Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

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azdonw
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Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby azdonw » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:05 pm

Thought I'd post a little montage and describe how I did this, my first Mule (and first Syderco). I ordered a set of 1/8" olive drab green canvas micarta scales from ebay. My design is for a fairly lightweight hunting/skinning knife. I first traced the knife outline onto one scale.
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Next, I used double-backed tape to hold the two scales together as I worked on them. I used a coping saw and cheap counter-top vise from Harbor Freight. Yeah, that's our kitchen; don't tell my wife :D . I just roughly sawed around the tracing, being careful not to get too near it.
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I formed the area of the handle at the bolster in more detail, filing and sanding this, as it would be difficult once the handle was assembled, as the knife blade would be in the way. Notice the mask, you don't want your lungs caked with this stuff :eek: .
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After sawing around the tracing, I clamped the scales and the knife to a 2x4 and used the knife holes as guides for drilling. This ensured perfect alignment. Just used my cordless drill, as I do not have a drill press.
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For the lanyard hole, I used the rear 3/8" hole and brass cut from a .233. Would you believe that the diameter toward the primer of a .233 is exactly 3/8"?
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Next, I separated the taped together scales and tested the fitting of the pins. For the pins, I used 3/16" brass rod cut with a hacksaw. To adjust the length of the pins, I used a diamond wheel on my rotary tool. I scuffed up the insides of the scales and added a few divots to help the glue stick. I also scuffed up the steel of the knife handle.
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Next, I use two plies of tape on the outside of the scales to keep glue off of them and protect them from clamping. I decided to use Amazing Goop glue instead of epoxy because if I made a big mistake, I could conceivably remove the scales without destroying the knife.
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Amazing Goop is an interesting glue, but somewhat difficult to use. You have to apply it to both sides of the items you want to adhere and wait 2 minutes before pressing the items together. Then it is difficult to align after pressing together. So the best way I figured to do this was to clamp the knife in the vice and lay the two scales on cardboard nearby. Then apply glue to both sides of the knife and to the two scales, rubbing it around with rubber gloves. After the required 2 minutes, I pressed the pins and lanyard tube into one of the scales and then inserted the other ends into the knife handle. Then I pressed the other scale onto the pins sticking through the knife handle. Finally, I clamped it all together. Note the tin foil I pressed into the lanyard tube to keep glue out. Probably didn't need to do this, as this glue is fairly easy to peel off metal.
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From here, I used only files and sand paper (100 grit, 400 grit, 1000, then 2000 grit) to shape the handle. I'm very please with how it turned out. It weighs 3.7 oz on my scales. Keep an eye out for my kydex sheath build :D .
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Note the OD green webbing. Can you guess what project that will be used on? :D
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Brackish
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby Brackish » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:09 pm

Looks awesome!
Spydiechef and Dragonfly Salt (Newest Addition)

azdonw
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby azdonw » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:24 pm

Brackish wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:09 pm
Looks awesome!
Thanks much, Brackish!

The Meat man
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby The Meat man » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:37 pm

Very nice work! Congratulations!
- Connor

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

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abbazaba
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby abbazaba » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:14 pm

Great job! I have the same mule waiting for my lazy @$$ to make some scales

SF Native
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby SF Native » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:38 pm

Way to go azdon! You done good.
Watch out, it can be habit forming.
I started making my own micarta and using fancy hardwood. Maybe I will try bolsters some day.

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Woodpuppy
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby Woodpuppy » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:39 pm

Nice work! Great tip on the lanyard tube!
:spyder: AUS8, M4, H1, VG10, 52100, HAP40, REX45, N690Co, CTS-BD1, CRUWEAR, AEB-L, S30V :spyder:

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legOFwhat?
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby legOFwhat? » Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:07 pm

Well done mate! Just received some blue line micarta myself for my PD#1 mule but maybe I'll pick another mule just for it. I'm inspired...
-Larry.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12

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sal
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby sal » Sat Sep 29, 2018 7:00 pm

Nice job Azdonw.

sal

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Ngati Pom
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby Ngati Pom » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:23 am

You nailed..pinned it! :) Great job, well done
'The future is already here;it's just not evenly distributed'
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Rutger
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby Rutger » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:34 am

Good job.
To get the finishing touch i think you need to sand and buff the sides a bit so those brass pins get flush with the micarta and let em shine.

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Tucson Tom
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby Tucson Tom » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:11 pm

Very nice !! And great tip on using .223 brass for a lanyard tube.

I have to say that you are making a bizarre entry into the world of Spyderco knives starting with a mule team blade and making your own handle !
I realize that I am in part responsible, so I have to say that you owe it to yourself to try a Spyderco folder at some point. You are welcome here regardless of course and I appreciate you taking the time to post your work on the handles. I am also eager to see how do do a sheath (I always want to say holster).

ladybug93
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby ladybug93 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:22 pm

that looks great!

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Woodpuppy
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby Woodpuppy » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:39 pm

Where’s the secret stash of nib M4 and 52100? This would be a fun project!
:spyder: AUS8, M4, H1, VG10, 52100, HAP40, REX45, N690Co, CTS-BD1, CRUWEAR, AEB-L, S30V :spyder:

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Tucson Tom
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby Tucson Tom » Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:10 pm

Woodpuppy wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:39 pm
Where’s the secret stash of nib M4 and 52100? This would be a fun project!
Those steels are long gone unless you want to try to get lucky on Ebay, but last time I checked,
PD-1 (and A11) were available from the spyderco store. And as you may know PD-1 is essentially
the same as Cruwear, which is pretty cool.

nicked.onaut
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby nicked.onaut » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:24 pm

Nicely done, Don.

Perfect example of achieving fine results with "basic tools at hand."

Smartest purchase on your part was the proper mask, where most folks have been prone to scrimp. Protect dem lungs. (For grim lung protection fallacy google McIntyre Miners' Powder)

You did great with the glue-up, so don't be afraid to use a suitable epoxy next time. GOOP is pretty darn good, and versatile, (and now it's AMAZING!). I'd suggest ditch the aluminum foil in the lanyard tube (which could be pesky, and become glue in place). Use a wee bit of plain old paste wax applied with a Q-tip to the inside of the tube, or anywhere you want no-stick. You can even leave it in place, buffed or not, for corrosion protection.

Looking forward to the kydex write-up.

azdonw
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Re: Mule Team 26 PMA11 custom handle build with illustrated tutorial

Postby azdonw » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:07 am

abbazaba wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:14 pm
Great job! I have the same mule waiting for my lazy @$$ to make some scales
Just do it!
SF Native wrote: Way to go azdon! You done good.
Watch out, it can be habit forming.
I started making my own micarta and using fancy hardwood. Maybe I will try bolsters some day.
Now that's hardcore!
legOFwhat? wrote: Well done mate! Just received some blue line micarta myself for my PD#1 mule but maybe I'll pick another mule just for it. I'm inspired...
Glad to inspire!
sal wrote: Nice job Azdonw.

sal
Thanks Sal!
Ngati Pom wrote: You nailed..pinned it! :) Great job, well done
Thanks Nagati!
Rutger wrote: Good job.
To get the finishing touch i think you need to sand and buff the sides a bit so those brass pins get flush with the micarta and let em shine.
Thanks Rutger. I just can't bring myself to sand the faces of the scales, as it is a bear to polish out any sanding scratches, and they're so shiny right now!
Woodpuppy wrote:Nice work! Great tip on the lanyard tube!
Thanks! I looked hard for a cartridge that would meet the diameter I needed. I just didn't want to spend another $2.50 for brass tube!
Tucson Tom wrote: Very nice !! And great tip on using .223 brass for a lanyard tube.

I have to say that you are making a bizarre entry into the world of Spyderco knives starting with a mule team blade and making your own handle !
I realize that I am in part responsible, so I have to say that you owe it to yourself to try a Spyderco folder at some point. You are welcome here regardless of course and I appreciate you taking the time to post your work on the handles. I am also eager to see how do do a sheath (I always want to say holster).
Yeah, I know. I'd love a Manix 3 LW in s110v, but I have to spread out my extraneous purchases for wife acceptance :) . One day I shall own one!
ladybug93 wrote:that looks great!
Thanks much!
nicked.onaut wrote: Nicely done, Don.

Perfect example of achieving fine results with "basic tools at hand."

Smartest purchase on your part was the proper mask, where most folks have been prone to scrimp. Protect dem lungs. (For grim lung protection fallacy google McIntyre Miners' Powder)

You did great with the glue-up, so don't be afraid to use a suitable epoxy next time. GOOP is pretty darn good, and versatile, (and now it's AMAZING!). I'd suggest ditch the aluminum foil in the lanyard tube (which could be pesky, and become glue in place). Use a wee bit of plain old paste wax applied with a Q-tip to the inside of the tube, or anywhere you want no-stick. You can even leave it in place, buffed or not, for corrosion protection.

Looking forward to the kydex write-up.
Thanks, good tip on the paste wax. I was originally going to use a blob of my daughter's clay but couldn't find it.


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