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Project by oldnovice posted 08-21-2018 03:59 AM 1565 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The process described below has more detail than most of my projects as this was my very first knife scale project and I want to document for my own reference. The knife in question is over 50 years old and has some sentimental value. As the opening photo show the blade was dull enough to handle without any danger of cuts.

The other two photos show the original knife scales and the plywood cutouts.

I traced the old knife handle, scanned it and used the bitmap as the bases for the tool paths. I added a pocket large enough to allow the thickness of the blade, ~.026 per side. I did not include any holes for the blade pins as they would be transferred from the blade directly to the two scales.

I cut a prototype out of .375” plywood with a .250” router bit (a router bit that needs to be retired) and by mistake used climb cutting which made a lot of noise and left very raw edge. Otherwise everything else was as expected including the blade relief depth.

I replaced the plywood with the .3” teak and machined it with a 3 flute milling cutter. During the first cutout I realized I forgot to reset the depth from .375” to .3” and proceeded to “engrave” the spoil board.

Material: 0.3” teak
M.A. FORD #138250001, ¼”× ½”, X-AL 3 Flute end mill
16000 RPM
2.0 in/sec, 120 inches/minute
0.5 in/sec plunge rate

Resetting the depth to .3” I cut a leftover scrap from the first mistake. That scrap leftover piece shattered because I set the depth of cut passes to 2, ~.150” per pass, way to much cut for thin material. I corrected that to 8 passed and I machined the last two pieces.

The blade relief pocket was not as uniform as I would have liked because the wood was slightly bowed and the edges had some chatter marks which, in this case, was not important as the assembly will be sanded.

I mounted the knife blade to one of the scales to locate and drill the blade mount holes and repeated that for the opposite side scale. The knife blade actually had three holes but the center pin was not used in the original so I didn’t use it either and therefore allowing another glue spot.

I purchased some 5/32” diameter low lead content brass rod (RoHS compliant) from McMaster-Carr for the blade pins.

After press fitting two ½” pieces of the brass rod into the blade I applied West System G/flex 650 the two scales and to the blade. Adding two drilled gluing cawls to both sides of the assembly and mounting the assembly in a vise I carefully “pressed” the two scales together on the blade.

After 24 hours in a very warm garage, I sanded the scales. The photos shown do not have any finish because I don’t know if I want to use CA or more of the West Systems epoxy.

Most knife crafters on Lumberjocks will probably get a chuckle out of my excruciatingly verbose description of such a simple project!

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

11 comments so far

View Jerry's profile


3496 posts in 2930 days

#1 posted 08-21-2018 04:08 AM

Sounds like a very well thought out project, and a great job as well!

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4857 days

#2 posted 08-21-2018 04:10 AM

No one can say that they didn’t have a clue how to make one after reading your process my friend.
Thank you.
I’m going to Favorite this just to save it for future use.
Thank you brother.

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

669 posts in 3483 days

#3 posted 08-21-2018 04:50 AM

Beautiful result. Very few heirlooms fall into the “High-Tech Antique Restoration” category.

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View Andrek's profile


655 posts in 3191 days

#4 posted 08-21-2018 11:30 AM

Well done on restoration, I’m very impress with the amount of work and head scratching involved for such a small piece, but for the ordinary people , nobody will suspect you put so much effort and time, bravo.

-- andrek

View doubleDD's profile


10795 posts in 3325 days

#5 posted 08-21-2018 12:01 PM

Great job with the knife. The story makes me want to restore a knife my wife uses all the time and won’t part with it. It’s about 40 years old and needs a restoration like this. I will use your post as a push to help change her mind.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

839 posts in 5115 days

#6 posted 08-21-2018 01:14 PM

Beautiful . Very nice grain and great fit. What type of CNC did you use?

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4446 days

#7 posted 08-21-2018 02:33 PM

I like the result, but I haven’t had my first cop of coffee yet, so I’ll come back and read the details in a bit… understand… (-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4446 days

#8 posted 08-21-2018 02:52 PM

OK, had my coffee, and this stuff is still a language I don’t understand, but the detail is interesting. Basically, I have never done any knife work, nor do I “machine” things, I assume with a CNC, but I don’t know much about it.

Nursing an overuse “injury” of my right side (too much pressure washing at both houses), so the shop is off limits for a bit. Every time I forget I am getting really kind of old, the oversight comes along and bites me… (-:

I like sentimental projects, so thanks for the post…

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View observer100's profile


476 posts in 2392 days

#9 posted 08-21-2018 03:24 PM

I like the ‘excruciatingly verbose description’. For whatever reason, I like to hear in detail about what went right and what went wrong. It makes me think out future projects to the point where only a few things could go wrong, and if they occur, they were anticipated. This has helped in many projects lately!

-- Seeing is believing.

View oldnovice's profile


7757 posts in 4650 days

#10 posted 08-21-2018 05:29 PM

Thanks to all for the kind comments!

Rob, I used my Shopbot CNC, even though it was an over kill, because I don’t have a bandsaw or scrollswaw. If I had either I would have glued the template to the blank and cut it out. Probably would have been simpler and easier but as all woodworkers know, you use the tools you have or make a jig to get it done.

observer100, I included the mistakes during this project because I want a full record of a project for future reference and maybe someone else can learn from my errors.

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View retired_guru's profile


838 posts in 2641 days

#11 posted 11-05-2018 01:07 AM

The new handle looks ‘right’ on the old blade. A credit to your accomplishment and your memory of its sentimental worth.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

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