An amateur's guide to wood checkering your Skyline scales from an amateur

Discussion in 'Kershaw Knives / Zero Tolerance' started by oharal, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. oharal

    oharal

    444
    Jan 21, 2013
    Hi everyone. You guys asked for it in my last thread and I hope I deliver with this thread!

    Start with your scales cut to shape, sanded smooth, coated with TruOil and buffed with #0000 steel wool.
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    Grab your Brownell's full view checkering tools like these:

    This is your single line 60 degree short cutter. Use this to cut your master lines in a second and later on to cut lines in places your other cutters won't fit.
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    This is your 60 degree single line cutter that will do the heavy lifting at first. It's the same tool as above just more suited for doing long lines.
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    This is the 60 degree double line cutter. Once you get a nice deep line cut with your above tools, ride one side in the first line and carefully cut the new line with the other side. This is tricky. You have to push hard to keep in the line but if you push too hard you can fling out and make a booboo.
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    There is a three line cutter as well but I don't have a picture of it because I don't use it. I find it more difficult to stay in the guide lines with it than with the double line cutter.

    Here is the single line finishing cutter. This one has a ton of finely spaced teeth that are basically the checkering tool equivalent of fine grit sandpaper. The diamonds will be fairly rough and flat on top until you hit them with this bad boy. Then they'll be smooth and sharp! Sweeeeet
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    Put your knife in the vise, grab your straight edge and mark the center line.
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    Grab your template to make diamonds 3x longer than they are wide. The angle needs to be 37 degrees if my memory serves. Line the point up with the dot and trace the edges onto the scale with a felt tip pen. Don't worry about contaminating the wood with the ink, you'll check it off in a second.
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    Use your other knife, for me this was my Benchmade Torrent :thumbup: and score the line that will become your master line using your straight edge like so. The deeper you make this score line, the easier your master line will be to cut but don't screw up and cut all willy nilly because you were pushing too hard! This is tricky!
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    I use the short cutter to cut the master lines because I can see exactly where I'm cutting and it's an aggressive tool so it follows the lines easily(ish). You can't win it all here but you can totally lose it! These lines will dictate the integrity of the rest of your lines so it's important to cut them as straight as you possibly can. I use minimal pressure at first and build up to cutting pressure once I wear through the finis
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    Now the master lines are cut, use the double line cutter to move on. Push hard enough to stay in the first line but you have to twist the tool a bit at first and level out as the second line gets deeper. This takes a bit of practice to do all at the same time.
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    ~30 minutes later
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    In a few hours you'll be here. The diamonds are roughed out but they're still generally flat on top and need some work.
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    Using the finishing cutter smooth and point the diamonds until you just can't hold your tools anymore. Each side took me 4 hours and my wrist is pretty much dead now. You'll end up with this!
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    The finished products before last coat of TruOil finish. The top scale represents my first attempt from a few weeks back, and the bottom two are the ones I finished today.
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    In a little while the last coat of TruOil will be cured and I'll post pics of the real finished product! :D
     
  2. oharal

    oharal

    444
    Jan 21, 2013
    If I missed anything you want to know or pics you want to see just let me know!
     
  3. Rypper

    Rypper

    172
    Dec 5, 2012
    Thanks for the free scales, oharal.

    Just kidding, very nice job.
     
  4. oharal

    oharal

    444
    Jan 21, 2013
    LOL if anyone wants to spend a few hours shaping them, several hours coating them and 8 hours checkering them then I'm glad to help someone have a set of scales they really like :)

    Thanks!
     
  5. KnottyEagle

    KnottyEagle

    Aug 10, 2012
    Great write-up.
     
  6. oharal

    oharal

    444
    Jan 21, 2013
    Thanks! Here's the finished product
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  7. KnottyEagle

    KnottyEagle

    Aug 10, 2012
    Very nice work!
     
  8. volta

    volta

    45
    Dec 28, 2010
    Man that is just handsome with the zt clip. Nice work.
     
  9. agile_1

    agile_1

    485
    Dec 2, 2012
    Beautiful.

    How in the world do you keep such a straight line with the line cutters???
     
  10. oharal

    oharal

    444
    Jan 21, 2013
    Thank you! The key is to get those first master lines as straight as possible. Make sure the knife you score it with basically pushes against your straight edge and then be very careful following the score line so you don't run out of it. Once you get it cut, the rest is easier.
     
  11. moroland

    moroland

    46
    Jun 2, 2011
    Wow! That is awesome!
     
  12. five.

    five.

    369
    Nov 18, 2010
  13. Eastwood

    Eastwood

    408
    Oct 23, 2012
    Would this work on G-10? IMO the orange G-10 would look awesome with this done to it.
     
  14. oharal

    oharal

    444
    Jan 21, 2013
    Eastwood, G10 is a glass fiber material which I have read is probably hard enough to dull checkering tools so I have been to afraid to try it myself. I also suspect it won't smooth out very well and might have hairy checkers (lol wat?). In any case, it would definitely be more difficult to do than even hardwoods!
     
  15. stebolicious

    stebolicious

    Apr 16, 2012
    Outstanding job on that Skyline! I normally dont like wood scales on knives, but the checkering adds a TON of character.

    Me like-y
     
  16. oharal

    oharal

    444
    Jan 21, 2013
    Thank you! Glad you like them
     
  17. Blake Dow

    Blake Dow

    101
    Jul 5, 2012
    Amazing! I love the pattern you chose to checker, it reminds me of the original 1911 grips
     
  18. oharal

    oharal

    444
    Jan 21, 2013
    Thanks! That was the idea!
     
  19. CrazySanMan

    CrazySanMan

    100
    Jul 3, 2012
    That's a real nice job! I always wondered how the checkering was done.
     
  20. bear5177

    bear5177

    134
    Feb 1, 2012
    Very nice! Great demonstration. Thank you for sharing it.

    :)
     

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