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BK-Short, my Handle Project for the 16. UPDATE: DONE

Discussion in 'Becker Knife & Tool' started by gentemanndvm, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. gentemanndvm

    gentemanndvm

    770
    Nov 2, 2010
    i'm working on my BK16 FPR mod on another thread (http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...d-Project-ATTEMPT-2-starting-on-post-29/page2) and now it's time to do the micarta handles. i figured i'd put this part up in a seperate thread, drink a bunch of beer while i was doing it, and take lots of pictures. hopefully i entertain someone out there with my project. if not, no biggie, i still got to drink beer and entertain myself and Tucker the dog who supervised. He seemed pretty dubious about my chances of success.
    [​IMG]

    i learned a couple lessons on my first try on that other thread i linked, so hopefully i put them to good use here and screw up less. BTW most of these techniques/ideas i use are taken from other threads here in Beckerland or in other BF subforums. So thanks to all the smart people whose ideas i stole :)

    --------------

    FIRST, the fancy workspace. corner of my garage. with 20yrs worth of intermittent impulse tool buying:
    [​IMG]



    note the mini-shop vac on the side of the workbench. anytime i was drilling or cutting micarta i put on a mask and layed the shopvac hose close by to suck up residue, dust, etc. micarta is baad for your lungs. mini shop vacs are cheap. definitely use one.



    close up of important workspace. micarta, beer.
    [​IMG]



    STEP 1. jigsaw to cut my micarta into 2 slabs. barbwire micarta i ordered online b/c i haven't taken the jump to making my own. yet. layed the handles out, made sure i left room all the way around when i cut.
    [​IMG]



    STEP 2. held the handles in place, marked out the holes with a pen. i don't have a drill press, but i do have a router attachment for my dremel tool. (actually it's a rotozip - mega dremel tool. but same difference, they have the router/press attachments for dremel tools also). put it between two pieces of wood to hold it in place and hold the setup vertical for straight holes.
    [​IMG]



    STEP 3. now i need to widen the holes i made up to the right size. i used a drill and drill bit set, and just stepped up one size at a time from the guide holes i made up to the right size. by doing it like that, the holes self-guided to stay centered and vertical.
    [​IMG]



    STEP 4. learned this on trial one. need to make the recessed holes for the screw side (left side scale). the long forstner bit there is the right tool to make a flat bottomed hole. but it'll walk around in the beginning and not be centered properly over the hole if you don't have some way to keep it centered. what i did was use the other countersink bit in the pic to make the start of a countersunk hole over these holes. just went down a little to make it about as wide (or a touch wider) than the outside diameter of the forstner bit. that holds the forstner bit in place when you start so it stays centered. worked great for me.
    [​IMG]



    and here's what you get.
    [​IMG]



    dropped a stainless version of the hex head screw in to show the fit. side one coming along nicely.
    [​IMG]



    side 2, the hex nut side.

    do everything you just did over again. make VERY sure you are doing it to the correct side of the piece of micarta. because when you pick the wrong side on accident and make all those recessed holes on the inside instead of the outside of your micarta slab, you feel really really really dumb. Tucker the dog gives you the same look you get from your wife all the time. Took a short break to morosely sip beer and feel dumb.
    NOTE TO SELF: always mark side, top, front, and inside/outside on your handle slabs so you don't ever do something dumb like that again.
    Luckily, i was going to make 2 sets anyway (incoming FFG 16. woohoo!) so it was only a minor hiccup, and not an actual problem. i had another piece of micarta. i just ended up with a second left side earlier than i'd planned.



    STEP 5. need to make hex-nut shaped holes out of the round ones i just made on side 2. FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! enter harbor freight $6 mini torch that runs on butane lighter fluid. and a change-up on my next beer. because i'm sophisticated like that with my palate.
    [​IMG]



    THE PLAN was to get a hex nut red hot, and then press it down into the holes i'd made (that are just a bit smaller than the hex nut used on the handles), melting the micarta at the edges into a perfect hex-nut shaped, flat-bottomed hole. THE PLAN ran into some problems.



    problem 1 - the $6 Harbor Freight mini-butane torch is a complete POS. it broke after less than 2 minutes of use. Suckled beer and percolated a little bit. Realized it's after 11pm and the wife and kids are asleep. No witnesses to my Whiskey Tango solution: kitchen. gas rangetop. problem solved.
    [​IMG]


    problem 2 - i don't have a drill press. i am 6'4", 250#. i decided i was as strong as a drill press and could muscle it down hard enough. here is the result of me, with a red hot nut :eek: pressing as hard down into the micarta as i can. i put all my weight and everything i had into pushing down. i got 2mm deep, tops.
    [​IMG]



    solution to problem 2 - although i didn't get anywhere deep enough, i got a great outline of the shape i wanted. so i did it to the other 2 holes, then got out the dremel tool with a small grinding tip.
    [​IMG]



    used the dremel tool to grind/sand out the 6 corners to the right size, and just sanded down the flat sides a little bit. to ALMOST the size of the nut. those 1-2mm deep imprints i made with the hot nut made a beautiful template to be able to do this:
    [​IMG]



    THEN, when i reheated the nut and pushed it into the hole, it only had a tiny amount of micarta to melt out of the way, and it went in much better. 1 push down for each hole. then a quick reheat and press on each one to make sure the bottom was nice and flat. worked great.
    [​IMG]



    dropped one of the hex nuts in there to show fit.
    [​IMG]


    so, a good start. holes drilled, setup for Becker attachment hardware for easy swapping around with the stock handles. next step is going to be to trace out the handle and rough cut it to closer to actual size. then comes the heavy sanding.

    i'll update with pics as i have time to work on it. hope this is a thread of value to someone, and helps if you're thinking about making some handles for your Becker. Fun project (maybe that's the beer talking). And don't sweat it when you screw up. the screwups are my best lessons so far. Luckily for me, if you look back to the very first pic, you'll see i had the foresight to mount a bottle opener on the wall next to the doorknob and the lightswitch. booze helps with the frustrations a lot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  2. gentemanndvm

    gentemanndvm

    770
    Nov 2, 2010
    beer and sanding night.

    step 1: get beer. still on my alaskan amber kick.
    step 2: trace outlines of handle on micarta slabs. i am going to extend the handle down the finger guard a little, make it feel a little bigger towards the front (i hope), because i have bigger hands. if it doesn't work, i'll just grind it off to stock size. i also rounded out the back. not for any reason other than it seems like that will be a LOT easier to sand down, and again, if i don't like it, i can always grab a file and start grinding down to the original stock back-end. fisher space pen b/c i'm awesome like that.

    [​IMG]



    step 3: got the jigsaw back out. you want to leave plenty of extra to sand down to fit, but this is way faster for me to get it kind of close, instead of grinding down an entire brick of micarta with a cheap Harbor Freight Sander. might be easier with a real sander, but for what i've got, this is lots faster/easier. turned out like this.

    [​IMG]



    time to bring the actual blade out. lets me put them together, check size, general fit, etc.

    [​IMG]



    step 4: grinding down the front. time for my favorite tool i've ever gotten from Harbor Freight. The Cheapo Belt Sander. Actually, 1 step up from the cheapest, i wanted the disc sander on the side. so The Pretty Cheapo Belt Sander. this tool is fun. You HAVE to have a vacuum to attach to this baby. or micarta/wood dust goes absolutely everywhere. but with a vacuum hooked up, it works fantastic. wear a mask.

    first you have to do the front, and you have to do it with the handles OFF the knife. Otherwise you tear up your blade. i put them together with the bolts, so i could work on the two front slabs at the same time and make sure i ground it down equally. this is a good time to take two scrap pieces of micarta and practice (i bought an extra set of cheap micarta the first time i tried this, so i could practice everything once before i did it on the actual handles. that was a seriously smart idea on my part. i don't have those that often, so i'm probably done for the year on smart ideas.

    [​IMG]



    did most of it on the disc sander on the side, then rounded it out on the edges on the belt. came out like this.

    [​IMG]



    oh yeah, micarta gets HOT when you really press down on it to sand. i ended up getting a cup of water to dunk it in regularly, to keep it from getting too hot on me. (also did this once i attached the blade and was sanding)

    as it turned out, i hadn't made the front nut/bolt holes deep enough, so i ended up exposing/grinding on the nut/bolt a little. i'll get back to that later, with pics to show what i did.

    step 5: time to hook it up to the knife and get serious with the grinder! woohoo. the fun time. to save my fingers and the blade from accidents, wrap the blade. i've read lots of options, what i tried and liked was electrical tape. first wrap sticky side out, then twist and come back sticky side down. thick, nothing sticks to the blade, the twist puts a lump of material up by the tip where it might want to poke through. works for me, no debris on the blade afterwords when you unwrap.
    pre-grinding:

    [​IMG]



    shaped it to the handle first, i'll round out the grip after. when i could, i used the disc sander for fast straight grinding, then moved over the belt sander if it wasn't on a long straight section. and once i got close to metal, even on those straight sections.

    80grit sanding disc, 80 grit sanding belt (or the tri-zact, depending on personal preference - trizact belts are fast and last longer, but i started with a used one and wore it out 1/3 of the way through this, so switched over the a standard 80 grit. once i got close to metal, switched to 120 grit. sanded to handle margins:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    now it's time to make it start looking like a handle. this is the most fun part for me, b/c it starts to come together. it's also the part that stresses me out, because you can't put micarta back on if you go too far. you over-sand and you have to start over.... couple in progress shots.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    i am not going to take the sanding up to glossy on these. it looks great when you do, you can see it on the original surface of these blocks before i sanded away. but i got micarta b/c i wanted grippy when wet, not slick. it's going to be a user. hopefully an awesomely cool-looking user, but a user. so i didn't take the sanding up any higher than the 120 belt.

    here's a shot of them ground down to size, cleaned up, rubbed a little bit of mineral oil in just to darken them up to a color i like. let it sit for while, then scrubbed them clean again. most of the color stayed, turned out well.

    [​IMG]


    back to my error on the front end. initial holes weren't deep enough. here are the front holes with nut and bolt in them:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    so, little more work to do there, plus making the lanyard hole since i have the full back end instead of the cutout. more to come later. hope you're enjoying the journey.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  3. gentemanndvm

    gentemanndvm

    770
    Nov 2, 2010
    alright. back at it.

    1) left it last time at handles shaped, but found out i didn't drill the front holes deep enough. so it ended up exposing the nut and bolt when i was sanding down the front edge of the handle. also beat up on the front nut/bolt in the process. Went back to Ace Hardware for replacements, spent about 50 cents, also got free popcorn. Or did i buy free popcorn for 50 cents and get a stainless steel hex bolt and nut for free? Oh, snap. i just blew your mind a little bit there, didn't I? You're welcome.

    deepening the 2 front holes was the exact same process used previously to make the original holes.
    on the bolt side - the forstner bit, just took it a little deeper to get the bolt head below the surface level of the micarta.
    on the nut side - forstner bit to do the same, dremel to cut out/deepen the six points of the hex down at the bottom of the hole where i cut it deeper, got a nut red-hot again, and burned the hex-shaped hole deeper. easy as pie.



    2) need a lanyard hole, then we're there. traced it out:

    [​IMG]



    then i grabbed that drill bit set again. started tiny.

    [​IMG]



    steadily increased the size of the drill bit until the holes met. looked like this:

    [​IMG]


    then i took the dremel tool and just lengthened the ends out to match the size of the lanyard hole on the metal. first time i did this, i had the outer distance perfect, and used the dremel to remove the middle section that was left. both ways worked equally well.



    and that's it! woohoo! time to put it all together.



    here's the work area all cleaned up, just a different centerpiece on the table.

    [​IMG]



    little bit of a close up, just to give a tease before i finish that beer, go to bed, and wait for daylight for a good pic.

    [​IMG]







    came home today at lunchtime to let the dog out, and took a pic in the backyard.

    [​IMG]


    what do you think?

    feels good in hand :). i did these handles a little thicker than the stock ones to fit me better personally (big hands). i did a little palm swell while i was sanding, but i think i may go back and increase the depth of the back indent a little bit. we'll see how it feels over the next couple weeks of use. that'll be an easy one if i do, just sand down a little where i want the deeper groove/indent.

    i'm also liking that little drop-down i put on the micarta down the finger guard. it extends the front grip a little for me and makes for a comfortable place for my pointer finger to rest. As i've said before, big hands. it works for me. and since, in general, it's all about me, that's important.



    hope you enjoyed taking the journey with me. i do appreciate any comments, you're not going to offend me if you don't like it, and i might learn something from the things you don't like. i would also really appreciate any helpful advice on techniques. i'm new to this, so if there are easier and/or better ways to do ANYTHING i did, feel free to share. Teach me. i'm always happy to learn more.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  4. The Warrior

    The Warrior Dubzerator Moderator Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2011
    Cool. Love the step by step stuff. Looking forward to more.
     
  5. DJG097

    DJG097

    Apr 19, 2009
    So am I. It looks good so far.
     
  6. Chameleonbear

    Chameleonbear

    Aug 14, 2008
    I would have never even thought of using the red hot nut. I have been trying to figure that part of the process out cause I want to make some scales here soon.
     
  7. thrillbilly

    thrillbilly Banned BANNED

    Apr 16, 2011
    That is a great thread...enjoyed it! Thanks...I am gonna try the hex hole creating technique. Thats the hardest part of making scales LOL

    Love that first dog pic! freakin awesome!
     
  8. LG&M

    LG&M

    Dec 19, 2005
    Fun thread, Thanks. looking forward to the next instalment.
     
  9. TwinStick

    TwinStick

    Jan 21, 2011
    Looky here---I am loving this thread. But after some whiskey & lookin at Thrillbilly's avitar, i just KNOW that there's a joke there somewhere ! LOL, Sorry, i'm just sayin'.
     
  10. Tilley Knife

    Tilley Knife I'm Daniel, I make stuff

    Jul 6, 2011
    Subscribed. Awesome thread, thanks.
     
  11. Haze240

    Haze240

    953
    Jan 1, 2011
    Wasn't micarta originally used as an insulator for early electronics and electrical equipment? I would think it would be pretty heat resistant, but looks like you made it work. I really like the look of that micarta, can't wait to see them shaped up and fitted.
     
  12. gentemanndvm

    gentemanndvm

    770
    Nov 2, 2010
    updated my progress in post 2.
     
  13. crimsonfalcon07

    crimsonfalcon07

    Dec 27, 2010
    Nice! Very good walkthrough so far, and enjoying watching the progress. That's good looking micarta too.
     
  14. The Warrior

    The Warrior Dubzerator Moderator Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2011
    Very cool. Appreciate the photos.
     
  15. crimsonfalcon07

    crimsonfalcon07

    Dec 27, 2010
    One thought I had, and YMMV, is that the pointy nature of the top front looks kinda strange to me. I personally would like it better if you rounded it off a bit and left the guard metal exposed. That's just me though. I definitely like the way it's coming along.
     
  16. K9-Handler

    K9-Handler

    Jan 27, 2012
    That was my thought when I was reading this. I suppose if you get anything hot enough it will either burn or melt, but epoxy??? What I do is drill the hole to be just slightly larger than the flats of the nut, then force the nut into the hole with a non-running drill press (I know -- you don't have one) or a vice; remove the nut (thread the screw in from the back side and push) and clean up any burrs on the bottom.

    Geez. You already have a router. Get a rounding-over bit and radius the sides of the micarta, using the bit's bearing gauge riding on the knife metal itself. Then it will track the handle exactly and radius the micarta. Finish up with the belt sander.

    Agreed! It reminds me of the sides of old baby carriages from the late 1800's. ;) Good stuff.
     
  17. Goose_52

    Goose_52

    717
    Feb 8, 2009
    Nice work dude! I'm looking forward to the rest.
     
  18. B.Mauser

    B.Mauser KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 22, 2011

    I knew you were old but damn, I'm surprised to hear you remember the 1800's. ;)



    ...and there goes any chance I had of getting a nice cammo duracoated sheath. :)
     
  19. gentemanndvm

    gentemanndvm

    770
    Nov 2, 2010
    yeah, i'm up in the air on that, too. i did it b/c i've got other similar-sized knives with handles that do that. and they feel good in-hand for me. sort of gives my front finger a more substantial natural resting spot.

    we'll see how it looks when i put it all together. if i don't like it, i'll round it off, just like you suggested. i figured what the h*ll, see how it feels, see how it looks, fix it if you hate it.
     
  20. gentemanndvm

    gentemanndvm

    770
    Nov 2, 2010
    the only part of that i understood was 'Finish up with the belt sander' :). seriously. i have to go look up stuff on the interwebz to figure out what you just said. then i will be back. it might take a while. hopefully i learn stuff.
     

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