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First stick tang

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Hey guys.

im currently making my first stick tang knife and I got a couple questions.

1. I used the burning tang in the handle method, the hole came out way to big, should I start over or does the large hole make it stronger with more epoxy? 

2. I forgot the normalize the knife when heat treating, should I re heat treat or would that make it worse?


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Hello Simonet!

From my experience:

1. Depends on how you assemble it? I burn my tangs too, and the hole is usually a little bigger, but when I insert the blade, it stays in one position... so I fill it with epoxy when gluing in the blade (I mostly make historical knives, so I presume this would have been done also in the older times...)

2. I would... small grain is highly desireable

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I don't burn tangs in.  Some materials will crack under that kind of treatment, and I have heard that epoxy doesn't like sticking to char.  I'm thinking that some makers might have drilled their handles and then burned in for the final fit.  Modern epoxy's, IMHO, are stronger than most the materials that I use for handles, so as long as you get a good bond on both tang and handle, the epoxy is not the failure point.



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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."


I said that.


If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton


So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.


Grant Sarver

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for tang burning I think it's best to drill a hole in the handle and then open it with a broach some and then burn in the tang, it's best to get it done with one burn so you don't overheat the handle or burn more than you want to. I try to get my tangs to around critical temp but black hot still seems to burn, if you go too hot you can bend your tang and that will burn a really nasty hole.

You won't be able to heat the tang all the way to the shoulders of the blade without overheating the blade so you should make part of the tang closest to the shoulders not change its shape/size, that way you can heat up Some of that part of the tang and it will burn a channel for the rest of the tang up to the shoulders to fit into. 

Example: a 4" tang that is 1/2" wide at the shoulder and 1/4" at the tip. The tang is still 1/2" wide 1" away from the blade shoulders and tapers from there to the point of the tang. If you heat part of that 1/2" section down to the tip you can burn a hole that will fit the whole tang without heating the whole tang.


Normalize! Normalize! Normalize! A blade with a big grain will break if you bend it, just like if it were untempered and hard.

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Thanks for the info guys! i already got the new block of wood done, it's MUCH better. I just drilled the hole then finished it off with a needle file.

ill upload some pics when I'm done.


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Aaah, I am sorry - I forgot to mention -  I do predrill the shape, and then burn the tang it... I do it at low heat, slower steps, only hand pressure... AND I always "put" a half a potato right before the blade/tang transition... it acts as a heat stop, your blade won´t get soft and you can get the heat very, very close :)

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