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Bolster Materials?

Discussion in 'Fit & Finish' started by Art P, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Art P

    Art P New Member

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    Hi,

    I am new to the hobby. After a few false starts I am trying to get serious.

    I have made a couple of knives with wood scale handles but would like to add metal bolsters on the next ones.

    What type of Brass and Stainless are people using? Sources? We have a Metals Supermarket close by.

    Also how are they fastened? Through pins? epoxy? Silver Solder.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Art
     
  2. FORGE

    FORGE Maker of the Year Best Knife

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    I use 304 SS with pins. Make sure the pin material is also 304 SS or you will see them in the bolster.
     
  3. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Hi Art,

    I use 416 stainless, 304 stainless and C360 brass. I get 416 SS from Canadian Knifemaker Supply. The 304 and brass I get a Metal Supermarkets, but the 304 bar stock is not as nicely finished as the 416 from Canadian Knifemaker and requires some effort to square it up. I through pin with a hydraulic press. Usually two 1/8" pins.

    As FORGE mentioned, having the same material for the bolster pieces and pins is critical for making the pins disappear in the bolsters. I've had good luck with the 416 and 304 stainless. Brass however, can be fussy. Depending on the composition (ratio of copper/zinc/lead) you get slightly different colours. I test pin on a sample piece to see if or how badly it contrasts. Each time you buy some new material you should do a test and check for contrast. I've used brass from Home Depot too. However, their website says the Paulin brass rod is aluminum, so that's no help. Metal Supermarkets has C360 rod and bar in stock.

    For small amounts of metal the Supermarket is convenient, but expensive. Their prices online don't always keep up with the market prices for metals, so be sure to call them. I saved $15 on a chunk of aluminum by not buying online. If you need to buy a lot of material ask them to quote first. As always it's best practice to shop around.

    I did a series of photos on what I do for bolsters. http://www.canadianknifemaker.ca/index.php?threads/full-tang-chefs-knife-build.1648/

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  4. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Hi Art,

    I use 416 stainless, 304 stainless and brass. I get 416 from Canadian Knifemaker Supply. The 304 I get a Metal Supermarkets, but it's not a nicely finished as the stock from Canadian Knifemaker and some effort needs to be put into it to square it up. Brass I get is C360 from Metal Supermarkets. I have also used Paulin brass rod from the Home Depot, but their website says this brass is aluminum, so that's not very helpful. I through pin with a hydraulic press. Usually two 1/8" pins.

    @FORGE mentioned this in a duplicate post. Having the same material for bolster pieces and pins is critical for making the pins disappear in the bolsters. Brass can be fussy. Depending on the amounts of copper/zinc/lead in the brass you get slightly different colours. For brass, I test a pin in a sample piece to see how it contrasts.

    If you need small pieces of metals the Supermarket is convenient but a little on the expensive side (like 7-Eleven). Their online prices are not always the same as in store. I saved $10 on a chunk of aluminum by calling in.

    Dan
     
  5. Art P

    Art P New Member

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    Dan
    thanks. By the way, I am using your grinder design from your website. And working on a heat treat oven. thinking about making a grinder based on the SAYBER design.
     
    dancom likes this.
  6. Jason

    Jason New Member

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    Im a fan of repurposed materials so ill usually use whatevers on hand. Any brass or copper usually. I also solder my guards on. Its a great way to help waterproof your knife and looks great.
     

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