Getting a Handle on Things

Meet two friends of mine, Thunder and Lightning. They’re dummy daggers l use for practicing offensive and defensive knife drills. They’re pointy but not sharp.

A lot old and tired looking…

The previous handle wraps were in poor shape and I eventually got fed up and wrapped it all with duct tape. However, duct tape isn’t the nicest looking or most functional hand wrap for any sort of handheld tool. The tape edges can roll and get adhesive on your hands and the grey part can get slippery when sweaty. So, a change was in order! Here’s what I did.

I removed all the old tape and handle wraps. It looks like the original “scales” were cardboard and held together with shopping bags

I put a layer of masking tape to keep the edges of the metal from cutting into the cordage I was going to use. Tip: if you build up the masking tape you can slightly change the handle shape to fit your hand better.

On the dagger called Thunder, I looped around the tang some blue hollow braided cord I bought at the dollar store. I used a technique that’s usually called “common whipping” (whipping is using a bit of twine to hold the ends of rope together so it doesn’t fray and unwind itself). I cut and melted the ends and tucked them under.

Next, I added a second layer where I crossed the right side over the left, working downwards from the guard to the ring pommel. I gave the overlapping bit a half twist for texture.

I did my best to keep the spacing consistent, but it was tough since the handle is fatter in the middle. I tied the end off in a couple knots and sewed the tail ends against itself.

The second method for Lightning just uses the overlapping with a twist method directly on the masking tape backing. I wanted to get that contrast between the blue and white just for looks.

When holding both Thunder and Lightning in my hands I notice that the two layered wrap of Thunder feels better. It’s thicker and the handle feels more planted in the grip. The single layer blue and white handle of Lighting feels “thin” and moves around in the hand too easily.

If you’re going to wrap your own Thunder and Lightning, I recommend you use dark coloured cordage since it will stain and look kinda dirty with normal use. Consider two colours for a flashier look or maybe something bright so you can find your tools when you drop them in the leaves.

Tip from Spruce-lake: sometimes the best knife or tool handle wraps for your situation can be found in a sports store. Tennis or badminton racket wraps are self-adhesive, provide high friction in sweaty or wet conditions, and come in a variety of colours. Hello kitty tape is optional.

What do you think? Do you like the look and feel of rope wrapped knife handles? What else have you put a rope wrapped handle on? Would you like to see more posts like these?

Until next time, Spruce-lakers!

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