Making custom scales for a barlow

glennbad

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Needler, I have started taking pics for a WIP for this style of knife, but before I post anything, you need to get permission from a mod for me to post it in this thread, in this subforum.

Glenn
 

Peregrin

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Needler, I have started taking pics for a WIP for this style of knife, but before I post anything, you need to get permission from a mod for me to post it in this thread, in this subforum.

Glenn
I'll discuss with Frank and let you know, Glenn. Thanks for running it by us.
 

glennbad

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The mods came back with a :thumbup: on this, thanks guys! I'll see about getting some pics and narrative going on this later tonight.
 

glennbad

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Now, first things first. You have to be safe. My pics may show things that do not look safe. They are only shown that way for the effect of the WIP pics. Please use eye protection, and secure your materials when drilling or using power tools on them.

I think Evan did a WIP where he did everything with hand tools. That is admirable and amazing, but I would never get anything done that way. That being said, with some exceptions, most of these steps can be completed with hand tools and hand labor.

You will need standard hand tools, like files, a hacksaw, punches, a hammer, etc. A drill is pretty important also. Hand sanding can get the job done, but a power sander is extremely handy. You don't have to spend a boatload of money on tools, the 1" x 30" belt sander from harbor freight is a great bargain.


Okay, so you have a knife that you want to mod, let's say this Imperial is the one.



Those Imperials are a prime example of quality steel in an economy package, and well worth doing something with. Do yourself a favor and tape off the blades. I use painters tape, it doesn't affect etches.



The shell handle knife covers are typically held in place by a tab at each end that is bent over to hold it in place.


Use a small screwdriver or similar implement to bend the tab up on one end.


Once that is done, you should be abke to remove the shell cover. Repeat for the other side, and you should have something that looks like this.



The inner assembly should look something like this



Use a drill to drill out the 3 rivets.


You can also use a file to file down the heads, but be mindful not to mark up or file anything that will show after.



Once you drill out or file down the rivet heads, you can punch them out.





Once you have everything apart, do yourself a favor and tape the blades to their respective springs. In multiblade knives, the springs can look exactly alike, but they may have a different fit and action if you swap the blades.


Also, mark you liners on the outside (the part that the cover material will be glued to.) On some knives, you can't tell what is the inside and what is the outside of the liners.

That is an "M" for mark side, which is the side that you would most likely see a shield or nail nick on. Use "P" for the pile side.


Now that everything is identified, you want to flatten your liners. Those tabs won't be used any more, so take a hammer and flatten them right out.





You do not need a big hammer for knife work. In fact, for most tasks I use a 4 oz. ball peen or jewelers hammer.



This is as far as I have got for now, more to come...
 

Campbellclanman

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Just fantastic stuff Glenn, amazing to go through the steps with you, Like the saying says, it makes a true craftsman to make it look easy.
 
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i am gonna be looking for the rest of this...i have a imperial knife ready for dissassembly now....i will have it ready
when the rest of the tut is here i hope....glad i found this....thanks glen,you are helping alot of us learn the basics of knife repair,redo,etc....jd
 

jprime84

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I am in this same boat. I think I am just going to pop the plastic scales off and go from there as opposed to disassembling the knife. That is assuming that I can get it functioning smoothly without taking it apart.
 

glennbad

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Okay, in between working on other projects, I had some time to work on the Imperial mod. Here is some more of the WIP.


Now we are ready to make some bolsters. I have seen some really amazing mods done with such a variety of materials...wood, bronze, brass, micarta. However, for our purposes, I am using nickel silver. I buy this in bar form, so we need to cut the pieces we will need.



Let's refer back to our shell liner. That bolster measure out to about 1 1/4", so that is what we will use.



After measuring out 1 1/4", I use a square to make sure the line is square to the edge of the bar



Then I mark a center line to split the piece in half. The pieces will be around 3/4" wide when done.



Now, it is possible to use a hacksaw to cut this material, but it will take time. Whatever you use, cut your center cut first to the 1 1/4 line, then cut the pieces off the bar.




I use a dremel tool with a metal cutoff wheel. If you choose to go this route, please keep a solid hand(s) on the dremel. When the wheel catches in the material, it can take you for a ride.



Once I have the pieces cut, I mark them with a pencil to track which way is which.



Then sand the opposite side flat. This is the side that will be attached to the liner. You can use coarse grit paper on a hard flat surface to ensure a flat even sand. I have seen people use old cutting boards, sink cutouts from counters, or similar materials. I use a 4" x 36" benchtop belt sander, which I use for a multitude of tasks in knife modding. I had it long before I ever started working on knives, it's just really handy.



Next, I use a pony clamp or vice grips to sandwich the two pieces together.



You can use a file or similar means to make the ends flush and square.



I have several of these 1" x 3" Harbor Freight belt sanders. They are not high quality machines, but they are a great value, and I use the heck out of them. I am using one here to sand the ends flush and square.



They don't have to be amazingly square right now, just close.



Do a quick check on your liners. Lay them up against a straight edge like so. If they are warped, gently bend them back into shape. It is important to maintain the flatness of the liners, otherwise when you glue things up and try to make them fit, things will not fit tight like they should.



Now we are going to attach the bolster pieces to the liners. You need to have sanded rough surfaces where things will attach.



Make sure you sand the correct side, the one you marked with an M or P.



Now measure 1 1/4" from the edge and mark a line. Try to line it up so it will look correct. You can use the original shell to check against.



 
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Again, thanks for taking the time to show your process. I was waiting to see some more. Very informative, can't wait for more!

dave
 

glennbad

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The best way to attach these bolster pieces is to solder them. Don't cut corners, do it right, and things won't fall apart. I have some liquid flux from a kit that also has solder in it, but I use different solder.





Next I take the pads off a pony clamp. I'm going to use it to hold things in place while I am soldering.



Cover the sanded/marked area with liquid flux, then place the bolster piece in place. Ensure things are lined up.





Once things are clamped up, I put it in a vise. Trust me, you don't want to hold it.



Heat things up with a Mapp/Propane torch, then let the solder flow. You don't need tons of it, you'll just have to file/sand it off after anyway.



When you're done, and things are cooled off, they should look like this.



Of course, you can use a file or sandpaper to get rid of the excess bolster material.



I just use my belt sander. Make sure to use some water to keep things cool if you are using a belt sander.




Here's what they should look like at this point.



Now would be a good time to get a contour on your bolsters, whatever that would be.




Also, use files to clean up the inside part of the bolster, where the cover material will sit up against it. Things need to be flat and square for a good fit.

 

glennbad

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I almost forgot one thing. It is really important to mark your work in some way, so in the event that the knife changes hands, people down the line don't think it's original factory work. Nothing fancy for me, I just use some metal punches.








Okay, we're just about ready to pick some cover material and attach it. Here's your clean bolster.



It's probably not a bad time to do a near finish on your bolsters. Metal can be tougher to sand and blend than wood or bone, so clean it up now before you attach your covers. I have scotchbrite belts, buffers, and compounds, so my work will go quicker. I may lose a few of you here, but it is possible to attain a nice finish with successive grits of sandpaper, it just takes a lot of time and elbow grease. You may also choose to leave your bolsters with a satin finish. Anyway, once you have them to some state of inish, you can move on.



For this project, I have chosen some antique green tapered workgroove bone.



The prep on whatever material you choose is the most important part of the finished look. The number one thing I see is that people just slap the material on and then sand away after. Usually that ends up in very thick handles or no jigging/color left from sanding. Take the time to remove excess from the back of the material, where it will attach to the liner. You want it to be very close to what the final thickness will be when finished. Also take the time to get a precise fit between the material and the bolster.



Now rough up the liners and the material backs. The epoxy needs something to grab onto.




Before gluing things up, clean all surfaces with alcohol and give a minute to dry. All the sanding and soldering and whatever can introduce oils and contaminents on the pieces.



Use a good quality 2-part epoxy. I don't recommend the standard 5-minute stuff, plus, you want to give yourself time to work with the pieces and not rush. I use a 15-minute epoxy. There are many brands out there, and tons of testing done on them. Use whatever works for you.



Once you have everything ready, mix up your epoxy and clamp everything up.





That's as a far as I got on it.
 
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