View Full Version : Ballock Knife Question


Nathan Taylor
08-29-2004, 01:20 PM
I was wondering if anyone had a picture or good explaination of how they fit the curved guard to the ricasso. I have a few ideas on how to do it but rather learn from someone elses experience than my own mistakes. I have no way of milling a guard to recieve a flat ricasso, and I think if I curve the ricasso to meet a forged-to-shape guard I might weaken the tang/ricasso area. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Jesse Frank
08-30-2004, 08:15 AM
I wouldn't think it would weaken the tang/ricasso area if you left the tang really wide and left as little as possible for the shoulders.

Fox Creek
09-03-2004, 05:45 PM
There is no reason to suppose that it will weaken the tang to remove metal from the "shoulders" of the ricasso to create the curve. After all, you are not removing metal from the tang. It helps to have a large round of steel (mild steel will do) to form your guard over to a curve that corresponds to the curve of the ricasso. The hard part is inleting it neatly into the handle material. I will rough cut the handle material with a coping saw or fret saw, the very laboriously "spot in" the block down over blade guard assembly . All this of course after the tang is fitted to the handle block and HT'ed and finished . It is slow work.

Chuck Burrows
09-03-2004, 05:57 PM
Here's a picture of a Scottish Ballock knife and you can clearly see the blade was shaped to fit the guard

http://www.wrtcleather.com/1-ckd/dirk/ballock-2.jpg

Nathan Taylor
09-04-2004, 11:38 AM
Thanks Frank, Richard, and Chuck. That was the info I was looking for. Chuck, thanks for the picture. I forget what a wonderful resourse you have posted on your site. Richard and Frank, thank you for lessening my fears of a broken blade at the hilt. I like the knives to look pretty and hold up under pressure. I am going to work the construction like Richard explained it and all should go well. Thanks again.

Fox Creek
09-08-2004, 09:41 PM
Nathan, if I may make a suggestion, plan on forging the tang out in a gradual taper and threading the end of it for a nut to tighten the pommel down. This draws up all the handle compnents tightly and makes this sort of thig work SO much better. :D Another traditional, more archaic method is to peen over the tang into a nice rivet over the pommel, but that is hard to un-do! With the nut you can keep assembling and unassembling to test the fit. Its not hard to thread a tang, just make sure it is not hardened. Normalized tough is just right. I use either 3/16" or 1/4" NF thread cutting dies and just do it by eye. I mean file it up, and try the die, and file some more until the die will start a cut. You actually are threading the four corners of a rectangular tang. 'very traditional approach for hand work actually. You dont need a full depth round thread. A few bucks for a couple of dies and a die stock are a good investment. Like wise a corrsponding tap and tap handle to make your own nut. The only trick is to consult a tap/drill chart to get the correct numbered drill size to drill the hole to tap. Once you can make your own nut, the skies the limit on decorative pommel nuts. I like to make 'em out of brass.

sjaqua
09-09-2004, 05:24 PM
When I made my ballock knife, I first made the handle and set the curve into the the shoulder area. I then used this as a template to draw the curve onto the base of my blade. I was using pink ivory wood for the handle and pattern welded blade. And belive it or not I was more concerned over not wasting wood :)

Between the wood and the blade I used a brass (instead of the more period iron) plate about 1/16" thick. I formed this by pressing it between the handle and blade during assembly. I then buzzed the brass down to match the profile of the handle. While I used epoxy, in period two small nails, driven into the handle lobes to either side of the blade, would have fastened this plate to the wood handle.

I posted this in the gallery way back when, but here it is a again.

http://sjaqua.tripod.com/ballock.jpg