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I'm always having an issue with making the front of the scales even. I  try to be patient with them and they look good until I put them on a blade. I say always...but haven't made even 10. I pin them together getting the outline and then do the front.  Figured if together they'd be the same.  Suggestions please 

 

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Make sure you drill press drills square! If your drill press is not drilling a square to the material you will never get them to line up!

 

When you work the scales and the front edge use the same pins you will use during final assembly! This keeps both sides of the scales square too each other, while working them.

 

Dry assemble to see if you like the fit. You can leave them slightly long till you get the front or the shape like you want them to look and finish out!

 

Once you like the dry fit then use the same pins to assemble. The finish work at the front of the scales, should be done at the point of assembly because it is almost impossible to do anything against the ricasso without screwing up the blade!

 

From the picture it's not the length as much the problem as it is the shaping. That comes with practice. Sometimes marking lines as to where you want the roll to start and end helps to get the shape more uniform from side to side! Then practice, on the cheap materials till it gets to be second nature! We all have a box, a drawer, a bucket that contains the rejects!!  Sometimes it just helps to breathe deep!!! SOMETIMES NOT!!!anger .jpg

Edited by C Craft
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Carefully. :P

 

Honestly though, take your time and go through them one at a time with small pieces of sandpaper.  Maybe even consider wrapping them around a flat stick to give you a bit more control.  Go slowly and stop often to compare from one side to the other.

Edited by Alex Middleton
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The quick short answer VERY CAREFULLY! :P   I am assuming these are already glued up the way you are talking. So this is the best advice I can give at this point!!

 

Look I have had to go back and work on the front of a set of scales. Cover the ricasso with a thin material, such as sheet metal, brass or similar! Make sure that that the cover material is taped off well, so it can't move while you work on the reshaping! You will have to do the reshape with hand tools such as a file or similar. I have used a file before and then you have to do the finish sanding with an oscillating sander. Whether it be a air model, Nitto Kohki APS-125 Palm Orbital Sander or an electric model,Milwaukee 5Inch Random Orbit Palm Sander. Model 6034-21 it will allow you to do the shaping and finishing. It will leave you a thin line where the ricasso and scales meet. You will more than likely have to do some hand sanding but this method will save knocking the scales off and throwing away! 

 

You will cuss and discuss,with your self why you did not do this when dry fitting before you get through! Anyway it should allow you to do that finish against the ricasso without grinding into the knife. By the time you are done you will appreciate the valuable lesson you just learned!! 

Edited by C Craft
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Here is a quick and dirty drawing of how lines can help you with your shaping! If you are looking for a coke bottle shape of a knife handle! Diet Coke Aluminum Bottles, 8.5 Fl Oz, 24 Pack

 

You can start with the two blocks. Measuring out the point as too where you want to take your lines to, gives you a basic idea of where to start and stop with the shaping! Looking at my quick drawing. The top view shows that the roll at the ricasso is not exactly matching in my drawing.

 

So I would have to work at this when shaping. Also I am not crazy about the initial shape itself! So would probably do some freehand on the shape itself. But those lines give me a point to shoot for and use as reference when trying to get both sides to look right!!

 

The fact that your drill press is drilling square into the knife blank is the most important factor! Drill square thru the blank, then take your handle material and put a drop of super glue front and back and align one side of the handle material. Now drill thru the holes in the knife blank and into one side of the handle material! 

Then take the other side of your handle material align it put a drop of super glue front and back! Drill down thru the first side of the handle material, thru the blank and out the other side of the handle material!! 

 

This is why the drill press has to be drilling square. If it is not you will not go thru all that material and come out the other side and that hole be square!! Lessening the pressure on the bit as it is coming out of the handle material will keep it from blowing out the material!!

 

When using something other than a flat block for handle material you have to get creative about keeping the blade square to the drill press table but it can be done!! One way is to use a block under the knife blank that is the thickness of the highest point of the handle material will keep the blank square to the table. However you are also going to have to support the low side of the handle material so to speak!!

 

Now make a reference line from one side of the handle material to the other side! I often use the center of the length. I will draw this line all the way around the handle! This gives me a reference point to go back to if I grind the line out on one side and I can freshen that line around the handle while shaping! That line means I can match the handle material by that reference line at any point in the shaping!!

 

Now put a blanket or towel on your bench and hit the handle material with a dead blow hammer. Since it had only a drop at front and back of the handle material should pop loose from the knife blank! 

 

When shaping I use the pins that I will use in the final glue to keep the two side lined up so I can look at the handle without the blade and make adjustments to the shaping as necessary. When getting a handle shaped I do most of the shaping by checking the look on the knife blank. I will dry assemble a dozen times or more. But you always want to finish the handle material at the riccaso before final glue up or you will regret it! ashamed.jpg

 

The reason I refer to the knife blade itself as a blank is because it the easiest way to reference to the part I am speaking of!! You could be using a blank or stock removal, a forged blade! What ever you use it will need to ground to a flat surface. Or at least it makes it easier to do such! 

 

I hope some of this helps some with your shaping woes!

Quick shaping of handle.jpg

Edited by C Craft
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The majority of my handle shaping is done with files and rasps now.  I'll use the grinder for some quick rough work, but find that it is too hard for me to achieve symmetry that way.  The files let me keep a closer eye on what is happening so I can get things to match better.  

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+1 Brian says! 

 

I use rasps, files and the sander to rough shape, but remember David you can always take more off but you can't add it back! Stop and look often. I will dry fit many times till I get the basic shape of what I am liking for that particular knife! Comparing side to side to make sure I don't have one different from the other!!

 

Also when you have the rough shape you like. Start trying to use less and less tools that cut deep. Just like the blade you have to sand all the marks out down to the finish handle. I really do use an oscillating sander to shape when I am trying to get rid of rasp and file marks on a handle I find the round headed ones will flex and get down into the rolls you may create!! Dewalt 3 Amps Corded 5 In. Random Orbit SanderBy tipping and rocking the base. I have also use an oscillating saw with sanding attachments.RIDGID 4 Amp Corded Jobmax Multi-Tool With Tool-Free Head Sanding Pad Set Oscillating Multi Tool Fein Multimaster Milwaukee Craftsman Voss basically it is what ever you can use to get the shape you want!

Then in the final shape it hand sand, hand sand, ........ well you get the ideas hand sand, and going to finer and finer grits! My handles are usually 75% to finish shape when they go on for glue up! They may be an 1/8" proud on the final size but I always finish 100% up against the ricasso. Or that is always the plan!!  Sometimes with the best laid plans you will still get thatDidn't see that coming.jpg

WTH went wrong!! That is when you have to think on the fly!! Or as they say a do over!!

Edited by C Craft
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