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Thread: Are pins really needed?

  1. #1

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    Are pins really needed?

    So I know some makers make knives with and without pins in the handles, and I know what their purpose used to be, and they still do help keep handles aligned in extreme situations.

    But with the crazy several-ton epoxies of the 21st century, are they really needed, or are they mostly decorative? Does making a pinless handle require some kind of extra care, strategy, and effort?

    I'm getting the feeling it's like a differential heat treat, where 1% of people can tell there's some difference, but for 99%, it's just a touch of class and visual appeal. I personally don't like knives to have plain old handles, but I just got curious.

  2. #2
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndoughy View Post
    So I know some makers make knives with and without pins in the handles, and I know what their purpose used to be, and they still do help keep handles aligned in extreme situations.

    But with the crazy several-ton epoxies of the 21st century, are they really needed, or are they mostly decorative? Does making a pinless handle require some kind of extra care, strategy, and effort?

    I'm getting the feeling it's like a differential heat treat, where 1% of people can tell there's some difference, but for 99%, it's just a touch of class and visual appeal. I personally don't like knives to have plain old handles, but I just got curious.
    Even if you don't see external pins, it doesn't mean there are no internal. Epoxy bond is weakened by heat, and during handle shaping, some heat is generated and transferred to the metal tang.
    For me pins (internal or external or corby bolts) are peace of mind. I would definitely use them on the western handles.


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  3. #3


    Bill Burke's Avatar
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    pins, bolts or some kind of mechanicle lock is IMO absolutly necessary on full tang knives. hidden tang knives if assembled correctly do not need them.

  4. #4
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Along the same train of thought, do you guys feel that corbys are the best way to go? That's what I'm using, but man are they pricey (around here) compared to the others.
    09/06

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  5. #5

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    yep bill nailed it
    i like the pin in a WA handle only for its ade in me getting fitup and preepoxy handle ready for fitting (the pin snugs all the parts together due to the way i do my fit up)

    on a full tang the pins are for shear loads and the epoxy is little more then a moisture guard

  6. #6

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    What are corbys costing up there? They run about 2 USD ea here, I have used straight pins instead of a rivet before and have not any issues with the handle. The purpose of the pins as I understood it was to prevent the scale from sheering off, the epoxy shoud be able to withstand the pulling force.

  7. #7
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    I've only seen them for $5 and up a piece!!!
    I'll likely end up ordering from Jantz in the future. I bought the ones I need for now at the inflated price, but only because I needed them. From now on, online is the way to go!
    Straight pins are another option, but maybe only for a parer/small petty for me.
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  8. #8

    ecchef's Avatar
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    I've had scales warp so badly that they broke the epoxy bond. If it weren't for the pins, they probably would have sheard right off. I'm discovering that a lot of handles that were perfect before are exhibiting some strange behavior in this climate. Particularly the 'inkline' stuff.
    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

  9. #9

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    I have had problems with inkline too. Fantastic looking, but for me prone to shrinking and warping.

  10. #10

    RRLOVER's Avatar
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    My first attempt at a rehandle was my mizuno cleaver.I did not use any pins,rookie mistake.The handle is still as nice as they day I finished it.I think the quality piece of Koa and good epoxy helped,and me rarely using it

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