Knife Scales, Handle Blanks, Pen Blanks

House of Burl – burl wood for sale; knife scales, knife handle blanks, pen blanks, turning wood blocks from highly figured well seasoned burl wood, ironwood, rare hardwood, and old growth wood. Because of their hardness our samples of spalted maple, black ash burl, and Australian lace wood required more cutting power and dulled our tools a little more quickly than nonstabilized wood….All cutting operations, especially turning, created clouds of fine dust, so be sure to wear an approved respirator while working it….You don’t have to apply a finish to stabilized woods.

Hickory wood is extremely tough, yet flexible, and is valued for tool handles, bows (like yew), wheel spokes, carts, drumsticks, golf club shafts (sometimes still called hickory stick, even though made of steel or graphite), walking canes etc. If you were forging a knife you would be able to take just about anything that was steel and reshape it into a knife.

The MSDS for Minwax High Performance Wood Hardener states that it is 72% acetone, which leads me to believe some kind of acrylic is dissolved in the acetone. This little pen knife belonged to my grandfather and was in pretty bad shape by the time it passed to me. Being a farmer’s son and living on a farm he simply took the knife out to the farm forge (which most farms had because they used horses so much) and reforged the blade. The information and descriptions below are derived from over 30 years of my experience using the woods for knife handles, cases, stands, and in other cabinet, furniture, and turning projects.

Draw the shapes on the show” side of your workpiece, and mark the scales with an L” and R” to orient them clearly. The downside would be that what is beautiful in a floor may be unremarkable in something the size of a knife handle. Excellent for decorative turnings, inlay, high end custom furniture, and of course, knife handles. As you can see, each mammoth tooth scale is unique and will give your knife a very unique look.

The heavy, close-grained yellow-orange wood is very dense and is prized for tool handles, tree nails, fence posts, electrical insulators, and other applications requiring a strong dimensionally stable wood that withstands rot. Thuya is almost always used in burl form, which means digging out the root ball of the tree, which is an expensive way to harvest wood indeed! The purpose of the stabilizing is to make the wood much more durable than it would be naturally, and to lessen the chance of the wood shrinking or expanding. Also called Olivewood, the small, twisted olive tree produces some fine curly figured hardwood for knife handles.

Important: see also my page on man made handle materials which has extensive information on these wood products at this bookmark. It is typically orange or reddish-brown in color, often with a figuring of darker irregular traces weaving through the wood. Shelf life isn’t the best,however, if you don’t have uses for it other than a few knife scales there might be considerable waste. Looking at the availability of various exotic hardwoods, one would think that only a dozen or so rate use for a custom knife handle.


Cut out the steel with a variety of tools including grinder, hacksaw, jewelers saw until the profile or outline of the knife is correct. The wood is hard (a hardwood), tough and very strong but elastic, extensively used for making bows, tool handles, quality wooden baseball bats and other uses demanding high strength and resilience. It is a medium sized tree, and is planted often for shade, the form of the tree has multiple branches and therefore whorls and crotches in the wood.

When ordering a knife with a wood handle, let us know if you prefer a particular look and we will try to accommodate you. Then lay the knife on the scale blank so the bolster is snug against the angled end of the wood. After wrapping the bolsters with tape to protect the metal, install a coarse sanding sleeve in your spindle sander (or a sand- ing drum in your drill press) to sand the two scales until their edges are flush with the metal liners.

I cleaned out the slot with my knife at the same time and removed any epoxy that was fouling the surfaces, then glued the spline into place with Titebond III. It has a beautiful curly figure and I’m thinking now maybe it would be wasted on the knife. Allow the use of wood species that are gorgeous, but have previously been considered too unstable for use. The name sometimes refers to three species of trees, all called Lignum Vitae (The wood of life), whose resin was believed to cure illnesses.

These are tough, durable, long lasting and waterproof wood products, and sometimes have bold colors, stripes, and figure. I can think of another wood that probably won’t need stabilizing, it should be arriveing soon Mark.I think you are on the money, if it’s soft it would probably benefit from the stabilizing, otherwise, hard,oily, well dried and sealed woods should be OK,like Gidgee. I’ve applied that real world experience with valid information to nail down a specific description of the wood.

Now clamp that knife down and use a wood rasp to get the handle just about to it’s final shape. Those persistent enough to bear with the difficulties of working with Bloodwood to the finishing stage are rewarded with an exceptional and lustrous red surface. Hi Dan, I’m just starting my own knife making journey, and while working at creating some sort of workshop out here (I’m welsh, but currently living in Southern Brazil), I’m really interested in gathering some interesting materials to make handles from.

At the end of the day, your mammoth ivory knife will earn you many compliments and will make for a fantastic long term companion! I’ve used it extensively in fine knife handles, and it’s a great, long lasting, hard, dense glassy handle, wonderful to touch. Once you’ve got an accu- rate test hole, drill the four counterbores into the two scales at the centerpoints you marked previously. One of the main factors is whether it is an open grain wood like Oak and Mahogany or a closed grain wood like Maple or Ebony, then there are the in-between woods like Cherry and Walnut.

On the left we have some spalted maple, int he middle there some maple burl and on the right some yellow birch. Myrtle Burl is reported to be highly prized for its excellent and swirling stumpwood, clusters, and burls. One of the nicest aspects of a wood handle is that no two pieces are identical. Weight, density and mass of the natural wood are greatly increased by the process as is surface wearability. Probably the most bizarre knife I have ever made, thanks to the condition of the wood. To keep a glass smooth surface I think that you would need to apply a hard coating like a polyurethane finish, or use stabilized wood.

For any knife repair like this you will have to remove the old scale(s), clean and sand the metal parts the new scales will mount on, cut the scale blanks to fit, shape and contour the scales to a close fit, epoxy them into place, shape, sand and buff the whole knife. Using rasps and files as appropriate, bring the scales down flush to the metal parts so you can’t feel the transition with your finger tips. My opinion is that a proper finish that seals the wood will prevent that from happening.