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Zach Wade

1st Knife WIP Balance Question

8 posts in this topic

So I am new here, been trolling this forum for the past 2 months or so. Finally got all the stuff to make my first knife.

The knife shaped object is in 1/8" 1084 from Aldo, I started it earlier today and ran out of sunlight. Blade is 4.5 in and handle is 5( in theory, it's close in reality). I am going to use 3/8 in brass pegs and hickory scales. I could switch to curly maple to lighten it up a bit, but i kinda don't want to Hickory is my favorite wood overall, but walnut and curly are prettier. BTW I work in a sawmill so I already got fancy wood and enough 15n20 to make a .078 knife for every day of the year, and the cable, so much cable!

So here is the problem the balance is too close to where I want it, when I add scales and set the bevels I know the balance is going to shift toward the end of the handle.  

Currently the balance point lies where the pencil is (hopefully I'm not the only one who thought soapstone, then pencil would work for laying out the knife(both kept wearing off), ended up borrowing a sharpie from my neighbor who was wondering wtf I was doing with a bench grinder in my driveway(I have sharpies I just don't know where any are at the moment)).

I ended up improvising a bit because it was starting to feel a little skinny and short for me. I plan on removing a little bit more from the top rear edge of the handle to make it closer to the original design and improve balance and remove a hair from the bottom of the edge to make it a little rounder. As well as increasing the width of the spine to make it a little beefier towards the tip. 

Anyone got any other ideas for how to shift balance toward the tip?

General comments, criticisms, and tips are more than welcome as I only have half an idea what I'm doing. 

Thanks

-Z

 

 

20170716_222219.jpg

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Looks like a solid design, overall. The handle might be a bit long, unless you're approaching giant proportions. So far, I'm shooting for about 1/2" longer than the width of my palm at most. I'm sure there are different guidelines for different use cases, but that seems a good generic size to me.

You could round the butt at the spine to save a little weight, too. That, swiss cheese the tang, and let it be what it is. You've got a lot on your plate right now to get too worried about balance. Note how it feels in use, cogitate on possible changes, and push on to the next one.

I'm building #3 right now, so bear that in mind.

Reference shots are one of my biggest assets right now, especially not having much access to live models I can handle. Research, draw, redraw, build, test, repeat is the method. I should probably add a notebook detailing what I did to the mix, but I'm not that organized.

Best of luck, and here's looking forward to seeing this one all finished.

 

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drill holes through the tang, and countersink corresponding holes in the scales. This will both lighten the tang significantly, and provide a much more secure epoxy joint. Obviously, removing material from the tang will weaken it, but if you drill in a kind of offset honeycomb pattern, you will leave plenty of strength - a knife is most susceptible to bending perpendicular to its long axis, particularly in the third closest to the blade/handle junction, so as long as your holes don't align perpendicular to the long axis, and you remove less than half the tang material, you'll be fine:

 

filleting 3.jpg

 

if you still want to adjust the balance further, you can taper the tang, and consider switching to lighter pins - 3/8ths is a lot of brass...

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Looks like you're off to a good start! John and Jake have good advice. The butt of the handle is visually interesting, but having very narrow points like that will make the scales more prone to chipping there, especially while shaping. Also, they could make the knife less comfortable to use. Rounding them would make the handle lighter and potentially save you from a few headaches. Drilling holes in the tang also works to reduce weight (though keep in mind that grinding bevels in the blade takes away almost half the mass, so the balance point will still likely shift), some folks use a small contact wheel to grind a groove into the venter of their tangs for weight/better adhesion.

As has been mentioned, 3/8" is a pretty big bin. It will add a bit of weight, but it will also be much less forgiving when it comes to fitup. If for some reason a hole is a little off, you won't be able to put things together. Also, more of an aesthetic suggestion, I think blade to handle transition might look a bit better if the curve on that end of the scale is a little more meets the spine side a bit closer to the blade. I would suggest not worrying so much about the balance point (especially on your first knife), and instead try to make a knife that just feels generally good. Balance is very subjective, and "well balanced" feels slightly different to everyone. Good luck!

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Thanks everyone. I think the best advice here is don't worry about it haha.

Jon, approaching giant proportions is the perfect term for what i am lol. Also your first knives look good, saw them in the forum a while back.

And yeah correction they are 3/16 brass pins that I have, 3/8 would be a whole lot of brass. Still think I should go lower? 

Jake, I might cut a groove into the tang like Aiden said, I could just carve that into the scale by hand, the tons of Swiss cheese holes sounds like it will be difficult to carve in the scales and even more difficult to line up. Almost certainly beyond my woodworking abilities right now.

Aiden, think they will chip in hickory? Because that is a good point and probably another reason to use hickory

 

Edited by Zach Wade

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Are you planning on peening the pins? I started with 1/8" brass on my last one, and peened them before cutting flush with the scales. They came out looking closer to 1/4". Could be a way to save weight?

If you do end up swiss cheesing, I'd suggest cutting your pin holes first. Alignment on the others shouldn't have to be perfect. A drill press with a depth stop is great for doing the same on scales.

I'm not quite a giant, but I feel your pain. It does add some extra challenges. And thank you. 

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Taper the tang is a good suggestion, however it can be difficult. I generally don't worry about balance too much (you'll find that every wood weighs differently so every balance will be different too) so taper and drill accordingly.  I mostly drill my tangs  (a few tapers have showed up every  now and then) and have no negative comments about balance. You'll find balance is a bigger deal the bigger the knife/sword. 

 

Ps. A good place to start for handles is 4 1/2" inches. It covers the broad spectrum of hands pretty well. 

Edited by Austin_Lyles

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4.5 is about right, it ends up a hair under that in usable space. Not gonna peen it if it isn't necessary and from what I hear with modern epoxies it isn't. Just gonna make the knife and worry about balance on a later one. Right now I am looking at finishing it about 3 weeks from now. I will make a fresh post when i do. Gotta drill it at work this week and  wait for a nice day on the weekend to do profile work and heat treatment. Then however long polishing takes, but I should be able to do that sort of thing throughout the week. I work nightshift and I think my neighbors would appreciate me grinding in the middle of the night about as much as I appreciate them mowing lawns and working on their cars with power tools in the morning

Edited by Zach Wade
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