SEX! (bolts)

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Bolster
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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Bolster » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:02 pm

I confess I don't quite understand why a stepdown bit is necessary, but I can see how it would be convenient. I was planning to use drill bits and end mills to accomplish the same thing. Just keep the head of the mill (or drill press) in exactly the same position, and change tooling, no? Unless I'm not understanding something.

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Xplorer » Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:19 am

That might work. The harder the material is the less likely it is that you can simply set a larger end mill down over an existing hole without vibration making your milled hole ugly. So, you'd have to use a drill bit with a tapered end for the large hole and you'll get an angled shoulder for the bolt to sit on. This is not all that bad, but it's not quite as good as having a flat (90 degree) shoulder for the bolt to sit against. With the type of step-bits or counter bores we're talking about here the guide (whether fixed or removable) keeps everything perfectly aligned and also doesn't allow vibration to cause a problem. Then the counter bore (the larger hole) it cuts gets a nice flat shoulder (like a 90 degree end mill would achieve) with perfect alignment and no vibration. It's a costly little tool though. If a person plans to make only one Mule handle it might be best to sav the money and just use 2 drill bits and do your best. For anyone thinking they'll make more than one handle in the future, buy the step drill or counter bore and you'll be happy using it every time.
Last edited by Xplorer on Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby TomAiello » Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:34 am

I've done it both ways. I started with using two drill bits, one after the other, and then moved to the pilot bits when Larry (Legofwhat) posted them here a while back.

I find that making the holes align properly (the small hole perfectly centered in the big hole is _much_ easier with the pilot bits. Using two separate bits always left me with slightly off center holes, and I ended up going through a lot of frustration trying to sort out better ways to clamp and hold the odd shaped work pieces as perfectly still as possible

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby sbdude » Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:55 am

Xplorer wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:19 am
That might work. The harder the material is the less likely it is that you can simply set a larger end mill down over an existing hole without vibration making your milled hole ugly.
I haven't done this before and I'm not a machinist, so just thinking out loud......

If you were confident of your setup and that it wouldn't move, couldn't you drill the counterbore first with the end mill, then switch tooling and drill the through hole down the center of the counterbore?

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Bolster » Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:10 am

sbdude wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:55 am
If you were confident of your setup and that it wouldn't move, couldn't you drill the counterbore first with the end mill, then switch tooling and drill the through hole down the center of the counterbore?
An endmill doesn't "follow center" like a drill bit does, so there'd be no problem making the counterbore either before or after the drilled hole...with the caveat, of course, that your work is secured. I use mill table clamps as you see in the photo, and the work "ain't goin' nowhere." The problem being, if the work is soft and could dent (such as wood) a rigid clamping system such as you see in the photo would damage the work.
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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Xplorer » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:36 am

sbdude wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:55 am
Xplorer wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:19 am
That might work. The harder the material is the less likely it is that you can simply set a larger end mill down over an existing hole without vibration making your milled hole ugly.
I haven't done this before and I'm not a machinist, so just thinking out loud......

If you were confident of your setup and that it wouldn't move, couldn't you drill the counterbore first with the end mill, then switch tooling and drill the through hole down the center of the counterbore?
Yes you can. You can actually do either one first depending on the job requirements. With a caveat. Relatively soft materials such as wood, G10 or CF (that are typical for handles), will do fine. Harder materials like Titanium are much more of a challenge. On a hard material an end mill doesn't bore as well as it side cuts and maintaining a clean circumference is not as easy as it sounds.

That said, with all materials it is required that they be secured very well and are not allowed to vibrate. Securing soft materials is not difficult as long as they're not finished materials and you still have room to cut or sand away any surface damage the vise might cause.

If the plan is to make just one Mule handle I would suggest using whatever bits you have and "git 'er done" however you can. But if you plan to do more handles in the future it is well worth the small investment to get one-piece step drills or counter bores. They make the job simple, save a ton of time and the results are always guaranteed to be perfect. :)

Here's a reality check. You don't HAVE TO make everything fit perfectly. I may be a stickler for perfect alignment, perfect fit, etc.. but I have to. As a result I use the tools that ensure the results will be perfect without risking materials. But as the proverb goes..there's more than one way to skin a cat.

For anyone that plans to do something like this with 2 separate bits.. I suggest you simply take extra care to make sure the large hole is a flawless fit for your hardware. An end mill or a counter bore (that side cuts) will provide a perfectly round hole while a regular twisted flute drill bit will be close but not perfectly round. Another way to ensure a perfectly round hole is to drill it .005" under and finish it with the correct size straight flute chucking reamer. Then, if there's any error whatsoever in the alignment of the smaller hole, you just make it bigger if you have to, and count on epoxy during the mounting stage to fill in the gap around your hardware shaft. This way if you do have to adjust for any errors the adjustment is cosmetically invisible. :)

Hopefully no errors and no adjustments necessary of course :) .
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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Bolster » Wed Apr 21, 2021 6:37 pm

Great ^ explanation.

As a vastly experienced practitioner of screw-ups, let me also remind you that if you make a mistake, there's often the chance of going to the next size up in hardware. Ie, if your screw-and-barrel plan messes up, you can then graduate up to a larger corby bolt, and tell everyone that's what you intended all along. If that messes up, then you can inlay material into your handle over the bad parts and say *that* is what you intended all along...and so on.

50% of good work, is simply good justification. ;)

I don't mind screwups that are well-repaired; that shows persistence and creativity. If the fix is well done, it adds character, sort of like a dovetail inlay that keeps two splaying boards together. It's an obvious fix of an imperfection, and it's beautiful.

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Xplorer » Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:23 pm

You bring up a really good point here Bolster! ^

If someone has a gap to fill there's a lot of ways to be creative with a repair and make it look nice..maybe even intentional ;).

Here's one simple way to fill gaps that anyone can do..

Use CA glue (the thinnest type is best in this case) to create a hard sealer for whatever materials shavings or "dust" you choose for filling the gap.
Here I ruined a knife I was making with an antler handle by grinding away too much material and got into the porous inner core of the antler. I shaved some copper with a file and filled the pores with copper dust, then dropped CA glue into it. After sanding it smooth, I reapplied copper dust and CA glue. After the second application it was completely sealed. It's not beautiful and I re-made the knife entirely for my customer, but my "messed up" handle is sealed and stable now, and I'll be able to use it for myself regardless of the cosmetic flaws.

Here's the before shot with exposed core with open pores. :( :o
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Here it is sealed with CA glue and copper shavings.
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Here I used copper filings and CA glue to seal the end of an antler handle I put on a ferro rod.
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You can use the CA glue filling idea with all sorts of materials. For stone/mineral materials you can make a simple "crusher" for about $8 in plumbing parts and turn any stone into gap filling dust.

Two pipes..the small diameter with caps on both ends and the large diameter with a cap on one end.
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Drop your stone in the large pipe. (turquoise in this case)
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Crush :D
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Turquoise powder ready to fill gaps.
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Sorry about bad pic, you can sort-of see in this picture how the crushed turquoise looks in green micarta.
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Fill the gaps with the largest pieces first, then fill in with the finer dust and apply glue. After drying (using instant-cure spray here is the way to go) sand it smooth and re-apply the finest dust in any remaining holes and re-apply CA glue. After sanding the second time you shouldn't have to add more dust, but you can continue to repeat this process as many times as it takes.

Quartz, jade (if you're wiling to sacrifice it), turquoise (also if you're willing), Lapis Lazuli, and plenty of others provide color options to match or contrast many handle materials.

Metal shavings from something in your home or rocks from your yard can also be used in this way to add personal or even sentimental materials into the handle.
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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Bolster » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:30 pm

That's ^ amazing. I did not know this kink. Will use this for sure.

And...you've invented the plumber's mortar and pestle!

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Bolster » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:53 pm

Xplorer wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:23 pm

Here I ruined a knife I was making with an antler handle by grinding away too much material and got into the porous inner core of the antler. I shaved some copper with a file and filled the pores with copper dust, then dropped CA glue into it. After sanding it smooth, I reapplied copper dust and CA glue. After the second application it was completely sealed.

Question: Could you have used antler or bone dust? Would that have made the repair less visible?

PS: I really like the pinched bolsters...!

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Xplorer » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:11 pm

Bolster wrote:
Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:53 pm
Xplorer wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:23 pm

Here I ruined a knife I was making with an antler handle by grinding away too much material and got into the porous inner core of the antler. I shaved some copper with a file and filled the pores with copper dust, then dropped CA glue into it. After sanding it smooth, I reapplied copper dust and CA glue. After the second application it was completely sealed.

Question: Could you have used antler or bone dust? Would that have made the repair less visible?

PS: I really like the pinched bolsters...!
I could have used antler or bone dust, yes. But, that still wouldn't have made the error completely invisible. So, since it was going to look like a patch no matter what material I used I decided to not try to hide it at all and used copper because copper was already an accent between the pieces of titanium in that handle. Plus, I had already decided this knife was flawed and destined to be added to my growing collection of "beater-knives" anyway. ;)

If that were a black G10 handle that would be a completely different situation. You can use black G10 dust to fill in a black G10 handle pretty effectively. In that case however, many times I prefer to mix G10 dust in epoxy instead of using CA glue. If the gaps are small enough they can be rendered nearly invisible.

Thank you for the compliment. I ended up making the "pinches" a little larger radius on the next and final version of that knife. :) Technically, I believe that because it's one piece and it protrudes below the tang it's a guard rather than a bolster. :)
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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Bolster » Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:57 pm

Xplorer wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:11 pm
Thank you for the compliment. I ended up making the "pinches" a little larger radius on the next and final version of that knife. :) Technically, I believe that because it's one piece and it protrudes below the tang it's a guard rather than a bolster. :)
Right you are. To me that "pinch" in the guard indicates a thoughtful maker. I've had plenty of knives that leave a big, thick transition from handle to blade, and I've always appreciated some sort of taper, step-down, or thinning at the transition from handle to blade. Can get the useful back edge of the blade closer to the work that way. Maybe you have a different reason for your pinch? And how did you hog it out, if that's stainless steel? That would seem quite the chore.

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby TomAiello » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:47 am

I'd also be interested in knowing how you made that 'pinch' in the metal guard.

I've done them in softer materials with a foredom tool (https://www.foredom.net) in my dad's shop, but I don't have that tool, so I've used a spindle sander when I'm home (which hasn't worked as well for me).

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Xplorer » Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:36 pm

Bolster wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:57 pm
Right you are. To me that "pinch" in the guard indicates a thoughtful maker. I've had plenty of knives that leave a big, thick transition from handle to blade, and I've always appreciated some sort of taper, step-down, or thinning at the transition from handle to blade. Can get the useful back edge of the blade closer to the work that way. Maybe you have a different reason for your pinch? And how did you hog it out, if that's stainless steel? That would seem quite the chore.
TomAiello wrote: I'd also be interested in knowing how you made that 'pinch' in the metal guard.

I've done them in softer materials with a foredom tool (https://www.foredom.net) in my dad's shop, but I don't have that tool, so I've used a spindle sander when I'm home (which hasn't worked as well for me).
Both the one you're commenting on as well as the one I made to replace it on the new knife were Titanium. Here is the one I made for the re-do and you can see I went with a slightly larger radius for a larger relief. It creates a comfortable place to pinch the front of the handle in a variety of positions.
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I looked through my photos and I guess I didn't take any pics while I was actually making these. But, here's how I did it. I have a variety of small wheels for my grinder. I chose the radius I wanted, set the grinder up horizontally, and set the work table at the angle I wanted. I scribed where I wanted the top and bottom of the recess to land and I just ground it until it hit the marks.
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You can do the same sort of thing with one of those oscillating wood sanders with various spindle sizes. All you need to do is set up a wedge to help you hold your angle and a bunch of sanding sleeves. And patience..you also need patience ;) .
Image
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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby TomAiello » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:03 pm

Awesome. Thank you!

Setting the bench grinder up that way is definitely the way to do it. :)

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Bolster » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:23 pm

Very nice, thanks for the explanation. But I think you are cheating just a tad, having such nice tools...

My "oscillating sander" of late has been a sanding drum chucked in the mill. The local flunky moves the quill up and down with one hand and spins the table handles with the other. It has been successful, occasionally.

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Xplorer » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:42 pm

Bolster wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:23 pm
Very nice, thanks for the explanation. But I think you are cheating just a tad, having such nice tools...
Agreed. :D It took me 3 loooooong years of working on a $hitty little grinder to finally save enough $$ for a proper "cheater" grinder. It's a game changer for sure :D .
Bolster wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:23 pm
My "oscillating sander" of late has been a sanding drum chucked in the mill. The local flunky moves the quill up and down with one hand and spins the table handles with the other. It has been successful, occasionally.
:p Been there. The beautiful thing is you have the mill to work with. You can do a lot of really great work with nothing but a mini mill and creativity. :) And bits..lots of bits..and fixtures..oh and sandpaper..and.. :p
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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby TomAiello » Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:47 pm

I have a Wen oscillating spindle sander I bought at Home Depot. It's super useful and not very expensive ($125). The spindles themselves have turned out to be a much larger expense than the sander.

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Re: SEX! (bolts)

Postby Bolster » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:49 pm

Man. With all of these power tools, the tool itself is just the beginning of the expenses. Sort of like kids. They're cheap to obtain, but expensive to maintain.


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