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Thread: Adding bolster to western handle

  1. #1
    Senior Member peterm's Avatar
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    Adding bolster to western handle

    Hi all,

    I've done several rehandles in the past, but they've always either already had a bolster, or else they were a stick tang that were easy to slide a slotted bolster over. But now it's summer and I have a bit of free time, so the time has come where I've got a knife that I'd like to put a bolster on where there is none already.

    I thought it would be neat to try putting on a bolster rather than just tapering the wood at the end of the handle to a bolster shape, purely for aesthetic reasons. But hopefully I am not getting myself into something that will end up a mess! I have no idea where to begin, so I was hoping some of you with a bit more experience can help me get started!

    Peter

  2. #2
    Hi Peter, I'll chime in after I try it myself.

    I'll be with you waiting for responses from the experienced.

  3. #3
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    Over on Blade Forums, John M. Jones (JMJones of our forum) has a WIP thread. This link is to the part where he works on the handle, and makes the bolsters:

    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...91#post8794991

  4. #4
    Senior Member peterm's Avatar
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    That's helpful, thanks for pointing it out!
    Is it normal for the pins to go all the way through the bolster? I'm surprised that you can't see them afterwards, even if they are the same material as the bolster. Is there a trick for getting them not to show after final sanding?

  5. #5

    ecchef's Avatar
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    Yes, there is. It's what we used to call an 'interference fit'.
    Basically, the hole is just a teeny bit smaller than the pin. Get the pin (tapered on the lead end) really cold, get the bolster hot then just press it in. I know...this sounds way easier than it is, what with epoxies and solder and such, and the tolerances have to be on the money. But it damn sure works; it's nearly invisible when done right.
    Whichever method you use, good luck with it. And don't forget the pics!
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  6. #6
    Yeah, it really surprised me too Peter. You can faintly see the one's I did if you polish the bolster to almost mirror polish...so I took it back down to a fine scratch pattern to get rid of them. That's probably as much about my craftsmanship (first peened boslters I ever done) than anything.

  7. #7
    Senior Member peterm's Avatar
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    That is really clever. I will have to give it a try! Beats the alternative of grinding some glue grooves and hoping the glue holds the bolsters in place....

  8. #8


    Bill Burke's Avatar
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    Are you putting the handle on yourself or just modifying the current handle. The pins don't need to be an interference fit but the fit has to be good. I use a step hole and peen the pin so that it swells and fills the step then grind and polish. everything has to be cleen to get the pin to disapear into the bolster.

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  10. #10
    Fantastic thread.


    "If there’s something worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” - An US saying.

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