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Thread: Metal spacers on WA handles

  1. #1
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    Metal spacers on WA handles

    Hello KKF professionals

    Another newbie question here.
    While practicing in making WA handles I tried to use metal spacers but failed so far.

    At first I've tried the simplest method: glueing together metal and wood with epoxy. Worked pretty badly: I could tear them apart by hands pretty easily (when I epoxied only wood pieces I couldn't tear them apart). Second attempt involved kydex in between metal and wood, but that's not what I really want.

    What method works for you?
    One idea is to drill bigger hole in wood and metal and insert tube inside to enforce construction, but I'm not sure it would help. And it wont work if I wanted to use metal on the end cap of handle.

    Also I find it hard to make metal spacer flat after cutting it from a big plate with hacksaw. Any ideas how to do it properly?


    All the best,
    Anton

  2. #2
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    Hi Anton, Epoxy should work just fine. Did you sand (roughen up) the surface of the metal spacers befor glueing? Once you have the handle mounted the tang will make the construction much more sturdy.
    "If you are flamable and have legs you are never blocking a fire exit."

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    I did sanded metal part with ~100 grit sandpaper but it doesn't helped. Might try other epoxy…
    I do understand that once inserted tang would make construction more sturdy, but I'm afraid I would break it while shaping handle with disk sander. Anyway, gonna make 2 more tests with different metal pieces and different wood.

    Thanks for the input

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    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    What about thin fiber spacers. You can get them in black, and they're almost invisible. The fiber really soaks up the epoxy.
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    knyfeknerd's Avatar
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    Try a different epoxy and take it slow while sanding. Don't let the metal get too hot, or it melts the epoxy and you lose your bond. Patience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NO ChoP! View Post
    What about thin fiber spacers. You can get them in black, and they're almost invisible. The fiber really soaks up the epoxy.
    yep, that's an option I will try if everything else fails

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    Quote Originally Posted by knyfeknerd View Post
    Try a different epoxy and take it slow while sanding. Don't let the metal get too hot, or it melts the epoxy and you lose your bond. Patience.
    Thanks Chris!
    I've ordered some epoxy from US but it might take another year or two to ship here (if I'm lucky). Btw my experience with epoxy is limited to the one I'm using right now. And on the tubes it says that epoxy would be most strong if put into oven for 5-7 hours under 60-70˚C (140-160 F). Is it the same for all epoxies?

  8. #8
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    As already mentioned, roughing the gluing surface and cleaning it very well with acetone or something like that is essential. but any bonds between metal and wood are much weaker than between wood and wood. I tried about a dozen epoxies and the differences are marginal. These handles drove me nuts until I thought about using a dowel for them - I am drilling into the pieces, including the metal spacer, to 1/2" diameter and then insert a 1/2" soft wood dowel that connects the pieces, with all the spacers just sliding over the dowel. That way the handle gets additional strength from the inside and when you drill it out for the tang, there will still some wood be left inside that strengthens it. More work but handles are much less liely to break at the gluing points.

    Stefan

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    …one thing I truly appreciate on KKF is how people are open in sharing their experience. For some of you those knowledge could costs hours or days of hard work, and now I'm getting them for free. Fantastic

    Thanks Stefan!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by apicius9 View Post
    As already mentioned, roughing the gluing surface and cleaning it very well with acetone or something like that is essential. but any bonds between metal and wood are much weaker than between wood and wood. I tried about a dozen epoxies and the differences are marginal. These handles drove me nuts until I thought about using a dowel for them - I am drilling into the pieces, including the metal spacer, to 1/2" diameter and then insert a 1/2" soft wood dowel that connects the pieces, with all the spacers just sliding over the dowel. That way the handle gets additional strength from the inside and when you drill it out for the tang, there will still some wood be left inside that strengthens it. More work but handles are much less liely to break at the gluing points.

    Stefan
    +1 I do the same thing. The dowel makes a huge difference. It also has the added benefit of letting you have more control over the handle weight when using heavy/dense exotic materials.

    Another trick that I think helps (but may be overkill) is to pre-glue the end grain of the wood pieces you are joining against the metal. Essentially, take a little bit of any good wood glue and coat your end grain well. Let that glue dry....lightly sand to make sure you're level.....then proceed with the rest of the glue up and epoxy process.
    This may or may not help the joint at initial assembly. (In theory, it keeps the end grain from sucking up glue like straws so the glue joint between wood and metal will be stronger...but not sure with epoxy). What it does do for sure is help prevent movement (expansion/contraction) issues on the finished handle.

    The idea is stolen from old cabinet maker tricks for joining wood pieces with opposite grain...end grain/cross grain etc. The pre-glue helps stabilize the area so that when the woods move in different directions as they expand or contract...the movements are reduced and the joint becomes less likely to pull apart. Here, since the metal and wood in the handle joint are going to respond to temperature and humidity very differently, which could cause ridges in the future, the pre-glue is a safety measure to help.

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