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Riveting Knife Handles?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by spidersbane, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. spidersbane


    Jan 29, 2002
    I am a new knife-maker, and I hanve no idea how to rivet my handles. Can anyone explain this to me please? I don't know if this makes any difference, but my drill holes are 1/8". Thanks alot.
  2. flava


    Mar 3, 2000
    I'm a newby too and I'll tell you how I do. If the handle material is brittle and you won't gladly hammer it, make the holes a tad bigger than the pins and superglue the pin in place. After it dries cut the extra pin and file it flat with the handle.
    If the handle is G10 or micarta or other though stuff, make the holes, countersink them, cut the pins a tad longer than needed and kindly hammer them until they fill the countersunk hole. You can glue them first too but it's optional.
    This is just how I do them, maybe there are better ways.
  3. Chang


    Oct 9, 1998
    Countersink might be a bit steep of an angle for the pin to fill sometimes. You could try a tapered ream and lightly taper the ends of the handle material as well. Some people are starting to use adhesives to hold the pins in now. To do it this way, use coarse sandpaper and rough your pin up with coarse sandpaper and maybe put tiny notches in it (I do it lightly with hacksaw). Wash the pin and dry it, or degrease with acetone, and then squeeze a little bit of Epoxy or JB-Weld into the holes, and rub some on to the pin and push the pin in, and let it cure before working with it.

    If you want to use bolts or rivets, drill your pilot hole (1/8"), then use a counterbore or step drill to counterbore a larger diameter through some of your handle material.
  4. Mike Hull

    Mike Hull

    Nov 25, 2000
    This link will give you the drill size's for the various pins.
    You do not need to expand the pin in the hole, if you do, you risk splitting the handle material.
    Use a good epoxy, not the 5 minute stuff,not super glue. A good over the counter epoxy is Devcon 2 ton, there are others. Just mix it 50/50, dip the pin in it and push it in the hole. Like Chang said, it is a good idea to clean them first, you can also slot them slightly near the center for better hold. Good luck.
  5. Peter Atwood

    Peter Atwood

    Oct 26, 2000
    From my reading and experience it seems like the pins are to provide a way to keep the handle from shearing off the knife. Although the pins may be peened and so will also give some resistance to the handles being pried off, it is also a good idea to epoxy the slabs onto the knife.
  6. Guy Thomas

    Guy Thomas

    Feb 1, 2000
    Here's a few things to think about.

    When roughing up your pins with paper or filing notches in them try and leave enough round smooth pin material at each end to accomodate the shaping of the handle. (Ask me why I know about this!)

    Here's something I like to do. Most of my handles are untapered full tang models and I like to drill lots of holes in the metal to lighten the handle area. These large holes provide a wood/glue/wood bonding area also. Even better is to drill shallow holes on the surface of the handle that goes against the tang and make sure these "epoxy" pins get filled when you spread the epoxy on the handle slab (these little shallow holes like to trap air bubbles and you want them to be solid epoxy.)

    Probably the most important thing to do is to keep everything to be glued up perfectly clean. All surfaces should be freshly sanded to expose a new surface. Metal parts should be cleaned with acetone and washed with a detergent and carefully dried. Oily woods like cocobolo benefit from a wipe down with acetone also on their glue face.

    If you decide to peen go carefully like veryone has said!
  7. spidersbane


    Jan 29, 2002
    Thanks everyone! That is a huge help.
  8. Chang


    Oct 9, 1998
    Like Guy said, make sure you put your notches near the center if you decide to notch them. When you shape the handle material and notch too far from the center, you risk sanding the handle down to an area where the visible end of the pin isn't round. Usually you should not notch much farther than 3/16" from the center of the pin, this may be more or less depending on your scale thickness. Don't notch too deep either, you just want to add some texture for the epoxy to grab onto.
  9. MaxTheKnife


    Aug 19, 2000
    I don't know, maybe it's just me. But I pein every pin I install on a knife handle. Even the stainless steel pins. I also epoxy or use Cutler's Resin as a bonding agent. I've never found any handle material that wouldn't accept a peined pin if you're careful. The trick is to use a small peining hammer and go slowly. Heck, I even pein my mosaic pins and get away with it. I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers here. But I just don't understand why you'd want to put pins in a handle if they're only going to be decorative. And to me, that's what a glued in pin is. A peined pin in a countersunk pin hole is about the best physical bond I can think of on a knife handle besides bolts. Only, a peined pin won't normally loosen up from shock like a bolt can.

    I guess I should qualify myself here. All of the knives I make are rough use knives. Even the pretty ones. So that's my area of experience. Am I just a knucklehead or am I making any sense? I guess it depends on how you learn to make knives. Bob Ogg taught me. And he was a stickler for peined pins on knives. He even peined the pivot pins on his folders and also countersunk his pivot pin holes on most all of his folders. And he used eyeglass screws on his folder handle scales. Tapped holes in the brass or nickel silver liners and countersunk the holes for the screws in the scales. He always dipped those screws in epoxy before installing them too. When he was finished the screws sometimes looked like pins because he'd sand off the screw slots. When he left the screw slots on the heads it looked pretty neat and added something to the overall look that was very pleasing. At least to him and me :)

    This is a very interesting topic and I sure hope some more knife makers will chime in here and get some good education going. I love to learn. And I need all the help I can get :D

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