Saturday, December 13, 2008

Khukri updates

The khukri handle modification had some progress over the last week.

I tried to silver-solder the guard on but with no success. Its difficult to get the heat up and even without overheating the flux. I tried several times with no success. If I had a induction heater it might work. So instead I used plumbers solder, which melts at half the temperature. That worked well, and seems to be strong. Then I cleaned up the blade and soaked it in a baking soda solution for 15 minutes to neutralize any residual flux and oxides.

While getting the tang to fit the handle I mulled over the methods I could use to sand and shape it. I don't have much in the way of power sanding tools, at least not in terms of something aggressive. The official knife-makers tool is a stationary belt sander with a 1" or so belt. These take up room and aren't cheap, and most importantly I don't have one. I did however have a few variety packs of aluminum oxide sanding sheets. And some PVC pipe scraps...hmmm.

The Edison bulb buzzed into incandescence: I could make a drum sander!

I cut a length of 1.5" PVC that was two endcaps longer than the sanding sheets. I wrapped a sheet around and marked it for the circumference, then cut it to size with scissors. I then used the sheet to knock the shine off the pipe and give some tooth for the glue to bite. I first thought of using wood glue/gorilla glue/3M 77 spray adhesive..aha! Sprayed both the pipe and the sheet, let them get tacky, and they went together well. Guess I got onto kind of a kick because I made another pipe in 60 grit and two more in 100 grit.

The endcaps where chucked int the lathe and center drilled for 1/4" bolts. I can use the same endcaps for each drum! I wll probably use a peice of wire or a bolt to secure it. I am thinking of either making a "live" handle on the far side and chucking the whole assembly in my power drill, or a mount and chucking it in my drill press.

Once the tang fit the handle inserted the two fiber spaces I was planning on using (felt), clamped it all up, and drilled throuhg the handle and tang. I had a 1/4" steel to use for the pin but steel sands like crap. I needed to use brass. All I have though is 1/2" brass rod, so I chucked it up and turned it to 1/4", chamfering the ends to make it easy to put in.

Then I used a file to make "bites" in the tang, and wrapped the tang in some kevlar fiber to help tighten the tang/handle fit. I then mixed up some 5-minute epoxy, coating the tang, filling the handle, and saturating the felt/fiber washers with it. I clamped again and drove the brass pin through. I left it inside overnight because its a bit cold out for the expoy to cure right.

See you next time, same bat time, same bat channel...

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