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Fitting guards, lots of pics

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Through a bit of thread necromancy I was asked about a tool and how to use it from this pinned thread. I'm just going to start a new thread.


Here is the tool, it's made from a piece of hex stock, an old hex key maybe? I don't remember but I think it might have been a small chisel that I re-worked. It's not quite a .5" wide.


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This is the guard on a tang. This is a blade that has been taunting me on the bench, and the guard is a piece of NS that I slotted for something that didn't work out.


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This is my seating tool, made from a big chunk of micarta


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I've set the guard pretty much as far as it will go and you can see the gaps


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I then drove the guard off and went to my bench anvil and chopped some holes down the long edges of the slot, driving material in and then re-tried the fit. Better, but not quite.


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Then I ground the face clean and did the whole process over again. You can grind down the face, or file it, or, if you have a mill you can use a fly cutter, or a surface grinder, whatever works.


One side developed gaps when I drifted the center in a bit, so I did a couple of passes to fix that. If your fit is really tight, places along the edge will upset and need to be ground off.


Here is the final fit, no light shows through. You could solder from here, I use epoxy to fill the gap from the back side and keep it water tight.


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From here I'll shape the guard and polish out everything. I have found that you can't buff the front side of the guard, it roils the edges down and it looks like your fit has gaps.


I hope this helps and answers the question.



Edited by Geoff Keyes
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Coincidentally, I have two knives on the bench, that I was facing this issue with. I've been trying to focus on fit and finish, since these are for a pretty special occasion. I tried this, and got two of the best fitting guards I've managed to get yet. Thank you!

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I have tried your method and found it to give a most satisfying result.

Something else I have tried with good success is this. If you are oversized milling the slot on the back of the guard, lay the face of the guard on a FLAT "anvil" (mine is 2 1/2" square 4140 stock). Use the punch inside the shoulder created by the oversized slot and the tang slot. The results are basically the same, but you don't have so much stock removal on the face of the guard.

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I never thought about it, but that is a good way. I got the idea from two sources, one was a local maker (who's name has flown out of my head, Greg House maybe) and from looking at tsuba. Tsuba often have what look like punch marks in the area where it meets the blade, like this one.




I don't know for certain that is what is going on, but it seems likely to me.



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I have a few chisels and punches done this way for this very application and use . any time I have had someone over that had the need for either of them they always want to sharpen /reshape them for me ...... NOOOO ! is my reply I have sharp ones in the right drawer you are in my specialty drawer for tools I have made for a reason / specific work project DO NOT reshape them ! So then the rest of the time is explaining what they are for and what they do ... Gerrrr Now On to the work at Hand <Grins>



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