How to Remove a Knife Handle

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Things You'll Need

  • C-clamp or other clamping device

  • Knife

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • Hacksaw

  • Dremel tool with carbide burr (optional)

When it comes to knives, there are typically two basic designs: the full-tang knife and the half-tang knife. A full-tang knife is one whose blade extends to the edge of the handle, where rivets or metal pins connect the handle to the metal. Half-tang knives, typically less sturdy, use a model that ends the blade immediately or soon after the handle unit begins. The following methods will help guide you in the best way to remove the handle.

Step 1

Clamp the knife to a solid object such as a table or work desk—in some cases a vise may be used in fastening the knife. Ensure that the knife will not move or wobble under pressure as you remove the handle.

Step 2

Examine the pins or rivets connecting the handle to the blade of your knife. If the handle is full-tang, determine which screwdriver head is needed to unscrew the fastening pins and manually remove the pins by applying force while unscrewing the pin in a counter-clockwise direction.

Step 3

Remove the pins or rivets from the handle. If there are no areas for disassembling with a screwdriver, you will need to achieve leverage with the rivets. Cut shallow incisions around each rivet with a hacksaw—if the handle is not wood, use a dremel tool with carbide burr to make the groove. Insert flat head screwdriver and apply leverage to release the rivet, physically pulling it from the handle and blade tang.

Step 4

Repeat for each rivet until each one has been removed from its individual side of the handle. Separate the handle materials from the blade: two separate pieces if the blade is full-tang, or one piece if the blade is half-tang. Clean the rust and dirt accumulated between the blade and handle.

Step 5

Remove any separate pommel-guard attached to the handle by applying pressure between it and the blade with the screwdriver.


Exercise caution when dealing with a naked blade. If you are uncomfortable with applying force to the handle while the blade is clamped, keep the blade sheathed while you work.

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