Stacked leather handle advice


Full Member
Jan 23, 2009
I recently got myself a Lauri blade blank, quite a small one, only 63mm blade, and I fancy having a go at a stacked leather handle for it. So I thought I would come on my favourite forum to ask for some advice, as follows:

1. What leather to use. I have plenty of veg tan - will this be suitable?

2. Obviously I will have a brass bolster, and a brass end cap, and I plan on peening the end of the tang to keep the leather stack in compression, but do I need to glue together all the pieces of leather in the stack? (And if so, what glue should I use?)

3. Once I have shaped my leather handle, what finish should be used to make it look good, and stay looking good?

Apologies if this has been covered before, but the search function didn't seem to return anything. Hopefully some of you may be able to help me.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
After I sand the dodgy varnish that Estwing puts on its hammer handles off, I put Danish oil on them.
Got one which was made in the 1950s at the latest. Looks good.
Looked like someone dropped it in a tin of green paint.
I sanded it off and coated it with Danish oil, works well but it does darken the finish.

Most of the time that Estwing hammers start losing washers is when the four or five placky washers they add to give a bit of different colour break down then the whole handle ends up rattly. Really Estwing shouldn't bother with the plastic washers as it causes too many problems.
The old hammers don't have the plastic washers, plus on the old ones they didn't go quite as crazy with the grinder at the head end of the handle, thats another weak point on their newer hammers.

Sorry, I seem to have digressed, anyway I use several coats of danish oil.
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Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 17, 2005
Veg tan will be fine, i made this one a few years back (Lauri 85) using very thin leather splits, 60+ layers if i remember correctly, with birch bark at either end, i put epoxy on every layer with a good blob on the tang, the knife is still going strong to this day, think you may have seen it on my Instagram too?

20190810_152447 by, on Flickr

DSCN2642 by, on Flickr

DSCN2656 by, on Flickr

mr dazzler

Aug 28, 2004
As it happens just last night I finished a stack leather handle small knife. I used a recycled mora 120. Their factory handles are too small, and also its tang was too short to run through and peen over onto a washer or brass end cap. Instead used a small steel tube epoxed into an ash wood end cap, then stacked the leather (3 and 4mm veg tan) used hole punch to make small slots for the tang, bigger round ones to fit round the steel tube, small burr elm bolster, then glued it all up with gorilla glue (water activated sort) then clamped the handle assembly to the end cap. The mora tang fit just perfect inside the small steel tube. I find 80 grit good for shaping, but its a real joy to carve the rough shape with a knife. Late yesterday I applied some OSMO top oil as an experiment. Its fantastic on hardwoods (designed for worktops..) I use it on carved spoons. I just had a look a few minutes ago, it hasn't darked the leather so far. I might try it on the sheath. I normally use bee wax but its a clart on to get an even application.


Full Member
Jan 23, 2009
Thanks guys! That certainly is a lot of good information to chew on.

Stew - excellent link, bookmarked. Thank you.

Kepis - that knife is stunning! If mine turns out only half as good then I'll be happy.

Thanks again to all.
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