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20 Piece Through Tang Handle

Discussion in 'Materials & Technique' started by dancom, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Here I am about to assemble a through-tang chef's knife with 20 individual pieces for the handle. Each piece gets roughed with 60 grit and cleaned with acetone; then individually epoxied and stacked one on top of the other. Materials I used are 1/8" AEB-L scraps, 13 pieces of 3/32" vulcanized fibre spacer and a 10-24 x 2" stainless steel machine screw with modified head. This goes through some killer blue dyed stabilized maple and the stack is capped off with a 416 x 3/8" stainless piece for the butt cap. All pieces are over-sized and will be ground to size later. The angle I cut off the corner of each piece is to ensure I get the pieces on the same orientation as in the dry fitting.

    [​IMG]

    The keyed tang screw gets fitted on after the first 10 pieces are on and set into the stabilized wood block. The screw head has been fashioned into a disc that friction fits into the hole/slot in the end of the tang. Although not perfect, this technique doesn't require brazing or welding and the disc shape stops the screw from turning when threading the butt cap on later.
    [​IMG]

    I mixed about two tablespoons of G/flex so there would be enough to fill the cavity in the wood block and coat all the surfaces. A little more is better than running out in mid operation. ;-)
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    The tang screw extends through the block and captures the last seven layers. The threaded butt cap acts like a nut to compress all the pieces together. The hole in the butt cap is not drilled and tapped all the way through. Rather the hole is blind at about 3/16" deep, so there will be no hole or screw showing in the finished product. At this stage you don't want any epoxy in the threaded hole that can hydraulically prevent the cap from going on all the way tight.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now it's off to a warm place and wait a day for the G/flex to cure. Then the idea is to grind it all into an great handle. I'll be slowly grinding and reducing the amount of steel in the butt cap while checking the feel to get the balance just right.

    We'll see how it comes out in a day or two.

    Dan
     
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  2. Dave Hodson

    Dave Hodson Member

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    Good set of pictures Dan and great tip about not filling the hole in the butt cap. Looking forward to the finished product.

    Dave
     
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  3. Dave Hodson

    Dave Hodson Member

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    Another thing I just noticed now was the angled corners on each of the pieces - great idea to keep everything oriented. I've just started doing these knives and it's been a learning experience for sure.
     
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  4. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Dave,

    Ya, I like to dry fit everything and make sure it goes back together the same way. Nothing worse than having something not fitting when you're hands/gloves are all covered in epoxy. Another tip is to put some plastic cling wrap on the camera during glue ups! Haha, I learned this the hard way after epoxying the buttons on my point & shoot.

    Another tip I learned was make sure one has at lease the fastener diameter of engaged threads. I have found this rule-of-thumb to very useful over the years. So for a #10 screw, which is very close to 3/16" major diameter, I try to have 3/16" of tapped threads in the butt cap. It's for this reason I tend to go with smaller fasteners at the risk of breaking taps.

    Dan
     
  5. Dave Hodson

    Dave Hodson Member

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    That's a good rule of thumb Dan - I was just trying to sort thread depth out.

    I should know by now that organization is everything once you get the glue going but no matter how many times I screw up I keep finding myself in the same mess. Good thing I'm not trying to make a living off my work.

    Dave
     
  6. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    On a side note, I was doing some calculations on yield strength of a 316 stainless machine screws. With a yield strength of 42,000 psi, a #10 screw is actually overkill for holding a handle together if you have enough threads engaged.

    In saying that, a Grade 5, 1/4" NC would be better if you anticipate someone beating on your knife with a hammer. :(

    Check this out from Fastenal's web site for 1/4" NC, Grade 5. Could you really hang a 2018 Honda Civic LX from a 1/4" bolt?

    [​IMG]
    Link: https://www.fastenal.com/en/84/load-calculator

    Dan
     
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  7. Griff

    Griff Active Member

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    Very interesting. Looking forward to seeing that completed and shaped Dan!
     
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  8. Dave Hodson

    Dave Hodson Member

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    I didn't realize that - pretty interesting. I tried to online order my stuff from Fastenal before I headed to Edmonton but couldn't open an account. I ended up at KAR Industrial on 53rd Ave in Edmonton - very helpful people there.
     
  9. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    ...cont.

    After the epoxy sets, I go to the grinder with a 36 grit belt and the work rest set at 90° and start to square off the handle. If the belt isn't super fresh the stainless can get quite warm so keep a bucket o'water handy. You do not want to burn the epoxy.

    [​IMG]

    After squaring, I'll begin to round off the edges so that the front bolster takes on an oval shape. The shape is matter of what style and how it feels in the hand. I find this shape good for pinch gripping and it's enough off of round to provide good indexing.
    [​IMG]


    Once the the rough shape has taken form, I'll go to the section of slack belt and simply rotate the knife 'round and 'round with even pressure and time. Always focusing on the harder steel parts not the softer wood and always moving.
    [​IMG]

    Moving up to a 120 grit zirc for this step. Still happily rotating on the slack belt. I like the Norton 695 zircs as the x-weight backing is stiff enough to offer some resistance.
    [​IMG]

    I usually take it to 320 and then mask off for buffing.
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    I use green polishing compound (which does look black after the stainless gets into it) and rotate the knife 'round and 'round. Always keeping the piece moving.
    [​IMG]

    A little CA quickly rubbed into the wooden part with a shop towel and she starts to pop. This is a far as I got last night, but I hope you get the general idea of how it will look.
    [​IMG]

    The next tasks are to to clean her up, put an edge on and take some pics. Maybe I'll give it a test drive in the kitchen tomorrow.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Dan
     
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  10. Griff

    Griff Active Member

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    Impressive! I like the process for sure and the finished look is mint! Thanks for sharing Dan:beer::beer:
     
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  11. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Ya, it really goes from ugly duckling to swan in a short time.
     
  12. Dave Hodson

    Dave Hodson Member

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    Great work Dan and I really like the blue stabilized maple and how it works with your choice of spacer colours. Thanks for stringing these pictures together.
     
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  13. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Thanks Griff/Dave,

    One is never sure how it's going to look when it's all ground out. I think it's ok.

    When selecting spacers I use the old artist's light vs. dark trick where each lighter coloured piece is next to a black piece for contrast. So each stainless piece has a black piece next to it and so on.


    Dan
     
  14. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    For the person who asked what I do with the butt end of the handle...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Dan
     
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