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full tang handles


R. Thiele
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Anyone have any good tips on fitting a handle onto a full tang? I am thinking I need a longer drop bit to make a guide, then burn the handle on? Last night i did a short hole, being i don't have a extra long bit, then burnt the handle on. I must say, it's not fun. Especially hickory.

 

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It sounds like you are talking about a stick tang knife. I use a broach and drill to make the holes for my handles. Burning is a very primitive way of setting a stick tang, and it requires a large block of handle material in order to handle the heat of the burning. Broaches are easy to make; they can have as few at one tooth, and you can make them varying thicknesses to accommodate different tang sizes. I always carefully plan out the drilling of the initial hole into the handle material. I trace the outline of the tang on the side of the handle block, and center everything. Here is a video of the way I do it, although this is a take-apart design. Rather than messing with epoxy putty, you could use regular epoxy to permanently fix the blade.

 

"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man" -The Dude,

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Check out the pinned "Precision Tang Fits" thread in the Fit and Finish forum.  Over drilling and back filling with putty is definitely not a traditional method, but it works quite well.  Either way that you do it, you're the only one that knows once the knife is finished.

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My local Lowe's has 6" and 12" drill bits, they're not the best quality but are easily replaceable.  If it's a through tang, I'll drill from each end, where I want it to enter and exit, then drill all the way through...  I'll then open up the hole to fit the tang using broaches.  Broaches are one of those odd tools that are hard to find premade but are easy enough to make yourself, you can modify sawsall blades and longer jigsaw blades or make them out of barstock.... If you're like me you'll end up with a collection of them.

George Ezell, bladesmith

" How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered to the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which had been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known."
Buffon


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4 hours ago, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

Do you mean a full tang, as in scales riveted on, or a stick tang, inserted in a hole in the handle?

Hole in handle and peening the end.

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A "full tang" refers to a tang that is exposed for its length with handle slabs on each side.

Being comfortable working with wood on a stick tang I generally cut the handle slab lengthwise and inlet the tang into each half and epoxy together. This also gives me a chance to line up a pin hole if I think it needs it. You can still pein on a pommel as well.

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+1 broaches.

I also use broaches on mine. The bowies anyway. It's easy to just drill a coulple holes, join them together, then hog it out with a broach. 

If you want to be really precise, you can make sort of a drill press fence (like a perfect 90° L shape to clamp stuff to). level your drill press table to your drill bit. Then, trace your tang onto the side of the material and transfer those lines (via square) to the center of the block, then clamp the material to the fence, and the fence to the table. Now you will drill straight down into the block. 

oh, you can do curved tangs with this method too, just line your traced tang line up on one end and drill until you hit the apex of the curve, then flip it to get the other. 

Edited by Zeb Camper
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I prefer burning in myself. It's a quick method, but it requires a bit of practice, as well as having a bigger piece of wood. Drilling a hole first speeds things up, and helps with the alignment. Burning in can only be done before you do much finishing work and particularly before you harden the blade. Burning in can be done by placing the blade in a vice, press the wood against the tang (or the tang into the predrilled hole), and hit the back of the wood with a  hammer or mallet. But not too hard, so you don't split the wood. It can take as little as a single heat to burn in the tang, but that depends on the density of the wood. If the tang has to extend to be able to peen it, keep the handle longer, so you can cut it off at the right length. Also recommended to keep the front end a bit longer, and burn the tang in so far that also the first part of the blade is burned in, and then cut off the handle at that end to the required length.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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