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Guard on Hidden Tang (lots of pics)Finished knife photo added

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Doug Campbell:
:thumbsup:    :thumbsup:

I love this place!! Keep up the good work Lin we appreciate you sharing you skills with us wanna be's. Skippy

Jack Guard:
Way Cool Thread.  Love this kind of thread.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Lin Rhea:
OK I'm back from work. I'll do a little more now.

The next step is to start shaping the guard into something that looks familiar. I like to start the finger curve on the backside of the guard, but using the 2 inch wheel on my grinder. Any or all of this can be done by filing or by another means, by the way. I use my grinder because it's faster and I'm used to it. You'll see that my hands are very close to the belt and yes sometimes I get bit a little. Also the guard will get hot fast, so have a bucket of water handy.

At this point the finger curve has a good start and the guard is still kind of blocky looking.

So now I want to start profiling the guard so I wont have to do so much after the handle material is on the knife. Some handle material is more sensitive to heat and too much shaping of the guard while the handle material is on could damage it. Now, I'm just profiling it a little.

I take a little time now to get the profile close to final shape allowing some room for final finishing with the handle material on. When I am happy that I have done all I can before installing the handle material, I finish the front of the guard to my final grit or finish type. The sides are still pretty rough, maybe 60 or 120 grit. At this point it looks like a guard.

Anybody need a break? I do. I'll check back in a few. Lin

Lin Rhea:
OK here is where fitting a guard can get frustrating, but is really not that hard if you just set a standard. It needs to be tight, but not so tight that you damage the guard trying to press it on.

Here is the guard slid onto the tang and wont go any farther without some fine tuning.

I now will go to my guard clamp and try pressing it a little. Here is a picture of the clamp putting some pressure on it.

I'm just seeing what the guard will do, not applying too much pressure. This does something to the guard that tells me where to remove a little material. Notice the small dents in the rim of the slot, in this case, near the top and bottom. Look close.

I can take a small amount of material directly from these contact points and the guard will just keep moving on up. I follow this procedure until I have the guard on and there is no slack, but making full contact with the shoulders that I have filed in the blade's ricasso. I use 1/8 inch round files or some kind of needle files as I see the need.

I have to use magnifying glasses to see the contact points and work on these till I get it right. I mentioned standards. Dont settle for less than a good fit. The knife looks so much better when the blade come out of the guard like it grew there. This will be the focal point of the knife, the guard area.

OK, the fit is now good and we are ready to permanently install the guard. I like to use JB Weld to seal the guard/blade joint.

I need to make this clear. I dont rely on JB Weld to hold the guard secure. It's good stuff, for sure, but the press fit is what is the real strength of this joint. The JBW is like a third hand during the rest of the building process and ultimately will have the joint sealed from Water, blood, etc. The JBW will hold the proper fit that you've worked hard to get and allow you to concentrate on fitting the handle.

OK back to the guard.

The guard is ready to install. I clean the guard and the blade in the joint areas. I use acetone on a swab.

Then I mix enough JBW to seal the guard and apply it to the tang and shoulder areas.

The guard is on and clamped tight. The JBW should be squishing out all sides.

Then I clean off the excess of JBW with WD-40 on cotton swabs, taking time to get the whole area clean. The oil wont hurt the blade or guard so I use quite a bit just short of flooding it. If the fit is good, just let it sit overnight and your ready for your handle. The fit should look something like this.

I will try to get some pictures of the knife when I get finished in a couple of days. I hope this will help those of you who have never done this before and get an idea of the simple tools you need to do this job. Lin


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