Yakutian 125

Step by Step

  • I think about how I would like to design the handle to match the blade.
  • Then I put together the appropriate materials. I take a 2nd bolster with me to the workshop as a reserve if something goes wrong. Actually there are three forms available: bolster with straight slot, bolster with V-slot and bolster with V-slot and finger protection. The last one is slightly longer at the bottom.
  • Now the bolster is adjusted to the blade with a key file. On the photo I clamped the bolster into the vice. In order not to damage the material when clamping, I always use 2 plywood plates quasi as “cushions”.
  • For the last few millimeters I use a small metal tube and hammer instead of the key file, with the help of which I carefully beat the bolster up to the blade base. This way I can prevent the gap between the bolster and the blade from getting too big. Especially if, as with this knife, the blade is slightly offset at the top and bottom. From now on the bolster for all further steps remains on the tang and all other parts are numbered.
  • My 1st spacer this time is a piece of 2 mm cork to compensate for any unevenness. This spacer is not relevant for the look of the handle. I cut a rectangular piece with a pair of scissors, which is about the same size as the next one, and set the slot with a Japanese knife or Puukko so that the bolster matches the middle.
  • Next choose a piece of curly birch. So that I know where to drill, the knife is placed on the piece of wood so that the bolster is nicely centered. Afterwards I draw the tang and immediately set an arrow on to which side is below and in front (facing the blade) so that later during gluing the part is placed correctly. I draw the two lines to the front “around the corner” so that I know later how to drill the hole.
  • My 2nd spacer are 2 pieces of leather at 1 mm each. These are also cut with scissors and knife in such a way that they correspond to the size of the birch .
  • For the last part of the handle incl. knob I chose a piece of staghorn sumac . But it still has to be cut. For this step I can use a band saw. Unfortunately, I only have a metal saw blade at my disposal, i.e. the wood gets quite hot while sawing and since staghorn sumac is a hardwood I have to do this slowly and with short breaks to clean the blade inbetween. On the photo the “burns” are nicely visible. At the moment this is not so bad, because the wood is grated or sanded again during the shaping of the handle.
  • Again the line is drawn around the corner to drill at the right place later. It is important that I clearly indicate where the end of the tang lies so that I know later how and from where I can design the knob. I can also measure how deep the holes have to be.
  • For the next steps I have a vertical drilling machine at my disposal – of course all this can also be done with a hand drill and is sometimes even of advantage if, for example, depending on the shape of the tang, you have to drill at a slight angle. Here I use my own wood drills, which differ from other drills by their sharp tip.
    Depending on the width of the tang, it takes 2-3 drill holes and if the drill slips away between the holes, it must be rasped by hand with a small wooden rasp or file. On these photos you can see why I draw the lines “around the corner”. I have the width of the tang on the front and can place the hole in the middle.
  • Now everything is put together again one after the other and checked, before the knife is clamped to glue the handle.
  • For gluing I have a self-made clamp which our fitter made for me in the workshop. Advantage: as with this knife, I can also apply pressure at an angle.
  • Now part for part is glued with a 2-component adhesive. I take Araldite Classic and let the whole thing harden for at least 24 hours – even better 48 hours. The advantage of a slow hardening adhesive compared to a “Rapid Adhesive” is that I have enough time in case I have to correct something.
  • After the glue has hardened over the weekend, the most important work actually begins – shaping the handle. This can be done by hand with various rasps and files. I have access to a belt grinder, which of course saves a lot of time.
  • With the slightly coarser sanding belt I gave the handle its basic shape. For the design of the details I used the Dremel with the small sanding roller.
  • If the handle fits well in the hand, everything is fine sanded by hand and finally oiled – in this case with Johnson’s Baby Oil.