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Shaping scales on a coated blade

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Kimball_Knife_And_Tool, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Kimball_Knife_And_Tool


    Jun 28, 2019
    So I've got a problem. The way I usually do handle scales is to finish them right to the tang of my knife. Making sure the scales and tang mate perfectly. I've been wanting to coat my knife blades though.
    The problem is, if I shape my scales and finish them on the knife as I usually do, I'll sand the coating off the tang... Which is unacceptable.
    The only thing I've though of is to shape the scales on the tang, take the scales off, get the blade coated, then put the scales back on and hope they mate up perfectly.
    What are your guys thoughts? Any experience with this? Thanks!
  2. A.McPherson

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

    Jan 27, 2012
    I think that’s probably your best option. Complete the scales, get the coating then replace the scales
  3. Josh Rider

    Josh Rider KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 2, 2014
    You could install some locater pins in the tang to the underside of the scales so you get a perfect lineup and use temporary fasteners or removable bolts for the scales.
    I usually use Gulso bolts and coat mine with wax or Vaseline wherever I don’t want epoxy to stick.
    Wyo Coyote and 3fifty7 like this.
  4. DevinT

    DevinT KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 29, 2010
    Good ideas guys, sometimes I use .002 shim stock to protect and finish by hand.

  5. robwil


    Aug 18, 2007
    Why not fit the scales after coating?
  6. Kimball_Knife_And_Tool


    Jun 28, 2019
    Because shaping the scales to the tang after coating would wear off the coating on the exposed tang
  7. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004
    A good trick for shaping the scales and then removing them is to us wooden dowels for the pins. Wax the wood and push/tap it in snug. When done, tap it out with a brass rod and small hammer. In order to keep alignment correct, make the tang holes the same as the pin size.
    E.Carlson likes this.
  8. Wyo Coyote

    Wyo Coyote

    Nov 25, 2015
    I line up approximately shaped scales with pins to the tang. Remove scales from tang. Put scales together lined up using the pins so I have one 'block' and finish the scales that way and then attach them to the tang.
  9. jwesthurl


    Sep 17, 2013
    That’s how I do it on my M1 Garand knife. Shape the scales on the knife with temp pins, parkerize the knife then glue up.

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