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Fit & Finish Fit and Finish = the difference in "good art" and "fine art." Join in, as we discuss the fine art of finish and embellishment.

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  #1  
Old 03-29-2011, 07:35 AM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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Fitting the guard to the blade

I admit that I am barely beyond what I would call a "newbie", and am still very much learning this fantastic craft.
Having said that, I have noticed that many people expressed frustration and spent many tedious hours in getting the correct fit in the area where the guard fits onto the blade. I admit that I have only made guards from steel, and never attempted this with brass or any other metal, but I have had great success with the tried and true metheod of "hot punching" the guard using a punch especially made for that purpose. I am wondering why I have never heard or read where anyone else has tried this metheod since it is a quick and consistant technique for obtaining an exact close, tight fit in this area. This to me, seems to be a very obvious and easy approach to solving this perplexing problem. Comments please.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:35 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Ed, I started considering that the making a punch from a round bar of steel to punch a tang hole in a guard the last time I forged a guard from wrought iron. I take it that you made your own punch for this as I have never seen anything like it at a blacksmith tool site. How thick was the steel that you were punching and did make a pritchell block to go with it or did you just punch over the hardy hole?

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Old 03-29-2011, 05:21 PM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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Doug....I make my guards from 1/8" steel, so it's pretty easy. I just use the face of the anvil until I have a good indentation on both sides, and then after re-heating i simply put it over the jaws of my vise,which I open just slightly wider than the slot, and knock out the center section. I do make my own punches (1/8, 3/16, and 1/4') for doing this, but they are really simple to make. I suppose you could make a pritchel block to do it with, but my technique works well for me. Of course there is some grinding and finish work to produce the finished guard, but very little filing, and the finished guard fits really well. I'm just wondering why I've never heard of anyone using this technique before? Sure beats a couple of hours of tedious filing. Also, I use a piece of flat steel that is long enough that I do not use tongs, and when the hole is punched, I simply cut off the end of the flat and start finishing the piece that is punched. I then put it over the tang and do the JB weld thing for good measure. Aside from punching the hole, I doubt my technique is much different from everybody elses.,,,there's pretty much just one way to put on a guard.

Last edited by Ed Tipton; 03-29-2011 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:32 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Didn't think about using my leg vice to do the final punch with; thanks for the suggestion. I wonder if the reason why we haven't heard of this being done is that it's more of a general blacksmith's technique and when we think of making holes we automatically think of drilling them. Or maybe it's because when we see punches advertised on blacksmithing tool sites there are only larger round punches. I immagine back in the day that even pin holes in tangs were punched as often as drilled.

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Old 03-29-2011, 09:23 PM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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Doug...I believe that the old blacksmiths routinely punched holes without ever giving a thought to drilling them, and I believe that practice carried over to virtually every job they undertook. It just seems to me that especially to those who choose to forge their knives, that simply punching a hole for a guard should be a natural extension of the craft. This feeling that it is a natural extension is why I am surprised that more people do not do it especially after the tedium of filing-fitting-filing-fitting that seems to be the norm. I can punch a hole in a guard before most people could assemble their collection of files...and be very nearly completed with the guard with only very minimal filing or fitting required.
I do plead guilty to having filed slots in guards before...and I detest doing it. It is not my idea of a good time. After punching my first guard, I became a believer. Try it.
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2011, 05:01 PM
Bob Hartman Bob Hartman is offline
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A bill Moran video that I have shows him punching the tang slot into his finger guard. Looks like he set his up on an arbor press.
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  #7  
Old 04-16-2011, 08:50 PM
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ranger1 ranger1 is offline
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I semi use this method. I drill and file the slot smaller than the tang. Then heat the guard and drive it on. I put the blade point down in my vise with the point resting on a block of micarta. I have a tool I made that is a block of steeel with a 1/4 X 3/4 slot in it (Block is 5/16 thick) the block is welded to a piece of 1" pipe 8" long with a pipe cap for a top. Heat the guard drop it on and drive it down. The block stop's allot of the deforming of the guard. less finish work.


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  #8  
Old 12-08-2014, 03:16 AM
dragoncutlery dragoncutlery is offline
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takes me 30m or less to drill and file a guard less with the mill dont know were your getting hours from
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anvil, art, blade, brass, drill, file, files, forge, forged, forging, guard, guards, iron, knife, knives, newbie, press, tang


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