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Mike Ward

Suggestions before glueing

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Posted (edited)

Hey y'all,

Been slowly getting this one done...like really, really slowly. But before I glued everything together and did final sanding on the handle, I just wanted to know your opinions and suggestions. Here's the specs: 

The handle:

Tiger striped maple

Wenge

Bubinga

It has black spacers between all pieces. And is 4.5" long 

Guard:

15n20/1084 at 12 layers twisted

2.75" x 7/8" x 8/16"

Blade:

80crv2 

Normalized 3 times, mineral oil for quenchant, tempered at 380 F.

8" 3/16" long

1/8" thick

1 3/8" wide

I know that it is thin for a blade this size but that was on purpose because my buddy wanted it to be for slicing. Also, I am very aware of the fact that the solder in the guard joint is messy.

 

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Edited by Mike Ward

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The guard metal looks nice but it seems a little "clunky" or "blocky" for the rest of the knife. A guard doesn't have to be wider than the handle, on the sides, to do its job when it is taller on the spine and edge.

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I am inclined to agree with Vern on the guard.  If the blade were thicker, say 3/16" or 1/4", then I would say the guard was good, but for 1/8", it does look a little bulky.  

Also, if everything is fit up nice and tight with a dry fit, then I would finish that handle before gluing is to the rest of the knife.  Glue the three handle parts together, and finish them as a unit.

Otherwise,  I think you are going fine on it.  As far as I can tell, the proportions are nice and there is nothing wrong with 1/8" thick for a blade.  

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Huh, guess I never noticed. There's barely a 1/16 on each side, but it's those small things that make then better. Thanks to both of you

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Like Wes said, it has to be relative to  the blade   a lot of Bowies have guards that stand proud of the handles but they are on thicker blades. They are also, generally either file worked decoratively or all the edges are eased. 

A thin blade, and that great handle shape you created,  implies "sleekness" so the guard should also be sleek to match.

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Personally I think the shape of the guard is fine, and either way is simply a matter of personal taste. I would be more concerned with the fit of the guard - as you have discovered, solder doesn't work to fill gaps. There are a number of ways to fix this once you remove the guard by heating the tang (it would probably also knock off with a small hammer). You can simply squeeze it from the sides in a vise to close the gaps. You can peen the surface with a small ball peen hammer to spread the steel to where you need it. You can make a small seppa with a better fit to disguise the join. If it were me I would probably darken the guard with cold blue, or by heating to dull red and quenching in oil, and then use something like JB Weld or epoxy mixed with a black pigment (water based leather dye works) to attach it (clean up with acetone, alcohol or wd40 on a cotton bud before it cures). I would also make sure the blade was 100% finished before doing this (it looks like there are some swirls/diagonal scratches, but it may just be an oil smear). And whatever else you do, definitely follow Wes' advice, and glue the handle parts together and finish them as a unit before you do the final assembly.

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Here's the thing, I did all that. I peened it with my ball peen and then turned it on its side and smacked it my hammer. This was done on my anvil so it was solid underneath. The gap was maybe .001" or .002", personally I think it was because I put too much solder on. I put a bead on both sides and then thought 'thats probably not enough' and added more, so it ran down too far. I did etch the guard in ferric chloride and instant coffee but when I went over it with 1500 grit paper backed by a file and it didn't turn out like I wanted it to. This pic might show the joint better.

I like your JB weld idea, Jake.

Why are you guys emphasizing that I should do that handle as one piece beforehand? What's the reasoning behind that.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/17/2018 at 5:28 PM, Mike Ward said:

Why are you guys emphasizing that I should do that handle as one piece beforehand? What's the reasoning behind that.

 

 

If you want all of the pieces flush, that is about the only way to achieve it.  Trying to finish them separately and keep everything flush and uniform is an exercise in frustration.  On the other hand, if you intend on having each of those pieces be slightly proud of each other or chamfered on the edges, then you can finish them individually.  Just remember that if you make a mistake on one section of the handle, it will affect how the entire handle will look.  Once a piece is out of alignment, finished differently, a different size or shape, etc...  you will see it and other people will too.  

Edited by Wes Detrick

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Posted (edited)

Oh iy get what you're saying, flush across all the pieces. I was just going to glue all together on the tang and finish it there so that it is all flush. And I took care to make them all flush with each other at the faces and took the precaution of putting black cardstock as spacers to hide any thing else. Right now just pinned it quite tight with the smallest of wobbles. 

Edited by Mike Ward

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8 hours ago, Mike Ward said:

Oh iy get what you're saying, flush across all the pieces. I was just going to glue all together on the tang and finish it there so that it is all flush. And I took care to make them all flush with each other at the faces and took the precaution of putting black cardstock as spacers to hide any thing else. Right now just pinned it quite tight with the smallest of wobbles. 

If all those pieces are pinned to one anther with blind pins, then I would definitely recommend finishing the handle off the knife. Trying to do it when it is glued to the blade is going to be next to impossible without getting stopped by the guard and having an ugly spot where the handle and guard meet. Somewhere around here I showed how I use a drywall screw and a washer to hold the handle together while sanding it off the knife.

If I can find it, I will post a link. It can also be found here on page 1

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I was gonna do pretty much exactly that but with some modifications. I was gonna drill some holes for hidden pins, starting with with the middle piece of wenge. Two on either side of the tang hole that I would then use as guides for the top and bottom pieces. Then glue all the pieces together. What do you guys like better for this application: wood glue or epoxy? To be able to hold the handle, I was going to shove a piece of wood shim in the tang hole and use that to clamp in the vise. Finish shaping and sanding the handle and put the first coat of Tung oil on. 

Meanwhile, I'm going to remove the guard and refinish the blade. And work on getting the guard to a better fit. I will use JB Weld this time around instead of solder to get a clean joint.

Does this sound like a good plan going forward?

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I haven't had much luck holding the handle pieces together with glues, but YMMV. I found that some always got inside the tang slot and buggered up the fit or got on the face and caused me additional work to get a seamless fit against the guard. I found a simple mechanical and removable system worked better. As for the JB Weld, it's not my first choice.I would take Jake's advice about getting a tighter fit and then reshape that guard so the lower finger protection was narrower side to side. Sort of teardrop shaped.

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Alright, got a chance to work on it again. Took the guard off and heated it up in the forge and tapped it with a hammer. That right there took it to where it is now without any more filing. 

Then worked on the guard getting it narrower. It's not finished yet still need to get flush with the handle.

Refinished the blade and guard and I think I'm set to go for glueing.

Any other words of wisdom?

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Mike Ward said:

Any other words of wisdom?

Yes. Go to the local drug store and buy some bright red nail polish. Remove the guard from the knife and clean it with acetone and then some rubbing alcohol. Keep your fingers off of it (maybe use some latex or nitrile gloves). Then very carefully, lay the guard face down on a piece of blue painter's tape and paint the inside of the guard slot with the nail polish. You do not need globs of it, a thin smear will suffice. Remove any that gets on the front face and reduce any on the back face to the thinnest of smears or remove it entirely. Then etch the guard to bring out the patterning. The nail polish acts as a resist and will keep the Damascus guard from etching away and opening up the slot again. Acetone will remove the nail polish before the final fit up.

I also sand my Damascus to at least 400 grit before etching. You still have some heavy grit lines in that guard.

Edited by Joshua States

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