Making a Wooden Handle Knife

I wanted to make my son Jim a knife to commemorate his reaching Eagle Scout.  I thought I would make the handle fit his hand perfectly, so we put a layer of modeling clay on both sides of the tang of a knife blank.  Jim then squeezed the handle and squished the modeling clay into a mold of his hand grip.  We let the clay dry, measured it for thickness at various points, then I set out to shape the wood handles to match his hand print as shown in the clay.

 The shape above was the clay mold of Jim's right hand as he gripped the handle of the knife.

The shape above was the clay mold of Jim's right hand as he gripped the handle of the knife.

The shot above is with the slab of wood flat on one side, with the brass rods sticking out.  The wood slabs have been epoxied onto the tang, and a excess around the tank was cut off using a hand operated jig saw, and a rotary sanding tube.  The excess brass was cut off using a dremel with a grinding blade.  The ridges of the mold were drawn on the wood for future shaping.  The blade was covered by duct tape, to protect the blade from scratches, and to protect me from getting cut.  It was critical to mount the knife so the blade was solid and accessible, by using C clamps to clamp it to a vice.

The shot above is with the rods filed off, and the side of the wood marked for removal of excess wood to the profile of the mold.  I thought the brass rods might present a problem when shaping the wood, but the rasp took the brass off about as fast as it took the wood off.

 Some more of the profile trimmed off, with the sides still vertical.  One brass rod ended up on the ridge between finger slots.

Some more of the profile trimmed off, with the sides still vertical.  One brass rod ended up on the ridge between finger slots.

 A finger slot started, and more of the top profile trimmed.

A finger slot started, and more of the top profile trimmed.

 More finger slots started, roughly trimmed off with a rasp.

More finger slots started, roughly trimmed off with a rasp.

 Sanding done!

Sanding done!

 and finally, a sheath to match, and the brass and blade polished up a bit.

and finally, a sheath to match, and the brass and blade polished up a bit.