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Brass Pins to secure scales


KPeacock

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As I'm now comfortable welding and patterning damascus, I've moved my focus to finishing blades in various configurations. Last night i was practicing attaching scales to a piece of mild steel and I ran into a few issues. The primary problem is that I've never seen this done, and really have no idea what Im' doing. The second problem is that I'm not sure what tools I should be using.

 

If anybody has a bit of free time, could you please detail the process of using brass pins to secure scales. The more detail you want to provide, the happier I'll be. I'm looking for info such as, length of brass rod protruding from scales. Ball pien side of a mallet, or flat face of a mallet? Repeated light taps, or heavier blows? Try to mushroom one side at a time, or alternate sides every 3rd,7th,20th hit?

 

Any advice and info is appreciated. To date, all of my knives that have been finished have been hidden tang. I prefer the look of scales on a knife and of course the additional strength provided by a full tang design.

 

Thanks,

 

Kris

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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A lot depends on the handle material. It's heartbreaking to be almost done and then split a scale because you peined the pin one whack too many. <_< I usually just give the near-flush pins a few light taps with an 8-oz ballpein, file flush, and call it good. This is after the scales are epoxied on and the pins are roughed up and epoxied in.

 

All you really need is just enough expansion to provide a tight interference fit, you're not trying to rivet the scale in place. Unless you are, that is. ;)

 

Also keep in mind many things that appear to be pins are actually Corby bolts. They hold much better.

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You could cut your pin down to nearly flush, leaving a few thousandths above the scale. The right distance is a little tricky because of what comes next. Then center punch the pin, but don't drive the dent down below the level of the scale or you'll have a bullseye pin. You can do more or less peening before or after this. The idea is to cause the end of the pin to upset and swell just enough to fill the hole. Practice a few times with pins of different sizes and you'll figure the right relationship out.

Edited by Mike Blue

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers

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I use the rivets to hold the scales, so I need them to fix them well in place. The way I do it is:

- first mushroom one side of the pin while holding it in a vice.

- cut the pin to about .5mm protruding at the other end

- use a ballpeen to gently tap down the edges of the protruding end

- use a flat faced hammer to hammer both ends flush (also tapping gently)

 

Mind to anneal the rod first, as brass or bronze rods are generally sold in workhardened state. Also when you use the rivets to hold the scales in place, make sure you've got all of the rivets (or similar diameter pins) in all of the holes when you hammer down the rivets. Otherwise if a rivet bends slightly, the holes won't line up.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetalworking

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Thanks for th info gentlemen. I was not using epoxy as this was simply for practice. I had far too much rod protruding from the scales. It appears as though I had the process correct, but was trying to upset too much material.

 

Thanks for taking the time to explain it to me.

 

Kris

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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i haven't peened a pin in handle material in 8 years properly epoxied and ruffed up you should need to destroy the handle to get the pins out i only peen when setting metal bolsters

 

corbys would be good havnt had a need for those yet nether maybe if i was trying to make a throwing knife with scales

 

sorry if this sounds a bit angry :P

Edited by dragoncutlery

Brandon Sawisch bladesmith

 

eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

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I make brass rivets first with a little forming ie to mushroom one end, then i put the rivet thru and lightly tap the other end, i also use washers so i can whack the rivet without asmuch worry of the scale splitting.

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I have to agree with Brandon, I've literally TRIED to test destructively the strength of pinned on scales with just a notch cut in the pins for the JB weld to hold onto, and the knife would seriously be destroyed if you actually got the pins out. Peening the pins just runs a risk of the scales breaking and/or moving off line when the peen seats in my opinion. Though I've only made a few dozen knives a lot of them were full tang with pins, and I really think peening is unnessisary, but hey, if one way works, 2 might work better. ;)

Edited by Michael Pyron
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Just to echo Brandon and Michael: I've never peened the pins on my scales and have always had good results. I have a knife I made in 1989 as my deer hunting knife with 1/8" brazing rod pins roughed up and set with 5 minute epoxy. It has seen heavy use for two decades and the pins have never budged.

 

--Dave

-----------------------------------------------

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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I like to pein most of the time, but very lightly. Honestly, it is not really necessary with modern adhesives, but i still like to have the solid mechanical bond (when in doubt, overbuild, I say). I hand- countersink the scales ever so slightly, then gently spread the heads of the pins, just enough to fill the countersink. this, combined with a good epoxy, is virtuallly indestructable. One word of caution, rough up the surfaces to be epoxied, the rougher the surface the better the bond. I try to think of the epoxy as more of a joint sealer and moisture barrier than the sole thing holding the knife together.

 

The strength difference between a well-done hidden-tang and a full-tang is minimal, and the hidden tang has the added advantage of being a sealed unit, the tang is enitrely protected from the elements and corrosion. The vast majority of swords made through the ages relied on a hidden-tang, it is not weak or they would not have used it. I'm not suggesting you make everything hidden-tang, just don't rule it out as a valid method of attching handles.

George Ezell, bladesmith

" How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered to the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which had been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known."
Buffon


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