A through tang knife handle is durable and can showcase a beautiful piece of wood.
The general construction looks like this:
I like to make my handles about 4 to 4-1/2" in length.
Before we get too far we need to look at the tang of the blade. It's going to have a keyhole cut into it before the blade is heat treated. I used stainless steel and have found this to be quite difficult to make this hole and cuts after heat treatment.
Don't worry if the screw seems too long, we're going to cut the excess off later.
You may now heat treat the blade as per your usual method.
I lay the tang on the stainless and mark where the bolster needs to be slotted out. Here I center punch and drill about 5 holes in a line.
These holes have to be smaller than the thickness of the tang at the shoulder. I like to use 5/64" or 3/32" drill bits depending on the thickness of the slot. You can file the slot a little bit larger, but you cannot make the slot smaller at any time.
Slip a short section of pipe over the tang and gently tap with a hammer. This will drive the bolster on that last 1% of the way. This should create a gapless joint.
The StackThe stack refers to all of the pieces that make up the handle. A mix of steel, brass, spacers, gemstone composite, leather, wood, Micarta, horn or any other suitable materials can be used. The requirement here is they are larger than your finished handle is going to be.
I use the drill press to drill three holes. The holes are typically 9/32" and they extend into the block just enough to fit the tang. Again, testing, drilling testing.
From the opposite side, drill a 3/16" hole. This hole will meet up with the slotted region inside the block.
A drop of tap fluid or oil will help with tapping any steel, especially brass or copper which tend to gum up taps.
The Glue Up
I mix up 10ml (2 TBSP) of G/flex and start by coating the back of the front bolster. Then add the next piece of the stack.
Push the block on to the tang until the screw sticks out the hole. Add any spacers here, each with their own coating of epoxy.
5 to 10 pounds force is what I use.
Wipe up the excess epoxy as best you can. Clean around the blade and front bolster. Armor All wipes seem to work well for this.
Now we wait for the epoxy to cure. With G/flex, I always wait over night.
Shaping the Handle
One last step will be to oil the handle with a buff with a clean cotton wheel. Wax or other sealants can be applied here.