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Handles and fittings, the low tech way.

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A few more tries, including filing the shoulders a bit to get the fit closer, and we end up here.
It is a snug fit to get here, can't push it on with my fingers, it still needs to be tapped into place with the slotted stick.

Checking for square. I check for square from the side as well as the top.
So far so good, but this sure is an ugly guard!


Let's do something about that.
I have an idea what I want it to look like, so I make a cardboard cut out the shape I want.....notched so it fits over the blade and spine/ricasso. I scribe(and here I also used felt pen so it's easier to see in the photo) around the shape, and then repeat all the way around.

Take the guard off, back in the vice(padded with leather) and break out the hacksaw.

And files. It goes much faster if you file the one side to your line (see pic below) and then the other side to match......and finally bring the center down to meet the bevels.

Another filing tip. A file is meant to cut on the push stroke, and a lot of guys will tell you to only file that way. That's good advice, but if you lift the file at the end of each stroke it will clog up and all the grit in the teeth will scratch deep grooves in the piece you are working on.
Instead reduce the pressure, but keep the file in contact with the work and pull it back towards you for the next cut. This keeps the teeth much cleaner and you'll get a lot more cutting done than if you have to stop and clean the teeth with a brush every three strokes. And you'll have a lot fewer nasty gouges to try and smooth out later.


Filed to the lines in profile.......drift it back on and check for center and balance.
Looking a bit better.


This one is going to be s shaped a bit, so after making adjustments to the profile to get it lined up just right, I take it off again and put it back in the vice. Padded on the inside of the curve with a hardwood or brass block......outside with leather. I do this shaping cold. If I needed to make a more drastic curve, I'd probably just forge the thing to shape instead of doing all that filing. It takes a fair bit of force to curve the guard, I am using a 12 inch crescent wrench for leverage......note the copper shim(penny) on the underside of the wrench jaw. This keeps the sharp jaw from biting an unsightly deep notch in the guard.

Checking to make sure things still fit.

Take guard back off and make any further adjustments.......then I file the edges and contours until there are no uncomfortable spots that contact my hand. I never took any pics of the contouring, but it was pretty simple.....just filing away anything that shouldn't be there and smoothing the shape.

Tap it back on.......not too bad.

Nice and comfortable......

Time to move on to the spacer and handle......we will return to the guard later to spiffy it up.
That's all for tonight......soon we'll be cutting mammoth ivory   :cool:

Darcy   :campfire:

Great tutorial Darcy, this is going to help me out a lot!  
Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Ray Hammond:
very nice tutorial, Darcy. Watching with interest.


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