Pin placement ?

Mark Barone

Well-Known Member
This shows both pins parallel to the top edge 1/2 inch down. which make the front pin not centered in relationship to that part of the handle. My initial feeling is I should center that one. Any thoughts? is there a standardFD5A7477-4F9C-47C1-9A6A-5B3A4D2E5BC1.jpeg or just a cosmetic preference?


"The Montana Bladesmith"
That's another issue when it comes to building from "specs"...... and is the difference between knowledge and experience........ Place the pin(s) where it/they "look" correct....... and the positioning will never be questioned.

I'm reminded of/recall several folks who have failed either their JS and MS presentation tests because pins/fasteners did not "look" correct, but had been "centered" in the exact same a CAD drawing/line. One guy who failed because of this exact thing, threw such a hissy fit, swearing at the judges (me), that he was told to collect his knives, and never come back.


Well-Known Member
I would center it (vertically) as well. It won't look right otherwise once the scales get on there.

It really can't be a straight line from the pin at the far right to the left pin since the tang gets thicker to the right. This is the same with most hunting style knives as well.

BossDog & Owner
Staff member
I'm with Ed on this. Place the pins where you get visual balance which is often not on a straight line with each other and often not centered horizontally or vertically. It is pure opinion of course.


Well-Known Member
On this subject - assuming a three pin placement that are equally spaced on a curved handle - I’ve read that The center pin hole is drilled just a bit higher than the opposing pins. Any merit to this logic?


Well-Known Member
I'll agree with having to go with what looks good, and experience (which I don't have enough of yet) has shown me that when rounding/contouring the handles, what looks centered on a flat plane can look really off. If you are going to have a geometrically symmetrical handle square-ish with flat scales, then centering the pins on the drawing pretty much works. Once you get much further away from just beveling the corners and start rounding the handle, this is where things start to look off.


Yeah I agree it’s what looks right. My general rule is the spacing bolster to butt should be even then at each pin location it should be spaced evenly between the spine and belly. Generally that means your pins won’t be on a perfect straight line.


Well-Known Member
Any merit to this logic?
I'd go ahead and draw it out and see what happens. It depends on the profile of each handle. It might work out that they are in a straight line, but probably not. On your drawing, the tang thickness is increasing where the center pin would be, so the distance from the edge to the center will be more, which will drop the center line down a little. Here's where it would be on your sketch.
in fact, if we plot out the center of the tang at each of your 3 points, you actually get:FD5A7477-4F9C-47C1-9A6A-5B3A4D2E5BC1a.jpeg
So what I would probably do if this was the actual profile I was dealing with, would be to lower the back pin down to the center, then put the middle pin in the center of a line drawn between the other 2 pins, which would move it up slightly from where the actual center is.
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John Wilson

Well-Known Member
As far as pin placement goes, in MOST cases, you need to view the handle as a separate piece from the blade. Pins need to look "right" in the handle regardless of blade, guard etc....

One other watch-out is that the first pin and last pin need to be very close to the same distance from the respective end of the finished handle. You have to contour the front of the scales with that first pin location in mind.

As to pins being centered- your eye is what matters, and your eye picks up on visual centers, not absolute centers. What I mean by that is once you contour the handle it will have facets and angles that pick up light and create sight lines which imply visual dimensions that may not coincide with actual distances to physical edges.

If it looks off, it will always stand out in a bad way.