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Geoff Keyes

I need some help, Please

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I'm hoping someone here has done some checkering and can get me started. I've got a couple of historical bowies in the works, and many of the historical pieces have checkered grips, the Schivley's, Bells, Searles, and a number of others. Do I need to make an investment in tools? How do I lay out a pattern? Are there materials that work better, particularly when starting out?

 

There are several pieces in Norm Flayderman's book with checkered or gadrooned ivory grips, I don't really want to start there :lol: . I'm thinking Walnut or Blackwood.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Geoff

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Ive done it some, I find that you can do most any design as long as its got corners, layout on paper first then plan you lines on the paper before you do it in wood, I bought the DemBart master set, this is what they look like, tho u might shop around for better deals. http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2020946/23137/DemBart-Checkering-Tool-Kit.aspx?refcode=05INFROO&gdd=148850

 

Denser wood works better in my discoverings, but start playin on pine and other scrap that u can screw up on and work on patterns, theres a book out somewhere that describes how to do it but I cant recall the title.

 

you could feasibly get away with a V carver, very small one.. but Im personally not that patient so I went for the cutter tools.

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A while back, I did a little bit of checkering with Dembart cutters, and they seem to work well. I picked up a 'jointer' from Brownells, and it turned out to be about the only way I (it's just me) could layout a nice straight starting line or keep some lines straight around curves. A lot of handle materials have excess that needs to be shaped away. Maybe practice on the actual material where you know it'll be ground off, but you can see if it's working ok. For me, practicing on soft wood was very frustrating, a lot of tearing. I couldn't get anything crisp so I couldn't tell if the practice was helping. Good luck with it, I've been thinking about digging up my old stuff lately to play with it again.

 

Take care, Craig

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no experience with it.. but brownells and midway have tools

 

 

 

looks very nice

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I have tried it a little. It's hard to do on round surfaces and I would do a fair amount of practicing before attempting it on the actual handle. Geoff~ If you want you could borrow my checkering tools to try it out before you purchase your own set mine are from brownells. Just like everyone said, denser wood works better

Steve

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I had a client request a checkered handle. I practiced on 5 practice handles before I began on the actual handle. It took me 20 hours to do one side. After checkering 5 knife handles I am down to 7 hours a side.

 

The way you start is you make a diamond template.The diamond is 2 inches tall in the middle and 7 inches long in the length. The diamond is 3 1/2 times its width. This template is what the thousands of diamonds you are making will look like. I draw my pattern right on the knife handle. Once the pattern is drawn the two master lines are established on the pattern. I take the diamond template and place one end of the point in the center of the knife pattern. Trace the two edges of the diamond then extend these lines to the edge of the pattern. These are the two master lines from which you will cut one line at a time. I like to use 60 degree cutters. You want to gradually deepen your pattern. I cut about 1/2 the depth of the final pattern then after the entire handle is completed you then cut over to the final depth. Do not over shoot the border. When you are approaching the edge of the pattern which you have cut with your v groover or veiner, lift up the cutter and point the tip at the edge then draw back toward the line you just cut.

 

I like african blackwood to checker on.

 

Remember do not over shoot your border. If you do sand it off then start over.

 

Shine your light to either the right or left of your handle this casts a shadow and really shows up the groove dramatically. Work your cutter perpendicular to your line you are cutting. I use a plastic ruler to draw lines on my handle. A plastic ruler will draw a straight line on a curved surface.

 

I have just given you a one week handle checkering work shop.

 

I hope I helped and if you have any questions send me an email.

 

Timothy

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Timothy,

 

Thanks a bunch. I've done the piece I wanted to do, and as a first try I'm fairly pleased. It's primitive (or rustic, if you prefer :lol: , but it suits the piece). I should have some pics tomorrow. Real, quality checkering is like engraving, not the sort of thing you can do half way.

 

If I were to buy some tools, what should I buy, as a starter set? Have you every worked in bone or ivory. There are a couple of historical pieces, including a SF dirk, with checkered ivory handles, that I would like to do.

 

Just one more thing. I have an engraving pantograph. Do you know if that could be used to checker a flat surface? I use it to engrave my name, but perhaps I could get a bit more out of it.

 

Thank you for your post,

 

Geoff

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I like the look of the flat diamond.The diamonds are formed with 60 degree cutters, the points are flat. If you use 90 degree cutters you will get sharp pointed diamonds. I bought a starter kit from brownells. I had to buy a few extra cutters to complete the tools. I would say a single line 60 degree cutter and a 60 degree double line cutter and a v groover and you are in business. You can add or replace with 90 degree cutters if you want the points sharp. I use 20 lines per inch. 16 lines per inch is the widest. I think the searles bowie checkering was done with a skip line cutter.

 

As for as bone or ivory I would say the cutters should do just fine. I saw Harvey Dean MS did a nice ivory handle knife that was stunning. His points were sharp. You might email him for info, I don't have any experience with either of these medium.

 

 

Timothy

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To do it right you need to spend some time learning and practicing. If you are only going to do a couple you might talk to a local gunsmith and see what he would charge you to do it. He might even let you sit in and see how he does it.

g-

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