Bolsters & Guards


Well-Known Member
Morning. What high carbon steel (not stainless) do you guys use for making bolsters and guards - particularly guards and where do you buy it? Thanks,



Well-Known Member
Amongst other things 'securing bolsters' is a downfall of mine, I can make them but is there one with a non braze design?

I don't use high carbon for bolsters and guards. I use 1018 which can be found almost anywhere. If I remember correctly, K & G stocks it.
Same here, I use mild steel from tractor supply. The only occasion I can see using high carbon is if I had cutoffs that were going to waste or if I was using Damascus bolsters or accents.

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
Robert, you can hold bolsters on with pins of the same material and then peen the ends of the pins into flairs in the ends of the holes that you made with the next size or two larger bit that you made the holes with. Another way is to use a contrasting pin or even a mosaic pin and put it in a straight, unflaired holes. A good epoxy between the bolster and the tang will also help with the fit.


Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Actually, I'm making a guard right now out of historic RR spike steel. The section of decommissioned track where I found it dated back to the 1870's, but of course there's no real way to date the spike. I've got a previous customer that has a piece of small ore car rail found in a mine in Colorado from a similar date and he wants me to incorporate that into a guard too. I kind of like using these steels that have a story behind them.