Guard Hole

Mark Barone

Well-Known Member
Ever since I made the Bowie last KITH I wanted to make another one but had a difficulty time making the guard hole. I drilled a few holes and spent 10 days filing a crooked slot. Any power tool ideas? I have a dremel but the bits I tried didn’t even make a dent. Amd when does the KITH talk begin to happen again?
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
The method I used was this : Mark out your dimensions of the slot . I used dykem marking fluid. Next , I drilled holes in the corners of the slot ( staying inside the marks). Then I sawed out the slot using a jewelry saw and blades. Finally, using jewelry files and a great degree of patience file the slot to fit your tang.
 

tkroenlein

Well-Known Member
A thicker tang is easier cuz you can get a pretty good size file in it. I'd still start by drilling the holes, hog with a rotary burr in a dremel, final fit with a file. Until you get a mill, a file will give the best results. And maybe better than a mill anyway. A couple good safe edge pillar files should make short work of it.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
It just takes time, patience and practice.....and a file.

A mill isn't the quick easy answer some might think. Sure a mill can remove the bulk of the material pretty easily and quickly. But final fit up is still done with a file.

Hand work is the key to next level knives, whether its guard fitting or any other aspect.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I totally agree with John. No machine will make the fit up any easier. The key is being careful and deliberate.... from drilling the initial holes, to the final file stroke. If using a mill to "setup" a guard slot, I mill the back side with a 1/4" or 5/16" mill to within about .050" or so of the front, then flip the guard over and mill the front side out with a 1/8" (or a mill that is smaller than the tang width, but yet large enough to admit the file I use.) Doing it that way means I only have to work on that .050" of material to achieve the fit I want, but even that can be frustrating at times. Since they are difficult to find, I have several file that I have surface ground down to 1/8" or less thick....for specific use on guards.

It's a pay for video, but we have a full how to fit seamless guards video over on KMT (Knife Maker Training)

One of the reasons that I like distal tapers on blades, especially hidden tangs, is because the tapers make guard fitting better and easier than trying to do it on a straight/flat tang. The hole in my guards is also a tapered hole....larger at the rear of the guard, and smaller at the front. This way, the only material that I have to deform for a seamless fit are a few thousandths at the front of the guard..... and with the tang being tapered, the guard fits tighter and tighter as it moves forward (towards the blade).
 
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Gilbert M

Active Member
If your material isn't to hard (mild steel is fine) you can use a jewlers saw ,drill 2 holes scribe a couple lines and cut. I have a mill but sometimes still have to use a saw with kitchen bolsters because they're to thin to mill. It does take some practice the blades are delicate.
 

opaul

Well-Known Member
I haven't seen anyone recommend hot fitting a guard. Is there anyone that does that? This shouldn't be a problem with a blade that hasn't been heat treated. Even if it has I suspect securing it in a vise with wet leather or rags would prevent the blade from getting to hot. Just my thoughts? I'm talking about mild steel.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
One thing that may help....Layout both sides of where you want your slot so you can see if you are getting an angle you don't want. Another thing is sometimes having a file that only cuts on two sides is helpful. I have a couple that I have ground off the edges so I only have one plane to focus on. No accidentally gouging the adjacent wall...

do any of you solder your guard to the tang?
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I haven't seen anyone recommend hot fitting a guard. Is there anyone that does that? This shouldn't be a problem with a blade that hasn't been heat treated. Even if it has I suspect securing it in a vise with wet leather or rags would prevent the blade from getting to hot. Just my thoughts? I'm talking about mild steel.

My reason for not doing that is the "clean up" required afterwards.....next to impossible to accomplish the level of clean up required to make it look even remotely decent.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
do any of you solder your guard to the tang?

Personally, I've not used solder in literally decades. Even if a person uses solder, most think of it incorrectly....that being that they seek to fill gaps, and that it gives an excuse not to create a "seamless" fit in the first place. Solder's original intent on knife guards was nothing more than a moisture seal, to prevent liquid from getting under the guard, and to the interior of the handle material, were it could rot the handle from the the inside out. With today's adhesives, that seal from the inside when installing a handle, solder for most has become a thing of the past.

The truth of the matter is this: If you are using solder to fill gaps or make a guard "grip" a tang....then your guard fits are too sloppy/not tight enough.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
I tried a new way to fit guards on small tangs. It does require a mill though. First thing i do is finish the front of the guard off. After that I mark out where the hole is going to be on the back of the guard. Then I take the correct size BALL MILL and mill the slot just so the tip of the BALL MILL starts to poke through and then I finish slot traditionally using needle files.
 
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