Rehandling A Mora Clipper Knife

You’re not a bushcrafter unless you’ve owned a Mora knife.

I’ve had mine sometime, which I mainly use for carving since it has a thin blade and a sharp point.

However, I thought I might put a new handle on it, something a bit more evocative and a bit more bushcrafty. A local pet shop sells pieces of deer antler as dog chews but some pieces would make great tool handles. So I went through what they had and bought the most appropriate pieces.

The piece I am going to use on this project is the one in the middle.

So, the first thing to do is to protect the blade. I wrapped it in thick tape. Then get the old handle off. A quick whizz with the Dremel and it was soon off. You can see how short the tang on the Mora Clipper is – it can’t be much more than 2″ long.

Next thing is to clean the tang and give it a degrease with some meths. I also gave it a bit of a scratch so the glue would have something to bite into. Set that aside to dry and then take the new handle and mark it up before cutting the slot for the new handle.

I then took a drill bit the same diameter as the tickness of the blade and then drilled into the bone the same depth as the length of the tang. I did this several times to make a rough slot. To join the holes so the blade goes in I had an old screwdriver, very narrow, which I sharpened and used as a chisel. After a bit of work, and test fitting, the blade eventually went into the slot. Of course, you want this as tight as you can get it.

Don’t worry about how neat it looks – I’m going to add a bolster to keep things looking smart. The bolster I used was made from a piece of sheet brass. I made a butt for the handle from a 1p coin I sanded down, and then drilled a hole in the coin so I could attach it to the handle using a stainless steel nail.

It was all glued together using epoxy resin. I let gloops of it go down into the hole for the tang, slipped the bolster over the blade, and then put the blade in. I put a smear of resin on the butt and then tapped in the nail/coin. The force from the tapping was also enough to sink the blade deep into the hole. Then you leave it for 24 hours to set. Here it is before tidying up

I profiled the handle by chamferring the edges around the top. I used a grinding disc in the Dremel to shape the coin butt-plate. Then I used sanding discs on the chamfered bone and on the metal fittings. Then I went over to the polishing discs and finally a cloth mop with a bit of toothpaste (as a fine-grade polish) to bring the metal bits to life.

Here’s some final pictures of it. I gave the handle and blade a bit of oil to bring the colour out. The curved nature of the handle means it sits really nicely in the palm. Putting a new handle on an old tool is a great way of giving a new lease of life to an old friend.

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