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Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Adapt and improvise; knife mods

The Eickhorn Nordic Bushcraft (left) has been one of my favourite production bushcraft knives for about three years now. It's no longer in production but has really impressed me over the years and is still a knife I enjoy using. 
It does have drawbacks though, the aluminium handle scales make it very cold and uncomfortable to use in cold weather and as I visit Scandinavia fairly frequently and the cold never stops me from getting out and doing some bushcraft so I needed to do something about the handle. 

The original aluminium handle scales weren't uncomfortable other than in cold weather. 
I'm not a great craftsman and there is a very good reason that most of my knives are either production made or made for me by someone else but I particularly like this knife and didn't want a relatively minor issue like the handle material put me off using it. 

The handle scales were easy enough to remove with a torx bit, before my modifications the Eickhorn squirrel logo and designers name were visible on the ricasso but my new handle would cover them up allowing me to move my fingers closer to cutting edge, I also ground off the pronounced finger guard. I don't really like finger guards unless there is a very good reason for them, fighting knives or heavy duty chopping tools for example, they just get in the way for fine carving and most backwoods tasks. 

I chose a piece of burgundy micarta with white and red liners for the new handle.
I secured the handle with epoxy between the various layers and then pinned it all in place with dowels made out of box wood. 
The new handle does make the knife more comfortable to us in the cold but it doesn't make the knife itself any better. I prefer the way it looked before my modifications, the removal of the finger guard makes the handle look out of proportion to the rest of the knife but I do really like the layered handle and the way the liners turned out. 

I don't have the time, skill or patience to get the finish I would expect on a production knife on the micarta handles of my project but I did achieve what I wanted. 

I do like the way the handle liners look

The finger guard is gone and the ricasso is now partially covered by the new handle to allow me to grip it closer to the cutting edge. 

 While I can't boast the skill to make knives and knife handles to a particularly high standard I do enjoy tinkering with knife handles from time to time and personalising kit to meet your specific requirements is just a part of bushcraft.


I used to make a lot of knife handles, when I had more time on my hands and, and while my results were similarly mediocre to this project it was a lot of fun.

Some of the knife handles I made, over ten years ago now in my late teens and early 20's that I am most pleased with; this one is a small Bowie knife I made for my Dad with a handle of Puriri wood I brought back from New Zealand, brass and buffalo horn bolster and a home made mosaic pin.  

 A little whittling knife that I gave to my brother for his eighth birthday made of mahogany and rose. 

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