Textured Richlite Knife Scales

Hey folks, just wanted to make a thread for any discussion about our latest project video. In this video, we go over how we designed a set of custom knife scales for a knife blank we bought online. We start by digitizing the knife with a flatbed scanner. Then we reverse-engineer its shape and design a comfortable handle shape. And finally we machine the scales out using the Shapeoko HDM and a sheet of Richlite.

The end result was honestly better than I expected, and I’d be happy to hear your thoughts/suggestions.


How does it feel in hand? Even with you skimming the back to reduce thickness, still seemed chonky…at least visually.

Yeah, I was surprised it wasn’t a two-sided flip job w/ the first pass removing a black layer from one side and some of the thickness (yes, that feels like a waste of material — I wish this stuff came in half thicknesses w/ only one black paper side, and that we stocked more colours).

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It was two sided, I shaved 1mm off the inside.

@SLCJedi I think it’s pretty comfortable as is, but I totally get that thinner might be better. I was trying to save a tiny sliver of black on the inside face, but I might do one last revision where I axe that bit completely and go for a slimmer overall profile. Do some A-B testing to see which I ultimately prefer. Would also let me revisit and perhaps try yet another texturing variation…


Nice! I love the texturing!

Could this lead to a custom set of aluminum knife scales, maybe even powder coated? :sunglasses:

Definitely possible, but not without a bit more refinement of the overall shape. There’s still a couple places where the profile is off by 0.1-0.2mm. I’d have to temporarily attach the handles, sand things down perfect, then polish and either anodize or powder coat. I do wonder if the thermal expansion difference would make them unsuitable to attach with epoxy in the long run though.


I used pretty much the exact same method(2d printer scanner) to make some custom purpleheart scales for my wifes Boker AK1. I was surprised how easy and very little refinement was needed to get a perfect fit.

To me, the scales looked quite beefy. But if it is comfy that’s all that matters in the end. I defintely prefer the radial pattern from an asthetics standpoint.


Amazing the factors you have to consider when making physical products. A year ago, I would have thought you’re overthinking it when considering thermal expansion. Now, after iterating through 5 prototypes of an aluminium product (well, aluminium and resin), I get it. Thermal expansion, choice of fastener material to avoid possible corrosion by having two dissimilar metals in contact, degree of shrinkage when using some materials, using stress relieved materials to avoid warp after machining (I see you HDPE), tolerances when fitting multiple pieces together, the different fits (interference, slip etc).

After decades building software, working on physical goods is a very different, but also really rewarding challenge.

This version looks very sleek. Looking forward to see what you do in the next iteration!

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Great video Winston. Thanks for sharing

I did these for a customer, along with the fixture so he can make more.

I didn’t have the blade to do the fine fitting & he supplied the profiles / design. He said they came out great & fit well.


The engraved dimensions on the fixture are a nice touch. Pretty sweet turn-key solution you provided him with.


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