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Conner Michaux

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Posted (edited)

I need a way to make scales as flat as possible, Since I want to buy big pieces of lumber, and turn them into scales, and maybe sell them. Would a cheap disc sander work for that? All it would be used for is wood. 

 

Edited by Conner Michaux

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Disc sander would be your best bet.

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So far ive found that the belt and disc sanders are cheaper than a disc sander by its self..... IS there some sort of hand held sander that actually spins? If there is I could clamp it so the sandpaper i facing me, and i'd use it like you would a regular disc sander.

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If you have access to a wood planer you can do it that way as well.  Not sure if you are still in high school or what not but maybe a school woodshop with a planer?

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Planers do not make things flat, just parallel.  Small, but important difference.  You'd need a jointer.  A hand-held anything isn't going to be a great option, because even clamped in a vice, you likely won't have a work-rest.  And if it is small enough to be hand-held, it isn't going to be a very large disc, thus limiting the size materials you can work.  Modifying something like a bench grinder to hold a disc could be a cheaper option.  I assume someone sells kits for that already.  

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Except if it's bevelled it doesn't make thing flat.  It is a one-degree bevel, but it's still a cone.

You could do it the old fashioned way with a handsaw and planes.  I've done that.  Quiet and relaxing, just slow.  Now I use a bandsaw, and if it has to be perfectly flat, sandpaper on a piece of granite countertop.  Doesn't get much cheaper.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, AndrewB said:

.  Not sure if you are still in high school or what not but maybe a school woodshop with a planer?

Actually I just turned 14 so that will be next school year.

47 minutes ago, Jerrod Miller said:

You'd need a jointer

I do have access to a jointer. That’s actually a really good idea! Thanks.

Alan, I’ll need to get a chunk of countertop,    I’ve trying to find a piece but I can only find the the whole thing, not a small piece, where should I look?

 

Also, if I end up selling scales (which I intend to do).   Do you think people want them perfectly flat? I’m guessing yes, but I’m just checking.

Edited by Conner Michaux

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Try checking local businesses that specialize in installation. they may have scrap pieces they could sell or hand off.

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Okay thanks. 

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When I need to make scale sized pieces flat, I use my trusty Harbor Freight 6x48 combo belt/9" disc sander. The scales are too small to go through the planer and I like my fingertips way to much to try doing them on my jointer. HF sells a smaller version for $75. https://www.harborfreight.com/power-tools/woodworking/4-inch-x-36-inch-belt-6-inch-disc-sander-97181.html

Of course you can also go the granite and hand sand route......

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Posted (edited)

If it was me, I'd leave them as blocks so the maker has the option of hidden tang blades with a single block or cutting them into scales for a full tang. And you could clean up one side good and take a picture of that. Now they may want pictures of all sides. I'd think someone buying scales or blocks should have the ability to flatten them to what they need but just my thoughts.

I have a *lot* of wood including several aussie burls that I haven't cut up yet. I've sold some on ebay to recoup a little money on it but mostly I like to keep it :P

I've been cutting it up on a bandsaw then just sanding it down with the belt grinder.

Edited by Cody Killgore

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Thanks for the input guys. :)

34 minutes ago, Cody Killgore said:

If it was me, I'd leave them as blocks so the maker has the option of hidden tang blades with a single block or cutting them into scales for a full tang.

I'm planning on keeping them blocks unless the person buying it wants scales, I can cut a block in half and sand them.

 

40 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

I like my fingertips way to much to try doing them on my jointer.

 Yes, I tend to enjoy having fingers as well... :lol: I've seen little Micro jig things for table saws, would something like that work on a jointer?

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What kind of woods are most common to be used on a knife handle? From what I've seen, most makers use darker woods.

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I learned a healthy respect for joiners when Dad took the ends of three fingers off with one and he had be a carpenter for ages.  Most makers may use darker woods but lighter ones work too.  Walnut, which is a dark wood works and is easy to come by.  Osage Orange starts out yellow then oxidizes to a russet brown.  African Blackwood is nice but it's getting a little pricey due to restricted harvesting.  Desert Ironwood is on the pricey side too but beautiful.  Holley is a light wood that can be used as an ivory substitute.

Check on Ebay and at wood turning supply houses to see what they have that you can re-cut into scales.

Doug

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For the granite, the installers always have broken ones and sink cutouts.

Now then:  not to be discouraging, but what woods do you have access to cheaper than the rest of us?  That will determine if it's even worth doing.  And remember there are a lot of folks who only buy stabilized wood.  Can you do that and stay competitive with the big outfits?  Just looking at it from the business standpoint.  

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I have a local domestic and imported hardwood store, almost everything is under 10$ per foot, and one foot should make a lot of scales, they also sell large bowl blanks, that can be cut up into handle blocks or scales, and I can go around to the other hardwood stores in my area and buy pieces from there cutoff bins. 

Is it possible to stabilize wood at home?? Or does it have to be done professionaly

 

 

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Posted (edited)

That stuff that is under $10/bf is usually straight grained plain boards. Knifemakers are looking for the very high figure and burl woods. People aren't going to pay much for a set of scales or a block that is just plain grained wood. I've never been in your hardwood store so I don't know what all they have but I'm not sure you're really going to make money buying wood from them and cutting it up and selling smaller pieces. If you were going out on your own and hunting for burls locally or had some good connections with people that imported exotic woods/burls then you may have something going. And even then there's more involved with making sure the wood is dry. Oftentimes having to seal it with Anchorseal after processing it down and let it dry for a few years.

You can stabilize at home but it's not as good as professionally done. Home stabilization usually just uses a vacuum chamber. Pull a vacuum on the wood submerged in stabilizing resin and then release it and the wood soaks up resin. Some woods work okay with just the vacuum, some not so much. The professionals do cycles of vacuum mixed with extremely high pressures that tend to do a better job with some woods.

Edited by Cody Killgore

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Posted (edited)

Okay, I'm going to go check the hardwood Store they week, Im pretty sure they have the stuff knife makers want, But im not sure, Im also pretty sure I can find burls aswell. 

 

 

Edited by Conner Michaux

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Ive done some looking, ive found a website that imports burls buy the square foot, so far ive looked at priced of maple and oak burls, prices are good, Im guessing the price will sky rocket when i get into the exotic stuff.

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You do need to be careful. Not all burls have the eye figure that people are looking for. Some only have some swirly grain. Part of the risk in buying whole burls is that you have no idea what's inside. It could even have a large hole in the middle and you don't know until you cut into it. They could be completely rotted out. Sometimes you can tell by looking at the outside if it has eye figure but not always.

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Posted (edited)

EDIT Ive done some more searching, And Im starting to think this isn't going to work,   The burl slabs I want to get are going to be 5-10$ a pound, getting it professionally stablized  costs 10-15$ per pound, add the cost of packaging and shipping,  Thats gonna make it way to expensive to compete with other company's. 

Looking on Etsy, burl scales and blocks are 15-30$   It might be possible to compete, if I were to buy enough burl slabs to last a while, cut them all up into blocks and scales and send them to be stablized in bulk, I haven't checked yet but there might be a lower cost to stablize everything at one time, But that would be spending a lot of money at once, and its risky because I don't know if im going be able to sell anything. So if it turns out well, I would make some money, but if I don't sell anything, I end up with a lot of money wasted and a shed full of burl slabs.

Edited by Conner Michaux

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Ive done some more reading and thinking, And now i'm almost certain this isn't going to work.

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Another option you could look into is pouring your scales. Unless you are determined to use wood. I don't know how plausible that is in practice but in theory it might work.

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Pouring scales? Is that making resin scales? 

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