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Frame Handle Hunter WIP *now with finished product*

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Jason Fry, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    I like to do something challenging for my 50/100 knives. This one is number 300, so I thought I'd try a frame handle hunter. It's a fairly complex project relative to the knives I usually make, but I have all the prerequisite skills. I owe a lot of my knifemaking knowledge to internet WIP's, particularly from Wheeler and Bump in the case of this knife. I doubt anything here is original, but here goes....

    If I'm doing a complex build, I always start on paper. I also make a few copies. I decided on the top knife in this picture.
    [​IMG]

    Looks pretty simple on paper, but it's not really. I'm using mild steel for the frame and guard. I plan to filework the frame and blue both the frame and the guard. The liners and pins will be 410 stainless, and the handle will be sambar. The blade is CM154. If I counted right, there will be 11 parts, maybe 13 if I put in all the pins.

    Some folks use dykem or other layout fluid and scribe everything. I've found it easier and just as effective to use the drawing as the template. That's why I make copies. I cut out the part I'm making and superglue the paper to the steel. Works great!
    [​IMG]

    Here's the frame rough shaped. One thing I want to point out in this pic is that I left the front end of the frame long on purpose. You'll see why later.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  2. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    There are a lot of people better at fitting guards than I am, but I've learned a few tricks from those guys as well. I use a glued on paper template for the guard shape as well. Folded and cut, it's symmetrical that way. The guard is 1/4 mild steel left over from my grinder build. Waste not, want not.
    [​IMG]

    Notice I center punched a row for drilling. The blade is 3/16, so I used a 5/32 drill. I don't have a mill, but Harvey Dean pointed me toward a way to make the guard fitting much easier, even without a mill. I envy Nick Wheeler's method of milling the slot oversized except for a thin area that contacts the blade. I can't be that precise without a mill, but I can use the same principle. After I drill my initial row of 5/32 holes, I run a 1/4 bit through the same holes, leaving about 1/32 of steel left at the bottom of the hole. Like Nick's way, it gives me less steel to file for the actual fitup. Here's a pic of the holes from the top, before I started filing.
    [​IMG]

    I file the guard to fit fairly close, then I peen the face of the guard to roll the edges back in toward the guard slot. Then I drive the guard on for final fit. I used to struggle with how to hammer a guard on, till I found a piece of pipe and it all got much easier.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the final guard fitup, before I clean up the face of the guard. Notice the peening I was talking about. Fitup is pretty good at this point.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    Now that I have the frame roughed in and the guard fitted, it's time to fit the frame and guard together. I went with the Bruce Bump method of fitting tabs on the frame into slots on the guard. I don't have a separate pic of the guard slots, but you can see them later on in the sequence. First I set up the frame squarely in my file guide. This is a Bump file guide, BTW.
    [​IMG]

    Then I file the frame down to fit the slots in the guard. You end up with a square joint because of the file guide. Here's the final product in this step. The nubs on the end of the frame fit into the slots on the back of the guard.
    [​IMG]

    Once the frame and guard are fitted, it's time for the liners. I rough cut them on my band saw, then superglue the whole stack (frame, liner, liner) together for drilling. The glue held well, so I didn't have to fool much with pins and clamps as I drilled, other than to clamp the stack to my drill press table.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Leethal Cutlery

    Leethal Cutlery Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2011
    Nice Jason! Subscribed
     
  5. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    For squaring up the face of the liners to fit up against the guard, it's back to the file guide. I used the frame to scribe where the file guide should go.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the guard, frame, and liners all fit up.
    [​IMG]

    After that, I superglued the liners to the stag pieces and rough shaped the stag. That's where I stopped for today. Here are a couple pics of today's product, dry fit.
    [​IMG]

    Even with no glue or clamps yet, everything fits pretty well because I took so much time making sure everything was squared up.
    [​IMG]

    Not sure if I will work on this tomorrow or not, but I still have to drill and final fit the stag, pre-assemble and polish everything to final grit, filework the frame, blue the guard and frame, and put it all together. Likely at least another half day's work, but probably more like a full day.
     
  6. mccandmatt

    mccandmatt

    358
    Oct 29, 2013
    Wow, great WIP thread. Subscribed as well
     
  7. rjfm1972

    rjfm1972 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    221
    Jan 13, 2013
    Forgive my ignorance, but what is the purpose of the frame handle? Is it to allow the installation of that type of guard while maintaining the look of a full tang knife? I like it a lot, by the way. Excellent work!
     
  8. Brian Avila

    Brian Avila

    Jan 2, 2011
    I love frame handle knives.

    Could you explain a little more about what you do to make it easier to fit without a mill. I am in the same boat, no mill. I was going to do the same thing you are doing, drill through with smaller bit, turn over and rill with a bigger bit and then use a file guide to make sure everything is straight... but I don't know if you left out the what makes it easy? Or if you have a good suggestion?
     
  9. rnbtexas

    rnbtexas

    630
    May 7, 2012
    Subscribed. Great WIP. Thanks for sharing.
     
  10. Karl B. Andersen

    Karl B. Andersen

    Jul 27, 2003
    If you understand that statement right there, knife making becomes a hell of a lot more successful.
    Put the time in at the beginning getting everything right.
    I see so many guys wondering why they're arriving at the end of a knife project and things don't line up and are wondering, now, what they have to do to FIX things.
    Fix things at the beginning!
    Not that things won't often become challenging later on from time to time, but like Jason is doing right here - take the time up front and you'll save all kinds of time later on,
    Slow down. :thumbup:
    Good job, Jason.

     
  11. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    Thanks for the kind words, Karl.

    As far as the guard fitting, by relieving the back side of the guard with the bigger bit, you're leaving yourself only 3/32 or so of steel to file fit. Much easier than trying to fit a 1/4" thick piece of steel. Also, peening the guard face over then hammering the guard on gives you a tight fit without having to be quite so precise on your filing.
     
  12. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    I decided to filework the liners instead of the frame, after looking at a bunch of frame handle knives last night. Got the liners done, the handle shaped, and everything polished. Next is cleanup and bluing of the frame and guard. I'm taking pics as I go, likely have some more up tonight.
     
  13. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I noticed that the frame is just butting against the guard. I like to have two little "feet" on the ends of the frame that seat into the guard about 1/8". This makes things tighter.

    You probably can still do it, as it will barely move the frame forward any at all. They can be shaped to fit in the extra space in the guard slot on both sides of the tang. They don't need to go in far at all.
     
  14. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    It's got what I think you're talking about, Stacy. Little stubs on the very ends of the frame that fit into little holes in the guard. Second pic in post #3.
     
  15. Marko3

    Marko3 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Hi Jason.. I have never done a hidden tang before. From what I have read and what you have posted about peening the guard. Far as I can tell you peened from the front correct ? Then you remove and flatten it out and it still fits tight ? Sorry for all the questions but I am about to build a Bowie and I want the guard done right.
     
  16. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    Correct, Marko. Peen in the edges of the slot on the front/face side of the guard, then flatten it out afterward. You usually have to relieve a tiny bit off the corners to make it fit right after you polish up the face.
     
  17. bjtiger75

    bjtiger75

    51
    Dec 28, 2009
    Subscribe. Very nice.
     
  18. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    Alright, folks, here we go...

    After church and lunch I started back on the project. I shaped the handle material and got everything polished out. The key to the operation was the pins in the handle that held the handle together, and two tiny drops of superglue on the ears of the frame to hold the blade and guard in place. The superglue was enough to hold it while I got everything polished. Here's a shot of all the pieces. I decided against the thong hole as in the original design.
    [​IMG]

    The next step was to filework the liners. Two tricks to show here. First I pinned and superglued (just a couple of drops) the liners together. Then I did both sides on the outside. If you do them together, it is much easier to make sure everything lines up. After I did the first two sides, I switched them around and did the other two sides. Here's a shot of the liners as I started.
    [​IMG]

    I used a 1/8 round tapered file, and the corner of a half round out of my needle file set. Those tiny files are hard on the hands. I went through a time several years ago when I stopped doing filework altogether, because my thumb and first two fingers would go numb and stay that way for days. The solution was to use handles on my files, and the fastest, cheapest, easiest thing I found: golf balls. You can drill different sized holes for different files. The needle file in the pic is one I used on this project, and the other is one I use for fitting guards.
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    The next step after the liners was to brown the frame and guard. I've never done this before, but I followed the directions on the bottle. I used Birchwood Casey plum brown. The basic idea is to heat the fittings to 275 degrees and apply the plum brown with a cotton swab. Multiple applications are recommended. I did about 10, as I was still splotchy after the first 6. I used my heat treat oven as the heat source, and I put a couple of thin pieces of wire through the holes of the fittings so I could hold them easier.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's a few pics of the whole thing dry fit after the fittings were brown. Getting close....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    I decided to glue it up in two stages. I glued up the handle pieces first. After that dries a while, I'll glue up the guard and blade. I roughed up the liners, stag, and frame with some 60 grit prior to glue up. Sure made me nervous with that coarse paper around an almost-finished knife! Here's the glued up pic, where I'm stopping for tonight.
    [​IMG]
     

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