Ka-Bar BK14 Knife Scales Pt 2

I used my Ka-Bar BK 14 a little bit and thought about how I wanted to color the scales.  I thought staining them might look good.  To test the stains, I prepared some small blocks of the same Water Oak I used on the scales.  I looked through the stains I had and picked a couple that I thought would look good.  Here’s a pic of the stained test pieces.

In the end, I really didn’t like any of the stains.  It didn’t darken the wood the way I was hoping it would so I decided to go with a simple Boiled Linseed Oil finish.  It’s easy to apply and renewable in case I need to touch the finish up later.

While I was using the knife, I went to put it into the sheath and noticed that scales were too long in the front.  As a result, the knife wouldn’t fully seat in the sheath and wasn’t retained as tightly as it would normally be.  In retrospect, this is something obvious I should have checked but I managed to overlook it.  Oops!  Here’s a picture of the knife in the sheath showing where the scales were contacting.

Here’s a pic to compare with the one below to show how I changed the front of the scales.

To fix this problem, I removed the scales again and sanded then down to make them 1/8 inch shorter.  Once I checked to make sure they no longer hit the sheath, I rounded the edges over to smooth it all out.  When I was happy with the overall shape of the scales, I sanded them to 240 grit and put a couple coats of Boiled Linseed Oil on them.  Here’s how they came out.

I had considered stripping the coating on the knife, but at this point I’m going to leave it alone.  I’m curious to see how well it holds up over time.  I think this simple project came out well and helped improve the usability of the knife for me.   I think that anyone could successfully accomplish this project with a little bit of time and effort.  Customizing knives is fun.  So, you might see some more of this kinda stuff.  Ka-Bar has some other cool and historic knives that I have my eyes on.  Just don’t tell the wife!

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