Attaching new handle scales

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Tom Chitwood
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Attaching new handle scales

Postby Tom Chitwood » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:22 am

I modified/customized a Buck 110 that I have. I removed the wooden scales, replaces the center pin and made new scales from buffalo horn. I attached the buffalo horn scales by roughing up the mating surfaces and gluing with slow cure epoxy that I have used for years with no problem. The center pin is covered by the horn scales, and no pins were through the scales. Only epoxy held them on. Well, a week into carrying it and showing it off (it is a beauty) one of the scales came off. So I cleaned, re-scuffed, and re epoxied with a new epoxy. Held great for a few more days. Then popped off again. ::shrug:: Any ideas? I have seen YT videos of them just being epoxied. Are those safe queens? Should it hold? Am I not holding my mouth right? .......What? where? I'm confused......as usual....
Thanks, Tom

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glennbad
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby glennbad » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:27 am

Is the horn pulling/curling? That is quite common, and I find in most cases, the horn is trying to get back to it's original shape. Perhaps also the horn is not porous enough to absorb the epoxy.

Regardless, I use pins as well as epoxy to hold things in place. A lot of the old makers used pins only, no glue/epoxy. So I say pins in this case.

Also, pics! Let's see your work!

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Meridian_Mike
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby Meridian_Mike » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:35 am

Yep.... I agree... you really need pins. I use epoxy when I replace scales. BUT, it is just to hold the scales in place temporarily in my opinion.
As a PS to this..... I haven't found a good epoxy that will hold a scale on permanently. Heck, I have had the epoxy turn aloose while I was sanding / filing the scales to shape.

::shrug::
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OLDE CUTLER
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby OLDE CUTLER » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:40 am

Only thing I do differently than what you describe is to clean everything, metal and handle material with acetone and be careful not to finger print the areas before assembly. I have only used horn a couple of times, but it was pinned as well as epoxied and I didn't have any issues.
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just bob
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby just bob » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:47 am

A lot of factory made knives with pearl handles don't use pins at all. Sometimes I think the factories have secrets they use on things. I've seen many damaged pearl handles but never one that came off. I don't think I've ever seen an older knife with horn handles that didn't use pins. As Glen said there must have been a reason for that.
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Tony_Wood
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby Tony_Wood » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:15 pm

Meridian_Mike wrote:Yep.... I agree... you really need pins. I use epoxy when I replace scales. BUT, it is just to hold the scales in place temporarily in my opinion.
As a PS to this..... I haven't found a good epoxy that will hold a scale on permanently. Heck, I have had the epoxy turn aloose while I was sanding / filing the scales to shape.

::shrug::


Mike, what I have found with epoxy is, the quicker of a set, the easier it releases. A five minute epoxy is not as strong as a twenty minute epoxy.
Setting scales I want something that is quick, so I mostly use five minute on folder scales. They are pinned almost immediately after the epoxy sets. When building fixed blades I like use the longer 20-30 minute epoxy. Not only does it give me more time to work, but also seems to be a stronger bond in the end.
Any heat from grinding or polishing will cause the epoxy to release as well.
My 2 cents.
TW

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Meridian_Mike
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby Meridian_Mike » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:27 pm

Tony_Wood wrote:
Setting scales I want something that is quick, so I mostly use five minute on folder scales. They are pinned almost immediately after the epoxy sets. When building fixed blades I like use the longer 20-30 minute epoxy. Not only does it give me more time to work, but also seems to be a stronger bond in the end.
Any heat from grinding or polishing will cause the epoxy to release as well.
My 2 cents.
TW


Yep, that is what I have discovered.... The heat will make the epoxy release. SO... I have tried to make my procedures work around that phenomenon. I do a lot of hand filing which doesn't generate as much heat as a belt sander. But that only gets me as far as a rough finish shape. Then I go to the sander to get a final finished shape and then polish. I try to let the scales cool some between sandings.... just to keep the epoxy from releasing.
(I'm sure there is a better way.....)

::hmm::
"...... are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?"

Then the jealous crow cried "Cora!...Why do you mock me so? You'll always be a beauty and I, a jealous crow."
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tallguy606
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby tallguy606 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:21 pm

On handle pins, through thin liners, is the inside end of the pin flared somehow and the outside end peened, to form a mechanical lock that holds the scales tight? Or is it just contact between the round pin and the round hole in the liner that provides the grip?

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orvet
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby orvet » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:35 pm

There are a few things I do that work best for me.

Sanding - use new sharp belts. The newer the belt the sharper the abrasive and the less time is required to sand something. Use a light touch and use a coarse belt to cut fast without heat buildup. Then smooth it down with finer abrasive.
I sand the surfaces to be glued with 32 grit on the back of the scale especially bone and stag to help the glue grab hold of the scale. I use a 32 grit 1/2" sanding drum on my Fordom and rough up the surface of the liner I am gluing to help the glue grab hold to the liner. Then clean it before gluing.

I clean everything with 91% to 99% pure isopropyl alcohol. It is inexpensive, ($1.59 at Krogers pharmacy) and it leaves zero residue. Petrolum products like lacquer thinner and acetone can still leave a very thin oily film. Alcohol is not oil base and leaves not oily film.

I use Bob Smith's 2 part epoxy. You can find the same adhesive under other names, they all seem to work fine. I use almost exclusively the 5 minute cure on folders because they say it is more flexible than the 15 and 30 minute cure versions. ("They" being the owner of USA Knife Makers Supply, a company that has the epoxy private labeled for them).

That is how I do things. It certainly not the only way, but it is the process I currently use, because it s the most effective and efficient way I have personally found.
My process evolves as I find new products and methods.
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ea42
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby ea42 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:26 pm

tallguy606 wrote:On handle pins, through thin liners, is the inside end of the pin flared somehow and the outside end peened, to form a mechanical lock that holds the scales tight? Or is it just contact between the round pin and the round hole in the liner that provides the grip?


The hole on the inside of the liner should have a countersink. You'd also countersink the hole in the handle material so that after hammering the pin on both sides the handle will be locked in place.

Eric

Tom Chitwood
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby Tom Chitwood » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:43 pm

ea42 wrote:
tallguy606 wrote:On handle pins, through thin liners, is the inside end of the pin flared somehow and the outside end peened, to form a mechanical lock that holds the scales tight? Or is it just contact between the round pin and the round hole in the liner that provides the grip?


The hole on the inside of the liner should have a countersink. You'd also countersink the hole in the handle material so that after hammering the pin on both sides the handle will be locked in place.

Eric

That is part of the problem I have ran into now I have decided to pin the scales.. I have not taken the knife totally apart, only the center pin and scales removed. I have the holes drilled for the pins in the scales but can't get a head on the pin between the brass liners (where the blade goes between). Am I gonna have to bite the bullet and take the pins out of the bolsters to totally separate the two sides and peen the inside heads on the pins ?

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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby herbva » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:43 pm

Ditto on the above advice. I personally like 2-ton epoxy and let it sit for at least a few hours with clamps before pinning. However, I may try the epoxy that Dale mentioned. Here is a link to a video on pinning without disassembling that I found useful a long time ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s43vAbvSSGQ I don't have a good stiddy like this one, but made my own improvised version that works OK until I find a nice one like the one in the video. I hope this helps. Herb

Bill DeShivs
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby Bill DeShivs » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:25 am

Horn moves. Pearl is probably the most stable handle material.
Pearl is usually glued with contact cement.
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Tom Chitwood
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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby Tom Chitwood » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:36 am

This is the one I was having problems with, but the scales are pinned now. I am at work and don't have any pics of it now.
20190418_142303.jpg

As everybody can see, Buck 110, I made buffalo horn scales. Beautiful, but didn't last in my pocket.
Tom

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Re: Attaching new handle scales

Postby Doc B » Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:36 pm

The horn does make it look nice! ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu::
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