Saturday, February 21, 2015


For the post heat treatment finishing, I used my toggle clamp and a range of sand papers. Starting at 180 grit and working to 320. The sharp spine edge of a bushcraft knife is important for scraping and a flat block is necessary for keeping the edge sharp and not rounding it.
After some finish sanding I went over to the grinder with a fresh belt and worked the bevel very slowly. Cooling in water every pass. At this stage I don't want to kill the hardness by burning the steel.

For the scales I wanted to go with something natural. For me, Micarta or G10 seems so in-congruent on a bushcraft knife. The first part of putting scales on is to get the book matched pattern right. Make sure that the two sides you want showing line up properly.

Trace the handle shape and roughed them out on the wood band saw. I used a roll of masking tape to trace the curve at the scale fronts.
Here I have one scale clamped and drilled. Using slightly over sized numbered bit 12 and F will allow an easy fit and some epoxy to flow around the pins.
After drilling both scales on the drill press I use wooden dowel to pin them together. Now we work on the fronts.
I sand them with 120 and then a really fine belt, say 600. Keep the fronts square (90°) to their faces. After the finishing belt let's give them a buff.
On the buffer, I used just a little black compound, then over to the clean cotton wheel for a shine. This is our last chance to perfect these areas.
 The maple burl looks sweet!
Cut the pins and test fit. I also drill some tiny holes or scratch up the insides of the scales so they have more surface area to bond with.
 For this 'special' knife I am using two 3/16" mosaic pins, one 1/4" center mosaic and one section of brass 1/4" tubing for the lanyard hold.
Everything's ready to go for glue up. I will be using Acraglas. I put on some disposable gloves and prepare the bench for messy work. A plastic shopping bag or piece of craft paper work fine for protecting the bench.

I used cheapo vise-grips with leather pads (see Shop Jigs & Fixtures page) to hold the scales down. Sometimes you need to flex the wood in certain places to make the tiny gaps go away.

Of extra importance is the Acraglas fill on the spine where the filework is. We are trying for no gaps, no air pockets, bubbles or anything unsightly. The filework is an eye catcher and you don't want to have a big air bubble hole in the epoxy there.

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