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Stacked birch bark knife handle

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Project by Dave Polaschek posted 04-22-2019 03:22 PM 705 views 1 time favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a stacked birch bark handle on a carving knife built on a Morakniv 2/0 (carbon steel) blade blank.

Pretty simple. Just take pieces of bark, scrape off the loose papery bits from the outside and any woody bits from the inside, punch a hole in it about the size of the tang, and thread it onto the tang. Alternate the direction for strength. Once you’ve run out of tang, bake the bark for a few hours at 110C or 220F, and compress it. It’ll probably compress at least 10%.

Once done baking, put on a pommel, and peen over the tang to hold it in place (or thread the tang and screw on the pommel). Then shape the handle.

The lighter layers in this one are white (paper) birch, and the darker layers are yellow birch (which is thicker, but a little harder to work with).

The brass bolster was made by a friend with an end mill, and the pommel just has a single hole drilled in it, so that was done by hand. Shaping was done with a bandsaw, then a belt sander. Once shaped, the handle was soaked in BLO for about 20 minutes, then wiped dry. After two weeks, it’s almost cured.

-- Dave - Minneapolis





27 comments so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

5966 posts in 1074 days


#1 posted 04-22-2019 03:29 PM

Max just made one of these they are so very kewl looking did you glue yours? or just let the tar do its job ? GREAT JOB :<)))))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2509 posts in 1182 days


#2 posted 04-22-2019 03:31 PM

Another neat job D’P’... but what’s with all these knives? Do you have wild critter and burglar problems or do you just like peeling spuds?

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3667 posts in 944 days


#3 posted 04-22-2019 03:56 PM

Tony, I just let the pitch do its thing. That’s the baking part.

LBD, I’ve been giving carving knives to various folks as gifts. Bought 9 blanks from Sweden at once to save on shipping costs.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View oldrivers's profile

oldrivers

1667 posts in 1928 days


#4 posted 04-22-2019 05:21 PM

Very good, great work.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Tom Regnier's profile

Tom Regnier

372 posts in 2909 days


#5 posted 04-22-2019 06:41 PM

Really cool technique on this Dave…usually see it done in leather but ince again you push the envelope.
Very nice!

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

6018 posts in 2566 days


#6 posted 04-22-2019 08:09 PM

Dave,
It looks to me to be cutting edge technology at work, interesting process and up to your usual pioneering work.
How are you heating it to 110 deg C? ... I hope its not in the wifes kitchen !

-- Regards Rob

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3667 posts in 944 days


#7 posted 04-22-2019 08:42 PM

Thanks, guys.

Tom, birch bark seems easier to me than leather, since no additional glue is needed.

Rob, I have a small toaster oven in the garage for just such shenanigans. Keeps me from having to sleep there. ;-)

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View jeffswildwood's profile

jeffswildwood

3910 posts in 2339 days


#8 posted 04-22-2019 11:16 PM

Dave, that’s an interesting concept. Nicely done!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2509 posts in 1182 days


#9 posted 04-23-2019 01:06 AM



LBD, I’ve been giving carving knives to various folks as gifts….

Happily observed you chose the word folks rather than friends... quickly checked my letter box… empty… then I remembered USPS doesn’t work on Easter…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3667 posts in 944 days


#10 posted 04-23-2019 08:02 AM

Thanks, Jeff. It’s a traditional Finnish and Russian thing. Or really anywhere with birch forests and cold weather. Look up puukko if you’d like to know more.

LBD, I don’t believe I have your address, and post to Oz definitely takes a while. You’ll need to wait patiently by the letter box a bit longer.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2509 posts in 1182 days


#11 posted 04-23-2019 08:21 AM



... I don’t believe I have your address…
- Dave Polaschek

Just tell the postie it’s the idiot with the tent pitched next to his letter box!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3667 posts in 944 days


#12 posted 04-23-2019 08:28 AM

Just tell the postie it’s the idiot with the tent pitched next to his letter box!

That might confuse him. Usually that means Kenny. Maybe I need to specify in a tent with high heels, rather than in a tent wearing a cape. ;-)

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2509 posts in 1182 days


#13 posted 04-23-2019 08:47 AM


in a tent with high heels


-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

2729 posts in 2710 days


#14 posted 04-23-2019 11:25 AM

Dave – you knife making ideas keep getting more innovative. I still need to read the book you sent me and try mine out.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

618 posts in 1002 days


#15 posted 04-23-2019 11:25 AM

Awesome job Dave!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

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