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How to Remove a Knife Handle

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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