Recommendation? Removing epoxy from in front of bolster

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Cushing H., Dec 1, 2020.

  1. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    I recently glued up a handle onto a full tang blade (i.e. full flat tang, two scales, one on either side), and, after setting the blade down for the epoxy to cure, came back to find that there had been some seepage of epoxy out of the front line of the bolster, so there is a small filet of epoxy visible on the metal in front of the bolster. I did wipe off excess and clean the metal after clamping ... but this seepage occurred some time after that (first time this has happened to me :-( .

    Now that the epoxy is fully cured, is there any reasonable way to remove this small amount of excess epoxy without destroying the finish of the blade?? There has been some discussion about using a brass "chisel" to remove solder .... but not sure if this will work with epoxy ... definitely so without scratching/marring the front of the bolster???????
  2. SS369


    Nov 29, 2015
    The brass chisel will work, followed by some Acetone “scrubbing”.
    I made my chisel out of a brass flat that is 1/8” thick by 3/4” wide. Sharpened on the grinder to a keen edge at roughly 45 degrees.
    The main thing about not scratching is cleanliness. I know... Wipe between every move! Just do it. I use a Acetone dampened towel or q-tip. Sometimes wrapping the chisel with the wet paper towel.
    Lee Hester likes this.
  3. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    Good morning, Cush. I'd try a fingernail. What I do most often when this happens is use a new X-Acto blade to pry off (or perhaps 'pop' off is better) the epoxy, I don't use it in a scraping motion, just gently score the line at the joint:
    It usually pops off pretty easily. With care, you won't scratch the blade.
    Nriggi1, RayseM, 755 and 4 others like this.
  4. Joshua Fisher

    Joshua Fisher KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 27, 2018
    I’ll use a razor blade to cut down onto the blade, you can do this carefully and it will only cut the epoxy away from the bolster and blade, I’ve used a wire brush by hand to also do the same thing depending on how much epoxy there is.
    *EDIT* Weo described perfectly with a picture what I do above with a razor blade
    RayseM and Lee Hester like this.
  5. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    The x-acto u want is a chisel edge x-acto blade. Sharpened one side only.

    for me this is a super useful tool for many many things and one of my top 10 tools to have
    fishface5 and Lee Hester like this.
  6. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    Hmmm.... never seen one. I'm not sure that matters, but it might be easier if you have it.
    Lee Hester likes this.
  7. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    The unsharpened side doesn’t cut or scratch. That’s why it’s useful.
    Lee Hester likes this.
  8. imill3567

    imill3567 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 5, 2014
    I’ve used brass, a razor blade as described, a piece of micarta cut at an angle from the bandsaw scrap, or a combination of razor blade and the other two.
    Lee Hester likes this.
  9. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    Thanks all. Those chisel blades look kinda wide, and this is a curved front bolster. I think I will (carefully) try a regular exact blade, and if things don’t go easil, will get some of the chisel blades.
  10. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    They come in different sizes and of course don’t be afraid to grind away part of the blade u don’t need to suit your requirements
  11. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004
    Maker a couple brass, or even better - bronze, chisels/gravers. They are worth much more than the five minutes it takes to make them.
    Using 1/4" square or round bronze stock, make a flat graver and a square graver. They will do the removal flawlessly and in seconds. Use cheap graver handles or make your own from pretty handle scrap.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
    hailfly, WValtakis and fishface5 like this.
  12. scott kozub

    scott kozub Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jan 1, 2018
    With the brass chisle heat it up with a torch. It melts the epoxy making it come off easier
  13. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    Hmm, the gravers will work for solder also, right?
  14. AVigil

    AVigil Adam Vigil knifemaker working the grind Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    Q tip soaked in acetone, go over the epoxy until it starts to soften.

    Then take copper chisel, make it yourself, and then use it to remove the excess.

    My copper chisel is made from small copper tubing I smashed the end with a hammer and shape it.

    I have used everything, all those mentioned above and the only thing that will not scratch the finish is copper.
    allenkey likes this.
  15. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley Riley Knife and Tool Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2007
    I use a sharpened piece of brass. Works like a charm.
  16. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    I ended up using WEO's approach (just convenient based on what I had on hand). right .... the epoxy does indeed just kind of "pop" off once you get most of it separated from the front of the bolster.

    I am going to need to try to make one/some of Stacy's Gravers (not the first time I have heard of them as being useful.

    Adam - I presume you are talking about dead soft copper???? I have some copper pipe that is amazingly hard!
  17. allenkey

    allenkey Gold Member Gold Member

    May 19, 2018
    I use copper like Avigil. He suggested it in another thread sometime ago (2 years ago?) and I have never looked back.

    Cushing, copper is super easy to anneal. Heat up until it's cherry red and then quench it in water - it'll be dead soft.

    Also , a trick I picked up from somebody somewhere was waxing the ricasso/ front of the scale before the epoxy goes on. *If* I remember to do that I can just pick the epoxy off with my fingernail and the wax is easy enough to clean up
    Ken H> and AVigil like this.
  18. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    Good point. I was actually more worried about the steel. Wax that as well maybe??
  19. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    I've heard of folks doing this, but I haven't tried it because I'm afraid the wax might get under the scale and then you'll have a gap in the epoxy.
  20. SS369


    Nov 29, 2015
    I wax the front of the scales and ricasso during temporary assembly, take apart, clean with acetone and then do the final assembly.
    I tried something the other day, along the same lines, that seems to work pretty well by pretreating the scales front with Tru-Oil, did a final roughing of the mating surface and did the usual. The Tru-Oil seems to give a slicker surface for the epoxy smear to be removed from.
    The biggest challenge for me is the slight haze (ghost) that’s left on the ricasso afterward. It’s worse with a 220 grit finish as the grit grooves are deeper.

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