Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Field Cutlery Part 3, or May be Part 4

So far i had made three blades with full tangs and for a while they just sat in the shed getting grubby, until eventually i decided that the carbon steel blades needed a clean which luckily i could do any time i had a spare ten minutes. There were a lot of surface scratches that i polished out with very fine sand paper and a spot of oil, this was done along the length of the blade until i had a finish i was happy with. There were some marks which would not polish out but i thought it added character, besides this is my first attempt and i'll know how to do a much better and efficient job next time.

A hand sander has a hardish foam pad behind the sand paper,this makes it loads easier to sand out any small marks and polish it.

The scales or handle was to be two pieces of wood glued either side of the tang with 6 mm bar for pins which adds strength, i could then sand the wood till it conformed to the shape of the tang and was thin enough to hold comfortably. However finding the right piece of wood in my wood bits pile was not forth coming, that was until i found an old acoustic guitar neck and removed the hard wood finger board. 

Guitar fret board is Rose wood, i think

I then removed the frets and cleaned any crap off of it, i then cut down the middle of the neck partway and cut across giving me two pieces that fitted over the tang.

Two sides are big enough to cover all the tang

Out of the three 6 mm holes for the pins i decided to use the two at iether  end, and as i didn't use a pillar drill when making the holes on the tang i clamped the wood on and drilled its pin hole through the tang hole. 

Once i had a nice angle across the rear of the choil (fore finger grip), i clamped and drilled.

 Then i repeated the procedure with the other piece once i removed the drilled first side piece, one of the holes on the tang was drilled at a slight angle so this was the only way to line up the holes for the pins.

Drilling the other side through first side and tang gives a straight hole.

You can see it's not at 90 degrees to the blade, next time i'll use a pillar drill i suppose.

With all the surfaces polished and clean i put the pins in the tang,

Cut two pins from 6 mm ali bar.

 i applied a good measure of Loctite Super Glue to every part of the surfaces to be bonded. After leaving it 20 seconds i fitted the wood over the pins and to the tang, then clamped as much area as possible as the pins did stick out in places.

Glued, clamped, and put aside in the house, as the shed is pretty damp this time of year.

After leaving it for 24 hours to get the best bond possible i removed it from the clamp, 

All glued and set.

i then fitted a 60 grit sandpaper disk to the drill and removed any excess wood so it was the same shape as the tang. 

Sanded wood to the contour of the tang.

It was way too wide still and there were still cuts running down from where the frets were originally, so i ran both sides over the sander till it looked and felt right. 

Shaping the handle.

At first i went for a 60 degree angle around the edges, and though it did look good i eventually rounded the edges off and left some of the fret marks

Happy enough with this one, the remaining bit of fret cuts from the guitar neck match both sides of the handle.

Once i was happy with the shape i sanded down the wood with finer and finer sand paper, then finished it off with about four coats of Danish oil.

Mmmmm, Danish oil.

I have to admit i was very happy with the results, and i enjoyed the whole process of making it. This is the first one and there are imperfections here and there, but this one is for me and those imperfections are character in my opinion. I learned some good tricks and discovered things that just don't work well at all, so the next one should be pretty smart compared to this one.

Not too big and very comfortable to handle.
Building a sheath for this knife and others should be easy enough, there is a wealth of info on the internet about it. I'm thinking of getting some off cut leather off EBay, as i can't find a cheap enough bit of leather clothing from the local charity shops. I have a step by step guide on how to make a DIY gun holster in an old copy of Airgunner from last spring, Making a sheath from this method would be even easier


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.


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