Christmas Gifts                     2014

Here you can see the rivets are in place but I didn't want to tighten them too much in fear of cracking the wood. While I was putting epoxy on the scales, I also put some on the rivets and threads as well. This should help them from coming loose over time.



Here is where most of my time was spent, sanding and shaping. This is also the place to use your creative side because you can do almost anything you'd like. I used my belt sander for most of the roughing along with a file and Dremel for the shaping. Notice my sanding block in the background, that worked well for many areas as it's made from soft rubber material that has some give to it. Note the plastic soft jaws to prevent scratches.



I started with 180 grit paper and worked down to 600 for every surface except the blade face (where it's clamped). If you look close, you can see the stainless and brass strips between the scales and bolster. If you don't like a polished metal surface then you could stop sanding once you've reached the desired look. I choose to buff mine and I used my Dremel for that task.

It's funny, I've bought a couple of Dremels over the years and they all came with a few accessories. One item I didn't think I'd ever use was the small buffing wheels but they came in handy for this project.



While choosing the blade that I wanted, the website will suggest a few items that you might want or need. This was the sheath that Jantz Supply listed so I bought two of them because it would fit both of my blades. This sheath came with instructions which was nice but Jantz has a FYI section for rookies like me.

A few things need to be done here with the first being, attaching one of the snaps. The one that you see on the sheath was already in place but you need to attach the mating piece. The reason is so it will fit your knife.



Once you mark and punch the spot for your hole, you'll need to attach the two piece fitting. They sell a tool for doing this called a setting tool, but when I was buying my components I decided not to purchase it because I wasn't going to be making knives for a living and thought I could come up with a different way (call me cheap).

I looked at the one already attached and noticed that it was flared or rounded over. Now that I know what needs to be done, I have to come up with a tool of my own. Notice the small flathead screw below, that would be my setting tool.



I thought of this area to be flared like a piece of tubing and treated like one. The whole idea here is to bend or mushroom this area over its mating piece. First I measured the depth from the top of the tube (for the lack of a better term) to the bottom. I then cut a flathead screw (so it wouldn't bottom out against the outer surface) and placed the outer part of the snap on a soft rag. By using a punch and hammer I slowly worked the tubing into a flare.



After pulling and snapping it a few times, this worked out good and I saved a few dollars in the process. The next step was to soak the sheath in hot water for a minute and then form the leather around my knife. This makes it a custom fit as no two knives are the same.

Once you take the sheath out of the water, you insert the knife all the way inside it and start forming the leather around it. This process was very easy and didn't take long. When you have your desired shape, you let the leather dry over night and it keeps the shape.



The next day it was time to apply some oil to help preserve it and color it. They recommend neatsfoot oil, which i've used on baseball gloves and other leather items over the years. I used a brush and rag for applying it and that worked out good.



I used five or six coats on the top and bottom but a few more coats on the sides. I also found out that some areas ended up darker than others while applying the oil. By using the brush I was able to concentrate on the lighter areas so everything blended. This was a trial and error process but it worked out.



Here is the finished knife. I used some buffing compound that was made for different metals including brass and wood.



The Dremel worked really well here compared to my larger bench mounted grinder/buffer. The Dremel was easy to control and went where I wanted it which is key.



You can shape your bolsters any way you'd like and for me I rounded them over but not to a point. This makes it feel good in your hand.



Here you can see the stainless and brass strips. And after seeing how it came out, I will do the next one with an even thickness of material or double-up the stainless so it's more pronounced because I think it would look better if they were the same thickness.



One more thing I didn't like about this project was the sheath. The quality of the leather isn't the problem, it's the type of sheath the website recommended. With the strap coming in from the side and then overlapping the handle, it doesn't hold the knife well. When marking out the snap placement I made sure it was tight and compensated for stretch in the leather. I'm sure this helped but the knife can still be pulled out even with it snapped.

What I'm going to do is buy one that has the strap that goes around the handle that's placed midway in the belt loop area. That should keep the knife right where you want until you're ready to remove it. Other than these minor complaints, I'm happy with how it came out and I'm looking forward to doing the other one.


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