Boot Knife

Click on any of the thumbnails below for a more detailed photo

The boot knife presented here is one of the simplest knives to build since it doesn't have any bolsters or guards  to worry about. It makes an ideal beginners  project that gives you an attractive knife that you can point to with pride when completed.  These simple techniques can be used on more complex projects and learning these will encourage you to try more challenging designs. 

 Here's everything we need to complete this simple, attractive and functional boot knife: the blade itself, the scales of your choice ( I decided to use a nice Redwood Burl ) and some 3/32" brass rod pin material. Please note: the holes are metric and the pins will initially be slightly loose. Peening will take care of this later.
Trace he tang on the scales to remove some of the excess stock. Stay outside the lines to give the scales some room to play when gluing the scales to the blade. Since both sides are the same, you don't need to worry too much about which is right or left.

Finish the front of the scales now before attaching to the blade. It's a lot easier to do this now. I'm going to give them a gently curved front  face for appearance. 

Use a good 3 hour epoxy and a few clamps to attach the first scale to the blade. Pay close attention to placement and let cure overnight. 
When cured, use a 3/32" drill to drill through the blade and through the scale. This will provide precise hole placement. Notice the taped blade and the jig made from scraps of wood to hold the blade while drilling. For some reason the blade holes were a trifle undersized and required careful, slow drilling to enlarge the holes.

Mix up another small batch of epoxy and attach the second scale, making sure the fronts of the handles match up evenly.

With the previously drilled facing up and using the drilled holes as a guide,  drill through the undrilled side. Viola! Perfectly aligned pins holes! 

Add the pins of 3/32" brass rod and peen lightly. Don't overdue this and if the pins protrude a fraction of an inch, don't worry about it. We'll sand these flush in a moment.

I use the bench sander to start to remove all of the excess wood to take it down to the profile 
More sanding on the bench sander to reduce the slabs in size and give them a nice rounded profile. Check often to make sure that you're sanding both sides evenly and switch back and forth  between sides even more often

This is what the rounded profile looks like when you're getting close to being done sanding. Sand more lightly the closer you get to the final desired shape.
The redwood burl is a relatively soft and porous wood and to give it a harder density  and finish I use a water thin super glue  (available at any hobby shop) to saturate the handle. When it soaks in  , the redwood burl handle is as hard as a good stabilized wood.

Hand sand with a 180, 240 and then 400 grit sandpapers to give a final finish to the handle. The super glue finish is hard enough that no additional wood finish should be necessary.
The finished blade after the tape has been removed . The super glue darkens the finish and makes the burl pattern really pop out. Lovely. Anyone want to play poker?