Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Hidden tang with no pommel nut = loose guard?


Recommended Posts

Hi all.

I made my first knife and it's "OK".  I have limited tools (no welding options, no taps for threading, no lathe, no drill press).  I went with a hidden tang approach but wanted to have a separate piece for the guard.  I was struggling with getting the handle on there tight enough to keep the guard nice and tight though.  The slot I filed in the guard was a little looser than I would have wanted and allows for some 'wiggle' along the long axis.  I figured that the flat top of the handle pressing against it would prevent that wiggle.  I used steel 'rivets' for a mechanical bind - and it was really tight when I was hammering them in during the glue-up.

But a couple of weeks later the guard has started to wiggle ever so slightly again.

It is just not feasible to build a rock solid guard the way I tried to do it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

With a hidden tang you don't need to use rivets. Just use a good glue, two components glue is rock hard when dry, use a leather spacer between the guard and handle and you need a way to clamp it together till it dries. Couple of long bolts and two wood boards will do the trick. I haven't made knifes in a long time but I have made a few and you don't need fancy equipment to do them. First leather I used was from an old shoe, the one in the picture is from a coil spring, coin, leather, horn, leather and a piece of oak. Leather spacers help to hide the imperfections.

IMG_20210113_205511.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the ideas!  I did use epoxy all inside the hidden tang and between the wood and copper spacer, but none between the spacer and the guard.  I also didn't clamp it lengthwise while gluing it - I assumed the pins would hold it well enough (they were hard enough to get in!) 

I used very old oak that's been sitting in a garage for 30 years or so for the handle.  Just used boiled linseed oil on it.  Given how dry the wood would have been I would think it's more likely to expand than contract?

image.jpeg.4fb29de6282bb7b78dc9629feb930830.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends on the environment, a home running a furnace can be drier than a garage.  I also know that furniture found in the tomb of Tutankhamun still shows expansion and contraction with humidity changes and it's slightly older than "very old oak".

To deal with guards some knifemakers will low temp silver bearing solder them in place.  Here in the USA Stay brite is a common product.  Most knife making books will go into the details of how to do this without messing up the temper of the blade.

Also have you tried to snug up a gap by using a prick punch around it on the non-showing side?  You can even see evidence of this being done on some Japanese sword fittings.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in an area where single digit humidity's outdoors are common; when we buy kiln dried wood it's best to let it sit for a year or two to adjust to local conditions.  Hammer handles really need "aging" before use. (The piano at our church has it's own dedicated humidifier inside it!)

I moved here from a "damper" location and ended up re-seating 100 handled tools.   OTOH we don't have the swing I used to get in Ohio from damp summer to dry winter.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Soak your handles in the linseed oil, at least a whole day. In the pictures is a knife I made about six or seven years ago and it didn’t shrink a bit. I soak it in linseed oil and then I polish it with bees wax. It is interesting because it is cut across the grain and not with the grain. Just wood from the shed maybe dried for a year possibly less.

P1050342.JPG

P1050339.JPG

P1050301.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/13/2021 at 4:00 PM, ThomasPowers said:

Also have you tried to snug up a gap by using a prick punch around it on the non-showing side? 

Are you talking about using the punch to push a small amount of the guard material into the gap? Just making sure I'm understanding correctly. 

Pnut

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pnut, yes.  Turns out that centuries ago fit and finish tended to be less precise and a lot more "cheating" went on.  A swordmaker I know of mentioned that he wouldn't be able to sell swords made to medieval specs as even very fancy ones indeed tended to have mis-matched grinds, and other no-no's of modern blademaking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...