Quote Originally Posted by Commendatore View Post
Your scales work keeps me stunned Ted. Always a pleasure to see and a motivation to finally try some Mule scales myself to learn how much skill has to be involved when doing linerless folding knife handles. Everytime I see them I am puzzled how you manage to get the wood grain aligned so the UKPK´s strong backspring doesn´t split it.
FRN ones are interesting indeed, I wonder how to re-build the FRN molded spring rest. I can only think of a bolt and a spacer
Thanks for the nice compliments, Commendatore! You are absolutely right, the strain on the linerless wood from those backsprings is significant. I had two failures last weekend which did exactly what you described - the scales split right at the bolt holes. The first one was a nice slab of old-growth redwood - which is quite a bit more dense than the second-growth wood you see on the market. I wasn't surprised when it failed, to be honest. The second one that failed was a piece of stabilized rock maple. I would normally think this would be strong enough to use in this application, but the stabilizing left the wood with an odd, almost crumbly texture. When I tore the scales apart, I found some minor spalting that I didn't see before. My guess is that the spalting made the maple grain significantly weaker in those areas...

I've had good luck using hard, dense woods for these scales (as you've seen in my photos) - ironwood, rosewood, blackwood, acacia, tulipwood, canarywood, bloodwood, kingwood, lignum vitae. I've been wanting to try several others, which are on my to-do list - osage orange, ash, bois de rose, pau ferro/morado, gidgee, gum trees, hornbeam, ziricote, and mesquite burl...

While it is hard to make broad generalizations, woods I would avoid for this application (even if stabilized) include: hickory (strong, but too splintery), sycamore, most oaks, cherry, mango, most evergreens, palm, most fruit trees, poplar, teak, birch, walnut (I just don't like walnut...), balsa/basswood (!), and anything spalted...

Cheers!
TedP