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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 04-10-2018, 02:39 PM
wulff wulff is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ireland
Posts: 6
My tang is really thin, what can I do?

Hi

About 6 months ago I decided that 10 years of "I-really-want-to-make-knives" was enough inaction and I decided to take the plunge.

I have not taken the plunge of building / investing in a forge (yet). I am finally coming up to an introductory blacksmithing 1-to-1 with a local smith before I start my forging adventure.

So far I have been buying blank blades from various suppliers and making the handles myself and its been great. For my birthday, I got a beautiful damascus blade made by a blacksmith from my home country. The problem is, the tang is really really thin. In places it is OK, but in others it is 1 milimeter thin.

Short of sending the blade back (which I don't want to do - it was a gift, I value it and it will take forever to have it replaced, provided that the smith who made it will even agree to replace), is there anything I can do to sure the tang doesn't bend or break?

I don't have a forge or a welding setup available to me (yet). The tang is about 10 inches long, the first 2 inches are OK but the rest are in varying width. I can bend it back and forth using a little force. The bend doesn't stick, it snaps back into position but I can bend it by hand if I try.

I considered cutting out a piece of steel the same shape and size of the tang and epoxying them together. would that work?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2018, 06:28 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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More information would be helpful. Such as what country are you in? It wouldn't be very useful to tell you to run down to Home Depot and buy X if you don't have that store. Update your profile with that information.

What type of knife is that? No ordinary knife has a 10" tang, 5" is about as long as you would normally see. And pardon me for saying so but the damascus may be attractive but anyone who would make a 10" paper thin tang like that isn't a very accomplished knife maker. Even so, given the chance and a bit more info I think we can save your knife although you may have to do a little work.

On the other hand, if you actually meant 10cm then that's not so bad. Details matter.

No, epoxy isn't the answer in this case ...


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  #3  
Old 04-11-2018, 03:29 AM
wulff wulff is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ireland
Posts: 6
Unit conversion confusion

Sorry.. I got the conversion of units mixed up - my bad.

I was able to find where the blade was bought and get exact measurements (rather than relying on my head doing faulty unit conversion)

A: Length total 9,88 inch
B: Length blade 4,45 inch (so 5.43 inch tang)
C: Height blade 1,02 inch
D: Thickness blade 0,16 inch
Weight 3,10 oz

I am located in Ireland but the blade came from Denmark.
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  #4  
Old 04-11-2018, 08:37 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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That helps. Now, let's look at options for fixing this thing, I see two possibilities.

The tang is too thin, nothing you can really do about that. But, on a knife that small it won't matter much if you use a strong handle material and bolt it together (not pins). If you use something like Micarta for the handle the handle slabs will be strong enough and stiff enough to reinforce the weak tang. You will need to use bolts to secure the handle, Loveless bolts are the usual item for this. They basically consist of a long screw with two round nuts, one nut on each side of the handle and the screw pulls the handle down tight. Very strong. Pins are simpler but they won't hold the handle together if the tang tries to flex. You need to find a knife supply place in your area or order from the USA to get these parts. Or, once you look them up on the internet and see how they work you can probably make something similar yourself.

The second way would be to cut the tang down and make a stub tang handle. All that means is your tang would be about 5cm long and narrow. You would need to make a ferrule for it, in this case that's nothing but a flat piece of metal with a slot in it that will fit over the tang. The handle would be one solid piece of material (probably wood). You put a hole in one end of the handle, the tang goes in the hole, and then a single pin can be used to secure the handle. You can read a more complete description of the process at http://www.rayrogers.com/stubtang.htm

Since the blade came from Denmark it may be intended as a puuko style knife. Most of them are made in the stubtang style. That may be why the maker let the tang get so thin ...


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Old 04-11-2018, 02:30 PM
wulff wulff is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ireland
Posts: 6
Thanks for your advice.

I have never used the loveless bolts. I presume something like these would do the job? http://brisa.fi/rivets-bolts-rings/loveless.html

If you don't mind me asking a bit about this approach - the bolts, once secured can I saw the tips off and grind them down so they fit smoothly with the handle? or will I have to live some of the bolt sticking out.

The stub tang is very interesting. I read your description, if you don't mind I would like to ask for some clarification.

You mention a ferrule, I am familiar with the concept and have done that a few times, however in your description (if I read it right, apologies if I misunderstand) you mention only to drill into the block for the handle material but not all the way through - just to make sure, where would you place the ferrule? If it is to fit on the tang but the tang shouldn't go all the way through then I presume in front of the handle material?

Sorry if I am confusing here..

Thanks in advance, and thanks for the help so far.
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Old 04-13-2018, 03:17 AM
wulff wulff is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ireland
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Hi

Thanks for your reply. This is my third time leaving a reply but it doens't get through somehow - this time I will try without the link to the loveless bolts I was going to ask you if were appropriate - it may be whats triggering it - the site I buy most stuff from has two types of loveless bolts to choose from so I will order a set of each.

Thanks for the stub tang description, I really like that approach. I want to make sure I read your description right so forgive me if this I misunderstood but one point of clarification.

You mention I would have to make a ferrule - that fine I think I can do that, but the description you linked to doesn't seem to mention a ferrule at all. Normally I would put a ferrule at the back of the handle but since the description indicates (if I read it right) that I should not drill all the way through the handle block and the the tang stick out the end, I presume you mean the ferrule should go between the guard and the handle?

Thanks in advance
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  #7  
Old 04-13-2018, 08:28 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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If you drill all the way through the handle and then secure the end of the tang with a cap of metal on the end of the handle then you have made a style of knife we call a stick tang or through tang knife. That metal cap would then be called a butt cap or pommel.

A ferrule - in my description - is the same thing as a guard but without the quillon (the guard piece that hangs down). If you prefer to use a guard that will work just as well. The tang passes through the ferrule or guard and penetrates the wood handle only about 5cm so it is very short. A single pin - using the technique I described in that link - passing through the handle and the tang side to side will create a very strong handle. Be sure to fill the handle with a good epoxy, put in the tang and the pin, wipe off the excess glue and let it set. Doing the finish sanding and polishing on the handle will clean off any remaining glue ...


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  #8  
Old 04-13-2018, 12:03 PM
wulff wulff is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ireland
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Thanks, appreciate the guidance.

Just out of curiosity (and because I really like the way they look) could I use the loveless for the stub tang? I imagine it may not work as well but I thought I would ask.

Thanks again
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  #9  
Old 04-13-2018, 02:32 PM
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Not really. They key to making the single pin stub tang work well is driving the pin through against the right amount of resistance as explained in that link I gave you. You can't do that with a threaded screw....


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  #10  
Old 04-13-2018, 02:45 PM
wulff wulff is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
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yea i thought as much.

thanks for all your advice
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