Making G-10 Scales for my Spyderco Knife

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WalzAaronFFG
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Making G-10 Scales for my Spyderco Knife

Postby WalzAaronFFG » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:33 pm

Hey everyone,

I did some searches about working with G10 and came up with very little other than where to buy it, and how to work with it safely. I am really looking for any advice, links to information, etc. that you can come up with. I really want to try making some custom G10 scales for my spydies.

I may start with a MT11, but I think im going to order enough G10 to do a few knives down the road.

1st of all I should mention that I have very few power tools at my disposal. Most of what I will be doing will likely be slow and by hand. What would be the suggested way of cutting my G10 sheets to the appropriate scale-like shape? I don't have a bandsaw or anything, so what can I use to get the "blank" scale shape?

How do I get that corrugated look like the PPT has? What is "peel ply" and how can I use it to create texture on the G-10?

I know that working with G10 can be dangerous without the right safety equipment. Do I need a ventilator, or will a surgical mask suffice? Obviously I want to be safe, but since I don't have access to a good workshop I will need to come up with a poorman's alternative.

I have a million questions, but I suppose I'll leave it to the pros now so I don't ask to much at once.

Thanks everyone,

Aaron
:spyder:Current Spydies:spyder:
Blue Delica 4, Jigged Bone Delica-Orange, G10 Delica, ZDP-189 Delica 4, Tenacious, Caly3 CF, Manix 2 DLC, Para2 Digicam, Sage 3, Sage 1, G-10 Dragonfly, Etched Cricket, Salt, Ladybug ZDP-189, Ladybug White SE, Ladybug Hawkbill Salt, Mule Team 11 - M390 w/ custom kydex sheath


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JayTeeEmEm
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Postby JayTeeEmEm » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:46 pm

WalzAaronFFG wrote:Hey everyone,

I did some searches about working with G10 and came up with very little other than where to buy it, and how to work with it safely. I am really looking for any advice, links to information, etc. that you can come up with. I really want to try making some custom G10 scales for my spydies.

I may start with a MT11, but I think im going to order enough G10 to do a few knives down the road.

1st of all I should mention that I have very few power tools at my disposal. Most of what I will be doing will likely be slow and by hand. What would be the suggested way of cutting my G10 sheets to the appropriate scale-like shape? I don't have a bandsaw or anything, so what can I use to get the "blank" scale shape?

How do I get that corrugated look like the PPT has? What is "peel ply" and how can I use it to create texture on the G-10?

I know that working with G10 can be dangerous without the right safety equipment. Do I need a ventilator, or will a surgical mask suffice? Obviously I want to be safe, but since I don't have access to a good workshop I will need to come up with a poorman's alternative.

I have a million questions, but I suppose I'll leave it to the pros now so I don't ask to much at once.

Thanks everyone,

Aaron
I'd invest in a respirator and a Dremel and a hacksaw and some clamps. A belt sander would probably help speed thing up. The PPT style grooves could be achieved with one of the Dremel grinding stones.
Check Tuffthumbz workhop and I recommend checking out his vids for tips
http://www.youtube.com/user/tuffthumbz# ... hxrYuuusMs

Keep us up to date on the projects :)
:spyder: Stretch ZDP Delica 4 FFG Cricket SS Persistence UKPK FRN Rescue and Blue DP Sage CF Pacific Salt Centofante 3 Spin Dragonfly SS Bill Moran DP Military CF Lum Ti Military H1 Ladybug Hawkbill Ladybug Para 2:spyder:

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ChapmanPreferred
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Postby ChapmanPreferred » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:54 pm

A respirator by 3M would be advised. You can cut G10 with a hacksaw but be certain to clean up your workspace with a damp cloth often to prevent spreading the dust around with a vaccum. You can shape the G10 to the profile of the steel with basic hand tools like files and sandpaper wrapped around a hard backing (wood, steel, etc). You will likely need to be able to drill through the G10 unless you want to completely rely on an epoxy or super duper glue to hold the scales onto the tang/handle of the knife. I would guess you could come up with the texture of the PPT with a round file if you evenly space grooves in the scales and mimic the pattern of the picture on the Spyderco website. Peel Ply is a texture from the manufacturer and would be a waste of your money if you plan to carve out the G10 like the PPT's scales. Regular G10 would be a better use for your money in my opinion. I hope my opinionated answers to your questions are helpful. There are folks who deal with these questions much more frequently than I do so I hope they chime in. If you look for the handle tutorial by Chris Holcomb on the Bushcraft model, you will see most of what you will need to accomplish you mission. Click this link.

Cheers,

Doug
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WalzAaronFFG
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Postby WalzAaronFFG » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:19 am

Thanks so much guys.

Tuffthumbz has amazing work. I already have my eyes on a Dremel tool and a respirator mask.

What can I do about hardware for a MT? Any suggestions? I'm probably just going to do that corrugated look or polish the G-10 on my first attempt, but I have no idea how to attach them to the MT without using glue.

This may sound like a stupid question, but could I do a rough cutout of my scales with a good Dremel? The one They show demos of the more powerful ones cutting tiles, etc. so I was just curious

May have to sell some spydies to get started modding, but I'm good with that. I love having a project to work on
:spyder:Current Spydies:spyder:
Blue Delica 4, Jigged Bone Delica-Orange, G10 Delica, ZDP-189 Delica 4, Tenacious, Caly3 CF, Manix 2 DLC, Para2 Digicam, Sage 3, Sage 1, G-10 Dragonfly, Etched Cricket, Salt, Ladybug ZDP-189, Ladybug White SE, Ladybug Hawkbill Salt, Mule Team 11 - M390 w/ custom kydex sheath


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The Deacon
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Postby The Deacon » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:48 am

I'd suggest using a coping / fret / jeweler's saw with a fine toothed (20 or more tpi) blade to rough cut your G-10 to shape. It's more work, but will generate much less dust, confine that dust to a much smaller area, and offer much less chance of a screw up than grinding it away with power tools.
Paul
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jackknifeh
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Postby jackknifeh » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:16 am

I recently started doing this myself. I've made 5 sets of scales for folders. What I use is a Dremel 4000 and the Dremel workstation mainly. You will also need any cutting, sanding, buffing accessories you may need. Dremel also has a set of VERY small drill bits. I think they are 1/32" - 1/8".
(http://allprotools.com/dremel/dremel-62 ... t-set.html)
The above web site is a great to buy Dremel products. The prices are as good as I've seen. Another place to get accessories is (http://www.widgetsupply.com/page/WS/CTGY/dremel-bit-set)
This site has a lot of generic accessories. I wouldn't recommend the diamond accessories because diamond tools are either good or JUNK. I use them and for occasional use they are fine, but for long-lasting diamond tips I'd stick with Dremel brand. I'd do that with any of the high performance accessories like tungsten bits and anything dealing with very hard materials. But, for cutting wheels, sanding bands, etc. you can get great deals there.

The workstation for the Dremel holds the tool and acts as a drill press. You can also lock the tool in a position to cut and sand scale shapes. The only other thing I use is a coping saw and sandpaper. For buffing I'd suggest some better (finer) buffing compound. I use DMT diamond paste. Put it on the buffing wheels instead of the Dremel buffing compound. Dremel compound is good, just not as fine as you may want.

I take the scales off the knife and make a template using hard sheet metal. The template material needs to be harder than the scale material. That way it will be harder to accidentally cut/sand too deep into the side of a scale when shaping it. Cut out a template and drill any holes in it that are in the original scale. Then lay the template on the new material and cut/sand out the shape and drill all holes. I'd suggest using a smaller drill bit than the screw will need. If the hole is slightly off center you can use the drill bit to GENTLY round out the inside of the hole on the side than needs cutting. The Dremel workstation is a good tool for $50 but it is NOT a high performance drill press and sometimes the drill bit may slide off center. That is another reason for the template material to be harder than the material you are working on. It will help keep the bit on-line.

After all this comes trial and error. Lots of error on my part. :rolleyes: I do enjoy it and G-10 is very easy to work with. It cuts and sands much easier than hard woods. I haven't used a respirator but normally work right in front of a powerful fan so most dust is blown away. I also have a shop vac with the hose held right where the cutting is going on.

Pictures of two Manix2 knives.
[ATTACH]17200[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH]17201[/ATTACH]
This is actually the same Manix2 with black blade. I had the two colors on opposite sides of the knife for the pictures. I think both colors really look good with the black blade.

Notice the orange scale. You can see how I had to thin the G-10 thinner than the 1/8" G-10 material I bought. This was mainly to allow the lock buttons to stick out enough to grab with the thumb and index finger. Also, for the screws to be flush with the scales. This was one of the things you realize as you learn for various model of scales. I left the rear of the scales thicker to give the knife a little fuller feel in my hand. That really didn't make much difference actually. When thinning scales like this you need to thin the top of the scale so you keep the side that goes against the liners flat.

The G-10 I bought did not have any texture on it so they ended up smooth instead of the feel that the G-10 that Spyderco knives have. I think you can buy the textured stuff. The smooth G-10 still provides a very good grip but the texture is preferable IMO. I have the tan scales Manix2 and had the blue scales on it for a while but have put the tan ones back on because I like the texture.

That's all I can think of right now.

Good luck,
Jack
Attachments
Manix2 DLC orange .jpg
Manix2 DLC orange .jpg (32.43 KiB) Viewed 3349 times
Manix2 DLC blue.jpg
Manix2 DLC blue.jpg (31.32 KiB) Viewed 3364 times

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jackknifeh
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Postby jackknifeh » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:34 am

I forgot. I got my G-10 from Jantz knife supply. Another (maybe better) site is http://www.masecraftsupply.com/Merchant ... y_Code=G10 . I haven't used them yet but they seem to have a larger selection of colors and sizes. They were recommended by someone on this forum.

If you want to get layered G-10 of different colors that is pretty useless unless the scales have a rounder counoured surface (like fixed blades). I got some red/black layered from Jantz and there was hardly any red in it at all. A set of scales from Jantz is very inexpensive so I didn't care much. When my skill improves I hope to get into come CF, mother of pearl, really pretty wood, etc.

I just got a Kiwi that I'm going to make inlays for. They are very easy. I did one from left over G-10. I'm looking forward to this knife. I got the one with the stag inlays which are very thick and I'll be doing wood inlays for it I think. Also, I think my lungs work a little better with a little sawdust in the air. :D Compared to G-10 I mean. :eek: You can probably get the regular SS handle Kiwi (or any knife) and make scales for it. Make the scales thin and you will need to glue them on though. I like screws better so I can change the scale color to match my tie. :)

One thing I wish I had is a belt sander for thinning scales. Christmas maybe.

Jack

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Postby cckw » Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:49 am

Instead of a respirator, what if this work were done outside with a fan blowing crossways across the work area?

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Postby The Deacon » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:03 am

cckw wrote:Instead of a respirator, what if this work were done outside with a fan blowing crossways across the work area?
Personally, I wouldn't want to roll those dice. Too many variables, especially if using power tools. However, as with most things in life, YMMV.
Paul
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D56
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Postby D56 » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:59 am

Sorry to digress a little:

Is G10 asbestos based, and how do we know it's dangerous -
Is there any evidence/examples of it being dangerous and is there any risks or cases of anybody directly becoming ill with it.

I'm not disputing it is risky stuff to work, it's just I'm wondering what the danger is or if anybody knows of it's effect or anybody that has suffered as a result of it.

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Thompson
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Postby Thompson » Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:20 pm

From what I know G10 has glass fibers in it. So that's not something I would want to risk breathing in.

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jackknifeh
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Postby jackknifeh » Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:34 pm

I would at least wear one of those paper face masks designed for sawdust. If you are outside and have a fan I would work in those conditions. Actually I'd do it without the mask but I work on electric outlets without turning off the circuit breaker. So I'm not that safety concious. But inhaling glass particles :eek: scares me more than a little jolt of AC. :D

I don't think anything has asbestos in it any more.

Jack

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Postby DeathBySnooSnoo » Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:41 pm

yeah g10 is glass fibres mixed with epoxy...and I would imagine that not only is it hazardous to inhale the glass fibres but the epoxy is probably also toxic.
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Postby phillipsted » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:03 pm

Another option is to try micarta instead of G10. The first time I worked with G10, my hands itched for days because of all the tiny little glass shards that worked their way into my skin.

Micarta is the same principle as G10, but instead of glass fiber embedded in epoxy, micarta is linen, canvas, or paper (usually) embedded in phenolic resin. I've found that the cloth fibers are a lot less irritating to work with. Micarta is also fairly easy to work and it grinds and sands uniformly.

In addition, I do almost all my scale work with hand tools - coping saw, files, sandpaper. The only larger power tool I use normally is my drill press for drilling holes in the scales - and also for buffing using cotton wheels and rouge.

TedP

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Postby yablanowitz » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:30 pm

A dust mask will offer some protection from inhaling glass fibers, but the heat of friction from using high speed tools like the Dremel will cause the epoxy binder to release toxic fumes that will pass right through a dust mask. If you are going to use power tools, do so in a well-ventilated area and invest in a respirator that can protect you from VOCs (Volitile Organic Compounds). If you ever decide to try carbon fiber, be advised that the dust from grinding is electrically conductive, which can make using a hand held power tool...interesting.
I don't believe in safe queens, only in pre-need replacements.

WalzAaronFFG
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Postby WalzAaronFFG » Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:46 pm

Thanks everyone this is all very helpful. I'm thinking of using my Tenacious as a starting point and moving into a MT11. I haven't even ordered or bought any of this stuff I need. I'm looking at the Dremel 4000 kit that is around $79, is there any particular reason to get the more expensive kit with more tools? Or should I just buy the accessories separate as I need them?

Will that Dremel workstation work as a drill press for making holes for the hardware?

I really wish I had a better place to work. I am a college student that is frequently moving and my parents' garage isn't really much of a workshop. Because of this I may start with micarta as per your suggestions. I don't want to leave a bunch of glass fibers in the garage for my mother to sweep up and breath in years down the line.

Oh well, I need my Lum Tanto to sell on eBay before I can go spending a few hundred on all this stuff anyway :) I will get it figured out, but as of right now a good (and safe) workplace is at the top of my list.

Thank you all for the links. The places suggested for buying G10 is much better than the knifekits.com site I was looking at. The AllPro site is great as well. I think I may head out to HomeDepot tomorrow and take a look at their Dremel offerings.

What should I use for fasteners on the MT? I was looking at Halpern Titanium and they seem to sell some decent fasteners.
:spyder:Current Spydies:spyder:
Blue Delica 4, Jigged Bone Delica-Orange, G10 Delica, ZDP-189 Delica 4, Tenacious, Caly3 CF, Manix 2 DLC, Para2 Digicam, Sage 3, Sage 1, G-10 Dragonfly, Etched Cricket, Salt, Ladybug ZDP-189, Ladybug White SE, Ladybug Hawkbill Salt, Mule Team 11 - M390 w/ custom kydex sheath


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