How To Remove Knife Handle Pins – A Comprehensive Guide

How To Remove Knife Handle Pins

If you’re a knife enthusiast or someone who loves working with tools, you might find yourself wanting to customize your knife handle or perform maintenance. Knife handle pins play a crucial role in keeping the handle securely attached to the blade. Unlike screws or bolts, which can be easily unscrewed, pins are often riveted, making the removal process more intricate.

Whether you want to switch out the pins for a more vibrant aesthetic or simply replace worn-out ones, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process. Don’t worry if you’re not a seasoned craftsman – our instructions are designed to be easy to follow, making it accessible to everyone.

Identify The Type Of Pins

Before we delve into the removal process, let’s first understand the anatomy and purpose of pins. These small cylindrical metal rods, commonly made of brass or stainless steel, are inserted through both the handle material and the tang of the blade. The primary function of handle pins is to firmly secure the handle to the blade, ensuring a stable and reliable connection between the two parts. Knife construction involves the use of several different types of pins.

Threaded pins: These pins have threads and can be unscrewed from the handle. They are often used in folding knives and can be removed without any drilling.

Tapered pins: These pins are wider on one end and require tapping out from the opposite side. They are commonly used in knife handles made of wood or other materials that allow for pin removal.

Riveted pins: These pins are permanently fixed and require drilling to remove them. They are commonly found in traditional or fixed-blade knives.

Tools And Safety Precautions

To tackle this task effectively, gather the necessary tools beforehand. Here is a list of the tools you will need:

  • Hammer: A lightweight hammer with a plastic or rubber head to avoid damaging the knife’s components.
  • Pin Punch: A pin punch, made of steel, is essential for driving the pins out of the handle.
  • Screwdriver Set: Ensure you have a variety of screwdrivers with different head types and sizes to fit the threaded pins.
  • Bench Block: Used to securely hold the knife in place, providing stability and preventing any unwanted movement while working on the handle pins.
  • Vice: A vice with padded jaws holds the knife securely, ensuring better control during disassembly.
  • Safety Gear: Put on safety goggles to protect your eyes from any debris that might occur during the drilling process.

How To Remove Pins From Pocket Knife

How To Remove Pins From Pocket Knife

Threaded pins are commonly used in pocket knives, and unlike traditional pins, they can be easily unscrewed from the handle without the need for drilling.

1. Position the Knife: Lay the pocket knife on the soft cloth, ensuring the handle is facing upwards. This position will allow you to access and remove threaded pins easily.

2. Use the Appropriate Screwdriver: Select the Torx screwdriver that matches the size of the threaded pins. Carefully insert the screwdriver into the grooves of the first threaded pin.

3. Unscrew the Threaded Pin: With a firm grip on the screwdriver, rotate it counterclockwise to unscrew the pin from the handle. Apply steady pressure, being cautious not to strip the pin’s threads. Continue unscrewing until the pin is completely detached from the handle.

4. Repeat for Other Pins: If your knife has multiple threaded pins, repeat the process for each one until they are all removed.

How To Remove Pins From Wooden Or Other Handle Materials

How To Remove Pins From Wooden Handle

Tapered pins are widely used in knife handles, especially those made of wood or other handle materials. Removing these pins demands a meticulous approach to avoid any potential damage to both the handle material and the knife itself.

1. Select the Appropriate Pin Punch: Choose a pin punch that closely matches the diameter of the narrower end of the tapered pin.

2. Position the Pin Punch: Carefully position the pin punch at the center of the narrower end of the pin, ensuring it is perpendicular to the handle surface.

3. Begin Tapping: Using the soft-faced hammer, start gently tapping the pin punch to drive the pin out from the opposite side of the handle. Use light, controlled taps to avoid damaging the handle or the pin itself.

4. Reverse the Handle: Once you’ve tapped the pin partially through, reverse the handle’s position in the vise (if you’re using one) to expose the wider end of the pin.

5. Continue Tapping: Align the pin punch with the wider end of the pin and continue tapping until the tapered pin is completely removed from the handle.

How To Remove Pins From Fixed Blade Knife

How To Remove Pins From Fixed Blade Knife

Fixed-blade knives are typically secured by jointed riveted pins. Unlike screws or bolts, which can be easily removed, riveted pins are permanently fixed and necessitate a different approach for removal.

1. Mark the pin: Use a center punch to mark the center of the pin. This will help prevent the drill bit from wandering when you start drilling.

2. Choose the right drill bit: Select a drill bit that matches the diameter of the pin or is slightly smaller. Start with a smaller bit and gradually increase the size if needed.

3. Drill the pin: Position the drill bit on the center punch mark and apply gentle pressure. Start drilling slowly and steadily until the pin is fully drilled through. Be cautious not to damage the handle material.

4. Remove the pin: Once the pin is drilled out, use a punch or drift and hammer to drive the remaining pin material out of the handle. Tap gently and avoid excessive force to prevent damage.

How To Reassemble The Handle

After successfully removing the handle pins, it’s time to reassemble. Follow these steps carefully:

1. Clean the Parts: With the pins removed, clean any debris from the tang and handle scales. If you plan to reuse the original pins, make sure to clean and polish them as well.

2. Prepare Replacement Pins: If you are using new pins, ensure they are of the correct size and material for your knife. Some replacement pins may require sanding or filing to fit perfectly.

3. Realign the Handle Scales: Before reassembling, ensure the handle scales are aligned correctly with the tang. The tang and handle scales should fit together snugly.

4. Insert the Pins: If you are reusing the original pins, carefully insert them back into their respective holes. If using new pins, insert them through the handle scales and into the corresponding holes on the tang.

5. Secure the Pins: To secure the pins in place, use a ball-peen hammer to peen the ends of the pins. Gently tap the exposed ends to flatten them against the handle scales, ensuring a tight fit.

Final Tips and Recommendations

  • Take your time: Rushing the process may lead to mistakes or damage. Patience is key to a successful pin removal.
  • Lubricate when necessary: If the pin is stubborn or tight, use a lubricant like penetrating oil to ease the removal process.
  • Protect the handle: Use a soft material, such as wood or nylon, between the hammer or mallet and the handle to prevent scratches or marring.
  • Maintain organization: Keep track of all the small parts and their order of assembly. Take pictures or make notes to assist you during reassembly.
  • Seek professional help if needed: If you’re uncertain or uncomfortable with pin removal, it’s best to consult a professional knife maker or technician.

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Can I remove the knife handle pins without damaging the handle scales?

When using the right tools and techniques, it is possible to remove pins without causing significant damage to the handle scales. However, there is always a risk of minor scratches or dings during the removal process. Work carefully and use gentle force to minimize potential damage.

Can I reuse the removed handle pins?

It depends on the condition of the pins and your intended use. If the pins are still in good condition and not deformed from removal, you may reuse them. However, it is generally recommended to use new pins when reassembling the knife handle for optimal strength and durability.

What type of replacement pins should I use?

Stainless steel or brass pins are commonly used due to their corrosion resistance and strength. Match the size of the original pins or measure the hole diameter in the handle scales and tang to select appropriate replacements.

Is removing knife handle pins risky?

Removing pins can be risky if not done correctly. Drilling and handling tools improperly can damage the knife or cause injury. It is essential to follow safety precautions and exercise care throughout the process.

Can I use the knife immediately after reassembling the handle?

While the knife may be usable immediately after reassembling the handle, it’s essential to inspect the pins and ensure a secure fit. Regularly check the handle’s stability during use to prevent any issues that may arise from the reassembly.


The process of pin removal can vary depending on whether the pins are removable screws or jointed riveted pins. For removable screws, a simple screwdriver will suffice, while jointed riveted pins require a more intricate approach involving drilling. Regardless of the type of pins, it is crucial to exercise caution, patience, and precision throughout the process to avoid damaging the knife or injuring oneself. As you gain experience, this task will become more manageable, and you’ll develop a better understanding of the tools and techniques needed for successful pin removal. For those unsure of their abilities, seeking guidance from a professional knife maker is a wise decision.

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