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How to Make Knife Scales at Home

Knife Scales

Tools Needed:
A table saw with a sharp cross cut blade, jointer and planer or a chop saw, belt sander, push stick, and square

Materials Needed:
8/4 “2” or 4/4 “1”thick stock depending on desired look, 120 and 220 sand paper.

The trick to making consistent knife scales is having the right tools and the right wood.

1) Buying Lumber:

I only buy kiln dried lumber to ensure that the cracks and warping will be minimized after cutting into the wood. If I can find 8/4 stock I'll cross cut the wood into scales, if I can only find 4/4 stock I'll make face cuts. The trick is to find exotic or desired lumber for the right size at the right price.

2) Jointing and Planing the Lumber:
It's important to start out with straight edges by running your lumber through your planer and jointer.
If you don't have a jointer or planer only buy the straightest pieces of lumber, and skip to steps 3c or 3d.

3a) Cross Cutting the 8/4 Lumber after Jointing and Planing:
Bring your jointed and planed lumber to your table saw. Set the blade at the appropriate height and set your fence to 3/8”. The next step is to make cross cuts on the board, making matchbook sets.

3b)Face Cutting the 4/4 Lumber after Jointing and Planing
Bring your jointed and planed limber to your table saw. Set your blade at the appropriate height and set your fence to 2”. Rip the boards into 2” strips, “making the boards 4/4 by 2”. Next re-adjust your table saw to rip the boards in half by setting your table saw fence at 3/8” and running your lumber though vertically.

3c) Cross Cutting the 8/4 Lumber Without Jointing or Planing:
Bring your lumber to your table saw. Set the blade at the appropriate height and set your fence to 3/8”. The next step is to make cross cuts on the board, making matchbook sets. Since the lumber was not planed or jointed, you will need to rip the matchbook sets face side independently to square them off.
Also cut the ends off even with a chop saw to desired to length to square off each pair independently.

3d) Face Cutting the 4/4 Lumber without Jointing or Planing:
Bring your jointed and planed limber to your table saw. Set your blade at the appropriate height and set your fence to 2”. Rip the boards into 2” strips “making boards 4/4 by 2”. Next, re-adjust your table saw to rip the boards in half by setting your table saw fence at 3/8” and running your lumber through vertically. Since the lumber was not planed or jointed, you will need to rip the matchbook sets face side independently to square them off. Lastly, cut the ends off even with a chop saw to desired to length to square off each pair independently.

4) Finishing your Scales:
After all of your scales are cut and match booked, I start out by belt sanding them lightly with 120 grit and move up to 220. After this you can start the knife making process, or seal them with shellac which is what I do for re-sale.

Once again, the trick to making consistent knife scales is having the right tools and the right wood. I have been making wood scales for a couple years, please message me with any questions. I also have a variety of wood scales for sale in my eBay store.

Thanks for your interest!