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need a tip on handle part

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Not sure how to go about this, hoping for an experienced tip. I'm making a knife to be used in the kitchen, for slicing. It's a hidden tang and I made a handle out of oak with a bit of walnut epoxied to the end. My hole for the tang, facing the blade, is less than perfect so I got a small piece of brass 1/8" thick and drilled a hole then filed it so it would fit on the tang closer and neater than the wood does.

My plan was to epoxy the brass to the handle, matching the hole for the tang up, then sand down the excess brass and wood to size so it would be a perfect fit. Once the brass heated up though, the epoxy melted and stopped doing it's job.

Is there a better way to go about this, other than grinding the wood and brass separately to size then epoxy them together? I just didn't have a lot of confidence in my ability to match them perfectly.


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Coarser grit sandpaper to remove stock coupled with shorter grinding times and longer cooling or quench the piece in between grind. Then move to finer grit. 

I prefer to file pin stock down by hand until it's close to the wood then finish by hand with sandpaper on a flat surface. Varying coarse to fine. 

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What I think you are asking is this:

You have a blade with a standard hidden tang, that is, it is narrower from top to bottom (spine to belly) than the blade. You were going to push this into a block of wood and conceal the tang, but the hole you made is bigger than the tang, so there is too much room around the tang for a tight fit. So, you tried to glue a piece of brass onto the tang (like where a guard would be) to cover the end of the hole. You used epoxy to hold the guard in place, and that failed during grinding because of heat build up. Is that correct? If so, what you should do is first file the sides of the tang until they are flat and smooth. Then drill the holes (2 or three) in the "guard" piece of brass that are slightly smaller than the thickness of the tang and in a straight line that is slightly shorter than the tang is wide (from top to bottom). Then put the guard in a vice and using smaller files, carefully join the holes into a rectangular slot that is almost, but not quite the thickness of the tang (.006 narrower), and only a little longer than the tang is wide. Then hammer the guard onto the tang for a tight fit. Pics to illustrate.

Slotted guard.


Knife in vice with guard and "sacrificial guard" ready to hammer set. Note the guard setting tool.


After setting the guard, the fit is very tight.



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Close - I was thinking to adhere the brass to the wood first, then grind them both down to look good with the knife, since the blade end of the handle is a little too big.

This is only my 3rd knife so if it looks like I have no clue what I'm doing, that's probably spot on! :)

The hole holds the tang pretty tight.. I just didn't think the end of the wood looked very nice and thought the brass might make a better looking finish.





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You've more or less got the job done just the wrong order of construction. Make a guard from brass to finished dimensions and test fit to tang. Then epoxy the rough (but close) shaped wooden handle to the brass guard and fit to tang. When it's set up, file and sand the wood to fit the guard to finish. It's much easier to finish the wood by hand to fit the brass than the other way round so you;ll not need a grinder and produce the heat that causes the epoxy to fail.

If your wooden handle is now short of "meat" to file/sand down (and you have no alternative) consider adding contrasting material into the handle for bulk and an extra feature!

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Just an idea on this one, maybe you could trace the tang on another piece of metal and cut it out to use as an insert guide then clamp the handle and brass end on end to do the file/sanding work off the knife. It atleast for the rough shaping. 

Just an idea. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

this is how it ended up. I still need to learn how to fit the tang tightly to the guard...  I think I've read cliffrat's reply about 40 times in hopes of getting a future one right!

Hopefully this is gift-worthy for a friend of mine who likes to make sushi (razor sharp)  Between my two sons and I, we have crap knives all over the house.. need to make some nice enough to give as gifts!







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