Pin layout on full tang knives
I too have spent way too long planning pin placement!
I've tried several different methods!! But the way I've always
wanted my pins, is so they are placed in a balanced way.
I've had uniformity drilled in my head from my time in the Marines!
Anytime I wanted to try to be a little more artistic
or maybe try something different so that the pins would have a
placement that would be an attempt to convey a message that
I wanted to pass on, for the person that got it, would
have something to discover about a tool that they've held & used many times,
it's very difficult to do, which is an understatement. I know one
I was trying to make work was laying out the pins in the shape of the Big Dipper,
yeah. not too original, so I started looking at other stars that had a specific layout,
I really thought Orin's belt would be a good choice, BUT! It's a lot more to it than
just the 3 stars we can see on good nights far out in the country, with little
light pollution, In Alabama! But when I looked it up, it too was not a good choice.
I looked at several more that I thought might work, but it always ended up having to
use the Thong hole in the pattern, and once I got done with it laid out, with all the stars
included that was supposed to be there, it was a freakin' NIGHTMARE!!
So, I came up with this, if it has bolsters or not I figured that I can use the handles scales
to figure this out, I measure the handle scales,<AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN SHAPED TO THE
WIDTH & LENGTH OF THE HANDLE>, then I measure the width the same way you did,
then I divide by 2 for a 2 pin handle, I rarely ever use 3 pins unless I'm using thong holes for pins.
Once I figure out the length of the handle scales, divide by 2, this will give you a good idea where to
start as that measurement will give you the center point of the handle, great for a single pin placement!
If you like the placement, good, if you don't and want pins, then by dividing by 2 you will find
the center point between the center mark and the end of the scales. This is what I do that's kinda
different if it has 3 pins like with the Thong Holes, I take the number I came up with from dividing
the first number (length of the handles after shaping) and divide it by 2 again, this will give me the
half way point between the end of the scales and center mark, place a mark there, that number should be the same for the
top pin, now measure the length of that number and place a mark at that point, then erase the center mark or cover it,
then stand back and take a look at it.it, if it works, GREAT! If not try adjusting one pin at a time, if uniformity is what you are after,
then either take out the center pin, if you haven't and check it out or remove the top and bottom pin and take a look at it again, I usually do that once I've placed the center mark, give it a look and put it down for a few minutes and do something else and then with a 5-minute break,
for me, it seems like it gives me somewhat of a fresh perspective. If I like it still or if I don't like it, I make small measured adjustments, of equal sizes on both the top and bottom pins, (for a 2 pin handle), and with a single pin,
I tend to go with it, a single pin to me has a classic look to it that is just cool looking, and if I do pein it, and dome it,
it's an even better look, even with pins the size of 1/8", it's just cool looking! One thing I've found about a single pim placement, it mujst be centered!
I know there is nothing revolutionary here, but we are talking about pin placement, and you are RIGHT!
I think most makers fret over the smallest features a knife may have, but that is what defines you as a Knife
Maker! The little things are the most incredible details that, you may think no one will ever see or notice, BUT!
If you are selling a knife to a "Knife Guy", Or "Knife Girl", they will see the added attention to detail and they will
appreciate it! That I assure you, but if it's someone with the attitude of, 'I can get a great knife at Wal-Mart',
then it may be lost on them! But the ones that truly appreciate the little extra attention to detail,
they will see the extra effort, and know you are working at mastering your craft!
This is just my thoughts on the subject, I'm sure they are not the right way or the best way to do it, but it is my way, and it seems to work.
I was curious if Ed or Bruce or some of the others with way more experience than I have, if they have a way of determining how many pins a given knife handle should have, whether it be dependant on the length of the handle, or materials maybe, I know I put a lot of trust in my epoxy, with the Glue Wars, on a while back and Ed's suggestion on using Acra Glass, I've found an Epoxy I feel is as good, if not better than Acra Glass! In fact, the guy who makes this stuff sells it to Space X, to keep some items they attach to their Rockets with Epoxy, as well as some of the items they make from scratch out of Carbon Fiber, this stuff really holds tight, I was impressed by the incredible amount of data they have amassed, including the sheer strengths, and what it takes to break the items epoxied down to, to break off the parent item it was attached to, I don't recall the actual numbers, what I do recall is that they were impressive!!
OK, that was off topic, but it is an important aspect to keeping handles on the knife!
Oh, one more LITTLE detail, it's a heck of a lot MORE AFFORDABLE, than AcraGlass!
Sorry for the off-topic questions there, but this is something I have thought about a lot, and any kind of answer would be appreciated!
BTW, GREAT QUESTION JOHN! I've never considered if the way I decided to place my pins were right or wrong, I just knew they had to be uniformly spaced apart, now you will run into a few problems with handles with an extreme curve or bend to it, but with a little thought, it was easy to figure out the best place to place it, just remember to put your centerline down the middle, no matter where the top of the scales are, if there is a curve in the handle the center line must flow with the curve, if you keep it on the line and give it time to sink in, I'm sure you'll see what mean! Good Luck!