When you’re making knives, you need to do more than choose the right blade steel and scale (handle) materials. Selecting the right kind of epoxy is also crucial to prevent the scales from slipping while you’re using the knife. To keep them in place, you want the strongest and most effective glue for the job.
What’s important to note is that not all glues are created equal. Epoxy is a different substance - it’s a blend of epoxy resin or a polymer that has such a strong thermosetting bond that it’s often used in structural engineering. Epoxy also doesn’t loosen when it comes in contact with water, so you can clean your knives without worrying about the scales falling off.
Cyanoacrylate glue, also known as crazy glue or super glue, is often used to fix household items made from hard plastics or glass. Once applied, it dries in seconds. The downside is that super glue doesn’t have a strong bond with woods and metals. It also can’t maintain its hold when wet or exposed to high temperatures.
Epoxy, on the other hand, is extremely strong and versatile, which is why it’s widely used in both household and industrial settings. Many users actually consider it an alternative to welding! Because it’s a thick liquid, it can easily fill gaps of all sizes and even cure underwater.
Below is an overview of some of the best and most affordable epoxy glues for wood and metal. You can easily find them in hardware stores and on Amazon.
PC Clear Epoxy has been touted as one of the best adhesives for projects involving wood or steel. It holds tight even when exposed to vibrations, impact, shocks, and extreme temperatures. It’s also completely waterproof. On the downside, PC Clear Epoxy takes 24 hours to fully cure but once that’s done, the bond is practically unbreakable.
The Devcon 2 Ton is a two-part epoxy that creates an extra-strong bond due to the chemical reaction between the two layers. It does an excellent job on wood, metals, ceramics, and other surfaces. Even better, it sets within 30 minutes and can endure high temperatures and even radiation.
The J-B Weld 50165 is a best-selling epoxy that creates a solid bond on all surfaces, so you can use it with any scale material. Its unique dispensing system makes it easy to reseal the product for multiple uses without worrying about air infiltration.
Bob Smith is a commercial grade epoxy resin that delivers a permanent hold for your knife scales. It is completely water resistant, can withstand extreme temperatures, and has been declared food safe by the FDA. This means that if extra resin smears on the blade, you don’t have to worry when using it to prepare food.
Gorilla 2 Part Epoxy is one of the best ones for metal, and does a great job of filling gaps between the blade and the handles. It’s also water resistant, so you can wash your knives without worrying that the scales might one day fall off.
Cercorp C's tensile strength is 3500 PSI, which is almost as strong as J-B Weld. The adhesive comes in two parts, and you have to mix them well in order to achieve a tight bond. It’s quick-curing, durable, and can last for years, even i it comes in contact with water.
Professional knife makers highly recommend this product. It is one of the strongest epoxies you can find, with an elastic strength of 150,000 PSI. Once set, it forms a powerful bond that resists water damage and easily absorbs shock and vibration.
The PASCO FIX epoxy is one of the best epoxies for metal. Due to its strength and thickness, it is able to seal any gaps and form a durable bond between two surfaces. When applied, it will last for years since the breaking strength is up to 2,920lbs, which means you can glue heavy items with it.
Loctite is a water-resistant epoxy that’s easy to use because the applicator releases it in equal amounts, avoiding messy smears on your blades. It also resists shrinkage and degradation over time. One drawback is that once you open the seal, you can’t use the product a second time, so you might want to use it at a time when you have several knives to assemble.
When you’re ready to apply the knife handles, clean any oil or grease off the tang. Then rinse it, wipe it dry, and insert the pins into the tang. Using a popsicle stick, apply the epoxy to the pins and tang. Once the glue has been applied to the inside of each scale, attach them to the pins with around 1/8" of pin length sticking out at either end. Secure the assembly and allow it to dry overnight.