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Thicknessing knife scales

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by golfer1, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. golfer1

    golfer1

    357
    Nov 24, 2016
    How do you control final thickness of knife scales. I would like to be able to sand of route the scales to flat sides before shaping and installation. Do you have system you use?
    Thanks for looking.
     
  2. AVigil

    AVigil Adam Vigil knifemaker working the grind Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    For scales, after mounting them I sand them flat both sides.

    I then determine what thickness I want at the front, middle and butt.

    I mark that thickness on the edges with a scribe, narrow up front, wide at the middle and narrow at the butt for example. I then grind the scales close to those marks and then work in the contours.
     
    Jpgied and kuraki like this.
  3. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    My solution is to do most of the shaping before attaching the scales. First I use the grinder to get a truly flat surface on each scale. Then I cut the scales to a rough shape of the handle, oversizing it a bit that I deal with once the scales are attached. Then I use a height gauge and grinder to make sure each scale is the same thickness. Then use the same gauge to scribe a line around the bottom of the scale to mark the borders of bevels I want, again grinding this before attaching the scales. Once I'm happy with the rough shape, I attach the scales and once the epoxy has cured, off to the belt grinder to grind off the excess of the corby bolts/pins (I suggest grinding each one only a short bit at a time, going back and forth from one pin to the other (i.e. Pin#1 side A > Pin #2 side A > Pin #1 side B >pin#2 side B, etc) and dunking in water as needed to keep the pins cool and not have them burn a ring around the pin). Then I round out the angles and do the final shaping on the grinder, then a bit of gentle hand sanding with a progression of 800g-1000g-2000g, but I like completely polished pins. I caution you to be careful with the final hand sanding because the handle material is softer than the pins, and if not careful, even with the 2000g, you'll remove scale material quicker then the pin material (not sure if this is true with the carbon fiber rods) you'll be able to feel the pin protruding from the scale, and while fixable, it takes a lot more time and care to make sure you are sanding only the pin and not the scales.
    Sorry for being so wordy, but I am Italian....
     
    Brock Cutlery likes this.
  4. KnuckleDownKnives

    KnuckleDownKnives Time to make the doughnuts.. Basic Member

    Feb 12, 2015
    My method is the same as Adam's.

    Start out with everything flat, mark the front middle and heal with scribe lines. Grind from front to middle and then heal to middle. Then contour and finish. I find this method easiest for keeping everything even.

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg 8.jpg 9.jpg
     
    AVigil likes this.
  5. golfer1

    golfer1

    357
    Nov 24, 2016
    Great help for me. Do you guys use a jig of some kind to grind or sand the scales to the same thickness before you begin? Could you enlarge on that thought?
    Thanks much for your help.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  6. Bob Ohlemann

    Bob Ohlemann

    Dec 5, 2013
    Since you asked about thicknessing and not shaping so much, I use this to evenly thickness my scales before installing.

    Mini Drum Sander

    For me, having accurately thicknessed scales is the key to getting good clean profile finishing.

    Bob
     
    autogateman and Don Hanson III like this.
  7. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    Flat platen, start with more than you need.....a lot more. :D
     
    Brock Cutlery likes this.
  8. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    I guess I left that part out. After making sure the inside is dead flat, I then use the height gauge set to the thinner of the two and then scribe a line all the way around the thicker scale and then sand/grind to this line. I've also done a few without worrying about this, merely making sure I get the sides symmetrical when shaping...
     
  9. DevinT

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

    Jan 29, 2010
    I use a disc sander to make scales flat and parallel using calipers to measure along the way. I also use double stick tape and my surface grinder with the belt atatchment.

    Hoss
     
  10. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    I just eyeball everything. o_O
     
  11. AVigil

    AVigil Adam Vigil knifemaker working the grind Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    That must be one tough eyeball :D
     
    Don Hanson III likes this.
  12. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    Yea, I had to start wearing glasses. :cool:
     
  13. golfer1

    golfer1

    357
    Nov 24, 2016
    You guys are awesome, the thickness control is what I seem to have the most trouble with. Thanks very much.
     
  14. Gilbert M

    Gilbert M

    70
    Sep 8, 2013
    I made up this jig out of aluminum with carbide strips from ebay. I just lay it on my surface block with something the thickness I want and attach my material with double side tape then back to the disc sander.
    Gilbert
    [​IMG]
     
    HSC /// and Bob Ohlemann like this.
  15. golfer1

    golfer1

    357
    Nov 24, 2016
    Great looking jig Gilbert. Looks like an ideal unit, thanks for sharing.
     

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