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How to Make a subhilt knife part 5:
The Subguard

In this part of the tutorial we make the subguard and all the wooden handle pieces.


Part 1 of this tutorial is here



The sub guard

This is the part we are making. Shown by the green arrow.

The sub guard

We follow a similar process for making the sub guard as we did for making the guard. But this piece is smaller and a lot easier to make. Mark it out on your steel including where the slot goes. You can drill out that slot with a series of holes like you did for the guard. Or you can use cutting tools like a hacksaw to just saw it out. This is because the slot goes all the way to one end.

Fit the subguard on

Slide it right on. And just like you did with the guard, constantly check it as you are cutting out that slot.

The remaining handle pieces

Next we make the remaining wooden handle pieces. These four pieces shown here.

Second set of wooden pieces

Ok, easy enough if you already make the first two pieces. You just repeat the process. First drill the holes in the steel then cut a wooden piece to rough shape and a bit oversized. Drill through the steel and into each wooden handle piece.

This picture shows the set of handle pieces rough cut and in place.

Make sure all the previous pieces (wood and two steel guards) are in place before clamping and gluing.

Drill the handle

This picture shows the drilling of the second hole in the handle piece. We always use the steel knife as a guide so it all lines up correctly. And when drilling the second holes you can put a dowel pin in the first set of holes like you see. This ensures the holes line up correctly.

The wooden handle pieces
Ok! That major handle piece is temporarily pinned with dowels.

Notice how everything up until this point is in place. That is important for the assembly. Put the guard on, put the small wooden first pieces on, put the subguard on. Then measure and drill the steel and the wood for the major handle pieces.

Go ahead and repeat this process for the final two wooden pieces that go on the very end of the knife. And pin them in place with wooden dowels.

All of these wooden dowels are just temporary. We will remove and replace these to finish off the knife.

Rasp the handle

For me this is one of the most fun parts of the whole process. And it is pretty easy. You will do this part in a jiffy. Clamp the knife in a vise and rasp the wooden handle pieces into the shape you want. This is quick work compared to the steel work.

Notice how the vise is not clamped on those wooden pins. If you clamp on the pins the wooden parts will actually be loose on the blade.

Continue Rasping

Ok! Continue rasping away at it -getting it to shape. It looks great!!!

The work goes quick so take your time!

file the sub guard

One last thing to do is to file the edges of the subguard. We cut that steel square. Now we need to round those corners off so they match the wood nicely.

I like to rasp/file, then loo and rasp then file some more. Bringing down the wood and the steel evenly.

The handle looks good

That's it. Pretty close to final shape. It looks good. Let's move back to working on the blade including filing the bevels and heat treating it.


NextContinue with the tutorial

The Wonder of Knifemaking Book

The Wonder of Knifemaking

Master smith Wayne Goddard is an icon in the field of knife making. As a full-time maker, teacher and writer, Goddard works as hard to teach knife making skills as he does to acquire them. His affiliation with BLADE Magazine has brought new and interesting information, tips and tricks to thousands of would-be knife makers. Other popular titles from Goddard include The Wonder of Knifemaking (2000) and $50 Knife Shop (2001 and 2006).


Basic Knifemaking book


Basic Knife Making: From Raw Steel to a Finished Stub Tang Knife

Learn the craft of knifemaking. 205 color images and step-by-step instructions provide for all stages of construction, from selection of the steel, to forging the blade, assembling the handle, and constructing a holder.

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