KnifeHandles.Com - Culpepper & Co.

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8285 Georgia Road - Otto, NC 28763
Open Monday-Friday 8:30 till 5:00, Saturday 10:00 till 5:00 EST

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  1. Smooth & Jigged Bone
    1. Colored Jigged Bone
    2. Colored Smooth Bone
    3. Undyed Bone
    4. Honey Amber Stag Bone
    5. Carved Stag Bone
    6. Camel Bone
    7. Whale Bone
    8. Discount Bone
    9. Bone Carvers
    10. Working with Bone, Stag & Horn
  2. Mother of Pearl Types
    1. White Mother of Pearl
      1. 2" up to 2 1/2" Pairs
      2. 2 1/2" up to 3" Pairs
      3. 3" up to 3 1/2" Pairs
      4. 3 1/2" up to 4" Pairs
      5. 4" and up Pairs
      6. Discount White Mother of Pearl
      7. White Mother of Pearl Inlay Material
    2. Blacklip
      1. Premium Blacklip
      2. Discount Premium Blacklip
      3. Blacklip Inlay Material
    3. Goldlip
      1. Premium Goldlip
      2. Discount Goldlip
      3. Goldlip Inlay Material
    4. Abalone
      1. Premium Red Abalone
      2. Discount Red Abalone
      3. Red Abalone Inlay Material
    5. Blackpen
    6. Brownlip
    7. Pink & Purple Freshwater
    8. Raw Materials
    9. Raw Trimmings
    10. Whole Shells
    11. Polished Shells
    12. Health Precautions
    13. Working with Mother of Pearl
  3. Sambar Stag
    1. Prime Natural Stag Slabs
    2. AMBER Prime Stag Slabs
    3. Sunset Prime Stag Slabs
    4. Campfire Stag Slabs
    5. Natural Stag Slabs
    6. AMBER Stag Slabs
    7. Natural Stag Crowns
    8. AMBER Stag Crowns
    9. Natural Stag Carvers & Tapers
    10. AMBER Stag Carvers & Tapers
    11. Natural Stag Curved Sticks
    12. AMBER Stag Curved Sticks
    13. Natural Stag Rolls
    14. AMBER Stag Rolls
    15. Discount Natural Stag
    16. Discount AMBER Stag
    17. Resources
      1. Amber Stag Enhancement
      2. FAQ's About Amber Stag
      3. Working with Bone, Stag, & Horn
  4. Buffalo Horn
    1. Carved Stag Buffalo Horn
    2. Exterior Buffalo Horn
    3. Impala Jigged Buffalo Horn
    4. Smooth Buffalo Horn
    5. Working with Bone, Stag & Horn
  5. Ram's Horn
    1. Himalayan Ram's Horn Exterior
    2. Himalayan Ram's Horn Interior
    3. Prime Exterior Ram's Horn
    4. Working with Bone, Stag & Horn
  6. Sheep Horn
  7. Stone, Fossils & Corals
    1. Agate & Stone
    2. Apple Coral (Melithea sp.)
    3. Fossil Coral
    4. Fossils
    5. Lavendar Coral
    6. Salmon Stone
    7. Serpentine Stone
    8. Tiger Coral (Melithea sp.)
  8. Mosaic Abalone & Shell Laminate
    1. Custom Cut Laminate
    2. Pre-Cut Laminate Pieces & Pairs
    3. Whole Laminate Sheets
    4. Working with Mosaic Abalone
  9. Inlay Materials
    1. Lanyard Beads
    2. Precut Shapes
    3. Slabs
  10. Synthetics & Composites
  11. Mammoth Ivory & Bone
  12. Scrimshaw, Beads & Jewelry
    1. Jewelry
    2. Lanyard Beads
    3. Scrimshaw
  13. Wood & Leather Goods
    1. Eyelets, Snaps & Setters
    2. Leather
    3. Leather Dyes
    4. Wood
  14. Gun Grips
  15. Pearl & Wood Boxes
  16. Monthly Specials
  17. Discounts/Seconds
    1. Bone
    2. Horn
    3. Pearl/Mosaic Abalone
    4. Stag
    5. Other
  18. Sale/Factory Overruns
    1. Bone
    2. Horn
    3. Pearl/Mosaic Abalone
    4. Stag
    5. Other
  19. Knife Blanks & Cases
    1. Knife Blanks
    2. Knife Kits
    3. Knife Sheaths & Cases
    4. Bolsters, Guards & Pommels
    5. Rods, Pins & Rivets
  20. Sharpeners & Flashlights
    1. Bench Stones
    2. Commercial Grade
    3. Diamond/Ceramic
    4. Electric
    5. Handheld
    6. Honing Oil
    7. Pocket Stones
    8. Pull-Thru
  21. NEW!! Products
  22. Services We Offer
  23. Our Links
  24. 2015 Show Schedule
  25. Measurement Converter
  26. Terms & Conditions

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Working with Mother of Pearl

Pearl is just like any other material in that it has advantages and disadvantages. Mother of Pearl will not shrink, expand, bend, or move.


Most knife makers are skeptical about initially working with Mother of Pearl. This is usually because they have heard horror stories about pieces shattering or chipping right before the knife is complete. The truth is, Mother of Pearl is actually as easy to work with as bone, stag, or ivory. You can use the same tooling to cut, grind, shape, sand, and polish it. It does take a little more care, but once a Mother of Pearl handle is in place, that's where it will stay. You may have had the experience of taking an ivory handle knife across the country, through changes in humidity and climate only to find that the handle has come back to life and practically crawled off of the knife. You will NEVER have to worry about this problem with Mother of Pearl.


When grinding or shaping Mother of Pearl, do not allow the piece to become excessively hot as this can cause a burn mark that is deep and hard to remove. I recommend working with water. If you do not or cannot have some sort of water stream or spray while you are working, I recommend that you have a small container of water to dip your pearl into every time it becomes semi-hot to the touch. Any saw will generally cut Mother of Pearl. These include bandsaws, jeweler's saws, hacksaws, Dremel tools, table saws, etc... The key is to have good, sharp, clean teeth on whatever your choice of tools, and always KEEP IT COOL.


When drilling Mother of Pearl always make sure to:

1. Keep the bit cool with a few drops of mineral spirits.

2. Make sure that your bit is sharp and in good condition. I know a few makers who, after drilling for all their pins, actually throw away the bit to make sure that the next time they use a new one. While this can be expensive, these makers know that drilling won't be the cause of a chipped pair of $100.00 scales.

3. Drill your holes slightly larger than your actual pins. When you tap the pin in it expands and fills the hole. Remember that Mother of Pearl is 100% stable and if the pin is set too tight, something will have to give.

4. When setting pins use a little superglue in the hole. This helps seal the area from polishing compound and from absorbing the oil and grime that comes from being handled and carried.


When grinding Mother of Pearl, I recommend that all shops have a dust vacuum system. A simple system can be made from a 1/3 hp. Dayton blower, using the suction side of the blower and sewer PVC pipe for your connections. This, coupled with working under water, should greatly reduce the amount of dust in the room and that could potentially enter your lungs. At the very least, grind with a fan nearby to blow the dust away from your face.


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Monthly Specials

Monthly Specials