How to Customize a Knife Handle With a Coin


Inlay is one technique used to customize knife handles and other items. To inlay an item, you carve the depth and size of the item you intend to inlay from the material where it will rest. Inlay can be used to create mosaic effects or to secure a single coin or stone. It is important to protect the surface that is not being inlaid, and to use the right adhesives to assure that the inlaid item will not fall out during casual use.

Step 1

Bind your knife blade with leather, cardboard, cloth or layers of tape to ensure that the edge and point cannot cut you while you work.

Step 2

Place the coin on the knife handle. Outline the coin with black permanent marker as close to the coin's edge as possible.

Step 3

Insert a coarse, square burring bit into your hand-held, high-speed rotary tool. Create a depth stop by wrapping the back of your burring bit with electrical tape, so that the bit's teeth will not be able to cut more than the coin's thickness into the knife handle.

Step 4

Stay inside the coin outline as you carve the handle to the coin's thickness. Work slowly, removing only a little material at a time. Stop frequently to check your progress. Each time you stop, place the coin in the hole. When it sits flush with the surface of the handle, stop carving.

Step 5

Once the coin is seated correctly in the hole, mix a small amount of one-hour epoxy. Place a drop into the hole and insert the coin. Press firmly to ensure a good seal. Wipe away excess with a clean rag. Allow the epoxy to cure for 24 hours before using or cleaning your knife.

Tips and Warnings

  • According to the Department of the United States Treasury, businesses should consult with an attorney to ensure that any product incorporating coins does not do so to defraud. "Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled or lightened - shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."

Things You'll Need

  • Leather, cloth strips or cardboard
  • Coin
  • Black permanent marker
  • Hand-held, high-speed rotary tool
  • Electrical tape
  • Coarse, square burring bit
  • One-hour epoxy
  • Clean rag


  • Chicago Park District: Wood Inlay; 1937
  • U.S. Mint: U.S. Department of the Treasury: 18 USC Section 331
Keywords: customize knife handle with coin, inlay knife handles, using coins to customize knives

About this Author

Jane Smith provided educational supports for 11 years, served people with multiple challenges for 26 years, rescued animals for five years, designed and repaired household items for 31 years and is currently an apprentice metalworker. Her e-book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in March 2008. She received her Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.

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