Adding Koa knife scales

  • Advertise with us
Project by vicrider posted 04-21-2022 03:31 AM 599 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have really enjoyed crafting these knives. I purchased the Tanto knife blank from some years ago, and the fillet knife blank from recently. Got asked to craft a gift, of any sort, and rummaged around in my ‘mebbe sometime’ locker. Hit on the big knife blank. I felt it wouldn’t do for the gift, but would give me practice for what I knew would be appropriate for this young man.

The Tanto was my first ever effort in knife crafting (I’m only adding to a very nicely and professionally made piece of steel; the actual knife making has to do with the metal). 5A Koa scales with ebony fillers, finished in hand-rubbed gloss poly. Since this was my first knife, naturally there are a couple small errors. So I probably get to keep it. The fillet knife is a gift for a favorite fisherman. Getting VERY hard to find this quality Koa anywhere.

The fillet knife was easier since I was able to dodge the errors in process and execution. Still a good amount of effort and care produced what I think is a fine beautiful tool. Epoxyed the pre-drilled ebony/koa scales. Installed brass pins Shaped with recip sander and files. Sanded to 300 grit and finished in beeswax and mineral oil. A simple finish but easily cleaned and refurb’d. I want him to use it.

In my research, I learned mostly that there are many, many knifemaker craftsmen, creating brilliant, beautiful, really sharp (in every sense), cutting, slicing, and dicing things. My efforts don’t hold a candle. If you’re interested just Google ‘knife making parts and materials’.

Having said all that, it was lots of fun, and whetted my apetite to do more and get better. I’ve ordered 3 more fillet knives.

Aloha from paradise,

-- vicrider

13 comments so far

View Andre's profile (online now)


5292 posts in 3300 days

#1 posted 04-21-2022 04:36 AM

Some nice color and grain, the Koa I brought back from Oahu was all burl, finish was marbled, still have a little left:)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View vicrider's profile


191 posts in 4393 days

#2 posted 04-21-2022 05:18 AM

Aloha Andre,
Yeah, I still have Koa I bought in ‘96. Takes a really great project to use Koa. There’s still some straight grain to be had but the luthiers buy up any highly figured boards (mostly cut very thin) at a steep premium. They craft super instruments with great skill and can command top money. There’s not much room for the little guy anymore. But I’m enjoying what I can get and of course, I live in paradise.

-- vicrider

View recycle1943's profile


7080 posts in 3116 days

#3 posted 04-21-2022 12:14 PM

I am not a knife maker but I can’t see any problems with either knife. The scales look great with the pronounced curl.
Good job on both.
I was fortunate to have gathered some some curly Koa and made a few things. One was a ‘tool box’ for my own use
Finding nice Koa here in Ohio is a real trick

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View pottz's profile


26565 posts in 2479 days

#4 posted 04-21-2022 02:32 PM

those are both gorgeous.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View therealSteveN's profile


10210 posts in 2068 days

#5 posted 04-21-2022 02:35 PM

Beauty knives, nice job.

-- Think safe, be safe

View torus's profile


563 posts in 1907 days

#6 posted 04-21-2022 02:53 PM

Nice work!

The website for is without ‘S’ in maker…

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

View bugradx2's profile


434 posts in 1514 days

#7 posted 04-21-2022 04:11 PM

they are beautiful. I love doing scales on knives, a great chance to show off the figure in a piece of wood on a small scale.

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

View vicrider's profile


191 posts in 4393 days

#8 posted 04-21-2022 07:33 PM

Thanks everyone

-- vicrider

View theoldfart's profile


13157 posts in 3945 days

#9 posted 04-21-2022 10:25 PM

Nice scale work vicrider. We just stayed near Kona last week. I bought some Koa from Aloha Hardwoods when we were there three years ago, it’s still in my stash. I’m going to put scales on a couple of Hock marking knives, hope mine come out. As well as yours.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View SubVette's profile


210 posts in 3040 days

#10 posted 04-21-2022 11:13 PM

Nice choice in wood,I do like the brass pins. Never done a knife but you have me thinking now.

-- John in Florida

View swirt's profile


7787 posts in 4466 days

#11 posted 04-23-2022 01:03 AM

Beautiful knives

-- Galootish log blog,

View AJ1104's profile


1557 posts in 3154 days

#12 posted 04-24-2022 01:06 AM

Nice knives! Great job selecting and building them. Great job!

-- AJ

View dovetaildoc's profile


6 posts in 261 days

#13 posted 05-10-2022 01:49 PM

You’re welcome

-- Thanks,Mike

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics