Today I worked on getting the shibuichi handle scales installed. Above, I’ve cut the two scales out from the shibuichi sheet. You can still see the paper pattern rubber-cemented onto one of the scales.
Above, I’m temporarily super gluing one of the scales to the knife handle so I can use the holes already drilled in the knife handle to guide the drill bit for drilling the matching pin holes in the shibuichi. The super glue will help keep the shibuichi scale from moving during drilling.
Here I’m using a number 46 drill bit to drill a pin hole for my 12 gauge (.080 inch diameter) Argentium™ silver wire pins. I have a sacrificial piece of 12 gauge copper wire to temporarily install in the hole after I drill it. This will also help keep the shibuichi from moving during drilling the second pin hole. Do you notice how much trouble I’m taking to make sure all the pin holes in the three parts line up?
And here I am drilling the second hole with the temporary pin in place. Note that I have the blade edges and the sharp tip covered in duct tape, just in case. SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY! The drill press could easily grab during drilling, causing the knife to spin very fast – a tragedy if your fingers are not protected! I’ll repeat this operation for the other shibuichi handle scale.
Above, notice how the ends of the scales on the left don’t match. I temporarily super glued the two scales together and installed temporary pins so I could use my disk sander to trim the ends flush. I’m doing this now because it will be difficult to adjust those areas later when the scales are installed permanently. I’m not worrying yet about the sides, I can trim those after final installation.
I trimmed up the other end with my NSK micromotor grinder, carbide burrs and a round file (shown above). I also used my Foredom flex shaft grinder and a ScotchBrite™ pad to smooth both ends, since it will be difficult to do this once the scales are installed.
I also took this opportunity to do a preliminary taper on the top and bottoms of the scales with a belt grinder, still not worrying about the sides.
Time to epoxy and peen the scales into the place. Above are the items I’ll need for that. Note the two little Argentium™ silver wire pins next to the knife handle. I’ve also cleaned every surface to be glued very well, degreasing with lacquer thinner. From this point on, I don’t want to touch anyplace to receive glue with my skin, which might leave skin oils behind and make a lousy glue joint.
The two images above are me peening the silver pins in place. I’ve already spread epoxy glue on all surfaces, and now I’m using my favorite little ball peen hammer to mushroom the soft silver pins over. This will make the shibuichi scales captive, backed up by the epoxy glue joint.
Here are those rivets. Something I didn’t tell you earlier, after drilling the pin holes in the shibuichi scales, I went back and partially enlarged the holes (using a number 48 drill), but not drilling all the way through. When I peened the pins in place, some of the silver mushroomed into the larger extra drilled areas, so even if I file away the top mushroom of the pin, the scale will still be held securely captive.
And, if I haven’t been paranoid enough for you, I’m also using a clamp to make sure the center area of the scales fits well too! Now to let the epoxy set up for at least 12 hours before touching it…