For the manner in which men live is so different from the way in which they ought to live, that he who leaves the common course for that which he ought to follow will find that it leads him to ruin rather than safety.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Let's Make a Knife, pt 5

Let's see if we can wrap it up here in part 5! I took a ton of pictures, and probably made it seem over complicated, but what the hey! More info is good info. It also made me think about what I was doing.

This is an upside down picture because, honestly, I don't feel like editing it at the moment! Anyway, stuff laid out to fit the handles. Acetone to clean the blade, loctite for the nuts, epoxy, a cup, and a brush.

Add a dab of loctite to each screw under the head and run a nut all the way up. Shown not quite all the way so we all can see the loctite.

Mix your epoxy according to whatever instructions come with it. It doesn't take much. Brush the mating side of the handle, and dab some into the counterbores where the nuts will sit. Insert the screws, and assemble one scale onto the handle. Apply epoxy to the other scale...

And stick it on! Now run the nuts down and tighten them up.
Screws installed, let's help 'em out for a bit...

...with some clamps. The clamps help squeeze out the excess epoxy...which makes for a stronger bond. I use 5 minute epoxy, but I leave them clamped for 24 hours or more.

After curing. Remove the clamps and it's time to cut the fasteners and shape the handles.

Hacksaw, bandsaw, don't matter. Cut them puppies off and lets do some sanding!

After sanding the fasteners flush and getting the handles shaped to the blade. Like any sanding, do a grit progression from rough to fine.

Add some finger notches, or whatever you like. The options are endless. You can do all your shaping on the belt sander or finish the rest by hand. I think this style handle is best done by hand.
I can just clamp the blade in the pana-vise and do the sandpaper shimmy. Just to a grit progression up through 320 or 400 and you'll get a nice, smooth handle.

Just about done. Just give it a general once over with some fine paper and it's all good!

Ready to finish. We're closing in.
My "recipe" for kitchen knives. Mineral oil, shellac, and my chopping block wax (a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax). I use this because it is a food safe finish. It does, over time, require maintenance.

First coat of mineral oil. I like to slather the handle in mineral oil and let it drip off for a while. Then I'll dry it and repeat. After 2 or 3 coats, I'll apply shellac.

After shellac. With shellac, I'll rub in a coat until it is smooth. Rub in some more. Rub in some more. I like to use some steel wool to smooth it down further and then put on some more. I like the way it builds up. I use a "heavy" 1 pound cut. It provides the best coverage and build up that I've tried so far. By "heavy" I mean that I measure up a 1 pound cut and then add a bit more flake to the mix (about 25% more on the current batch).

Everything short of wax. Redheart has a beautiful character. It's not as oily as other exotic woods, so it requires more finishing before it builds up. Once the wax is on it will have a nice protective coating.

And that is where we're going to end it! I think we can all figure out how to rub wax onto a knife handle without my help.

If you've read along this far, thank you for letting me bend your ear. I didn't realize all of the minute little steps until I started writing this. So many of the little things just become automatic. It is possible (because I've done it) to do this entire process in 2 or 3 days. In a single day, I designed, cut, ground, and heat treated my first two outdoor knives. These posts made it seem more drawn out, and that wasn't my goal...I just wanted to put a microscope onto my own process.

Thanks again! I hope you learned something...or maybe got a little bug planted in your head.

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