decent replica of this traditional weapon. A rotary tool or bench grinder will give you a shaped, sharpened and polished blade for your katana. Then you can do some creative woodworking to fashion a handle for your homemade sword. Once you learn the basics of this process, only your imagination will limit the complexity of your handle design.

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  1. Lay your katana on top of the dowel. Center the holes in the tang of the sword along the length of the dowel. Mark the dowel at the location of each hole in the tang with your fine-tipped marker.

  2. Remove the sword from the dowel. Hold the dowel firmly with one hand. Use your other hand to drill through each mark on the dowel with the 3/8 inch bit.

  3. Hold the dowel so that the holes through the wood are at a 90-degree angle to the blade of your band saw. Push the wood gently into the spinning blade of the saw to cut the dowel into two even pieces.

  4. Place half of the dowel on each side of the tang of the sword. Slip the female half of a rivet into each hole in the dowel. Flip the sword to expose the empty holes in the other side of the handle. Slide the male end of a rivet into each hole. Strike each rivet with your wooden mallet to secure each fastener and lock the handle in place.

  5. Install the sanding wheel onto your rotary tool as instructed by the manufacturer. Smooth and shape the handle with your rotary tool.

  6. Remove the sanding wheel and install the engraving bit in your rotary tool. Engrave a diamond pattern into both sides of the handle.

  7. Wipe the dust off of the handle with a rag. Place the sword onto the dust sheet. Cover the blade of the katana with painter's tape.

  8. Coat both sides of the handle with three coats of spray stain. Coat the handle with three coats of spray polyurethane. Let each coat dry for 2 hours before the following application. Allow the katana to dry for 24 hours after the final coat of polyurethane. Remove the tape from your katana blade.

  9. Warning

    Work gloves, safety glasses and hearing protection are required when using power tools. A dust mask and proper ventilation are necessary when using any type of spray chemicals.

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Things You'll Need

  • Katana blade without handle
  • Cherry wood dowel (2 ½ inches by 18 inches)
  • Fine-point marker
  • Drill with 3/8 bit
  • Table mounted band saw
  • 2 piece brass rivets
  • Dust sheet
  • Spray stain
  • Spray polyurethane
  • Painter's tape
  • Wood mallet
  • Rotary tool with sanding wheel and wood engraving tip
  • Rags
  • Dust mask
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection

About the Author

After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.

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