View Full Version : Full tang, sub-hilt construction???


NickWheeler
07-25-2003, 10:31 AM
I have an order for a full tang, sub-hilt fighter.

I'm at a bit of a loss for how to even start.

Steve, do you mill any type of shoulder for the guard to fit against? Or do you simply mill the guard material to slide down to its destination and then drill the pin holes?

And what about the sub-hilt? Do you mill a notch into the tang for the sub-hilt to slide into (sort of an index notch) or do you simply mill a slot into the sub-hilt and slide it onto the tang?

I'm concerned about fitting the sub-hilt to a tapered tang. I can imagine that will be great fun. Do you fit it onto the tang, then peen the edges down to get good contact on the tang? Then file/mill the sub-hilt material back to flat?

What distance do you feel is appropiate from the bottom of the guard material to the top of the sub-hilt material?

I know this is a lot of questions.

Thanks everyone!
Nick

srjknives
07-25-2003, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by NickWheeler
I have an order for a full tang, sub-hilt fighter.
ANSWERS FOLLOW QUESTION IN CAPS, OK?
YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME FUN, BE EXCITED, OK?

I'm at a bit of a loss for how to even start.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE, EVERY ONE IS A JOB.

Steve, do you mill any type of shoulder for the guard to fit against? Or do you simply mill the guard material to slide down to its destination and then drill the pin holes?
YES, LEAVE THE BLADE ABOUT 1/64" NAROWER THAN THE HANDLE, OR ANOTHER, PERHAPS BETTER, WAY IS TO JUST BLEND A LITTLE CURVE/STEP FROM THE HANDLE TO THE GUARD. A CURVE JUST MAKES THE "STEP" THAT THE GUARD BUTTS UP AGAINST. THEN THE TANG HAS TWO LITTLE ROTRUSIONS, ON SIDE CURVED ANDOTHER A SQUARED STEP FOR THE GUARD TO MEET UP TO. MIGHT SUPER GLUE THE GUARD IN PLACE, THEN DRILL FOR PINS. USE MINIMUM AMT. OF GLUE.

And what about the sub-hilt? Do you mill a notch into the tang for the sub-hilt to slide into (sort of an index notch) or do you simply mill a slot into the sub-hilt and slide it onto the tang?

NOTCH THE TANG FOR THE SUB TO SLIDE INTO. BE SURE TO ROUND ALL THE CORNERS HERE, AND AT THE FRONT WHERE THE GURD FITS UP AGAINST THE STEPS, TOO.

I'm concerned about fitting the sub-hilt to a tapered tang. I can imagine that will be great fun. Do you fit it onto the tang, then peen the edges down to get good contact on the tang? Then file/mill the sub-hilt material back to flat?
LEAVE THE TANG UN-TAPERED TO THE BACK OF THE SUB HILT. THEN START THE TAPER, MAKES THINGS EASIER. I GUESS YOU CAN TAPER UP TO THE GUARD, BUT FILLING THAT GAP WILL BE A CHORE, IT CAN BE DONE, BUT LEAVING IT FULL-THICKNESS IS MUCH EASIER. LOOKS KINDA COOL, TOO, I THINK.

What distance do you feel is appropiate from the bottom of the guard material to the top of the sub-hilt material?
NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN HERE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN A BIT MORE?

I know this is a lot of questions.
YOU'RE GOING TO DO A LOT OF WORK!

Thanks everyone!
Nick
GOOD LUCK.

NickWheeler
07-25-2003, 12:29 PM
Thanks for all that info Steve, I'm trying to digest it and get it all running straight in my mind right now.

The last question, ended up being a complicated way of asking what's a good distance from guard to sub-hilt? This guy has pretty large hands, and I don't want to deliver a knife that he can't get his hand onto because his index finger won't fit between the guard and sub-hilt.

When you mention radiusing the tang notch and sub itself, do you mean to round the tang thickness wise, and then the front of the slot in the sub (left round from the endmill) will fit right up to it? Or do you mean, radius the notch top and bottom? Wish I could figure out how to put a drawing on here, I know that sounded confusing.

Thanks Steve!!!!
Nick

srjknives
07-26-2003, 02:31 AM
Does this help? The curved "steps" that the rear of the guard butts up against are a bit exaggerated and the corners should be a bit rounded. And the grind lines should be fwd. about 3/8" or so, but you get the idea, I hope. Forgive, please, the drawing quality. Most could do better, I know... Feel free to tune it up, anyone.

http://www.srjknives.com/pics/Subhilt_slot_guard_steps.jpg

No holes drilled yet. I usually drill the hole between guard and sub-hilt after they are in place. Easier to locate the center between them then. Of course, I forget to drill it sometimes and have to do it with a carbide drill after I go ahead and heat treat. Oooooooooo.......that makes me mad! i'll drill teh rear holes after profiling the blade, as a rule.

Also, in answer to your question about space between guard and sub-hilt: The Loveless Big Bear has a space of 13/16", a 7" sub-hilt fighter I made once had a 3/4" space, a 6" fighter pattern I have has a 5/8" space.

Hope that helps. Also, no need to taper that spacer, make the sides parallel, unless you like to taper it slightly form top of handle to bottom. Try to line up the grain, or pattern of the two handle pieces when you cut and assemble. Looks nicer if the grain in the handle material in spacer lines up with that in the material behind the sub-hilt.

NickWheeler
07-26-2003, 03:36 AM
Perfect Steve! Thanks SOOOOOOOO MUCH for the explanation and drawing, that's EXACTLY what I needed!!!!!

Nick

srjknives
07-26-2003, 09:12 AM
A picture, even a bad one, is worth a thousand words.

Be careful to go very easy in finishing up the tang at the "stops" behind the guard as it's easy to get too vigorous there and grind them a way and be left with the hole through the guard showing. That curve on the rear of the "steps" should match whatever file you typically use to shape that rear area of the guard, , say 1/2" or whatever.

I, personally, round the top and bottom of the blade/choil ahead of those steps. I feel it makes it look nice and is easier to fit the guard up against them. It's also easier to cut/file/mill a rounded-end slot in the guard, than a square-ended one, for the blade to go through. Make that fit very tight, top and bottom.

Look at the rounded area/corners on the top and bottom of the choil immediately ahead of the guards, on the three knives on my web site, in the "Double Edge" category, specifically the "5" Dirk, Loveless-style Wilderness and Loveless-style fighter" photo, if you like:
http://www.srjknives.com/
Goto Knives/Gallery first, then to the other two pages.

Those rounded corners continue all the way back to the "steps."

tom mayo
07-27-2003, 12:44 PM
making a fully tapered tang subhilt is one of the most challenging knifemaking tasks out there.


The hardest part for me (after making a number of them) is getting the pieces for the short part of the handle to fit perfect

Against all reason those two gaps never seem to be EXACTLY the same..............like steve said..............good luck.

I usually make the front lugs oversized and grind them down some when I shape the handle, I also began putting a curve in them when I ground the profile, and I make the slot for the subhilt deeper than steves, I found that if I can get it to have a nice snug fit in that slot it helps immensely when I am soldering it on...........I keep telling the badland guys we need to have a subhilt contest..........but I dont think any of them know how to solder!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (ceptin Simonich!!)

fitzo
07-27-2003, 12:53 PM
Hey, Nick,

I have a subhilt fighter made by a guy named Lowell Wills of Lake Forest, IL in the early 80's (anyone remember him?). It is one of the very best examples of precision fit on a highly tapered tang "radius fitted" guard and subhilt I have seen. A marvelous knife for impressing a knifemaker!

I would be happy to send it to you to study for the ideas it generates.

srjknives
07-28-2003, 04:34 PM
Good advice, Tom. Make those front steps larger than shown, that's what I meant about the bad dwg./pic., make them bigger, then grind them down as necessary.

Fitzo: Got a photo?

By the way, no need to dsolder that sub-hilt, just the guard. That is IF you solder at all.

fitzo
07-28-2003, 06:22 PM
This is a really funky foto, but hopefully will give ya an idea. The top knife is the Lowell Wills fighter from the late 70's or 80's. (Would you happen to recognize any influences here, Steve? hehe)
The second is by a guy named Eldon Courtney from Wichita, Kansas.

http://www.fototime.com/0C313DB381B4B21/standard.jpg


Apologies for my poor foto.

tom mayo
08-01-2003, 01:47 AM
personally, I always solder the subhilt, as I dont want any kind of gap there [top or bottom], and as I shape away and try to get it to be nice, I inevitably go a little farther than I thought I would.

http://www.mayoknives.com/images/knives/subhiltcombat.JPG

srjknives
08-01-2003, 02:58 PM
Good point. You and me both re: the gap.

Very nice fighter!