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The Folding Knife (& Switchblade) Forum The materials, techniques and the designing of folding knives.

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Old 09-13-2015, 12:15 PM
kologha kologha is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
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Peening pins on a wood handle

Some advice please. I am in the process of repairing an old pruning knife. The original plastic handle was broken when the knife was given to me and I would like to replace the plastic scales with scales made from a hard South African wood. The knife had no bolsters, just the plastic handles with a pin front and rear. The rocking pin was hidden under the plastic. At the moment I am busy thinning two pieces of wood and intend to use the same principle as the knife originally had ie. a hidden rocking pin and a visible pin at either end. My problem is how to peen the two pins against the wood without splitting it. Any help will be much appreciated as I have never attempted anything like this before. Thank you.
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:20 AM
stezann stezann is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sardinia (ITALY)
Posts: 6
First, assure you don't have to peen too much. That's to say have your holes tight and ad just a bit of taper at the rim.
Second, select your pin material among the softer ones (410 stainless or nickel silver/brass) and don't leave too much too peen if you don't want to work harden it before filling the taper
Last, a thousand of light deliberate taps are way better than a few hard hammering.

Pratice on a disposable slab to get a feel for the process and the point of failure
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Old 11-11-2015, 05:30 AM
Ed of all trade Ed of all trade is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 91
Isn't it good to drill the wood just a hair oversize so the wood wont split? Ed
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Old 11-11-2015, 07:55 AM
Andrew Garrett's Avatar
Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nampa, Idaho
Posts: 3,582
The idea is to tighten the metal within the wooden shaft.
Drilling oversized just puts the goal further down the road (read: more hammering).

Ditto the light tapping to peen. I go in a circular motion as I try to expand the pin just under the head. Tap in a circle with 5 or 6 hits, then one dead center-straight down. Repeat until snug (gaps visibly closed under a magnifying glass).

Avoid the 'one more just to be sure' smack. Sure as shootin' that will be the one that splits your wood.

Andy Garrett
Charter Member - Kansas Custom Knifemaker's Association

"Drawing your knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:42 AM
stezann stezann is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sardinia (ITALY)
Posts: 6
Originally Posted by Ed of all trade View Post
Isn't it good to drill the wood just a hair oversize so the wood wont split? Ed
Andre is correct, another bugger in the trade are pins start bending, which tends to occur if the pin has room for bring all the tension on one side which will crack before the taper is filled.
In case of ivory or otherwise fragile materials someone prefer to leave a bit of glue filled clearance around the pin to act as a cushion and to be the main part of the "hourglass wedge"
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:47 AM
Ed of all trade Ed of all trade is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 91
Thanks for the replies I am very much just trying to learn, I had put a new handle on an old kitchen knife and had read that the larger hole was the way to do it and it helped me at the time. Split the first handle. Now I see that I was over peening. Thanks for the lesson. Ed
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:37 AM
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Colonel666 Colonel666 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 45
Cool Anvils

Some pointers about peening that I have come across will help your success also. A flat top to your snipped pin is important before using the peening side of your hammer. It is possible to lightly grind the pin with a bench grinder but be careful that it does not overheat the pin as you grind it close to the grip surface. This method can also flush peen a pin on a bolster with no hammering at all, the friction mushrooms the pin solid and is nearly invisable. A good 20 lb. anvil gets your peening hammer to bounce off the top of the pin solidly. No "bounce" means your pin is starting to bend. Usually I snip the pin as close as possible with any linesman pliers then square off the top of the pin flat with the flat side of my hammer, then use the peening side, then finish the head with a doming wand. Many small taps, sometimes letting the hammer vibrate after contact with pin before lifting hammer off before next swing.
Also, a warm pin peens more easily that a cold pin does.

Last edited by Colonel666; 11-13-2015 at 09:39 AM. Reason: Typing Errors
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