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Cast in place brass knife guards

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Quick google search found the Ruana knives page where they list the steps in making a cast aluminum handle frame directly on the blade, after quenching but before temper. No good pictures, but with the blade down, you could keep it cool in wet sand, or ???


I know that I have seen cast brass and aluminum handle military knives from WWI, WWII, Vietnam and as recently as 2001, so somebody else out there has got to know how to do this. Whether they want to share is another question.

Term corrected

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The melting point of brass is @ 1600F, aluminum is @1200F. So you could put the whole thing in an oven to temper after the handle/guard is in place.


The bigger question is how to pour the brass or aluminum and not draw the blade temper back too far while the mold fills and cools. You need some way to chill the blade during the pour.


In theory, you could do it with a water bath, wet sand, metal chill plates as a heat sink, an air line, etc. But which one are they using?

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Spent several hours on google and found sites, reading till my eyes blurred.

I also found a post with this same question from 2002, and I was the poster! My, how time flys.

The jist of what I was reading were in two camps:

Lost Wax with Pewter or Copper

Brass, poured in place; also most suggested Pewter.

There was a feller I think in or near Bothell, WA, [bronk, or similar?] that poured his guards in place and then some sort of poured in place handle coating, don't remember if the handle was metal or rubber. Will see if I can locate him.

Steve, I will read up on lost wax casting tonight and give it some thought. Maybe find a tutorial on that method, but I am set on if I make the guards they will be cast on the knife.

Most of the Pewter casting I came across were judt leaving a gaping hole in the handle, wrapping it with heavy paper reinforced with tape, then pouring the hole full of Pewter. That is a little rustic for my tastes.

Searched some on UTUBE also, but the only things I found were guys pouring the oversized hole full of pewter.

My college degrees were in Accounting and Business. There is a hard and fast rule in accounting- you never spend more to create data than the data is worth after you get it.

This is starting to feel a little like that to me. Maybe a couple more nights unless I can find something simple that will work.

Thanks to you all for the suggestions and ideas.


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Greetings All,


I am by no means a blade smith but I have a few questions...    Why ?  I would think a non-ferrous metal formed by casting around a steel tang would cool a much faster rate .  I'm just guessing but If you form an internal hole in a casting would  the hole get bigger or smaller when it cools ?  I question the final fit up.   Also if you had holes in the tang for the casting material to lock to when cooled would this not make it very hard to replace the guard if it was defective or damaged..   I have done a lot of restoration and conservator work in the past and would fit up such a casting by forming scale burrs on the steel so that they would form into the press fit of the softer material..  I think what I am saying is that I can see no benefit to form the guard by casting in place.  To my way of thinking a press fit slightly heating and expanding the hole on the guard and burrs on the steel would be more than adequate.


Please educate me as to the advantage of in place casting...   Help me Dave


Forge on and make beautiful things


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Hey Jim

Of course the standard way most of us do hidden tang guards is adequate. Thousads ad thousands of knives convinces me :)

Don't believe there is any advantage for forming the guard on the knife tang in place.

I have sold several hundred knives and given away maybe a hundred and thrown out another 50 or so.

A good friend got me started blacksmithing about 5 years ago. Because the blacksmithing is still new to me I find it more interesting.

I am looking for ways to make some knives that are not like all the other knives I have made. Damascus does a little of that because every blade is different.

I am getting ready to make several friction folders, have never made a folder, and they appeal to me.

Getting ready to make some more can Damascus, only done that a few times, and the cans have progressed a ton since I did my last one. New styles and patterns have started my thinking about more Damascus.


I just spent three weeks doing only 'standard' Damascus and now have several patterns on hand, but nothing new.


Mokume has gotten my mind going since I saw a demo of a feller making coin Mokume in his induction forge  [i have only had mine a couple months] and making guards from my own Mokume and maybe a few bolsters has caught my attention too.


I have never been much interested in big knives. A smaller knife always made more sense to me. I decided a few months back to do three bowies from Damascus. I enjoyed that a lot. The fella that was reroofing our house came into the shop while I was making them. His immediate reaction was ###### how much for one of those? I told him [i am retired and do not need the income from blacksmithing or knifemaking, but I don't work cheap:)] so I gave him a price and he said "can you have it ready when we finish the roof?" He was OK with my deadline being two weeks after his. I completed the knife as agreed, he came and got it, was thrilled with it and paid me as agreed. One of the other two will be on my site for sale in the next week or so. The third one got away from me heat treating it in the new induction forge and is in the pieces pile for my next bar of junk Damascus. I have made three bowies now and will probably never make another.


The short [yeah, right] answer is I am getting a little bored with standard knives and am looking for a little more spice in my knives.


I love visiting other shops and seeing how 'the other guy' does things. I also can't pass up a tutorial that has anything to do with knives or blacksmithing :)


IFI has provided me with many, many, many ideas to try, and I appreciate everyone who ever posts anything here or asks a question. This site is the main reason I still make knives and still do blacksmithing.  You guys are the very BEST!!



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