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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:32 pm 
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I imagine everyone goes through this but since I have re-handled two knives, I see almost everything as potential handle material. There's my yellow plastic waste basket - not too soft, not too brittle. As I was walking on a Florida trail this morning, I found a deer that had come apart some time ago. I collected some of the bones to see if they could be a candidate for scale material. The shoreline of a small lake yielded three turtle shells, they are about 8" x 15". I've added some pictures and it looks like I might have better luck on smaller knives with the materials I have collected. I would be interested in finding out what some of you have found to use as handle material. We can all buy fosilized mammouth parts (and they make beautiful handles) but I get more pleasure from scrounging around and using what I can find. Lets hear about what some of you have come up with (pictures of finished projects would be a bonus). Thanks, Al


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2-14-12  turtle shell, deer bones 3 002.jpg
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:28 am 
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almyjmoore, I'm not a knife mechanic, but I sure like your approach to the handle material.
Quite thoughtful.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:42 am 
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Thanks Joe. I'm not a knife mechanic either but I am very interested in this take apart and put back together thing. Some of the stuff I'd like to get dicussions going on are: can you steam or boil the small bone material or small turtle shell pieces then put a weight on them in order to make them flat. That would allow the use of smaller pieces (instead of grinding them flat). Will this bone or turtle shell take a dye? If it would streak the grain green, red or brown that would look nice. I will experiment with all this stuff but there's no reason to re-invent the wheel if someone knows the answer. I'm working on just two or three things right now but there must be hundreds of natual and man made products that we have access to locally. I remember Dale writing about taking apart a stag handled carving set in order to make handles for a knife. What a great idea! I have a couple of old carving sets but I didn't think about using the handles. I'd like to see some old ideas, some new ideas and maybe hear about what works and what doesn't. I have way more ideas right now than I have broken handled knives but I will file them away for future use. Thanks, Al


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:20 am 
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Here's a few i've used, top left 2 are from front shin bones of local cattle, 3rd one down is horn from local cattle but different herd. Bottom left is burl from an old walnut tree out back. Top right is from a whitetail shed I found in the woods, middle 2 are from an Elk ranch a couple of counties over. And the bottom right is Missouri Yellawood from down by the creek.
Some other materials i've found locally and used on custom fixed blades in the past are, figured maple,(birdseye, curly and quilted), crotch wood from hedge (osage orange), pecky pecan and hickory. I'm always on the watch for downed trees with figured wood in them. (living on the outskirts of a national forest helps with that) I also used, ONCE... ::facepalm:: Armadilla tail. (nasty little critters) I've tried local tarapin shell, most isn't big enough and alot of times the outer color layer, scales off and leaves a plain white and somewhat boring material.

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Homegrown Handles 1a.jpg
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One other material i've used with several different methods, and been fairly successful with is, Pink MOP. (mussel shell) We can pick up some fairly large ones along the sandbars when the lake's down. It's smelly, messy and really hard to work, but it can be done.

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Mussel Shell.jpg
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Great thread, made me stop to think of just what all I had tried from local sources. Reckon there's been a few.




WB


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:56 am 
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Deer bone, yes it will work I've used a lot of it, the hip bones make the best handles for me, they offer the widest slabs.

I've used turtle shell like what you show too, it works but there are some pitfalls. They include, getting it flat enough but still thick enough, then you have the option of leaving the scutes on or taking them off. leaving them on is a pain, if the turtle has been dead a while the color from the scutes will sometimes bleed into the bone of the bottom plastron (bottom flattest part of the shell) giving it some unique off white to almost yellowish red coloration. I have some guitar picks I made somewhere that exhibit this.

Boiling bone doesn't help much to flatten it like horn or antler. It can be done but with a lower success rate and not as dramatic of results as you can get with horn.

I've used just about everything for knife handles. I started when I was very young and scrounged all the materials I could. I've used deer bone, bear bone, elk bone, cow bone, dinosaur bone, giraffe bone, turtle shell, turtle shell bone, mussel shell, cow horn, buffalo horn (foreign and domestic), rams horn, whitetail antler, muley antler, elk antler, reindeer antler, caribou antler, red stag antler, sambar stag antler, abalone, mother of pearl, acrylics, micartas, jeancartas, carbon fiber, brass, coyote jaws, deer jaws, too many woods to list, snake skin, dinosaur egg, mammoth ivory elephant ivory, warthog ivory, hippo ivory, mammoth tooth, coral, fossilized coral, tree bark, and a bunch of others I can't remember right now. I have even tried laminating scales off big grass carp to form handle slabs. It looked very unique but the grease in the scales kept the glue from holding well. I have a new plan to fix that so I'm gonna try it again this year if I can remember. I even have some gar skin I want to try but haven't had the opportunity to put it on a knife yet. You can use just about anything as a knife handle if you work at it long enough and try it enough ways.

Hell, Oupa even made handles out of kangaroo dung and cow pies! :shock: If sh!t can make a handle anything can!!!! :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:57 pm 
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Another to add to the list would be good old corn cob stabilized with clear epoxy or even super glue. Since you have three turtle shells, try cutting out a piece wide and long enough for a knife scale, boil it then clamp it between two pieces of wood for a few days to allow it to dry. Repeat as needed until you can get it perfectly flat and please let us know how it goes for you.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:27 pm 
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muskrat man wrote:
Deer bone, yes it will work I've used a lot of it, the hip bones make the best handles for me, they offer the widest slabs.

I've used turtle shell like what you show too, it works but there are some pitfalls. They include, getting it flat enough but still thick enough, then you have the option of leaving the scutes on or taking them off. leaving them on is a pain, if the turtle has been dead a while the color from the scutes will sometimes bleed into the bone of the bottom plastron (bottom flattest part of the shell) giving it some unique off white to almost yellowish red coloration. I have some guitar picks I made somewhere that exhibit this.

Boiling bone doesn't help much to flatten it like horn or antler. It can be done but with a lower success rate and not as dramatic of results as you can get with horn.

I've used just about everything for knife handles. I started when I was very young and scrounged all the materials I could. I've used deer bone, bear bone, elk bone, cow bone, dinosaur bone, turtle shell, turtle shell bone, mussel shell, cow horn, buffalo horn (foreign and domestic), rams horn, whitetail antler, muley antler, elk antler, reindeer antler, caribou antler, red stag antler, sambar stag antler, abalone, mother of pearl, acrylics, micartas, jeancartas, coyote jaws, deer jaws, too many woods to list, snake skin, dinosaur egg, mammoth ivory elephant ivory, warthog ivory, hippo ivory, mammoth tooth, coral, fossilized coral, tree bark, and a bunch of others I can't remember right now. I have even tried laminating scales off big grass carp to form handle slabs. It looked very unique but the grease in the scales kept the glue from holding well. I have a new plan to fix that so I'm gonna try it again this year if I can remember. I even have some gar skin I want to try but haven't had the opportunity to put it on a knife yet. You can use just about anything as a knife handle if you work at it long enough and try it enough ways.

Hell, Oupa even made handles out of kangaroo dung and cow pies! :shock: If sh!t can make a handle anything can!!!! :lol:

Hey MM, how thick are the guitar picks? Can you post a picture? Thanks

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:44 pm 
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tjmurphy wrote:
muskrat man wrote:
Deer bone, yes it will work I've used a lot of it, the hip bones make the best handles for me, they offer the widest slabs.

I've used turtle shell like what you show too, it works but there are some pitfalls. They include, getting it flat enough but still thick enough, then you have the option of leaving the scutes on or taking them off. leaving them on is a pain, if the turtle has been dead a while the color from the scutes will sometimes bleed into the bone of the bottom plastron (bottom flattest part of the shell) giving it some unique off white to almost yellowish red coloration. I have some guitar picks I made somewhere that exhibit this.

Boiling bone doesn't help much to flatten it like horn or antler. It can be done but with a lower success rate and not as dramatic of results as you can get with horn.

I've used just about everything for knife handles. I started when I was very young and scrounged all the materials I could. I've used deer bone, bear bone, elk bone, cow bone, dinosaur bone, turtle shell, turtle shell bone, mussel shell, cow horn, buffalo horn (foreign and domestic), rams horn, whitetail antler, muley antler, elk antler, reindeer antler, caribou antler, red stag antler, sambar stag antler, abalone, mother of pearl, acrylics, micartas, jeancartas, coyote jaws, deer jaws, too many woods to list, snake skin, dinosaur egg, mammoth ivory elephant ivory, warthog ivory, hippo ivory, mammoth tooth, coral, fossilized coral, tree bark, and a bunch of others I can't remember right now. I have even tried laminating scales off big grass carp to form handle slabs. It looked very unique but the grease in the scales kept the glue from holding well. I have a new plan to fix that so I'm gonna try it again this year if I can remember. I even have some gar skin I want to try but haven't had the opportunity to put it on a knife yet. You can use just about anything as a knife handle if you work at it long enough and try it enough ways.

Hell, Oupa even made handles out of kangaroo dung and cow pies! :shock: If sh!t can make a handle anything can!!!! :lol:

Hey MM, how thick are the guitar picks? Can you post a picture? Thanks


I'll have to find them and take pics. Before knives there were guitar picks I have a couple hundred made of various materials (including that pretty purple mussel shell) most are not flexible including the bone, they are maybe 1/16" thick or a hair under. Once I got tired of making them and no one buying them along came knives then I didn't have that problem anymore

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:50 pm 
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Elvis wrote:
Another to add to the list would be good old corn cob stabilized with clear epoxy or even super glue. Since you have three turtle shells, try cutting out a piece wide and long enough for a knife scale, boil it then clamp it between two pieces of wood for a few days to allow it to dry. Repeat as needed until you can get it perfectly flat and please let us know how it goes for you.


Don't forget your other cool stabilized handle materials too Bob, the sweetgum "porky pine eggs" were one of my favorites.

Another one that just came to mind were my genuine peach seed handles. Made from real peach pits. Now that I have a better" handle" on what i'm doing these could be used to make some very unique tidy looking handles.
Image
Image

Here's a TL-29 in Hickory bark
Image
Image

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:52 pm 
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WB58 & MM, what great looking knives you guys make. It must feel good to be able to use your ingenuity, experience and talent to create pieces of art. That's my goal.
Elvis, I'm working on the boiling bone & shell project but my scientific efforts are being hampered by someone who has no appreciation for this type of work. Not only can I not use her pots and pans to boil the deer bones and turtle shells but I can't even use the stove. I also am interested to see how these materials will take dye. I'll get this operation set up outside and see how it goes.
One encouraging thing, I have found, is that both the bone and the shell will buff up to be as smooth and glossy as glass. Al


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:52 pm 
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This is an update for those who may be interested in making poctet knife handles out of turtle shell. The top half of the turtle shell comes apart in sections like I have pictured. The problem is that the sections are small and curved (arched). By the time they are sanded flat, they are too small to use.
I have tried boiling the sections then clamping them flat. I had the most success by putting a section between two pieces of wood then clamping it down hard in a vice. I left it there overnight. The smallest sections are 7/8" x 2 5/8" and the largest are 1 1/2" x 3 3/8".
The first picture shows (6) sections (from left to right)
a. boiled, clamped, sanded and buffed
b. boiled, clamped and buffed
c. boiled only (in pickled beet juice)
d. sanded and buffed only
e. untreated inside of section
f. untreated outside of section
The last picture shows a side view so you can see the effects of boiling and clamping.
The bottom half of the turtle shell has somewhat larger and thicker sections that look more like bone. Al


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