Is there a common pin size for Western knife handles/tangs?

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Ericfg

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I'm just starting my first re-handling projects so I need a little help. Regarding common western knives like Henckels, Wusthof, Victorinox etc. that have riveted handles, are there common pin/tang hole sizes on these knives? The first knife I've un-handled, a junk Marks Exaktor used just for practice, has 5/32" pin holes.
Is 5/32" common for these knives? And I'm talking recently made knives; like 1960s and up.
TIA.
 

Ericfg

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those knives tend to have larger diameter pins,
common sizes would be nominal diameters, 5/32", 3/16" etc etc
Yeah, thanks. Most of my riveted handles seem to have 1/4" (or slightly larger) rivet heads so I was guessing the pin diameter might be pretty constant.
 

Taz575

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Most I have seen are around 5/32" for the hole size in the tang for the rivets commonly used. If you are using straight pins, 1/8" pin fits nicely into a #30 drill bit hole. 1/8" pin doesn't fit into 1/8" hole from a 1/8" drill bit typically. #12 drill bit for 3/16" pins typically for a nice fit where you don't have to sand down the pins.
 

Ericfg

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For those playing along at home I just drilled out an older Henckels (60s-70s?) knife's rivets. The rivet head was a strong 3/8"(9.5+mm) and the pin inside was 3/16"(4.8mm). The 3/16" brass rod I got from Ace hardware fit the tang hole like a glove.
 

timos

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check out jantz supply they have a variety of cutlers rivets. Most knives that you mention would be using these. personally I would use corby bolts if you are replacing something.
 

Dave Martell

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Almost all factory made knives will have cutler's rivets holding the scales on. These are two part compression rivets that have very large diameter heads and very tiny diameter shafts, one end female and the other male. I don't care for these things because they require precise measurements to get it all to work. Plus they don't lend themselves to being refinish-able since there's not much meat in the head where they can be easily sanded through.

Because the shaft diameter of the cutler's rivets are so small you'll find the holes drilled in the tangs to be equally sized. This will likely require the rehandler to enlarge the holes to accept a larger size pin/bolt. I enlarge my holes to twice the size of the pinstock I'm using as this gives me plenty of wiggle room for making perfect adjustments in the fit up. The hole gets filled with epoxy and forms a solid mass to support the pin in place.

I mentioned both pinstock and bolts, the latter being Corby bolts which are a much more secure method of attaching scales to a tang. I started off using Corby bolts but switched to pinstock after a couple of years. The reasons for this switch was that Corby's are a pain in the ass to set up and get correct and they lend themselves to being easily ground through to expose the internal holes they have hidden under the heads plus they tend to apply uneven pressure that leads to warping and cracking. The warping/cracking issue could just be from my own experience/techniques used but it showed up enough that I had to re-consider using these bolts. So I made the switch to pinstock which offers little to no sideways security without the helping hand of epoxy. I was initially worried about this issue but I concluded eventually that for a kitchen knife this design will likely hold for longer than the human owner will be alive since the knives aren't used as choppers or do any hard work where side pressure is involved.

Pro tips...

1. To drill out (oversize) tang holes in hardened tangs (like most Japanese knives will have) use a carbide tipped drill bit. Don't bother with solid carbide bits as they are too brittle and shatter easily whereas the carbide tipped version will flex if required. Bonus is that the tipped versions are cheaper!

2. When using Corby bolts buy yourself the drill bits that are made specifically for these things. The hole will be clean cut and the step needed will be perfect.

3. If using pinstock drill the holes in the wood using a slightly (that's just slightly) undersized bit and then follow that with a reamer that is the perfect pinstock size. You may need to do some thinking, measuring, and testing to get this correct but in the end you'll get the cleanest crispest - no glue line - no wood blowout holes you've ever seen. Also, don't be a cheap ass - replace these bits often. ;)
 
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Ericfg

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Wow, Mr. Martell, Thanks so much for going so in-depth with the answer. It's extremely helpful and it also echoes my decision to go with pins. I'm at a standstill at the moment while I wait for some sanding medium to be delivered but I'm looking forward to starting my first, practice re-handle on a junk knife.
 
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