PART TWO: FITTING.
#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.