How to get a nice butt?

Daniel Macina

Well-Known Member
Made you look didn’t I? Hahahaha!

in all seriousness when shaping my handles I keep having trouble getting the butt to look right I like a nice swell similar to what is pictured here but cannot seem to get it consistently no matter how hard I try to keep my steps consistent from handle to handle. Was just wondering if anyone had any tips for a nice swell on the back end?C3F22A72-43CD-4F23-984D-A057F817C0DB.png8F657AC6-71EF-4E03-9B71-E18281BDAA08.pngThanks!
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
It can be more about the contour than the actual shape. Don’t be afraid to really pinch it thin and take that pinch to the edge of the butt for more dramatic lines. Another aspect is the actual butt end. Less round, more striking angles.
 

Attachments

  • 13762977-DA30-444B-A1A8-9AC27D190C29.jpeg
    13762977-DA30-444B-A1A8-9AC27D190C29.jpeg
    697.2 KB · Views: 14
  • C8F0C818-4D81-4706-99FF-8CD1FDED993D.jpeg
    C8F0C818-4D81-4706-99FF-8CD1FDED993D.jpeg
    121.4 KB · Views: 14
  • 606A91C8-CCC1-4E44-8C42-1348269316D0.jpeg
    606A91C8-CCC1-4E44-8C42-1348269316D0.jpeg
    779 KB · Views: 12
  • 6CAE67A3-30EB-4D8E-ABB3-E88B43BA0FF8.jpeg
    6CAE67A3-30EB-4D8E-ABB3-E88B43BA0FF8.jpeg
    795.4 KB · Views: 13
  • 8EBE93F8-F0DA-4CD5-A06E-CA1D2CB3C1B3.jpeg
    8EBE93F8-F0DA-4CD5-A06E-CA1D2CB3C1B3.jpeg
    670.2 KB · Views: 14
  • D9369BED-FF44-454A-9A4E-75E66F69BE9A.jpeg
    D9369BED-FF44-454A-9A4E-75E66F69BE9A.jpeg
    1.8 MB · Views: 12

scherf68

Well-Known Member
Every butt has an admirer, learned this many years ago, believe it applies to knives as well. To me, my worst design has had more likes on facebook/instagram posts.
 

Owl

Gold Membership
Here's an article by Andy Roy ( Fiddleback Forge) about handle shaping.
Take notice of his "poop rule", which applies to this.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
The first thing is to remember, that a handle should fit the human hand. And how is that done? Close your hand around any item, and notice that where the thumb and index finger wrap around..... it is the smallest grip area of the hand......and the area where the pinky finger and heel of the hand meet is the largest. So, a knife handle should be designed with the largest/widest portion at the rear, and taper both in height and width from there toward the front. From top to bottom, the handle should resemble a loose teardrop shape.

I'll also concur with the "less round" and more "crisp". Often times when the rear of a handle gets "out of whack", it's because the knifemaker went into grinding it without a plan....or didn't really know what to plan..... When you get to that point in ANY knife (the part about second guessing what to do), just take some time, look, think, and plan. Then go back, and take the look, think, plan break as often as needed.
 

Daniel Macina

Well-Known Member
Daniel, in which plane (or dimension) are you referring to?

Jus If you’re looking down onto the spine side of the knife I like the area after your pinky to have A nice swell there. Can’t figure out how to get a consistent results on that swell for whatever reason. I do layout lines and everything it just never comes out quite right.

Based on the advice others are giving though it looks like i’m not shaping my handles correctly in the first place so back to the drawing board.

can’t find a good picture illustrating what I mean And can’t quite figure out how to explain it. It looks like the type of swell I am after though isn’t particularly desirable so I’ll do some re-designs
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
Jus If you’re looking down onto the spine side of the knife I like the area after your pinky to have A nice swell there. Can’t figure out how to get a consistent results on that swell for whatever reason. I do layout lines and everything it just never comes out quite right.

Based on the advice others are giving though it looks like i’m not shaping my handles correctly in the first place so back to the drawing board.

can’t find a good picture illustrating what I mean And can’t quite figure out how to explain it. It looks like the type of swell I am after though isn’t particularly desirable so I’ll do some re-designs

I do that part first, after the profile is shaped to finish dimensions. I do mine on a 4" contact wheel but you could do it on a 2" wheel or 8"....whatever.
 

Gene Kimmi

KNIFE MAKER
Take a look at my Bowie KITH thread. I have pictures of how I do a sculpted handle using the 2" platen wheel. I now use an 8" wheel for that process.


One thing I notice on your knife, you have the butt of the knife scales rounded over quite a bit. I leave the butt square until the handle is completely shaped, then slightly round the edges off by "shoe shining" them by hand. About a 1/16" roundover.
 

Heikki

Well-Known Member
For a kind of "coke bottle" shape I use a contact wheel to rough it in like John said. Something like this, then start to shape it, sometimes with rasps and files first. I try to sketch it onto the handle material first to help me keep it even.

handlesketch.jpg
 

Daniel Macina

Well-Known Member
Take a look at my Bowie KITH thread. I have pictures of how I do a sculpted handle using the 2" platen wheel. I now use an 8" wheel for that process.


One thing I notice on your knife, you have the butt of the knife scales rounded over quite a bit. I leave the butt square until the handle is completely shaped, then slightly round the edges off by "shoe shining" them by hand. About a 1/16" roundover.

Thank you! I will have a look. I also shape mine on my 2 inch platen wheel just because I don’t have anything else at the moment. I’m sure you are right on rounding over the back to much as it’s at that step I tend to mess up pretty good it generally goes pretty good up until that point.

thank you everyone that is offered input. I needed this. Really been nagging at the back of my head that somethings not quite right.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
For a kind of "coke bottle" shape I use a contact wheel to rough it in like John said. Something like this, then start to shape it, sometimes with rasps and files first. I try to sketch it onto the handle material first to help me keep it even.

View attachment 75457

This is EXACTLY what I do. Then it's only a matter of rounding the parts that you don't want to be sharp. Every handle I do begins with four grinds on my contact wheel. That way I can get the points even and the thicknesses to the tang even, which is exactly what the red lines show in Heikki's excellent picture. That's critical. Once you have that, it's just a matter of removing anything that doesn't feel good in your hand. Sand, feel, sand, feel, sand, feel. Eventually you do enough of them that you can do it by eye and you'll do the "feel" part during hand sanding.
 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
Just curious if any of you use 1" scalloped belts for handle shaping. After roughing the general shape I've found using the top (horizontals) slack belt area of the grinder with a worn 220 or 400 git scallped belt to be a really good way of conturing a handle.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
Just curious if any of you use 1" scalloped belts for handle shaping. After roughing the general shape I've found using the top (horizontals) slack belt area of the grinder with a worn 220 or 400 git scallped belt to be a really good way of conturing a handle.

Some guys use them. I tried them and they weren't for me. By time I get there, I get a better finish by hand.

I have to ask though.....what's the reasoning/advantage to using a worn belt?
 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
what's the reasoning/advantage to using a worn belt?
I've found using a worn 220 JFlex seems to take off material but not too aggressively. The scalloped corners on a new beld tend to dig in, but if you 'wear" the scallop edge down a bit so they flex, it really allows for easy contouring & shaping while having control over how much material is coming off.
 

Heikki

Well-Known Member
Just curious if any of you use 1" scalloped belts for handle shaping. After roughing the general shape I've found using the top (horizontals) slack belt area of the grinder with a worn 220 or 400 git scallped belt to be a really good way of conturing a handle.
I've used both 1" and 2" scalloped jflex belts for handle finishing. I've been using rasps more and more lately, using the scalloped belts to do some blending before moving on to hand sanding.
 
Top