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How do you make your holes...


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So, im doing a self inflicted lesson on hidden tang knives and guards and such. In particular i am working on a single guard for a small knife out of wrought. My initial attempt was to drill on the press and connect the dots and file. Well, that takes.... literally forever, and im still not done. Are there any low tech gadgets or techniques (budget friendly) that will enable me to more readily and easily create tang sized holes in guards and handles?

 

I have not made a slotted punch just yet -- nor have i devised a specific desired tang size to stick with to make this process smoother ( my forged tangs seem to be too thin). Any other feedback would be great. Dremels tools anything similar to aid the process?

 

Thanks as always

 

Gabe

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Well, it might not be much for help, but I either drill and then file for an hour or so, or I hot fit the tang. I do that by drilling a hold that will expand but still be smaller than the tang at the shoulders, and then heat it up in the forge and hammer it on.

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I still do the drill & file method, but I have found it is much easier if I have my guard flat and clean, measure my tang pretty close, then use Dyekem or something to do a good layout on the guard and center-punch on the center line to use the largest drill bits possible. Less web means less filing, and holes the connect are easier than a bunch of individual little holes.

 

I also have a small cold chisel that I can use to rough out some of the material after it's drilled. You can forge or grind any size chisel you want then harden and temper back to a bronze color.

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I drill a series of holes, then use a jewelers saw to cut out the webbing. Or for iron/steel sword guards, I'll drill one hole at each end of the tang slot, then use those as guides and use a chisel on the hot metal (full orange) to make the slot. Faster than filing.

Edited by Al Massey
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welp i just spent 2-3 hours and would up with a hot mess lol. :(

i think im going to take a piece of what everyone suggested and see if i cant get this baby snugged up! thanks guys

I hadnt even thought about using my layout fluid and getting some precise stuff going. I kinda like to wing it if i dont know what the hell im doing....... ok yea.. i wing it all the time lol

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Measure the tang carefully and use a drill bit that takes as much material as possible. Beyond that, it's just patience and practice. I will say that the more you do it the easier it gets. It used to take me the whole afternoon to fit a guard and now I can do it in about an hour.

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Really sharp files help with the time. Also, good filing technique will help keep the files sharper longer.

If the guard is thick enough (say 3/16" or more) you can remove metal from the backside with the drill press and a slightly larger bit for half the depth of the guard.

This makes filing much easier as the cross section becomes thinner for the file to cut.

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I think we all have struggled with this, and eventually settled on a method that works best for us. I drill a single small hole, then do the majority of the material removal with a jeweler's saw. Sharp tools and careful layout are key. Small gaps can be closed by peinning.

 

Joshua's comment about removing material from the backside of the guard is excellent advice.

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Everyone has already said it; a drill press, a jewelers saw, and then files. It can take a while, especially at the beginning where it feels like you are removing a lot of material.

Once you have the hole mostly knocked out using whatever method, lock the piece in a file guild. Make sure the edge of the guide lines up with your scribed lines, and then go to town. The guide will prevent you from filing too much material away.

Edited by Wes Detrick
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thanks guys! all great tips. This keeps me from throwing and breaking things like after my first failed bronze melt for my kith tonight :P

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WELL GAIS, i repeated my process today remaking this guard for a small 4" hollow grind EDC for a friend of mine. I spent 2 weeks rusting it for the rust blue process and was about to finish her up today with furniture. How bout, i used every one of these tips and managed to spend around 90 minutes fitting a perfect fit in my wrought iron minus like a hair from the shoulder. I loaded it up in the vice for snugging up anddddddddddddddd snapped the damn blade right into. Le sigh.

 

at least i learned some stuff on these guards =\

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tang didnt break just in front of it :(

 

On the bright side of things i went ahead and boiled it in tea with my Kukri and the finish came out great :P

 

 

edit: broke where the ricasso section should have been

Edited by Gabriel James
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I had a similar experience with my second KITH knife... the ricasso was only slightly hardened, but because of the scale finish, I failed to notice a small forging fracture in that area... so i went to test out my knife after the handle was all epoxied and I broke it right off :I colorful thoughts came to mind I tell you!

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Gabriel. I have a Wen brand dremelesk tool with a flex shaft attachment, I use the solid carbide cross hatched bits they sell at lowes ( dremel or roto zip brand) made to cut ceramic tile. The thing zips thru the web in a guard slot . Once you learn to control it you only need the file to square up the ends of the slot. The bit is $ 10.00 and the wen tool kit is on ebay for about 20 bucks . It( the wen tool not the bit) wont last you more than year I'd guesse but it saves a ton of work on lots of things , like reaming out holes in wooden spacers or a stacked wood washer or leather washers... heck anything that needs to go from hole to slot lickety split!

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I don't know of this is right, but on some of my lighter duty hidden tang knives I step drill the tang hole. If the tang is .250 at the very end I drill .187 to full depth of the tang in the handle. Then every 1" of tang I bump up in size correspondingly to the tang width. You end up with a bigger hole at the top, but it gets covered with the bolster. I just fill the whole tang hole with epoxy after I scrape/minor file the blade to fit. On heavier duty handles you can make a hooked scraper the thickness of your tang and remove wood as fast or faster than a file if the wood isn't to hard. Otherwise you can get a longer end mill or burr like what was mentioned above and go to town. Just don't let it grab the handle and wreck something! Good luck!

Edited by Andrew Hardesty
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I've cut square holes in guards with the drill-and-file technique. It's time consuming, but the slower I go, the better the finish has turned out. It's easy to take too much material out, and then the hole is too big.

 

On handles, I've drilled them, and tried burning them in with the tang.

 

This one is a saber/hanger handle made from mountain mahogany. Mountain Mahogany is incredibly hard, and really brittle. It finishes nice, but it's a $&%*#!! to work with. It took about an hour and several heatings of the tang to get through.

 

First I drilled a pilot hole with a drill. Then I would push the hot tang in until it wouldn't go any more. Then repeat. I also found it necessary to we the end I was pushing in from, otherwise it just kept burning.

 

20150607_091614_zps4ec3gb1z.jpg

 

 

Once it was done, I dropped it into my quench bucket to cool the whole thing off.

 

20150607_090751_zpszrfm7bam.jpg

 

Apparently mountain mahogany is so dense, it won't even float.

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