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Making A Hidden Tang My Way

Discussion in 'How I Made It: Tutorials' started by FORGE, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. FORGE

    FORGE Active Member

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    I had made full tang knives for years and now most of my knives are hidden tang.
    I like the look of hidden tang and it really tends to show off the wood or horn on the handle better than a full tang blade. It also usually compensates for any shrinkage in the handle material.
    I hate it when the scales shrink and you can feel the spine of the knife in your hand.
    There are a number of ways to do hidden tang knives,this seem to work for me.
    Lately I have have been making knives with curved bolsters and the following pictures will show how this is done.
    [​IMG]

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    MARK AND DRILL THE BOLSTER
    [​IMG]

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    USE THE DREMEL TO REMOVE MATERIAL BETWEEN THE DRILLED HOLES
    [​IMG]

    FILE GUIDE AND FILE TO ABOUT .003 INCH SMALLER THAN THE TANG THICKNESS
    [​IMG]

    ADJUST CURVATURE ON THE BLADE TO FIT BOLSTER
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    USE PUSHER JIG TO PRESS THE BOLSTER ON THE BLADE FOR TIGHT FIT
    [​IMG]

    SILVER SOLDER 10-32 BOLT TO TANG
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    SILVER SOLDER NUT TO BUTT CAP
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    MARK THE WOOD AND USE A ROTO ZIP BIT IN THE DREMEL TOOL TO BORE OUT THE
    HANDLE, FILL WITH EPOXY AND SCREW THE BUTT CAP ON

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker

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    This is great Cal! Thanks for posting.
    I really like your Pusher Jig.

    After you use the tang hole push the front bolster onto the ricasso, do you notch it on the bandsaw and make a keyhole of sorts before soldering the machine screw on?
    I do this with my stainless ones and it's super hard on the bandsaw blade. Maybe a cutoff wheel would work better. Being stainless (air quenched) it's hard to anneal just the very end of the tang.

    More great stuff to try.

    Dan
     
  3. FORGE

    FORGE Active Member

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    Dan that is to hard on blades and the tang on this knife is HARD RC 61,so I use a cut off wheel in my Dremel tool to made the slot. Because this tang is so short it is important that the blade be kept cool with a wet rag when you heat the tang to silver solder. This is not cheap silver solder that melts at 400 deg. the tang and bolt have to be red hot in order for this stuff to flow and bond.

    If I am doing a hidden tang where I am going to pin it I just heat the tang so it is blue making sure to keep the blade cool so I don't take the harness out of it. Then the tang is then soft enough so you can drill a hole through it for a pin after the handle is on.
     
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  4. jeff

    jeff New Member

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    I have a question about the butt cap. Since it is only wide enough and long enough to fit over handle in an exact position. What happens when you tighten butt cap on and the long end does not line up with long end of handle. Do you start shaving off end of threaded rod until it lines up. Then shape and finish.
     
  5. FORGE

    FORGE Active Member

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    Jeff good question.
    If you shave of the rod it changes nothing, the relationship between the threads and the wood still stays the same and the nut will end up in the same position as it was no matter how much steel you grind off the rod.
    You have to take a bit of wood off of the handle material to change the position of the butt cap, I usually screw it on 2-3 turns by hand and the give it a 1/2 turn with a wrench, adjusting the wood length until this happens. That is one reason I use a 10-32 thread instead of a 10-24 thread it is finer and less wood removal is required to get things to fit.
    You want to make sure that you don't get a bunch of epoxy in the treads on the nut or you will get a hydraulic LOCK up and only be able to turn the butt cap real slowly. I always run a tap into the nut just to make sure the treads are cleaned out and this gives a little clearance for any trapped epoxy to squeeze out as you tighten things up. Always count the turns and mark the buttcap so you know when and where to stop turning.
     
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  6. Chris Roy

    Chris Roy Active Member

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    I'd be so scared to scratch that blade while doing all this lol I'd have like 500 paper towels and masking tape castle around it. Nice tutorial. very nice knife. thanks
     
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  7. FORGE

    FORGE Active Member

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    It is usually wrapped in green painter tape. I thought for the tutorial it would be better not to cover it.
     
  8. jeff

    jeff New Member

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    Thanks Cal that made it crystal clear. I have threaded on butt caps before but i just threaded the actually butt cap.Never used a nut before that will help when butt cap is pretty thin.Also i always used a big enough piece of steel when it is tightened on does not matter where it stops big enough to cover all of handle end.
     
  9. Jim T

    Jim T Active Member

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    Excellent tutorial, Cal! Thanks for posting! Didn't realize silver solder has enough strength to bond a nut to the butt cap, especially when the nut and butt cap gets torqued onto the bolt.
     
  10. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker

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    Jim, I do something similar, but press a modified screw head into the tang keyhole. The head is shaped and fitted to provide enough traction to tighten the stack and compress all the items.
    Once the epoxy sets there is no way to remove the rear bolster, unless you want to destroy the knife.
    [​IMG]
    If you wanted forgo the epoxy and be able to breakdown the handle later, you'd want to use a more reliable connection there.
    Instead of brazing a nut on the rear bolster, I drill and tap it instead.

    I like Cal's nut idea as it gives a cleaner appearance as you cannot see where the screw has been ground flush on the back.
    It also allows for thinner stock to be used there, and when you use the nut, you don't have to use a stainless steel machine screw as the screw is never exposed.

    Lots of stuff to experiment with.

    Dan
     
  11. Jim T

    Jim T Active Member

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    Thanks for the added input, Dan. I can't quite tell by looking at your last photo, but from the way you've explained your technique, am I right in guessing you you drill all the way through your rear bolster?

    I've never tried a hidden tang knife before, but I'm almost to the point where I'm ready to give it a shot.

    Jim T
     
  12. FORGE

    FORGE Active Member

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    Jim if silver soldering is done right with the correct materials ( silver brazing solder )it can be stronger than the parent material.
     
  13. Roman

    Roman Active Member

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    Very interesting. Thanks!
     
  14. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Brazing, silver solder and braze welding can have a strength of up to 100,000 psi. or as low as the 40,000 a lot of it depends on the fit-up, the tighter the better in all cases.
    the steels we use are from 84,000 up to around 98,000 so it is possible for an equal strength bond.

    The most important thing is these are much easier than welding and the filler metal is much cheaper so all around a very good idea.
     
  15. Icho-

    Icho- Staff Member

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    One more thing I would like to add is that there is a huge difference between silver soldering and silver brazing. Price, temperatures and most importantly, strength. Many people don't realize ther is a difference. I would never silver solder a piece of threaded rod to a tang but I have silver brazed it many times.
     
  16. FORGE

    FORGE Active Member

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    A lot of people use the terms silver solder and silver brazing interchangeably, but you are quite right silver brazing is the correct term for this process. Silver brazing requires a lot higher temperatures, the correct filler rod and is typically done around 1200-1400 deg F.
    I use a rod from Artec Alloys part number 1004FC.
    Praxair and Canadian Liquid Air also sell a similar product and the rods are about $15.00 each.
     
  17. Roman

    Roman Active Member

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    Good to know that. Especially for non-English person. Both terms are translated to Russian with same word. So, basically brazing is soldering at higher temperature with high-temperature solder?
     
  18. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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  19. krash-bang

    krash-bang Active Member

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    Great tutorial, Thanks.
     

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