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Fill file work with epoxy?

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Quick question - when you have file work along the spine, of a full-tang knife, do you fill the voids with epoxy so that the whole spine is flush, or do you keep the voids free of epoxy?


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Almost impossible to not get epoxy into the voids! Don't get me wrong it can be done by skimping on the epoxy an pre-filling the voids with Vaseline or similar! Then you have to wait for the epoxy to cure enough and get into the mess that the Vaseline made! Personally I often do the black tint on the epoxy and let it fill the voids! 

I have seen it done with clear epoxy and I have seen it done with the Vaseline and cleaned up and sanded out. I don't really like the look of with out!! 

Here are a couple of images I pulled off the net!!

Image result for fill filework on knife with epoxy


Image result for fill filework on knife with epoxy

Here is the search I Googled to get these examples! https://www.google.com/search

To me the epoxy accentuates the file work. I have seen it done with different colors of epoxy, red and yellow if the color looks good with the knife it will make the file work stand out! 

I saw an example of not filling in person and I did not really like it. It seems unfinished, and leaves a place to trap dirt and debris. The maker was telling me about the clean-up on the Vaseline and it sounded like a PITA!

Now having said all that as with many facets of knife making it is personal preference, and what the buyer likes! ;) One other thing I don't like to skimp on the epoxy, I want it to ooze out all around the handle. That way I know it got a good bond!

Edited by C Craft
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I'm usually just really careful about how much epoxy I use, and I pick out any epoxy that gets where it shouldn't be with a dental pick while it;s still gooey. I've never used the vaseline trick; seems messy.

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Ahem. If I may enter the fray.

I always use a light film of Vaseline over any surface I do not want epoxy sticking to, whether the knife is file worked or not. That includes the ricasso, guards, spacers, handle scale surfaces, etc. For file work, a light coating over the surface allows for very easy removal when the epoxy is set. Yes the epoxy will ooze out all over everything. while clamping the handle and blade together. That's when you take a Q-tip with a lot of Vaseline and rub it into the epoxy well. The Vaseline keeps the epoxy from fully setting. Wait for the epoxy to set (listed time on the bottle) and wipe the excess Vaseline and stuff off with a paper towel. Easy as it gets. Wait for the epoxy to cure, and it comes right out using a wooden toothpick. I do not use anything metal to remove the epoxy because all my file work is finished to 600 grit before assembly and I do not want to scratch it.

If you don't use the Vaseline and leave the epoxy in there, with a colorant, you will have to sand the profiles down again to flush the surface and produce a nice finish. More work and more chance of screwing up the file work. If your file work is fairly coarse in size, like the photos above, then it probably doesn't matter. My file work is much finer in size and detail so this method would destroy what I took so long to achieve.

There's a bit of personal taste to this as well. I like a lot of depth and multiple facets in my fittings and handles. Filling the voids produces a flat surface that has zero character IMNSHO. I prefer the way the light dances in and around the file work. You cannot achieve that with the voids filled. A couple samples of my file work:




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