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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 07-25-2016, 06:22 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Bolster guidance

Personally I think a bolster serves no real function but they look pretty good and I thought I would give one a try on a new blade. So my question is, how far do you go with shaping and finishing before pinning to the blade? Obviously the front has to be finished just like wood scales but do you pin it, rough it in and then epoxy and pin on the wood scales, and then finish it all down? Or do you try to get the bolsters down pretty much finished and then add the scales? Also, do you epoxy and pin the bolsters just like the scales ir is the epoxy necessary?
I've just profiled and ground the blade. I'll heat treat tomorrow but looking at these photos am I on the right track? Thanks in advance for any guidance and advice!








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Old 07-25-2016, 09:26 PM
damon damon is offline
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ill rough a general contour to the bolsters before HT, then once the blade is all finished (except sharpening) ill pin them down. I use smaller pins myself (3/32", or 1/16") and basically pin down the 4 corners. in the pic you've got your pins more toward the front. with pins that size (1/8"im guessing) you could have gone with one front and one rear. sure what you have will keep it on there forever and a day, but my silly OCDish brain looks at the distribution of force holding the bolster down. I know some will use epoxy under the bolsters as a moisture bearer, but you want to keep the pins and holes clean, or else you could end up with dark circles around your pins when youre done.

I finish the inside, and back to 320-400. then using a file guide clamped to the tang to mark where I want bolster and handle material to meet, ill mark/drill pin holes. I roughly mark a box inside the bolster material, area 3/16"-1/4" from the edges of where itll be when finished shape. put a dot of super glue on each side and visegrip into place. drill one hole and put in a temp pin for incase the glue comes loose while drilling. since I use 4 pins myself, the first 2 get temp pins while drilling. after holes are drilled ill knock the parts loose, clean off glue, put in 4 temp pins and shape front edge of bolster. sanding and polishing all the way to finish.

peening the pins.... ill taper the opening of the holes just slightly, trim the pins to stick out each side no more that the pin is thick. (1/8" pin, = 1/8" out each side) ill also slightly dome them. this causes the pins to expand when hit more so than mushrooming down from the top. typically locking the bolsters in the first couple hammer taps. once all pins are secure ill then keep hammering on them till they are nearly flush. making sure that they have fully expanded down inside the hole so that as I contour the bolster later there will not be any visible sign of where the pins are.

hope this is helpful
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:37 PM
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Don Robinson Don Robinson is offline
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You need to prepare the bolsters exactly as you show in your photos. Finish the front and the back where they meet the scales. Grind the tops and bottoms to match the scales.

Peen the pins now or later.

Rough grinding the bolsters with the scales in place would cause too much heat for the scales.

Lots of makers add a little epoxy under the scales just to prevent anything getting under the bolsters while in use. You don't need rust there.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:57 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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i have done it a few different ways you always want the front done and the back so you get the right fit to the scales other than that i have ground them barly at all and also almost done...if i were you like i said make sure front and back are good then i would stop right where you are until you HT then pin them on then finish
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Old 07-26-2016, 12:35 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Okay, thanks all for the tips. So based on what I'm hearing I will pull them loose from the blade and take the front and rear edges to completion. After HT and blade finishing, I will then pin/peen them permanently and use epoxy to "seal" between the brass and steel to prevent the steel from rusting, then contour/finish the bolsters down before adding the wood scales.

Damon, about the pin size and placement. Noted for future reference. Makes sense what you said. And yes they are 1/8".


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Old 07-26-2016, 07:46 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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yep thats exactly how i have done it and it works....i think its another one of those things that yeh doing it a certain way may make you life easier but i think there is more than one way to get to the finish and if it works it works.....the last 2 i did with bolsters i did exactly what you said up to the point where you said finish the contouring then and handle material....i dont completely finish the contouring (yeh the front and back are done before hand) but the sides i get real close but just leave a little extra. in my head i say well when i am trying to match the handle material to the brass i am going to take the brass down slightly so.... again i dont know if it really makes a difference but it works
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:33 PM
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Makes sense. Thanks.


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advice, back, blade, bolster, bolsters, brass, drill, epoxy, file, grinding, hammer, handle, heat, heat treat, knife, knives, make, making, material, pinning, pins, scales, sharpening, tang, wood


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