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Ferrule matherials

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Anton, May 10, 2015.

  1. I'm not a big fan of buffalo horn ferrules on WA handles, so I'm always looking for various substitutions. So far I was able to find several kinds of plastic which works pretty well, but I'd like to expand my choices. Another obvious choice is to use wood. I tried several species, and Grenadillo worked best for me, but I wasn't able to buy that staff lately. Tried Gaboon Ebony (the black one), but that that stuff is tricky to work with and doesn't worth the efforts IMO (compared to Grenadillo or plastic).

    I hoped to try black paper micarta but couldn't find it in a suitable size (most sources sell only thin scales/sheets). Watched few videos about making micarta, and while it sounds pretty straightforward I'm not yet ready to endanger our small apartment to such a mess. Any hints where I could buy the bigger pieces?

    What have you tried and liked or hated? What's your preferences?

    I'm also a big fan of Bloodroot blades guys, who seems to be able to turn anything into handle. A piece of metal? They will forge it. A piece of cloth? They will cook micarta out of it. Pretty cool.
  2. Tried corian yet?
  3. I use it for spacers from time to time, cause so far I could find only a thin sheets of Corian. Pretty easy to work material that is a bit harder compared to other types of plastics that I tried.
  4. Recently someone showed me raffir. I know nothing about it other than that it is synthetic, but it looked nice.
  5. IMO Raffir is just another name for plastic. Brisa also offers Polyester and it's what I usually refer to when say "artificial horn". While those Raffir and polyester blocks may look differently I haven't noticed any difference while cutting and polishing them.
    Tried acrylic spacers from Brisa as well. Works exactly like Raffir or Polyester. That's why I just call them all "plastic".
  6. CrisAnderson27

    CrisAnderson27 Professional Craftsman

    There's the reconstituted stone/gemstone material...Tru-stone I think it is? As for an inexpensive black wood, I bought a bunch of African blackwood from Myron at Dream Burls to use for ferrule material. It has a look like water buffalo horn in its coloring (thought not as glossy) with lighter streaks throughout.
  7. James

    James smarter then your average duck Founding Member Gold Contributor

    I have a few knives with pakka wood
  8. CrisAnderson27

    CrisAnderson27 Professional Craftsman

    20150205_192755_1.jpg 20150428_143630.jpg

    A couple examples of the blackwood on handles.
  9. Bill T

    Bill T Founding Member

  10. MattS

    MattS Founding Member

    I am still a big fan of the buffalo horn, stinks to work with, but I love the way it polishes up and its durable.

    If you are looking for funky, check out the M3 mokume billets, its pricey, but looks cool on certain handles.

    Also, Pat Ankrom from Ankrom exotics makes a resin that is bullet proof and you can get it in any color. (Actually think I have some I can send you to play with)
  11. CrisAnderson27

    CrisAnderson27 Professional Craftsman

    I hate hate hate water buffalo horn lol. Not because of the smell, but because of the shrinkage and expansion in the finished piece. It leaves my metal spacers proud after it gets to the customer. This is a big issue due to my climate here in Arizona (hot/dry AND hot/humid depending on the time of year) vs most every other climate in the world.
  12. I'm trying to avoid horn mostly for the same reasons as Cris mentioned. Though my wife gave me The Look everything time she smells that stuff.

    Well, I have to bookmark Ankrom exotics and order few pen blanks from them to try. A lot of gaudy stuff, but in a good sense IMO. Loved those scales made from cones and cactuses

    Thanks Matt!
  13. Try cutting mammoth tooth. I got the message from Frederiek (who is making a mammoth tooth handle for me) that her whole house stank worse than 10 burt pigs. And so did she, even a couple of days and showers later. :eek:
  14. CrisAnderson27

    CrisAnderson27 Professional Craftsman

    Thanks for the warning lol. I have a mammoth tooth handle coming up this week :p.

    Luckily I don't keep much hair for the smell to get caught up in...though if I have to shave my beard I'd be bent up a little lol.
  15. Burl Source

    Burl Source Founding Member

    I am not sure yet if I can cut it with my bandsaw, but I have some thick black paper micarta here somewhere.
    If I can find it and am able to cut it without having to buy special blades I will send you some. I believe Devin Thomas uses black paper micarta as ferrule material on some of his knives.
  16. MattS

    MattS Founding Member

    Anton, I thought you just picked up a mammoth molar...time to cut it up:)
  17. Thanks, Mark. Please ping me if/when you find that micarta. And it's actually was Devin Thomas knives that ignited my interest for micarta.

    I'm still looking for a Robin Hood with some water cooled carbide bandsaw. Till then it'll be my souvenir.
  18. Burl Source

    Burl Source Founding Member

    I found it. Now time to gamble a $40 bimetal blade to see if I can cut it.
  19. Just the question that I had in mind!

    Anyone ever make their own ferrule from acrylic?

    I'm looking at penturning blanks as possible sources.
    Some of them almost look like a red/black urushi mokume...or pseudo damascus.
  20. CrisAnderson27

    CrisAnderson27 Professional Craftsman

    One of my Instagram friends does a lot of work with acrylic...mixing it with stabilized burls. I think he calls it 'shokwood'. It's pretty cool stuff. I'm pretty sure he offers sections of just the acrylic as well. Beyondwoodproducts.com is the site I believe.

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