Knife Scales

What are knife scales?

Swede Rican Knife scales are either wood, antler, bone, metal, or epoxy resin material that are used to construct a knife handle. Essentially, two pieces of material are placed on both sides of the metal tang (the bare handle) and secured with either pins, rivets, or military grade aerobatic epoxy. After the material is secured to the tang, the material is shaped into a handle, sanded, finger grooves added and then polished and sealed for durability.

Making knife scales:

Tools Needed:

A table saw with a sharp cross cut blade, jointer and planer or a chop saw, belt sander, oscillating belt sander push stick, and square

Materials Needed:

8/4 “2” or 4/4 “1” thick stock depending on desired look, 80 grit through 2000 grit sand paper.

*note: prior to beginning any domestic wood, I always stabilize. See notes for stabilization of wood. Basically, this process ensures the hardness and durability of domestic wood. Most exotic wood does not need to be stabilized due to its naturally occurring denseness, hardness, and specific gravity

The trick to making consistent knife scales is having the right tools and the right wood/material.

1) Buying Lumber:

We only use kiln dried lumber (unless we stabilize) to ensure that the cracks and warping will be minimized after cutting into the wood. If we can find 8/4 stock, we cross cut the wood into scales. If we can only find 4/4 stock, then we’ll make face cuts. The trick is to find exotic or desired lumber for the right size at the right price.

2) Jointing and Planing the Lumber:

It’s important to start out with straight edges by running your lumber through your jointer/planer.

If you don’t have a jointer or planer, we recommend only buying the straightest pieces of lumber, and skip to steps 3c or 3d.

3a) Cross Cutting the 8/4 Lumber after Jointing and Planing:

Bring your jointed and planed lumber to your table saw. Set the blade at the appropriate height and set your fence to 3/8” . The next step is to make cross cuts on the board, making matchbook sets.

3b) Face Cutting the 4/4 Lumber after Jointing and Planing.  Bring your jointed and planed limber to your table saw. Set your blade at the appropriate height and set your fœmakingence to 2”. Rip the boards into 2” strips, making the boards 4/4 by 2”. Next re-adjust your table saw to rip the boards in half by setting your table saw fence at 3/8” and running your lumber though vertically.

3c) Cross Cutting the 8/4 Lumber Without Jointing or Planing:

Bring your lumber to your table saw. Set the blade at the appropriate height and set your fence to 3/8”. The next step is to make cross cuts on the board, making matchbook sets. Since the lumber was not planed or jointed, you will need to rip the matchbook sets face side independently to square them off.

Also cut the ends off even with a chop saw to desired to length to square off each pair independently.

3d) Face Cutting the 4/4 Lumber without Jointing or Planing:

Bring your jointed and planed limber to your table saw. Set your blade at the appropriate height and set your fence to 2”. Rip the boards into 2” strips making boards 4/4 by 2”. Next, re-adjust your table saw to rip the boards in half by setting your table saw fence at 3/8” and running your lumber through vertically. Since the lumber was not planed or jointed, you will need to rip the matchbook sets face side independently to square them off. Lastly, cut the ends off even with a chop saw to desired to length to square off each pair independently.