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Questions about making scales from wood scraps #8787340 01/24/23 08:40 PM
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Jamoke Offline OP
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I have some hardwood that I have been saving, tons of oak, 3 black walnut logs and I am supposed to pick up some Bois D'Arc some time this week. Do you all buy scales prehardened with resin or do you make your own? I like doing things myself when I can, I hate the thought of buying a vacuum and a sealed container to put the wood into. Is it worth the money and time to do it myself? Do any of you make your own scales? Is there a way to use the wood without negative pressure? can I build my own tank with a pressure cooker? Any and all comments are appreciated. Chris From Belton

Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8787735 01/25/23 03:01 PM
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chopsknives Offline
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You can build a vacuum stabilizer for less than $50!! Youtube vids brake bleeder tool stabilizer

Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: chopsknives] #8787740 01/25/23 03:12 PM
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Jamoke Offline OP
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Thank you So much for replying. I will look into it. Have you built or bought one? Do you use premade scales or do you make your own? Thanks Chris

Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8787977 01/25/23 09:53 PM
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I'm new to this and curious as well. If the wood is dry, does it need to be pre-hardened? What would be the consequences of making the handle out of the wood in its current state and sealing it with something like tung oil?

I'm in a similar situation with a bunch of various hardwood scraps.


"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." - Ecclesiastes 9:10
Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8788157 01/26/23 02:29 AM
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I’m not a regular contributor here but have made hundreds of knives. And, bought a lot of steak knife blades from Jantz Supply and added handles(scales).

As long as the wood has seasoned, you shouldn’t have a problem.


Without a sense of urgency, nothing ever happens.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley, Rancher Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Dave Davidson] #8788213 01/26/23 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson
I’m not a regular contributor here but have made hundreds of knives. And, bought a lot of steak knife blades from Jantz Supply and added handles(scales).

As long as the wood has seasoned, you shouldn’t have a problem.


Ok great. Pretty much all of it is fully seasoned and just the scraps of what is now furniture. Thanks!


"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." - Ecclesiastes 9:10
Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8788314 01/26/23 12:22 PM
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Jamoke Offline OP
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Dave Thanks for your comments. I think I will purchase the equipment and give it a try. If any of you live around Belton Tx want to come over and try this with me you are welcome just PM me. Chris

Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8788387 01/26/23 02:16 PM
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Not close to Belton, but I am interested to hear how it goes. Post an update for us!


"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." - Ecclesiastes 9:10
Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8789117 01/27/23 12:31 PM
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Stabilizing the wood with "Cactus Juice" does a few things. First off it does make the wood very hard, it does make it impervious to moisture and heat resistant up to 400 deg. I believe. The biggest advantage is the fact that you can use odd things to make a scale like spalted wood (cool grain but not too stable in current state), pine cones, cactus etc...
I don't make knives but I do stabilize wood for others.


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Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: RattlesnakeDan] #8789368 01/27/23 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by RattlesnakeDan
Stabilizing the wood with "Cactus Juice" does a few things. First off it does make the wood very hard, it does make it impervious to moisture and heat resistant up to 400 deg. I believe. The biggest advantage is the fact that you can use odd things to make a scale like spalted wood (cool grain but not too stable in current state), pine cones, cactus etc...
I don't make knives but I do stabilize wood for others.


Good to know. Thank you. So if I'm using hardwoods like walnut, oak, bois d'arc, etc, do you think it would be worth the added effort to stabilize it?


"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." - Ecclesiastes 9:10
Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8791163 01/30/23 12:32 PM
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Let me interject one thing no one has mentioned about stabilizing your woods, hard or otherwise. The most important thing is to insure there is NO moisture in the wood. I don't care how long it has been dry wood absorbs moisture just from sitting in a dry warm place. Moisture meters are worthless, most kiln dry woods are about 15 % moisture content, and moisture will damage your vacuum pump. The ticket to making sure the wood is ready for stabilization is putting what appears to be dry wood in a good temperature controlled oven at 200 degrees until all the moisture is gone. I use a scale that measures grains and write on each piece what it weighs. Repeat the process until the weight is the same, it may take a day or five days, eventually the heat will dry it completely. When it's the same weight immediately put it in a baggy to keep it from absorbing moisture in the air. Then you are ready to stabilize your wood. There is no shortcuts to stabilizing correctly. Forget the youtube videos about using minwax wood hardner, just a waste of time and money, it's good for your deck but not your knife scale. I sell over 300 knives a year and have been for 20 years, I don't get knives back because the scales are cracked or swollen. Cactus juice is the best!

Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8791284 01/30/23 03:32 PM
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Jamoke and others, I’ve made an awful lot of knives and despise stainless steel except for serrated kitchen steak knives and I’ll never make another serrated blade. It just doesn’t take the edge that high carbon does and is a pain in the butt to build. I have a supply of used industrial hacksaw blades that I often use for blades. It tarnishes but good steel always does. I use craft wood for handles (scales) plus brass pins and epoxy. You’ll appreciate light weight rubber nurse gloves. No way I can keep the epoxy where I want it and it takes awhile to rub off my hands with alcohol.

Agree with Jank about the cactus juice.

If you can afford hearing aids and don’t mind saying “hunh” for the rest of your life, you don’t need ear protection when using a sander.

Of the hundreds that I’ve made over the years, I’ve never sold one.

Again, check out Jantz Supply to get started.

Last edited by Dave Davidson; 01/30/23 03:33 PM.

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Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley, Rancher Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8791320 01/30/23 04:13 PM
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Thank you all for the info. I bought a vacuum set from Amazon, 5 gal chamber, tempered glass heavy duty pump. I cut up some wood this weekend, I will dry until the weight stays the same and then dry some more. I have a gallon of cactus Juice (stuff isn't cheap) and a couple of old toaster ovens. Don't want to ruin our home oven. I will let you all know with pictures once I give it a try.

Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8793647 02/02/23 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Jamoke
Thank you all for the info. I bought a vacuum set from Amazon, 5 gal chamber, tempered glass heavy duty pump. I cut up some wood this weekend, I will dry until the weight stays the same and then dry some more. I have a gallon of cactus Juice (stuff isn't cheap) and a couple of old toaster ovens. Don't want to ruin our home oven. I will let you all know with pictures once I give it a try.

Sounds like you're ready to go, please send in some pictures of your work. Some of us might want to buy some scales from you.

Re: Questions about making scales from wood scraps [Re: Jamoke] #8795896 02/05/23 08:52 PM
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I save any kind of wood that I think would make good scales, years in climate controlled, I don't worry about it.


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