A customer recently brought in a knife to have a new handle put on. It was a special knife because it was his wife’s mother’s knife and it had sentimental value. From my perspective, the knife had fantastic bones. Though it wasn’t a full-tang knife, it was made with a good steel and was a great tool. It simply needed a solid handle.
The challenge with a partial tang knife is making the handle secure so that downward pressures do not create a fulcrum effect within the handle. It is also a matter of aesthetics. Since the metal tang does not extend the full length of the handle, the metal would be visible for half the length and there would be a void for the rest. So, what I did to resolve that was to remove 2 mm from the top and bottom of the tang. And then I used a piece of black G10 liner material with the same thickness as the metal. This liner material went between the handles behind the tang, and it also went above and below the tang where I removed the metal. This is how the tang was secured and concealed without detracting from the appearance.
The owner selected a rather exotic wood for the scales, African Blackwood. It is a very dense, attractive wood from which woodwind instruments such as clarinets and oboes are made. It has a beautiful grain but it is very subtle and not overly visible. It does offer some challenges when using for knife scales. African Blackwood is a rather oily wood and, without proper treatment and preparation, bonding with epoxy could pose a challenge.
I am confident that this knife is stronger now than it ever was in its original handle. The customer was very pleased and I am looking forward to hearing about how his wife likes it.