Make yourself some broaches

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Patrice Lemée, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Patrice Lemée

    Patrice Lemée

    Aug 13, 2002
    I've tried all possible solutions in an effort to make slotting handles for hidden tang easier. Files, hacksaw blades super glued together, power hacksaw, drywall knife, even extra long drill bits in a Dremel. :(

    (Ask me how how now know not to put an extra long bit with a poorly balanced depth stop on it in a 15,000RPM Dremel! :eek: Seems obvious in retrospect. I guess I'm the guy for whom they put the “Do not ingest” warnings on things like Acetone. :()

    After a post by Ed Caffrey about broaches that Michael Rader made for him I thought why not. Might as well try that too. Of course they are not even close to the incredible broaches Michael did. They are made of 1095 but not even heat treated. And as you can see, the teeth geometry is probably all wrong.
    BUT even as crappy as they are, they work great. A thousand times better than anything else I tried and spent countless hours messing with. Wish I had tried that first. Simply used those little cut-off disks in the Dremel to shape the teeth. ***Don't forget those safety glasses!***

    broach1.jpg broach2.jpg

    Make some, you'll be happy you did. :thumbup:
  2. Salem Straub

    Salem Straub

    Oct 20, 2008
    Ha! That's funny, I saw the same broaches in the same post, and was inspired by that to build my own last week. I too, shaped it with a dremel. I used a chainsaw-sharpening type stone, though. Mine is forged out of coil spring and full-hardened. I tried it on a micarta grip for a full tang, it works great.

    Maybe I'll post a pic of mine tomorrow!
  3. Deweyknives


    Nov 29, 2006
    I made one a while back from a knife that did'nt quite work out. 1/8" O-1, cut the teeth in w/ a triangle file. Works great but needs to be a little longer, next one will be right. Time well spent.

    Mace showed one some time ago, made mine from memory. Thanks mace!
  4. Phil Dwyer

    Phil Dwyer

    Feb 28, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
  5. Justin King

    Justin King

    Nov 8, 2009
    I made a pair from O-1 a couple of years ago and have even used them to enlarge slots in mild steel guards. If you do hidden tang knives these are a must.
  6. efleming


    Jun 6, 2007
    Hey Phil,

    Thanks for posting those pics. I was just about to look them up to post as well but you had beat me to it. Using the angles laid out in the drawing gives uniform cutting teeth at a good cutting angle. I've made a few of these now and all work fantastic. They are pretty easy to make as well. More detailed pictures are on my web site under shop tour and misc tools. I just happened to have some O1 laying around in the right thicknesses so that's what I used. These are at 61 HRC.
  7. bigern26


    Oct 2, 2009
    Wow, Thanks guys for all the info.
    I think I am going to have to make me a couple of these!!
  8. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator

    Jan 6, 2005
    I think I saw those in one of the many Museums of Medieval Torture scattered around France. I don't think they were making knives, though.

  9. deker


    Nov 14, 2005
    I have to say that while handle broaches look like they work well, I've never seen a need for them at all. When i fit a handle to a tang it takes about 15-20 minutes with just a drill press and a single long drill bit that cost me $8. Then again, I've never understood why the edges of a tang hole have to be square either. It's MUCH easier to round over the top and bottom of the tang so that it's rounded to about the same radius as the drill bit. The tang won't be round, it won't turn in the wood or anything silly like that. Then I just drill multiple holes (some at an angle) to remove enough material for the tang to fit. Cut the extra webbing between holes out with the spinning drill bit (I keep the block clamped in a vise...not holding it by hand!) and voila!

    Full credit for teaching me this simple and quick method goes to J. Neilson, but it does sort of just make sense.

  10. jawilder


    Jun 27, 2006
    I use the same method as Decker but I also heat the tang with an LP torch and burn it in for a good fit. I've only tried this on wood and keep a wet rag on the blade as well as a drop of water inside the hole incase the wood begins to smolder. But it is very quick, easy, and makes a very tight fit.
  11. Jim L.

    Jim L.

    Mar 2, 2006
    I made some by setting jig saw blades into wood scrap that got sanded ito handles'

    Jim L.
  12. cbr900son


    Mar 3, 2011
    Hmm I think it would be fun to have another maker make mine. Would anyone be interested in a job!?! The reason Id like another maker is because one of the main things I like about knife making and the community is the way most knife makers act towards each other - sharing tips and giving advice and just the long distance brothership that kind of builds. I think this would even further that basic feeling especially every time I use them and think of talkign with that person and think of him making them for me knowing they are used for knife making. If anyone is interested please feel free to PM me.
  13. tryppyr


    Feb 5, 2010
    I need a set, since I do mostly hidden tang handles. I now know what my next project will be. Good thing I have a fair amount of 1095 scrap now. Thanks!
  14. tryppyr


    Feb 5, 2010
    It occurred to me that since I'm working on a knife made of 1095, and the broach(es) would be made from the same material, I should put them all together when sending the knife out for HT. So I went ahead and roughed out the first broach from the smaller piece of scrap. It has an OAL of 5 inches with a penetration depth of 3.5 inches. I put a thumb rest ridge on the top for better control. Should be big enough for most of the handles I make. But I have a slightly larger piece of scrap to work with and make a longer one.

  15. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator

    Jan 6, 2005
    tryppyr.... what, no "pin-up" broach?... what about making a chameleon with the outstretched tongue as the digging part? I have come to expect more from you.
  16. tryppyr


    Feb 5, 2010
    You're right, Rick. I hang my head in shame. ;)
  17. Michael Rader

    Michael Rader

    Apr 17, 2009
    Wow. Nice guys. Those are great. And Phil... I don't know what to say, man :) I forgot if I mentioned this in the Caffrey post, but I do take a little off of the side of every-other tooth, so as to provide a little of what on a saw would be called an "offset." In my thinking, it allows each tooth to grab a little deeper. Just seems to work good for me. And don't worry about the tooth angle too much, if it doesn't work, then you have it wrong - kinda simple that way. Anyway, here they are again, but keep in mind that Ed did give me a very fine damascus head hammer in trade. I had to make them nice, yaknow?


  18. Phil Dwyer

    Phil Dwyer

    Feb 28, 2006
    Those DO look sweet Michael! I've been admiring your mustardized integral chef knife today too! It was Patrice (not me) who made the OP and the broaches in it. I'm sure he'll appreciate the additional info about off-setting the teeth, as do we all. THANKS for the tips, so to speak.

    Patrice...thanks for the thread and encouragement to make our tools!
  19. Patrice Lemée

    Patrice Lemée

    Aug 13, 2002
    I am glad this is convincing some of you guys to make your own. You won't be disappointed believe me.
    And thanks Michael for chiming in. :thumbup:
  20. anvilring


    Nov 29, 2000
    I don't have a flycutter... I do have a cut off disc: which makes quick and easy work of these brooches.

    Mine are made with the teeth raked back some, I've found it cuts like the devil and that more abrupt tooth "fronts" leave you with less keen cutting teeth:

    Here below is a little slide show of how I make mine; this one I did just yesterday. Note in some of the pix that the teeth viewed from the top, angle out about 2 or 3o... just ever so slightly. This makes cutting a little easier but I've seen these with severe angled out teeth. This leaves you with a "dumbell" looking hole if your not careful.[email protected]/sets/72157626349644633/show/

    Lastly I respectfully submit, that to make a tool and not harden and temper it is a waste of time ... mine are made of (free!) 5160 car spring cut into strips on my bandsaw so's to have a good supply of "tool" making stock. You can see in the pix that I've tempered it to a straw color, which is quite hard, and sharpened it on a hard Arkansas stone. Un-hardened/tempered steel dulls quickly dressed (sharpened) like this; hardened but left un-tempered, the tip just snaps off. Mine just cut and cut. You need to harden AND temper tools; even simple ones!

    You makers who don't forge and do your own heat treats can still make stuff like this easily. All it takes is a torch and a large tomato can of decent oil and your in the tool business.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011

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