Burning Handles


Active Member
Hey Dogs
I’ve been working on laser etching wooden handles for kitchen/other knives. I’ve tried a bunch of fancy stuff but this simple pattern is the best so far. Actually the FIRST so far 'cause I’m not sure of the sequence. I see two possible ways of doing this.
1) Mount up everything ahead of time with a close to finished look. For me that’s epoxying on the scales, setting pins, sanding and shaping up to 180 or 220. After that put the piece on the engraver and burn away. The laser cuts deep enough so that further fine sanding won’t erase the burn marks. Buffing is ok too. That’s the sequence I followed.
2) Make the scales and engrave ahead of time, then follow typical procedures for attaching, shaping, etc. I think this would require an extra deep burn so as not to lose the etching while shaping. Lots of radius edges to work with, so Maybe 1/8” deep on the burn.

During my experiments I was glad to find that the laser didn’t freak out when it wrote over the brass pins. These were sanded to 180, not polished so maybe that’s why it ran ok. I’d heard that any reflective surface would disorient the burn.

I’d be very happy to hear from anyone doing this kind of thing.

This little santoku is a blank from the Big Dog. These sell pretty well, finished for around $150. Logo (SpoonBowlKnife) is electro etched in a different process. One of the pix is just a show-off of my cool cardboard sheath which I use for distribution.


  • handleburn1-2.jpg
    62.8 KB · Views: 32
  • handleburn2.jpg
    133.4 KB · Views: 32
  • HandleBurn3.jpg
    260.1 KB · Views: 32
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
That looks good - nice etch on the blade, and the handle is really neat the way you used the laser to burn the spiral., AND the cardboard sheath - great idea.

What laser are you using for the work?


Active Member
So, the laser I’m using is an AtomStack A5, Model L40, 5 watts. This has roughly 18 X 18” work area. Comes unassembled but if you’re a maker this will not be a problem because instructions are in German, French, Mandarin.

Oh, yeh, English too. Very easy. With lasers and CNC everything is based on your skill with the SOFTWARE so if you’re OK with that it’s easy enough. I spent the last 20 years of my working life honking around in the Silicon Valley so software's not a big deal for me, knock on wood.

If you’re interested in doing laser engraving I’d suggest getting the software first and get familiar with that part. Many programs allow you to download a demo version before committing to the real thing. I use a generic paint program to create the images and another program to run the laser - LaserGRBL.

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the reply mr. Yeager. I appreciate the info. I'm really interested in this whole topic of laser engraving. There's so much to be done with it.


Active Member
Couple of more "fun with handle etching" examples. These were done on already completed knives which means it’s kind of a sudden death situation. Like, if something goes wrong, TS. Rip it out and start over. It’s hard to index the pattern front and back. You’d think you could just "endo" the piece but that geometry doesn’t work. Consequently I use burning patterns that are pretty random and don’t worry about the classic bookmatched faces.

Much safer on flat, detached scales


  • BEE11839-067D-4A0D-906C-3C94336029C5.jpeg
    1.2 MB · Views: 11
  • BBE6345C-BA3E-42F1-AE39-15B7431BE2E2.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 11
  • CF4D0057-714D-4DAA-9377-2B873A129953.jpeg
    1.3 MB · Views: 11