advise on finishing handle against a full double hand guard on bowie

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by daniel connor, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. daniel connor

    daniel connor

    5
    Feb 23, 2021
    I am finishing a large bowie with a large cross bar guard. It is a full tang. I have the guard finished and polished but not attached. I am stuck on how I will sand down and get a perfect fit of the scales to the tang without scratching up the guard where the scales but up against the guard. Any tricks? Sides are easy since I can sand down to brass flush and repolish. Top and bottom are my challenge. Appreciate any advice for a new maker.
     
  2. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Have hidden pins in the scales, finish them and after that assemble everything
     
  3. john april

    john april KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 27, 2006
    i finish the guard and handle material once its permanantly on the knife, as one piece. i would not be able to attach scales to a finished guard and finish the scales without harming the guard.
     
    DanF and Natlek like this.
  4. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    That's a hard area. Sometimes you can do it with a small wheel, if you can match the radius on the back of the guard to the wheel diameter. Another option is to use a scalloped belt and shape it that way. Another option is to pin and shape the scales prior to glue up, so you can finish everything independently. Or, go manual with taped off areas and a file or sandpaper to finish.
     
  5. daniel connor

    daniel connor

    5
    Feb 23, 2021
    Really appreciate the feedback. It is an old-school look with a straight guard (90 degree to handle so nor curve). Getting back into knifemaking after many years away. Did it when I was a kid. Really appreciate the advise here. I will try out the temporary internal pin idea since several people mentioned that. I am using stabilized maple burl. My last knife I used my prized collection of bones from a 15 foot alligator. Big alligator leg bones make great handles for hidden tang:)
     
  6. daniel connor

    daniel connor

    5
    Feb 23, 2021
    Beautiful work John. Enjoyed your webstite. Amazing craftsmanship.
     
  7. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    We want pics of the aligator bone :)
     
    Tyson A Wright likes this.
  8. daniel connor

    daniel connor

    5
    Feb 23, 2021
    happy to. Looks like I have to have it somewhere on the internet to link to first. I stay off the social media sites so have to find an easy way to do that.
     
  9. A.McPherson

    A.McPherson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2012
    https://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/1126014-Attach-Images-to-Your-Threads-Comments

    You can use just about any image hosting site. I use imgur now, and I have used flikr in the past.

    When using the service, make sure you are looking at the pic itself, not the snapshot of the pic.
     
  10. daniel connor

    daniel connor

    5
    Feb 23, 2021
    here is the picture. Needs some re-polishing. Alligator hunting was legal in SC with a knife and I made this knife for that purpose, but alas never got to do it. I have more bones for future projects. This huge guy died of natural causes (likely old age)

    [​IMG]
     
    Hengelo_77 likes this.
  11. Hubert S.

    Hubert S. Gold Member Gold Member

    747
    Dec 14, 2019
    I've inserted your image below. You need to use the link to the image itself, not the link to the imgur post. An easy way to get that link is to right-click and select "Copy image address".
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    So it is you with a knife like that against an aligator? How big an aligator do you take on with just a knife?
     
  13. John Cahoon

    John Cahoon JWC Custom Knives Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    866
    Apr 13, 2017
    What you never saw Crocodile Dundee?:) That was a knoife!
     
    Natlek likes this.
  14. Alex Topfer

    Alex Topfer

    192
    May 1, 2019
    The crocs down here are bigger than your alligators, so you need a bigger knife
     
  15. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    If you try to square the end of the handle on the grinder, or by hand, it will just get shorter sand shorter as you make the gap move all around. At the same time the center by the hole gets slightly proud of the edge and the gap never seems to go away.

    A really good trick on fitting a hidden tang handle to the guard without gaps is to reverse chamfer the end of the handle. Use a Dremel tool or similar with a cylinder burr.
    Make the end slope inward toward the tang hole about 10-15°. This allows fine tuning the perimeter with a file until it meets all the way around.

    I sometimes use pieces of carbon paper slipped down the tang and "tap" the handle against the guard to see where the high spots are. They show up black and I file that area only.

    Final trick if you really don't want to spend a lot of time fitting the handle is to cut a pliable leather spacer and glue it to the end of the handle. Trim and sand the leather flush and finish the handle before assembly. When assembling the handle to the knife use enough pressure on the handle clamp to press the leather flush with the guard.
     

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