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 Post subject: Pocket Knife Tutorial
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:21 am 
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I started on the tutorial early this cold winters morning. This applies to customizing, but can also be applied to restoration and/or repair.
NOTE: please excuse my poor photography, I tried to take all the pictures myself while working and the lighting isn't the best for taking pictures (obviously)

First you need a donor knife; this is a case hawkbill that was sent to me for some embellishment from a fellow forum member.

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First thing you need to do is tape the blade up to save it and your fingers from possible damage.

After that is taken care of you need to remove the heads of the butt and rocker pins. I use a dremel for this.

This is the handiest bit you can have:
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If you plan to reuse or save the scales, be very careful not to slip off the pin and damage the scales, if you don't plan to use them over it won't hurt if you bugger them.
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This is one of my most frequently used tools; it is a drill press vice. I have covered half of the jaws top and inside with 4 layers of duct tape, this prevents you from marring the bolsters and/or liners. Someday I'll get around to permanently attaching leather covers on it to replace the duct tape. This vice does about anything I need done, I use it as a surface for peening, knocking out pins, compressing springs, clamping handles, cutlering blades ect.
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Now, using your vice as a base (a block of wood with a hole drilled in it works good too) use your punch to knock out the two pins.
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Once those two pins are gone, the back spring will fall out.

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I have mentioned my favorite punch before, it is just a modified Phillips screwdriver, tapered down to 1/16" at the point, but it thicker up farther for strength, I can knock out pin up to 5/32" with this homemade punch. I am convinced that it will not break.
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Once those pins and the back spring is out, then it's time to shear the pivot pin. This is a new knife I made from an Eko slicer for shearing pins; I used it today to see if it was going to hold up.
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Like I said, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, as long as it gets the job done.

I start on the underside of the knife with the blade open I find which side has the biggest gap, and then I work the tip of the blade in there and give it a couple taps with the hammer to loosen things up.
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Then I turn it up on top of it's bolsters with the blade in the half open position, insert the blade in the now fairly large gap, and hammer it through the pin.
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Now it's broken down into its main components:
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As you can see, my Eko didn't "cut it" I thinned the edge too much, will have to fix that tomorrow.

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Once that is done, it's time to get rid of the pin stubs sticking from the bolsters. It is important that you lay the bolster lengthwise with the opening in the vice and not across it, by laying it lengthwise it doesn’t allow the weld between the liners and bolster to bust loose from pressure, this keeps everything in one piece! Now, just take the punch and knock out the pins.
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Now, here is where most repairmen/restorers would stop and clean all of the parts, replace broken ones and reassemble it. But since this is going further than just a repair I continue to break it down.

In this picture you'll see the inside of the liners and the flanged ends of the scale pins. If you wish to remove the scales, use the dremel to remove the flanged part, then if the scales are not glued on (like this case) they will just fall off.
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Once the scales are removed this is what you'll see:
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Now, from here on out until the reassembly this turns into an embellishment tutorial :lol: .

Now it's time to pick out a new set of scales, the client wanted maple burl, so that is what he shall get. :mrgreen:
Now, it is important to "read" the wood (if that is the handle material you are using) look for checks, cracks, knotholes, and the like. Also, look at the thickness of the stock, and the actual thickness you will need. Here is the set of maple burl scales:
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But each scale is nearly 1/2" thick
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Over twice the thickness I actually need. So, I made plans to rip it in half and book match the scales.

Set up the rip fence throw on some safety glasses and fire up the band saw:
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A push stick was used, so I still have all ten fingers ::tu::

This was the result, a nice set of highly figured book matched maple burl scales
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Now, I use the table on the band saw as a flat surface and use 100 grit sandpaper to flat sand one side on each piece of maple.
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Remember what I said about reading the wood? This was the cross section of one of the slabs; it was cut crooked from the supplier, so I had to bypass that part.
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Now, I find the best group of figure and trace out where the handles should lay, a well sharpened pencil works best, as a pen will bleed into the wood and may or may not sand out (I know from experience ::dang:: ).
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I then make sure the ends of the slabs are true where they will meet up properly with the bolsters, for the record-they were not true and I had to hand file them to match up right.
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Then take your trusty dremel and rough the liners up real good with a stone or sanding drum, this will ensure a good gripping surface
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Now it's time to prepare everything, thoroughly degrease the liners and end of the bolsters with acetone or alcohol.
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If your shop is an ice zone like mine is, keep your adhesives indoors at room temperature, this keeps the chemicals at ease and they will mix and bond better. I also recommend you taking the liners and slabs inside after the glue is applied so they can dry at room temperature for a strong bond.

You don't have to mix a lot of epoxy, I buy Devcon 5 minute epoxy in the large bulk tubes, saves me a few trips to Lowes. It only takes a bit to entirely cover the liner with a thin coat. Just remember, too much is better than too little. You can always grind off some ooze after it dries, but if you don't have enough to hold the bond, then you'll have to do it over.

Then just clamp them in C clamps with moderate pressure. Be sure to check to make sure the end of the wood is flush with the bolster and not canted and that everything lines up in the outline you made earlier.

Now, while the handles are setting up inside, it's time to do any other work to the blade and/or springs that may need done. In this case, he wanted some filework on the spring. I mark out my intervals with a fine tip sharpie first
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Then I chuck it up in a bench vise so I have to stand while doing the filing. I don’t file good when sitting down :shrug::

Here is a quick shot of the progress on the spring
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Now, all of that as done, I let the 5 minute sit for at least 3 hours before touching it again to ensure that it has a good bond before I start working on it again. In the extra two hours I completed another project I had going and examined a puma game warden that had been shot with a .44 pistol that was sent in for repair (my first gunshot victim! :shock: )

By now the handles are dry so I take them from the clamps and this is what I have:
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The first thing I do is rough them out with the band saw, be very careful not to hit the liner with the saw blade, not only will it cut your liner it will most likely ruin the blade too.
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Then I use a 50 grit belt on the belt sander to rough them in even closer. (I would have gotten more pictures of these processes, but it's hard to keep control over what your doing and work a camera at the same time!)
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Now on to a 220 belt to true things up even further
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From here on out its all hand work, so you don' disfigure the liners or handle with power tools.

Once you have each side fitted to the liners it's time to drill the pin holes. I use the exisiting pin holes in the liners ,and drill through them.
First I'll drill the 1/16" fore pin hole in each scale
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Then I'll drill the 3/32 butt and rocker holes in each scale
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A brass lined lanyard hole was also requested, so I ream the old hole out to accept my tubing, then some rough filing with the double cuts to get a rough bevel and fit the scales close to the bolsters
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Then I finish fitting and beveling and sand with first 150 grit and then 240 grit wood papers.
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Maple being maple, the grain has a tendency to rise, so I eliminate the chances of this by raising the grain up to 4 times with 30-45 min dry period and 220 sanding in between each time.
I string them up on a piece of pin stock and let them dry thoroughly before sanding and wetting again.
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Here is a sneak peek at what the figure may look like
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It started to get real cold out in the shop toward dusk, so I called it quits for the night and will continue this tomorrow.

Just a few tips until then- When working the handles down be sure to keep a solid surface beneath the liner so the bond isn’t stressed and the handles won't pop off. Also, use masking tape to tape the bolsters off if you like, I usually don't bother unless it is a light colored wood, where the metal dust will enter the grain of the wood and turn it black, maple for example is one of these woods. This project would have been done today, but when pinning the handles, it is a longer more drawn out process, but I enjoy it. Questions and comments are more than welcome.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:35 am 
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nice job kaleb.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:41 am 
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I used photobucket, so hopefully it won't mangle AAPK's bandwidth :shock:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:43 am 
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Very nice, excellent details and tips. Oh and nice work-I sure enjoy this tutorial, the information you provided will save a lot of headaches ::dang:: for sure!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:07 am 
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This whole project is super!!!! I want to see MORE-MORE-MORE Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:12 am 
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i'm learnin' ratman. ::tu:: will wonders never cease!! :wink:
Great tutorial!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:20 am 
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Hey John, nice to see you stop over ::tu::
I'll continue tommorow, hopefully finishing it up tommorow evening.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:02 am 
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MM,

You taking the time to share this with us is very special and let me say thanks. I know it takes effort to post pics, type your thoughts, post pics and then post more thoughts...Thank you..!!!!

Your tutorial is going great, really informative..

Sunburst

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:12 am 
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Thanks for what you have posted today muskrat, this is too cool for you to share this with us ::nod:: I'm looking foward to tomorrow's post already :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:56 am 
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I raise my glass to you, MM. You got skills, buddy. Thanks for sharing. ::tu::

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 Post subject: A question
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:22 am 
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MM

Thanks for the tutorial so far. I have a question though. What kind of clamps did you use when you epoxied the handle slabs to the liners. It also looks in one picture like the handle slabs are just below the bolsters in height. Is that just a trick of the camera?

Should be a surprising finish.

Al

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:37 pm 
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Well done M/M... ::nod:: ::tu:: ::tu::

I suggest we make this thread a sticky at the top of this forum.


Bill

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 Post subject: Re: A question
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:31 pm 
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BrokenCamillus wrote:
MM

Thanks for the tutorial so far. I have a question though. What kind of clamps did you use when you epoxied the handle slabs to the liners. It also looks in one picture like the handle slabs are just below the bolsters in height. Is that just a trick of the camera?

Should be a surprising finish.

Al


I thought it'd make a good sticky too. I'm glad you are all finding it interesting, it is really my pleasure. I enjoy it. I use regular C clamps, you can also use the squeeze clamps or the adjustable ratchet type clamps. The handles are butted right up with the bolster, another example of my fine photography :lol:. I got up late today, was up late last night. I'm gettin' ready to grab me some pancakes then it's off to the shop ::tu::

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:22 pm 
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It's alive! ha! ha! ha! :lol:
Alright, enough of that, I think I've been sniffing too much pate wax fumes :lol:

Ok, now to continue the tutorial. We left off at raising the grain on the handles and sanding them back down. Repeat this 2-4 times depending on the density of the wood. I didn't show how I do the brass lined lanyard hole, because it seems to have become one of my trademarks, but it isn't hard to figure out :roll: . Here are the scales now that they have been wetted and sanded 4 times and the lanyard hole is complete:
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Now comes time for the pins, the most nerve racking part. The fore pins are fairly easy. I simply take my 1/16" brass (or nickel silver whichever you choose) and flatten the end with a file, then clamp it in vice grips just a hair below the end as shown in my poorly lit picture,
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Then I lay it on the table of my drill press and peen the end.
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The vice grips holds the rod and allow you to peen a nice even head without beating the handle scales up. NOTE: I leave the rod the full 12" length while doing this. Then I slip the entire rod through the pin hole until the head bottoms out on the scale and trim the backside with a pair of side cutters:
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Then I just file the stub down really close to the liners and peen it over in the counter sink provided by the nice people at the case factory :). This will pull the head of the pin down into the handle slab if desired. It all depends on how much you peen it. If you choose to have flush fit pins, you can just roll the pin in some superglue, shove it through the hole and level it all down flush with a file. Here is what the inside of the liner should look like now that the head as been peened to hold it tightly in place
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Do this to each scale:
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Now it's time to reassemble it, I always to the butt pin first, In this case I had to use 3/32" brass pinning material I leave it full length and lightly tap it through everything (one handle and liner-through the back spring and though the other handle and liner.) Go lightly so you don't bend your pin or chip out the hole. I always leave it full length then trim to size once it's in there for minimal waste.
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Then it's time to pin the blade back in, in this case I needed 3/32" nickel silver pinning material. The hole appeared 1/8" or thereabouts, but that was the countersink in the bolster making an illusion, 3/32" fit very nicely and the head would later be peened to fill in the countersink, but not yet.
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So, this is what you've got so far:
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Now, using your trusty drill press vice (sometimes I need to use the bench vice depending on how the spring is shaped) I compress the spring. To do this find the highest exposed point on the spring, and clamp it there, until it is flush with the liners, or until you can see a clear hole going through the handle and spring, indicating that the hole is lined up. I either use duct tape, wood or leather in the jaws so I don't mar the liners or back spring.
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Now comes the most nerve racking part of the job, putting in the rocker pin. I start the pin through one handle and tap it through and check it periodically to see if it has passed through the back spring, once it has "usually" you can take it from the jaws and then just lightly tap it the rest of the way through, but I usually leave them in the jaws the entire time. I always keep my left trigger finger underneath the knife to support it and feel for the pin coming through the hole. GO SLOW; going fast gets you nothing but an unsuccessful effort.
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Now that you have that pin put through trim it to length and get ready to secure the blade. I use this vice as my platform for peening as well; it's a great vice and only cost $15 at my local hardware store.
Slip your slackener between the blade and liner and peen the pin with the flat side of your hammer, work it in a circle around the pin to peen a flat head, NOT a domed one.
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Then once you have a good diameter head worked out, tap the pin through, trim the other side and do likewise until the slackener is hard to pull out. I used a .005 feeler gauge on this one and it worked dandy.

Now, I take a single cut mill (10" is my favorite) cut the head down flush with the bolsters as seen in this picture
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If the pin is visible, that’s O.K, but if you can see a ring around the head or you wiggle the blade and the pin sinks below the bolster, you have a problem and need to re-pin the blade. The head you peened apparently wasn't big enough and didn't properly fill the cavity.

Now you'll peen the head on the handle pins, go slow and try to keep from denting the wood up, it's easier not to dent the wood bad than it is trying to get the dents out (once again, I know from experience ::paranoid:: )
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Now it's all sanding, remove all the imperfections, smooth the bolsters ECT. I sand everything to 400 grit, and then polish with steel wool. This is after the first coat of oil
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Now, you can't buff maple it just absorbs all the black, so I have to buff it by hand. I use a rag and paste wax. I have rubbed in 4 coats so far, and it needs more oil right now.
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Tape off the handles and then buff the bolsters on the buffer
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one more coat of wax
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It's finished!

Now for some better pictures:
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Now for the big question, is our friend sunny pleased with the results?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:20 pm 
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::ds:: ::ds:: You did a Fantastic Job ::ds:: ::ds::

Ole Sunburst here is "Very Happy" with your skill and craftsmanship!!! I believe that I am fixing to have one heck of a keeper there MM, I can't wait to see it up close... ::nod:: :D ::tu:: ::tu:: :mrgreen:

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