Profile perimeter finishing on etched blade - question.

Delta Handmade Knives

Active Member
Scenario: You are making a full tang knife with a dark etched blade. You put on your handle scales and grind out your handle shape. You finish up your handle nicely to a high grit. Here is the thing, when you are finishing your handle shape, there are many times when you have to sand the exposed steel of the tang part of the knife. In my limited experience I see this causes the etch on that area to become lighter. Now you have one finish on the spine of the blade and a different finish (due to the handle shaping/sanding) on the tang. (hope that makes sense)

How do you guys deal with that?

Chris Railey

I etch the spine and tang with a q tip. Just keep it wet. It might not have the same darkness but it blends very nicely. I have not had a problem with it effecting the handle material.
Are you using a ferric chloride mix? I have used Birchwood Casey's Super Blue and it works well but it sometimes changes the color of bare wood.


Well-Known Member
Hey Chris. What I have done is to put masking tape on the scales, put a very small drop of superglue on the scales near the ends (not too close) and position the scales using the pins. Do the major shaping and finish the edges around the tang. Take apart, and finish the rest normally.


Well-Known Member
This is more than likely the smartest way to do it. What do you use for temporary holding?
Well that would depend on how you attach your handles. I counterbore everything for corby's, so any chicago type screw that sits below the handle will allow finish shaping and easy removal. If it's pin only I've seen where some folks use a drop of CA to hold it in place. I'd bet there's a curve in learning how much to use.

Either way, you have to have snug fastener holes or dedicated locating pins. A few thousandths of movement is too much to count on fitting back up good.

I much prefer pre-fitting before glue up. Its not my standard practice, yet, but it's just so much darn easier when you can wipe the glue of the spines and save re profiling everything pretty much after glue up.

badge 405

I attach my handles permanently, shape and finish sand. Prior to putting any finish on the handles, I put painters tape on the wood around the handle then use a q tip with ferric chloride mix on the tang. Takes a little extra time but works great. I have had the ferric chloride discolor lighter woods. The painters tape prevents that.