Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How To: Making A Decorative Twist On Copper Wire.


These types of decorative twists can be used to add detail on knives, jewelry and metalsmithing projects.

#1. In this example, I’m starting with square wire and running it through a rolling mill to change the cross section a bit,… pushing two corners out.

#2. Texture the two opposite corners that haven’t been raised, with a sharp faced hammer.

#3. Grab one end of the piece in a vice and the other with a pair of parallel jaw pliers.

#4. Twist the piece until the desired “tightness” is achieved, annealing the copper as needed.

Note: To anneal the copper wire, heat it to a cherry red and quench it in water.


Update 8/24/2012

These are essentially the same, but the raised corners are textured instead of the un-raised corners.

This example is from ordinary square wire, and can be done without the rolling mill. Grooves are chiseled down the sides and two opposing corners are textured with a checkering file.

Here’s an example of a decorative copper twist used on a knife ferrule.


Friday, August 10, 2012

How To: Fitting A Wood Handle Block For Stick Tang Knife Constructions.


This method gives a perfect fit to a tapered tang and the handle can be taken off and put back on. It’s nice because it’s fast, requires little effort and the handle aligns exactly the same every time with a tight fit and no play. This also allows you to shape the handle accurately after the fitting. In this scenario quick set epoxy is used as a cast filler.

#1. Drill an appropriate pilot hole in the handle block. Measure the tang and mark it at the top of the handle block.

#2. Scrape the rectangular hole out following the lines. I’m using a scraper made from a round file.

#3. Once the wood piece loosely fits the tang and slides all the way up to it’s final position, grease or wax the tang as a releasing agent. Fill the tang hole with quick set epoxy and slide the tang in. If the hole goes clean through the handle piece, cover the end of the hole with tape, so the epoxy doesn’t run out. It’s better to use more epoxy than you think you need rather than not using enough.

#4. Once the epoxy gets “leather hard” (won’t sag or run and isn’t very sticky), clamp the blade in a vice and release the handle block by pulling straight back on it. Immediately slide it all the way back up to the guard or it’s final position. Repeat the releasing process several times as the epoxy completely sets, to make sure it doesn’t get stuck.

#5. Clean off the excess epoxy and check the fit.

Note: If the handle is to be epoxied permanently in place at final assembly, be sure and thoroughly clean the releasing agent off the tang and out of the tang hole with an appropriate solvent or degreasing agent and a swab.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How To: Friction Fitting A Knife Guard Blank.


#1. File out the slot following just on the inside of the lines, until the guard blank slides up the tang with moderate pressure to about ¼ inch away from it’s final position depending on the degree of the tapered tang, which could vary.

Tip: Pad the vice with a piece of leather to protect the surfaces of the blank.

#2. Take the piece back off and file the ends of the slot to match the radius of the tang to ricasso transition.

#3. Make a seating tool out of hardwood that straddles the tang. I’m using 1-½ inch square maple, 8 inches long. Clamp the blade, tang up, in a vice padded with leather. Position the seating tool and strike it from the top with a hammer to drive the guard all the way up, until it seats at it’s final position and check the fit.

The guard blank can be knocked back off with a wooden mallet, a pair of hardwood splints or a reverse seating tool that straddles the blade when it comes time to shape the guard.

If there is a gap between the guard blank and tang, gently peen around the top and/or bottom sides of the slot to close it up. Sand the top and/or bottom flush from the peening around the slot and re-seat the guard. If the guard loosens up a bit prior to final assembly from taking it on and off, peen around the bottom lightly just prior to final assembly to tighten it back up.

Recommendation: With this type of construction, at final assembly, seal the guard with JB Weld to prevent moisture from getting in and use a threaded tang with a nut to put the guard and handle under compression.

Monday, August 6, 2012

How To: Friction Fitting A Knife Guard Blank.


#1. Measure the tang. Mark the guard blank with a scribe and drill a small hole at one end of where the slot will be.

Tip: Patina the blank first to help see the lines better.

#2. Thread a, #1 cut, jewelers saw blade through the hole. Secure the blank with a clamp and saw all the way around, staying just on the inside of the lines, adjusting the clamp and positioning of the blank as needed. In this example I’m using 3/16 inch thick bronze for the guard.

Tip: When using a C clamp, pad it with a small piece of leather to protect the surface of the guard blank.

At this point the guard blank should not slide all the way up the tapered tang. It should be a little too tight. The fit will be adjusted further before final assembly.

Note: The tang is tapered from all sides so that when the guard is driven on it tightens up as the tang is wedged into the slot.