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Thread: Getting ready to order handle material, question about pins

  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Getting ready to order handle material, question about pins


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    I'm getting ready to order handle material for my first set of knives and I have a question about pins. I'm thinking about using black pins, is carbon fiber the best? Will that produce the darkest color or is micarta good enough? I've found micarta pin material at a few places, but is there a recommended source for carbon fiber if that is the way to go? Also, regarding hole size, should I drill the holes in the tang about 1/64" over the size of the pin material?

    Thanks,
    Shannon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Monroe, Ga
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    Only advise I can give you is this; if you want to use 1/4" pins, drill holes with an "F" size bit. I didn't know this and broke 3 different drill bits drilling through hardened S35VN. Also when using solid carbide bits(for the hardened steel mistakes) use a drill press, go slow(or snap a few $30+ bits) and use a cutting lubricant. Good Luck!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    I've never had black micarta pins, but the black micarta scale material I have is pure black. Carbon fiber is expensive, and by using it as a pin, you barely show off any of that incredible design. Unless your scales are made of carbon fiber, and you want a "blended" look, I'd suggest micarta since it gives you the same black without the heavy price tag. And it's a solid black, while carbon fiber has that design. Depends on the project.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooQuiet View Post
    Only advise I can give you is this; if you want to use 1/4" pins, drill holes with an "F" size bit. I didn't know this and broke 3 different drill bits drilling through hardened S35VN. Also when using solid carbide bits(for the hardened steel mistakes) use a drill press, go slow(or snap a few $30+ bits) and use a cutting lubricant. Good Luck!!
    Best advice here is to drill all your holes pre heat treat with either HSS bits or preferably cobalt bits. No need for pricey carbide for tang holes as long as you think ahead and get it all done before the steel is hard. When annealed, I have no problem drilling any steel whether it's CPM-154 stainless, D2, 3V, S35VN, whatever. Drill before hardening and you don't have to worry about it. And yes, when you do need to use carbide, for god's sake do it in a rigid setup. Even a small amount of lateral pressure will snap a carbide bit. Use a solid drill press with good clamping.

    As to the OP's question about rods, you can also try the black fiberglass rods from Alpha Knife supply. They're a nice solid black and a good price. As far as using an "F" size bit.....I don't know. Not even sure what an "F" size bit is. What I do know is that you really don't want your pins to slide loosely through the tang and your handle material. You want the fit to be nice and snug, maybe even requiring some light taps with a rubber mallet to get the pins into place. Rather than drill oversize and risk a loose fit, I prefer to drill the true size, then if it's too tight for the pin to fit, and it usually is.....I wrap a bit of 280 grit paper around a steel rod slightly smaller than my pin size and ream the hole by hand just a tiny bit at a time until I have the snug fit I'm after. Some might worry that a snug fit will prevent any epoxy from getting in between the pin and the tang/handle but that's fine. In addition to the regular bond of epoxy to tang, I also do a substantial countersink on both sides of the tang and on the backside of the handle material in the pin holes,creating a good place for epoxy to collect around the pins, increasing the bond even more.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2012
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    Monticello, Kentucky
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    Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it. This will give me a good place to start.

    --Shannon

  6. #6
    I've used the micarta rods as pins a couple of times and they're not pure black as I recall. The fiber in them kind of shows off. When polished, it wasn't REAL obvious that they weren't pure black...but you could tell if you looked close. Was trying to find a picture for you, but I can't...sorry!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    About the NE corner of Wyoming
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    If it were me, starting out with metal pins would be easier, I would think. It takes a little practice!

    Even with a full set of bits, the kind with fractional bits, numbered bits, and lettered bits, I still have to adjust the pins or the hole often.

    I use a tapered reamer as well, but I only use it from the outside. With metal pins, this gives a mechanical lock.

    If I were using non-mushrooming pins, I think Jonny Mac's opposite use of the reamer would work well for getting a great epoxy bond.
    Best Regards,
    -Grizz

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    OC NY
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    I too highly recommend some size "F" drill bits for your handle work. A 1/4" bit is .25". A size F is .257". It will provide a much better bond and leave NO gap what so ever. You do not want to have to fight to get pins in.

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