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Garry Keown

WIP Curve Backed Bolsters

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 I started on a very secial knife today for Henry, a repeat customer. Fireball damascus for the Old Western with very rare fancy Swamp Kauri scales (will use carbon fiber pins) and stainless curve backed bolster with the 3 pin mark in brass for a subtle contrast. With the bar being hardened to its final state the waste is removed initially with a cutoff disc on the angle grinder with the finished profile being done on the grinder with frequent dipping in the water bucket. 

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Made some progress on this one today with the blade ground and handsanded but will not etch it till next session.

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 First stage is to clamp the blade to the stainless bar and with the drill, mark the first pin hole. The blade is removed and the hole drilled in the bar and the blade returned with a tempory pin in place with the clamp back in place to allw the marking of the second hole. The process is repaeated and then with two pins in place the clamp is no longer needed for the marking of the third hole. 

I have a slice off a 2 inch pipe that is my marking template and in this pic it is placed to show where it will go on the bar for the front of the bolster.

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I grind the front curve while the bar has some length to it but this advantage goes as the bar gets used up

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Next step is to cut the remaining two sides of the pattern on the bandsaw.

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From the bandsaw It goes to the grinder to tidy up the majority of the curves 

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With this one close to shape it is used to repeat the process for the other side of the pair

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 and when the second one is cut out  they are held together with the tempory pins for the clean up. Be advised that you WILL get hot fingers doing this.

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As a pair I concentrate on the front face first and go through the grits and finish with 1000grit hand sand

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Next the curve back needs attending to and again hot fingers require a number of dips in the water bucket.

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Finish shaping is done on the 2 inch mandrel I had made so it was time to replace the 80 grit paper

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I have this block clamped to the drill press table as it allows for 2 inches of wind up adjustment before I have to add another block under it but with a 6 inch tall mandrel it allows a reasonable ammount of sanding before the paper needs changing. I get quite a few bolster sets out of the paper for the horn bolsters but for the metal ones I still get three sets and it dosent take much to shange the paper. The spray adhesinve holds well and is reasnably simple to remove with thinners and a rag with a bit of a rub. 

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With pins removed I have a set of bolsters ready to fix in place. These ones will be done wit brass pins to have my 3 dot mark subtly visible in the stainless bolster. Customers have made this request on a number of the curve backed bolstered knives when discussing upgrades

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I had a road trip the other day and delivered the presentation knife and 1911 grip box sets along with another 8 knives so it was a pleasing day even if it was a long one with over a 1000 mile on the truck by the time I got home. Shane, the owner of the gunshop is ex military and has some interesting toys in store even though some of them are not for sale 

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Back in the shed this morning I got the hydrochloric acid heated and etched Henry's blade. 

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With that taken care of the bolsters were pined and epoxied in place, which allowed the handle scales to be cut to a more convenient size 

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The knife is placed on the scale and a scribe marks the top and botom of where the curve of the bolster ends are so the 2 inch curve can be marked in 

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The curve is cut on the bandsaw which is only a close aproximation of what it needs to be so there is some fitting to be done from here. 

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It is hard to get a good pic but with carefull touch and go on the grinder it comes in very close even if the shadows do not show it as close as it is.

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From here it is marked and draw filed "round the curve" by only taking off the thickness of the pen mark at any one stroke.

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After a couple of "file and fits" it is exceptable with no gaps showing

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This first scale is then used to mark the second scale and the process is repeated

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With both sides fitted one side can be clamped in the special jig I made for this purpose and the holes for the pins can be drilled.

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The profile of the tang can be marked on the scale once the holes are drilled

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Excellent tutorial, and is that a Bofors gun behind the Vickers .303? :blink:  Don't often see those in private hands, even here in the US!

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2 hours ago, Dan Hertzson said:

Looking great, as usual.

Any trouble getting through the hardened tang to drill the pin holes and bolster holes?

I use a carbide bit and go slow with cutting oil but even then the drill bit sometimes catch and break.

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

Excellent tutorial, and is that a Bofors gun behind the Vickers .303? :blink:  Don't often see those in private hands, even here in the US!

Thanks Alan. I believe it is the Bofors. He has some very interesting examples of military firearms as decorative pieces in store although when I am there it is usually business and I dont spend much time "unnatended" so havent fully explored all the goodies as yet. 

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Excellent !!! ...............:D

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Beautiful and excellent as always, but for me the pattern on the handle is nicer than on the blade....?

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9 hours ago, Gerhard Gerber said:

Beautiful and excellent as always, but for me the pattern on the handle is nicer than on the blade....?

Me too Gerhard. There is a marble like visual to this piece of wood.

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Garry..... thank you for posting this as I (we all) can benefit from the process. I had to look up the wood as I had not heard of it before! Nice job!

Gary LT

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