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Thread: Shaping handles:Tool recommendations

  1. #1
    Senior Member Line cooked's Avatar
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    Question Shaping handles:Tool recommendations

    I would like to start doing some western rehandle work for some of my stuff. Any tool recommendations(Hand files, belt sander, etc) would be appreciated. Trying not to break the bank but don't want junk either.

  2. #2
    If you're only going to do a few here and there you could probably do well with a cheap-o Harbor Freight drill press & 1x30 belt sander (with 6" disk - important for flattening the scales), a 4" buffing wheel with arbor (to go in the drill press), some white rouge, sandpaper (coarse & fine), and some drill bits (carbide needed if drilling the tangs) . That'd be the basics unless you want to go tribal and use files and sandpaper only.

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    Senior Member Line cooked's Avatar
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    You rock Dave....Thank you much!!!!

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    One thing that is great for roughing out wood handles is a Nicholson cabinetmakers rasp. Karl Anderson, who had a long career in furniture making and high end piano restoration before getting into knives turned me onto them. They are made in Brazil by hand these day, bloody expensive, but they work like a charm. It is the same type of rasp that the bespoke shoemakers in London use to make lasts, which are the individual "molds" of the customers foot. They cut fairly aggressively, but, for some reason, the finish that they leave seems to be easier to smooth out with sandpaper than the finish left by say a 36-40 grit belt.

  5. #5
    Dave listed a simple powertool setup. Here is a manual tool setup.

    Granite plate (9x12 Woodcraft $42 with shipping) for flattening scales and handle after it is assembled and cured. Spray with adhesives and line it with a abrasives sheet (I prefer cloth backed)

    Vise - number of choices, from a pipe vise that is most suitable for shaping handles, to a typical bench vise. I would buy an old Wilton from Ebay (bullet vise is the best) over any imports. Not even a nanosecond of hesitation.

    Coping saw will be adequate for profiling handle scales before you assemble the handle and shape it. You would need to pick blades that are suitable to cut material you will be using.

    You can drill holes in the scales with a hand drill, but you need to have a steady hand. Drill press (American-made vintage) would be my preference. Also, if you install corby-style bolts, you have to use a countersink drill bit, so a drill press will give you much better control. Besides, a drill press is a power tool EVERYBODY ought to own, especially if you live in a house.

    Hacksaw for cutting off excess pin stock and bolts.

    Round and half-round files will do most shaping. I would get course and medium. I have both #49 and #50 Nicholson rasps and while they work OK, for a fast stock removal, nothing beats coarse or a Bastard (between coarse and Second cut) files.

    Strips of sanding belt (cloth backed strips from larger belts will work best and you can have in longer strips). Buy 6x48 good quality belt in different grits (60, 100, 180) and it will last you a long time. Final sanding with sandpaper. I prefer 3M Emperial to any other brands.

    As you imagine, this will put you in the center of all action, but you should be able to complete a handle with this setup.

    Marko


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

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Line cooked's Avatar
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    As always,vthe inforamtion found here is plentiful and fantastic
    Thank you all

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    I have a belt sander that I've been shaping my handles on, and I live near you.
    Music--Food .:':. Dancing--Eating

  8. #8
    Senior Member Line cooked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnxiousCowboy View Post
    I have a belt sander that I've been shaping my handles on, and I live near you.
    Thanks for the offer....maybe I should pick up a drill press....then we are both half way there.....the only thing I would néed after that is time

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Line cooked View Post
    he only thing I would néed after that is time
    Let me know where to find some of that stuff...
    Music--Food .:':. Dancing--Eating

  10. #10
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Marko, do you mean a drill press like this?
    09/06

    Take a look around at: www.sharpandshinyshop.com

    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

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