(11) Titanium and micarta sandwiches for the knife handles
(12) Milling away most of a titanium slab to make an integral bolster
(13) Dovetailing the bolster
In picture (11) we dispel any last ideas that you, dear reader, may have been clinging to
that knife handles for folders are in any way prefabricated for the aspiring
knife maker. I call this my "micarta sandwich". It is two pieces of 1/8th inch thick titanium,
a sheet of .050 titanium for the lock, and a sheet of micarta, all bolted together
through the pivot hole. You can see the outline of the desired handle shape drawn on the
metal which means that no two knives will ever be exactly identical even when made from
the same pattern. The sandwich idea is my way of keeping things lined up and
parallel while the handle is being built. Eventually, most of the micarta will be
cut away leaving just enough for the spine of the knife.
On an integral knife handle the bolster is one piece with the liner as opposed to mounting
a bolster onto the liner with screws or solder. The integral design allows for a thinner, lighter knife
with bolsters that absolutely cannot come off. Losing a bolster has never been
a problem for any knife maker I ever heard of but the extra strength and reliability
just makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
To get that integral bolster you have to remove a lot of metal so that most of that
1/8th inch bar becomes a thin liner upon which the handle material of your choice
will be mounted. Picture (12) shows this removal process as the mill cuts away the unwanted
After the bolster has been formed I like to undercut(13) it with a dovetail cutter. This
gives the handle material some extra support because it gets wedged under there. And
besides, it looks pretty snazzy.