2020 Knife Swap

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Project by mistermoe posted 11-29-2020 02:11 AM 927 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Fall 2020 Knife Swap was my first LJ Swap event, and my first time making a knife of any kind. I had a “Plan A” project, which was really too ambitious for my first knife project. I was wise enough to have a Plan B, which quickly became the new Plan A. It started with a Morakniv blade with hidden tang, bookmatched zebrawood scales for a handle and a set of brass pins, all sourced on Amazon.

I drew a mock-up of a handle shape, thinking I would keep it simple. But looking at handle shapes I liked, I didn’t think the zebrawood had enough width to make the flare I wanted on either end. So I rooted through my exotics bin and settled on a block of bocote. It has a strong contrasting grain, so I knew i had to orient the grain somewhat opposite the zebrawood.

The bocote is a good bit harder than the zebra, so I shaped the bolster end first, on a 4” stationary belt and oscillating spindle sander, then marked and shaped the zebra to mate. The pieces matched well, but I added a green leather spacer, both to forgive any small irregularities and to create a contrasting border. The brass pin provided enough compression to keep the front assembly together and let the epoxy set.

Next I shaped the butt end piece of bocote and then shaped the zebra to mate. I did have to add an internal pin to help link the tail piece to the body. Epoxying the tail pieces took a little creative taping and clamping.

In the final shaping, I had to work the bocote first, then the transitions to the zebra body. The leather roughed up and stayed a little proud of the wood. I considered hardening it with CA and then sanding flush, but… I kinda liked the feel of it.

It’s finished with mineral oil/orange oil with beeswax buffed in – which is what I use for my tool handles. All in all it was a successful learning project and I hope was worthy of the LJ Swap tradition!

-- But Honey I really *needed* that (saw/plane/chisel...)

11 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10542 posts in 2081 days

#1 posted 11-29-2020 03:29 AM

Nice job, and you’re no longer a swap newbie!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View torus's profile


563 posts in 1912 days

#2 posted 11-29-2020 03:38 AM

Handle design is superb!

-- "It's getting better..." - put this on my RIP stone!

View clieb91's profile


4267 posts in 5434 days

#3 posted 11-29-2020 01:08 PM

I am the happy recipient of this knife and it certainly is worthy. Came out just gorgeous and very glad you did not use the CA as I prefer the feel of the wood in my hand.
Welcome to the fun of the swaps. Hope you will continue to join.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View EarlS's profile


5615 posts in 3847 days

#4 posted 11-29-2020 01:18 PM

First, let me say that the handle looks amazing. The combination of zebrawood running at an angle to the bocote with the leather spacer immediately caught my eye. I need to find out who your exotic supplier is. My zebra wood doesn’t come close to looking as good as yours does.

Hopefully you will continue to participate in the swaps. They are rather addictive.

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

View jeffswildwood's profile


5160 posts in 3476 days

#5 posted 11-29-2020 01:56 PM

Pete, you did an amazing job on this knife. There is something about that handle that I just like. Very creative. Thanks for joining and look forward to seeing you in future swaps.

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

View mistermoe's profile


45 posts in 3293 days

#6 posted 11-29-2020 02:00 PM

Thanks for all the comments. I had a lot of fun and used a bunch of my sailor vocabulary when I hit some of the challenges, haha.

I had no idea how the leather was going to work out, but it didn’t fall apart when I was shaping it, so I hope it has a long life.

The zebrawood was from Maragos Wood supplied by CT Tools on Amazon. It’s sanded to 600 and finished with a mix I use for my hand tools… Mineral oil with some orange oil (smells nice) emulsified in beeswax buffed in pretty good (I have my buffing wheel on my drill press). And then I do the same with a little paste wax to finish. It does take a little maintenance but I like the feel.

Have fun with your projects this winter!

-- But Honey I really *needed* that (saw/plane/chisel...)

View mistermoe's profile


45 posts in 3293 days

#7 posted 11-29-2020 02:10 PM

Oh, one other project note that I will use in the future. I hadn’t figured out how I was going to create the slot in the bolster for the tang to slide through.

I ended up putting the piece of bocote in my x/y machinists vise and putting a dremel bit in my drill press. I used a little too large a bit, but it worked a charm, once I got the hang of it. The vise allowed me to move the piece precisely and smoothly.

Stone age CNC, if you will. Necessity is the mother possibly terrible ideas that sometimes work out. Haha.

-- But Honey I really *needed* that (saw/plane/chisel...)

View GR8HUNTER's profile


9703 posts in 2211 days

#8 posted 11-29-2020 02:58 PM

i love the wood combo on this very nice knife NOOB NO MORE GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View sras's profile


6727 posts in 4628 days

#9 posted 11-29-2020 05:47 PM

Nice work combinig the 2 different woods in a crative way. Beautiful!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View duckmilk's profile


5213 posts in 2823 days

#10 posted 11-29-2020 06:28 PM

The shape of the handle looks really comfortable and the wood choices are very appealing. Nice work!

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View clieb91's profile


4267 posts in 5434 days

#11 posted 11-29-2020 07:25 PM

Duck the handle is quite comfortable to hold on to and provides an excellent grip.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

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