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Ed Caffrey's Workshop Talk to Ed Caffrey ... The Montana Bladesmith! Tips, tricks and more from an ABS Mastersmith.

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Old 04-16-2021, 04:48 PM
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The Wrong and Right way to lighten/drill out a full tang

I see images all over the internet of full tang knives being constructed with a bazillion holes drilled in the tangs. I have never been able to wrap my head around the logic of it. I dear friend recently posted a pic, and I stole it to illustrate my point. (Because I only drill TWO, usually 7/16" or 1/2" holes in a full tang, and those holes are always drilled in a place that leaves the largest "web"/support material possible.)

When a bunch of holes are drilled in a full tang, I can only assume that people think the are "lightening" the knife/tang, but they take no consideration in how much they are weaken the tang. In the instance of this photo, look closely at the break.... and think about just how little material was left to support the tang after the holes were drilled. Then think about how that particular area of a knife is exactly where it usually incurs the most stress..... bad juju!



I thought about this thread today when I was prepping some new EBK Max blades..... Here's the way I tend to do most full tangs.....



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Last edited by Ed Caffrey; 04-19-2021 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:38 AM
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Do you fill the holes with epoxy (or epoxy + fiberglass or other filler) or just leave them open?


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Old 04-20-2021, 07:07 AM
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Just leave the holes as they are.... when gluing on the scales, ensure you use enough epoxy/glue to fill the "hollows"/holes. The combination of the hollows, holes not only serve to lighten and aid in overall balance, but the addition of glue/epoxy create a sort of "epoxy rivet".

On hunter and larger sized full tangs, I also taper the tangs in addition to the holes and hollows.


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Old 04-21-2021, 02:47 PM
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I liked hollowing grinding that section out as well. The flats can be glue starved if clamping them up firmly. Having that space for epoxy insures that there is sufficient surface area for good adhesion.


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Old 04-22-2021, 06:44 AM
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100% agree! All too often I see newer makers starving the glue joint..... then I get a call, asking for help because they've had a scale "pop" off.


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