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  #1  
Old 11-04-2013, 11:39 PM
jm82792 jm82792 is offline
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Making Knife Scales

Hello my name is Josh, I'm 21, I live on the Big Island of Hawaii, and I'm here since I am tinkering with the idea of making knifes.
More specifically I'd like to make knife scales from locally grown hardwoods like koa, mango, kaiwi, and so forth. My background was hardwood floor sanding and finishing, however, I've branched out to CNC machines(Gcode, 3d modeling, and everything else.), and am looking to make more than what I do currently, which is expensive wall art.

Therefore. I was thinking maybe I could make some nice knife scales with oily woods that don't need to be stabilized (ipe), then through a magical process (that I seriously do not know of) epoxy the knife into the scales (west systems epoxy? BSI?). Maybe after a few knifes I could start dabbling with stabilizing the wood (after buying a vacuum pump, and some sort of resin), milling up profiles, engraving, and so forth. I'm looking for work, and to be busy you need something to make

Anyways, I am not sure what to ask other than if you guys could toss me some basic links for a newbie that would pertain to me making scales and otherwise making (basic?) kitchen knifes to start. Also, since I have some contacts for highly figured locally grown wood, so perhaps with the interest here along with paying the forum dues it could amount to me selling stabilized, milled up scales? I am essentially asking if there would ever be some sort of interest in such a vendor/set of products.

Thanks for reading my post, enduring my newbieness, and otherwise helping me out.

Last edited by jm82792; 11-04-2013 at 11:45 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2013, 02:31 PM
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Fulmaduro Fulmaduro is offline
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Aloha Josh! I spent 6 years on Oahu at MCAS Kaneohe Bay in the Marines from 1995-2001. Spent many a month on the big island at Pohakuloa Training Area. Don't miss that pumice pit though.

I am very interested in somebody who would specialize in stabilized Koa, Mango and Macadamia. Not sure about those other woods but would love to see some pics of what the grain looks like. I would recommend researching stabilizing and drying and cutting blocks and scales. I bet you have the source for wood and really nice wood is making a comeback. There is only so much desert ironwood, and that Koa is absolutely beautiful. Good luck in your endeavors! There is a market for those woods and you have the location!

Tony Z
Kansas City, MO

P.S. I order Kiawe and Guava from a guy in Kailua for my smoker. It makes some fantastic huli huli chicken!


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  #3  
Old 11-10-2013, 03:54 PM
jm82792 jm82792 is offline
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I apologize for the late reply.
I've been running around since I am still figuring stuff out when it comes to lithophanes and what not.

That's great that you'd be interested in exotics being cut and stabilized.
Past that I've been really into CNC machines, and when I mean into I mean I'm always doing something I can do all sorts of crazy things but I need to definitely have the interest to do anything significant past some basic profiling and so forth.

I've just read about the stabilization process a month ago and have yet to procure everything needed.
However, I think I'm going to try to read up, and make a knife or two first just to get an idea of what people want. Some time ago I tossed out a small HVAC compressor/vacuum so I need to get another one. Then I was thinking of trying Cactus Juice as a stabilizer. For the cutting and sizing, once I find a place to buy actual knife blades from, and understand the scale requirements maybe then I can figure all that out.

For the wood grain, I've worked with a few local and exotic woods.
I've worked with monkeypod, koa, cumaru, ipe, mozambique, Philippine mahogany, maple,
mango, ohia, and one or two others. I've yet to try the fruit woods, kaiwe, and so forth.
Ipe and cumaru sink in water and have almost the highest hardness of any wood in the world,
they probably don't need stabilization. Maybe people would want that in a knife?
People here seem to be bent on koa but true knife makers or woodworkers understand that it being koa all the time isn't the best.

On some digging I am thinking that I should buy a kit, buy a 3d touch probe, then mill up a scale out of wood. http://www.knifekits.com/vcom/produc...oducts_id=4325
Is this company a decent place to buy from? I'm not a great concept guy so I was thinking I could use their included scales as a reference then make my own.....

Last edited by jm82792; 11-10-2013 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 11-10-2013, 04:18 PM
jm82792 jm82792 is offline
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Not to double post but I am getting ideas.
One I have is that I can purchase a nice 3d probe and I can use stock knife handles as a reference.
http://www.knifekits.com/vcom/produc...oducts_id=4325
I was thinking why not buy something like this (what's your favorie place?), use a touch probe to get a model of the scales, then CNC mill em out of wood that has a 2,000 PSI Jhanka hardness?
Then the only other question is finish and what to use. I'm thinking a catalyzed waterbase for Ipe since it's so oily.
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:10 AM
jm82792 jm82792 is offline
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Hmm that's weird that my post didn't come through.
Anyways I would be more than happy to be the guy choosing the wood, cutting it, then stablziing it, then finally getting what people want character wise. Furthermore, I do have good working knowledge of CNC machines, so I can take a finished knife scale, scan it, then make several exact or modified copies..
For my initial newbie initiation I was thinking of buying Cactus juice, salvaging a HVAC compressor, and using a PVC pipe as a vacuum tube, along with a vacuum gauge. Then there was some website selling the knife blade, two fiberglass composite scales, and it's associated hardware. (which forum sponsors would you suggest for me to buy that from?) I was thinking of 3d scanning the scales, then producing my own from Ipe. (what is this ironwood you mentioned? Is it a pine tree? If so I think we have them here)
Past that maybe I could actually make my own knifes for local retail?
I do not wish to sound arrogant but I'm presuming it's not terrible if you use the proper adhesives, and correct hardware.

Last edited by jm82792; 11-11-2013 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:17 AM
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Fulmaduro Fulmaduro is offline
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Josh, check out these guys from Germany. http://www.cuscadi.de/ They would be one of the main competitors.

Looks like what you want to do, but with exotic Hawaiian wood. I would recommend that you also sell raw scales and block, stabilized if needed, on top of CNC'd exotic scales. I am thinking that would help augment sales. Many would love pre-made Hawaiian wood scales for their folders, but also many custom knifemakers want to do it themselves and many make fixed blade full and partial tang knives like myself. If you have access to the Hawaiian woods then selling both ways makes sense to me.

I do buy Koa blocks from somebody on Ebay, but I have to save them up for a sizeable quantity (they are $$$) and then send off to get stabilized. I wish they were already stabilized. I wish there was one source I could get them from all ready to go onto knives, just cut, drill, glue, etc.

The desert ironwood tree is pretty much from one area in the Mainland SW. Expensive and harder and harder to get good pieces. Hard and dense enough it doesn't need to be stabilized. Mesquite is very hard too, similar to your Hawaiian Kiawe. Not sure what Kiawe would look like on a knife. Somebody needs to try that one! Hope this helps and good luck. Would like to get some wood from your sometime.

Tony Z
Kansas City, MO


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  #7  
Old 11-11-2013, 07:06 PM
jm82792 jm82792 is offline
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Something was up since I seriously over posted

For the company in Germany, I am more or less interested in taking a scale somebody has carved/shaped that they want several of, copying it, then producing them for them, and depending on licensing or so forth making them for others. (small runs that cater person to person?) I am not great at designing stuff (although that link for that knife with the G10 scales could be modified easily enough) unless people tell me exactly what they want or I clearly see what needs to be done. I could see perhaps several faucets in all of this that could keep me busy since I am willing to do what makes each person happy.

I'm going to call TurnTex about their Cactus Juice since it seems to be the stuff I should try because it's not hazmat and will ship here. I'll see what kind of vacuum needs to be pulled, what kind of pump will work, which is the best for production, and etc. Then there is the question of what dimensions of scales to make. The only other thing is I am wondering where I should buy a few blanks or basic kits to egt a feel for how this stuff works.

For wood I have yet to see desert iron wood in person. I've seen the coniferous iron woods that are total weeds, I've seen Ipe/Iron wood, and then I've seen other hardwoods called Iron wood.. I know that some woods are so oily+dense they don't rot, although they still warp and aren't totally stable. For Kaiwe it's very close if not Mesquite since you can turn the pods into Mesquite jelly, flour, and so forth. The wood can be VERY curly, and can put koa to shame.

Thanks for your input on all of this, worst case this hopefully becomes a hobby, best case this takes over my weekends then my weekdays...

Last edited by jm82792; 11-11-2013 at 07:12 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-13-2013, 06:54 PM
jm82792 jm82792 is offline
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Well I have another reason to stabilize wood.
I am going to be making smaller CNC milled pendants since they should do very well out here.
I'm hoping to get them done before thanksgiving otherwise I'm stuck using just ebony.
Also, to show I'm capable of making stuff check out my work and see that I've at least done something

Last edited by jm82792; 11-13-2013 at 06:59 PM.
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  #9  
Old 11-16-2013, 04:17 PM
jm82792 jm82792 is offline
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This wood was caked with dust and needed a scrub brush to remove it before planing.
Now to get the other two loads worth
This stuff is mostly striped and blond, maybe 1/5 boards have a bit of curl.
I've got a place for the really curly stuff, "psycho AAAAAAAA++ deluxe name hyped up" stuff that people put on ebay. But there's a minimum, and this stuff is what I'm going to focus on for a bit...






Also, I've tried calling turntex a few times, but I'll keep at it, and when time permits order what I need. I've been pulling myself in a few directions here, but overall I have a plan of some sort.
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Old 11-26-2013, 02:05 PM
jm82792 jm82792 is offline
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I bought some wood and it's curly, yet worthless to the seller so it was well priced for the scale sized pieces. The piece that looks like a sliced geode was the only nice piece from like 500 pounds of wood from under the school. I want to go back there since there are logs of koa and large hunks of burl. The cactus juice is in the mail, I'm looking for a vacuum pump, and I'm plotting what to do. If it turns out well some members will probably be getting some freebie scales to tell me what they think. If that works then I will pay the forum dues and see what happens.





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