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Attaching Handle to Full tang


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A few days ago I pinned and peened the scales to the tang. However, I decided to change a few things with the blade so I removed the pins, made my changes, then last night I epoxied the scales on. This morning is when I noticed the gap. There's a gap between the scales and tang in a few places. Both tang and inside of scales surfaces were flat. Both had grooves to allow for the epoxy to adhere better. I'm not sure where it went wrong.

When I had the scales previously peened, there was no gap at all. Everything looked great! Perhaps I should have left the knife the way it was instead of trying to improve it a little <_<

 

My question is this...It may just be personal opinion but does anyone just pin and peen pins without using epoxy? Is it acceptable? I really like the look of peened pins with the hammer marks. Before epoxy was around wasn't peening pins the way it was done with good results? Just looking to see what others think about this.

 

 

Thank you,

Brad

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I have seen it done both way and you can just peen them. The reason I use epoxy is to provide a waterproofing barrier between the scales and the metal. In old days some folks used different forms of glues for the same thing.

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Brad I do both but not it all the time, it depends on the handle material. I will roughen up the pin in the center so when I shove it trough into the epoxy, the epoxy has something to bite onto. Certain materials I do not peen the handle at all and let the pins act as a shock deterrent, ( I will explain this in a minute). I also cut holes into the handle material and thru the tang. This allows pockets for the epoxy to dry into and bond the handle material to the knife itself. You might say it is like including an internal bolt system, from side to side and thru the tang itself!

 

There are several reasons for using both actually. George named one of them it is that is offers a water proofing between the metal of the blade and the handle thus, no rust to push handle off or damage blade. I almost always use epoxy and pins because I don't trust either alone, Pins by themselves will loosen if impact occurs and epoxy will often let loose do to shock if epoxy is used alone and the knife is dropped on the handles after epoxy cures. Surprisingly or not epoxy does not remain pliable after it dries but pins will often eliminate the shock/breaking loose factor due to a drop type shock.When doing my dry fit I try to fit the pins and have one side already domed, when assembling with epoxy I use slow cure and will often wait till the epoxy has tacked enough to stop bleed off and then peen the other side and clean-up and back in the clamps till fully cured!

 

This is a question that every maker probably has a different answer to and reasons as too why they do what they to. You want to figure it out for yourself as what you are comfortable with. Do a handle on a mild steel mock up. You do not have to do a finish or even finish shaping of the handle material. Try it with pins, try it pins and epoxy, (I always like to let epoxy cure for at least a week), try it with epoxy alone. Take the mock-ups and drop them handle first onto the concrete from about chest high and see what happens to pins and the epoxy. Don't worry about the damage to the material itself however, it will give you and insight into what is the more durable of handle materials.

 

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Brad,

 

Use GFlex epoxy by West Systems. At first it seems to cost a bit more than off the shelf epoxy but, in reality it cost about the same or a little less. It dries a bit less and has a higher flex than normal epoxies. Look it up and you will find it has some great properties that make a great epoxy for knife making. I doom my pins instead od peening and use pins as a support feature. Most of my knives are narrow tang and I cut ridges into the tang and GFlex the handles with no pins. I dropped them, thrown one against the floor, wall, and out the truck window to test them. During this testing I have not had one fail yet.

 

After attaching a handle if I need to refine it, I only do it if I can without removing the handle. I have not been lucky taking them off. I also have above the OOPS bucket a drawer with about 12 to15 nearly made it knives. A reminder to slow down the process.

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C. Craft - Very good idea using mild steel to test the epoxy/pins setup. Thanks! I guess that is something I will have to figure out myself like you said. I do like the idea of waterproofing between the handle material and tang. I believe I will continue using the pins and epoxy setup. I just need to fine tune my fit up routine. Doming the pins before putting the scales together is what I'd like to try next. I just put the pins in then cut them to size before peening but if one side is already dome shaped it should make that process a lot easier.

 

GBrackett - I like the "out of the truck window" test! Thank you for the reference to the epoxy. I will look into that and give it a shot. I currently use a 2 ton epoxy from Devcon. Not sure if you've heard of it but wanted to mention what I have been using. Doming those pins sounds like the way to go. I will give that a shot when the next knife is ready for scales. By the way...It really lifted my spirits when you mentioned you have an OOPS bucket and a drawer with "nearly made it" knives! Helps me remember that it happens sometimes and they won't all come out like we had hoped! :) The knife I am currently trying to finish has been fighting me since the beginning! I'm not sure if anything has gone smoothly with it. It's supposed to be for my dad for Christmas but I kinda wanna tell him maybe next year! This one is just not going how I planned. I'm gonna give it my best tonight though and try to clean it up. :D

 

Thank yall for the responses,

Brad

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Epoxy and pins is the way to go. Suspenders and a belt system. Same reason I both peen my tangs over the pommel on swords and use cutler's resin in the grip.

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Brad, we all have one that gets away from us every once and awhile. If it save-able, you modify the design feature. If not into the bucket! Doesn't meean it's bad, just need some time to re-purpose it. I have changed the profile on several of them and they have been turned into knives again. Sometimes you just got to walk away and come back to it the next day or so. Jason Knight turned me on to the GFlex.

 

At time I get a little carried away when testing something. A few years ago one of my vendors told me that their notebook computers were indestructable. So we chucked it under a fire truck tire and hit the gas peddle. It flew into the column between the garage doors! Guess it wasn't as tough as they thought. A true test in government always requires letting the firemen test it for you!

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"I currently use a 2 ton epoxy from Devcon."

 

Pretty sure the epoxy itself is part of the problem. I have also had bad experiences with the Devcon epoxy.

 

Have you seen these links? Glue Wars 2 Read the whole thing but, pay special attention to post #38, on pg. 2. Notice also, how Devcon 2 Ton does? Testing for the Ultimate Adhesive Pretty much the same thread but, on a different forum.

 

~Bruce~

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Brad, you mentioned that you cut grooves into the gluing surfaces....any chance that you exposed a groove along the side while shaping the handle? I supect not, since you said the orignal glue-up had no gaps; if you re-shaped the handle, though, there might be some chance of hitting one of the grooves.

Edited by Orien M
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Bruce - Thank you.

 

Orien M - No I didn't cut grooves along the edge of the tang. I know because I've made that mistake before. :angry: I won't make that one again. I cut my grooves with a dremel and keep the grooves roughly 3/16 from the edge. I get close as I can but dont want to slip and gouge the edge like I had before.

 

I think I figured out where I went wrong when epoxying my scales to the tang. I had already shaped my handle the way I wanted before epoxy. I used different clamps than I normally use. I normally use C-clamps with leather so I don't mess up the handle. This time I used Irwin clamps. What happened was the scales were not pressed evenly. This is hard to explain but I hope to not make this mistake again.

 

Thank yall again for the responses,

Brad

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Brad I tried to stay away from the dreaded Glue Wars 1,2,3 .....................and the debate still rages on an on. I will say this the cleaner the bonding surface the better the bond. As to what you are using make sure it is fresh, save the old stuff for gluing your cups back together. Make sure it is fresh and it will bond much better.

 

I know a maker that recommended to me Devcon 2, when I first got started. This man has never steered wrong on anything and he always states the facts. You may not like what he is saying but the will tell you no lies!

 

He had a flood in his shop after a hurricane hit here in Fl. and a knife he had made for his son laid under mud and water for nearly a month or better. When the knife was retrieved in the clean-up and he restored the blade, the handle was just a tight as the day it was put on, with,........... wait for it DEVCON 2!!!

 

Now having said that like all companies are doing nowadays they are looking for the cheapest way around making a good product. Devcon made a change in their product, the packaging was changed and it was rumored the product itself was changed. You can still buy Devcon 2 from the commercial places and it is totally two part. But as with all good things take all this and in moderation and make your own decisions. Like Mama always said if ever one else was jumping off a cliff, would you?

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I too will stay away from the "Glue Wars". Some basics that will always apply is to make sure that all surfaces are clean. The best way that I have found is to grind them clean. All solvents will leave a residue to some extent. Also, the more surface area that you have, the easier it is for the glue to hold. That's why I don't use a fine belt or emery cloth to finish the surfaces to be glued. A rough surface will have more surface area than a smooth one.

 

Also, it's always a good idea to apply your glue to both surfaces. A thin coat of glue to both surfaces will bond better than a heavy coat of glue to just one.

 

;)Just a few thoughts that might help.

 

Gary

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