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R. Alex Dorris

Tips for fitting up an integral?

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Hey guys, I have an integral bolster hunter I'm trying to fit up with a handle. Having a bit of trouble with getting a seamless fit between the wood and the bolster. It's within a hair's breadth, but not quite there. 

I'm using files on it, and marking with a marker where the proud sections are, and filing at them. Seems like I just keep making new uneven spots while fixing the old ones.

Any tips? I'm planning on fitting a copper spacer between the bolster and the wood, also, so I don't really want to use leather or any similar soft spacers.

 

Another thing, was it a bad idea to make the transition from tang to bolster a sharp 90 degree angle? Seems like a definite stress riser, but I couldn't imagine how I'd fit up sloped shoulders, I'm having enough trouble with the straight ones!

Thanks,

 

Alex

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Posted (edited)

Use lamp black or hold the steel over a candle and scrape carefully the marked bits on the wood till you get a complete coverage of the black on the wood to show 100% fit.

Use fine scrapers rather than a file at this stage of the fitting.

Edited by Garry Keown

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14 hours ago, R. Alex Dorris said:

 

I'm using files on it, and marking with a marker where the proud sections are, and filing at them. Seems like I just keep making new uneven spots while fixing the old ones.

 

 

Using files (including fine ones) can cause some inconsistencies on straight surfaces (as you shared). You can use a knife, the curved part (radius?) of the cutting edge, with which to scrape the protruding points in the wood. Not cutting, but scraping. If you don't have a suitable short blade, just use any other well-sharpened one that holds the edge for a long time (or you will have to sharpen) to wrap the part you will be holding with some tape or sticking (I don't know the word) for your safety. This way you can scrape selected places only where you want.

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Those are both good tips, but I'm really having trouble with getting the shoulders of the bolster perfectly flat and even all the way around. 

The steel, not the wood. The part where the steel touches the handle material

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You can also make the surface of the wood very slightly concave so that the surfaces around the outside of the bolster touch first.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, R. Alex Dorris said:

Any tips?

Sandpaper, a hard, flat sanding stick, and take your time....

 

Not sure if this would work, but I just had another thought... could you take/make a monkey tool (search for  blacksmith monkey tool if you're not sure what this is) that fits the tang, make sure the face is flat, adhere some sandpaper to the face and use that to flatten your shoulders?

19 hours ago, R. Alex Dorris said:

Another thing, was it a bad idea to make the transition from tang to bolster a sharp 90 degree angle?

Yes, if this is a truly sharp 90 without any radius.  You could change this by filing in a small radius and making the tang a bit narrower,

 

19 hours ago, R. Alex Dorris said:

I couldn't imagine how I'd fit up sloped shoulders,

Probably a lot easier than you think.  Here's a diagram showing what to shoot for next time:

  Untitled.jpg

Edited by billyO

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Take a block of something smooth. flat, and hard, like some Corian countertop, mild steel bar, etc.

Drill a hole in the middle of said block the same size as yout tang.

Put a sheet of sandpaper on the block.

Use the tang to punch through the sandpaper over the hole you drilled.

Insert tang all the way to the shoulder, rotate the blade vigorously.  

 

This is basically Billy's monkey tool idea, and is the way I used to make the mating surface of pipe stems before I had a lathe.  The extra paper in the hole will prevent a sharp 90 degree angle.  You can even do a little countersink if you want.  

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43 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Take a block of something smooth. flat, and hard, like some Corian countertop, mild steel bar, etc.

Drill a hole in the middle of said block the same size as yout tang.

Put a sheet of sandpaper on the block.

Use the tang to punch through the sandpaper over the hole you drilled.

Insert tang all the way to the shoulder, rotate the blade vigorously.  

 

This is basically Billy's monkey tool idea, and is the way I used to make the mating surface of pipe stems before I had a lathe.  The extra paper in the hole will prevent a sharp 90 degree angle.  You can even do a little countersink if you want.  

Yesss that's exactly what I was trying to figure out, I knew there had to be a better way. Thank you!

55 minutes ago, billyO said:

Sandpaper, a hard, flat sanding stick, and take your time....

 

Not sure if this would work, but I just had another thought... could you take/make a monkey tool (search for  blacksmith monkey tool if you're not sure what this is) that fits the tang, make sure the face is flat, adhere some sandpaper to the face and use that to flatten your shoulders?

Yes, if this is a truly sharp 90 without any radius.  You could change this by filing in a small radius and making the tang a bit narrower,

 

Probably a lot easier than you think.  Here's a diagram showing what to shoot for next time:

  Untitled.jpg

thanks a lot Billy! All good ideas

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3 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

You can also make the surface of the wood very slightly concave so that the surfaces around the outside of the bolster touch first.

Yes, I tried that! Unfortunately I'm trying to fit some copper spacers between the wood and steel as well, so the steel really has to be flat. I tried making the spacers slightly concave also, and that was a whole new can of worms 

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I use one of these  http://www.billbehnkeknives.com/available_items.html.

 

I met Bill in a hotel in Connecticut, he was coming in for his FiF finale, and I was flying out after filming my episode.

The guide works great, I love mine.

 

Another way to deal with integrals (and I know of at least one other maker who does this) is to not make a tang at all.  Drill into the bolster (pre HT) and tap it.  I use a grade 8 bolt for the tang.  A bit of JB weld secures it.  Then it's a simple matter to make the bolster flat.

Geoff 

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57 minutes ago, Geoff Keyes said:

I use one of these  http://www.billbehnkeknives.com/available_items.html.

 

I met Bill in a hotel in Connecticut, he was coming in for his FiF finale, and I was flying out after filming my episode.

The guide works great, I love mine.

 

Another way to deal with integrals (and I know of at least one other maker who does this) is to not make a tang at all.  Drill into the bolster (pre HT) and tap it.  I use a grade 8 bolt for the tang.  A bit of JB weld secures it.  Then it's a simple matter to make the bolster flat.

Geoff 

Ooh that looks pretty sweet. I could use one of those regular file guides as well, for plunge cuts.

That's an interesting idea with the no tang approach! Just need a tap and die set first...

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Buy the right drill bit, the right tap and a wrench, although a good set of T&D are not a big investment.  I have both a straight guide and the integral and I use them a lot.  The carbides are nice because a 2x72  belt won't hurt them, you can use them on the grinder to shoulders and plunge lines.

Geoff

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