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General guidelines for skeletonizing full tangs


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Any general guidelines or advice for skeletoning a full tang knife so lightening is achieved without compromising strength?

Such as leaving minimum amount of metal between holes or along the edges (ex. ~1/4")?

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In my opinion, which I believe is based on logic, a tapered tang is stronger. The area near the ricasso, which has the most stress, remains full strong, while the progressive taper shaves weight and improves balance. The only downside is pinning scales is more tricky.

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Kind of depends on whether or not you're going to harden the tang.

 

Epoxy will do a good amount of work strengthening even a thin skelentonized tang.

 

I just drill a large 5/8" hole in between the pin holes. It takes a surprising amount of weight out without taking away so much that it makes the tang any weaker. And I also allows the epoxy to run from each scale and through the tang, I believe it makes the handle altogether stronger, as the epoxy bond is more complete. 

 

 

 

 

 

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I generally go for big holes spaced evenly between the pin holes, then a few more smaller ones where appropriate......which I take to mean anywhere that won't weaken the tang.

 

I think a tapered tang, which I've only done by accident & semi-successful, along with holes for the win.  For something meant to cut you'd have to get the holes placement very wrong to weaken it any.

As far as holes acting as a glue bridge, I can testify how effective that can be, depending on the handle material. 

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Time to toot my horn here.

Check out this pinned topic: 

I show how to lighten the tang weight by drilling the epoxy rivet holes, hollowing the tang, and tapering the tang. (I also cover adding dovetailed bolsters.)

Edited by Joshua States
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Just curious, what are you intending the knife to do, that you need to be concerned about tang strength?  I've snapped a couple of tips in my life, but can't image anything I would use a knife for, that I would have to worry about tang strength.

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The biggest worry for me on full tang handles isn't about snapping them, it's about thinning them too much and having them soft enough to get flex.

That will pop a scale off in a heartbeat.

It doesn't happen on shorter handles, but I have had it happen on full tang chef's knives where the thin metal flexes and the scales pop.

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What about a hollow ground full tang with a couple holes for glue strength? 

 

Probably 95% of my knives are stick tangs so I don't know much about lightening the tang of a knife, but grinding a hollow in a full tang makes it easier to get flat. 

 

I like tapered tangs but they can be difficult, especially on a tang that tapers front to back as well as spine to edge. 

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That's what I did on this one, plus a 1/4" ricasso to 1/8" butt. I had done most of the taper with the hammer. The rest was done parallel to the platen on the grinder. The hollow was done with a 5" wheel. It doesn't have to be deep, just enough to prevent glue starving. 

IMG_20190706_114528.jpg

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The tang of a full tang handle should always be hollowed out a little. This accomplishes several things.

1. It lightens the weight, improving balance.

2. It reduces the surface area required to mate with the handle scale.

3. It provides a stronger glue bond.

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