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 Post subject: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:13 pm
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Location: CT
Well, I have been playing with Wa handles for a little bit with my KMG 2x72 belt sander. I made up a little jig to try to square up the blocks, but with a belt sander, the belt bows out a bit when pressure is applied to it, so it doesn't give a very square end and with a 2" wide belt, it's a tight fit. I would angle the platen to cut the bevels on an Octagon handle, but wasn't really happy with the results. They look and feel OK, but they weren't what I wanted. So I broke down and bought this!

12" Disc Sander:
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I made lots of dust today. I had a Wa handle with Cocobolo and Satinwood and another with Burmese Blackwood and Cocobolo, both bit the dust, but I learned how to work the disc sander. Next two were Burmese Blackwood ferrule and Cocobolo bodies. One is for my 210mm Tanaka KU and the other is for the 240mm Tojiro ITK Kiritsuke. I did a dowel in both pieces, but not showing at the end of the ferrule and drilled a 3/16" hole thru the ferrule and once it was all glued together, I drilled the 3/16" hole down into the dowel and then used small rasps and files to fit the tang to the slot. The Tanaka handle is a nice length and feels good, but is a bit on the small side. When I evened out the bevels, I cut farther than I wanted, so it's kind of a Diamond shape with flattened points. The flats are like 3/16"-1/4" or so, so it's not pointy in the hand.

Then I decided to regrind and thin the Tanaka Blue KU gyuto and bring the main grind up a bit higher on the blade and thin behind the edge a touch and polish some of the KU finish.

Then the boo boo happened :( I had the Tanaka on top of my drill press and was drilling the blocks for the Kiritsuke handle. I forgot the drill press vibrates and the Tanaka fell off and landed edge first on the back of my middle finger, bounced off and sliced 1.5" down the side of one of my plastic storage bins that was on the floor. The knife survived with a little nick on the edge, but I got a nasty slice on the top of my finger. So I ran inside, washed and Hydrogen Peroxide flushed the cut, put a bandaid on and electrical tape and went back to work.

Got the ITK Kiritsuke handle finished. I didn't do much of a taper to this one and cut a steeper, deeper angle on the bottom bevels and a slightly wider and less angled bevel at the top of the handle. It feels more like an Oval handle at the top and a Wa Octagon at the bottom.

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Handle close ups:
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With the disc sander, it is MUCH easier to square up the ferrule/main body material to each other and also get the handle shape and tapers in than it was with the KMG. I used the Disc Sander for roughing in the bevels (maybe 80 grit disc?) and then used a Granite Reference Plate to hand sand 100, 220 grit, and then 320, 400, 600 on a cork block. Went pretty easily to hand sand the materials, maybe 10-15 min per handle if that? I'm glad I went with the 12" disc sander, really makes these much less stressful to make!


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 Post subject: Re: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:49 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:15 am
Posts: 91
Nice work!


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 Post subject: Re: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 4610
taz575 wrote:12" Disc Sander:
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Didn't your mother teach you to clean up before you take a picture?! ;)

Your handles turned out nice!



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 Post subject: Re: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:20 pm 
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Location: CT
LOL, she tried!! This sucker makes a TON of dust, I had it all over one end of my shed, but works great!!


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 Post subject: Re: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:00 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Connecticut
I like those.

What is the price range, for one about 125 to 130 mm long?


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 Post subject: Re: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:54 pm 
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Location: CT
Stabilized woods run around $90 installed on your knife, non stabilized woods run a bit less material wise, so maybe around $75 or so.


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 Post subject: Re: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:54 am 
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Round 2 today! I decided to use some more non stabilized woods that I have on hand. This one is a Ziricote ferrule and Bocote main handle. Octagon shaped on an Artifex 270mm Suji, thinned and convexed, converted to a Wa handle.

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Handle closeups:
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With this one, I measured out and marked the tapers I wanted in the handle before I did the bevels and then went back and redid it a little more to get it more comfy in the hand. I am also using a 1/2" wood dowel that joins the ferrule and main handle portion. I drill the main handle portion deeper than the dowel will go, so when I drill thru the dowel, there is an opening behind it which makes fitting the tang easier since I have a deeper hole than I need and it's easier to cut the slot for the tang in the softer wood. I use wood dust to get a tighter fit in the bottom of the hole.

With these Wa handles, I got to work on something I have been wanting to do for a while now. I did these on my disc sander with a 60 or 80 grit disc (not sure the exact grit?). From there, I go right to a Granite Reference Plate and use 60, 100, 220, 320 grit wood sandpaper and switch to wet/dry for the 400 and 600 grit steps. I may be offering semi finished Wa handles in the future for people who want a nicer handle, but don't want to pay the extra for high end stabilized burl woods and who can use hand tools to finish and fit the handles themselves. A flat piece of something to sand on, sandpaper and a small rasp/file or two, epoxy to mount the handle solidly, and a finish will be all that's really needed to finish these.


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 Post subject: Re: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:27 am 
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Location: CT
Got a couple coats of Tung Oil rubbed in and snapped a few pics:

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When I started making knives years ago, I did up a hunter for my Uncle with a A2 blade and Bocote handle. I always like the Light/Dark contrast in it. I've also use Ziricote and again, like the light/dark streaking in it. Since they both end in "cote", I decided to combine them on this knife. These pics show some of the patterning of the grain in the handles. It's a bit more subtle and dark in person, but when the flash hits it, it pops!


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 Post subject: Re: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:45 pm 
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Excuse My ignorance but what is the difference between stabilized wood and non-stabilized?



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 Post subject: Re: Wa handles...a start!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:02 pm 
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Stabilized woods have been treated so that they are more stable dimensionally (less swelling, cracking, warping, etc) and more waterproof. They also polish up nicely. In a nut shell, the woods are stabilized by using pressure and vacuum to force acrylics (monomers, polymers, etc) and dyes if wanted, into the wood and then the wood is heated to let the acrylics and stuff harden. It basically seals the pores. Non stabilized woods can move slightly with temp and humidity changes, some woods are worse than others.


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