Hints and Tips Page 2

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Corby Rivets

I like to use pins to attach knife handles, but you can see why corby rivets grip the handle tighter and more securely. They tighten against an internal shoulder drilled into the handle material and screw into each other.  A little bit more trouble to install, but this adds a true custom quality feature to your knife and gives you handles that will NEVER come loose.
After using epoxy to attach the first handle slab, I drill a 1/16" pilot hole to act as a reference for the additional drilling. This HAS TO BE EXACTLY CENTERED in the pin hole so I use an awl to make a small indentation for the 1/16" drill to follow
After attaching the second scale, I use the holes drilled holes in the first scale to act as a "template" to drill through the second scale . The head of this particular corby rivet is 5/16" so I'll need to drill the appropriate size hole. Depth is critical so I use a piece of tape to mark the 5/16" drill and eyeball the depth by holding it against the scales.
Go slow using the 1/16" hole as a guide to keep the 5/16" hole centered. Watch the tape so you don't drill all the way through the scale. The "neck" of the corby rivet is 1/4" , so I switch to a 1/4" drill. Follow the same 1/16" pilot hole.  Now I can drill all the way through.
Insert the corby rivets ( noticing that one side is slotted and the other side plain), and tighten with a screwdriver. Don't worry about the protruding heads. A few minutes at the bench sander will bring them flush.

And here's what it should look like when complete. The corby rivets are now flush with a handle that will never come off. ( I still have to finish shaping the handle, but you get the idea). If anyone is wondering, the handle material is purpleheart.


Pommels, or butt caps, add a very decorative touch to hidden tang knives and are really pretty easy to do.

Here's what we start with: the hidden tang knife with threaded tang tip, a brass guard, a solid block of wood drilled out to take the tang ( similar to construction on the Puukko Knife ) and the solid. cast brass pommel.

f you're using a pommel that's already drilled and threaded, you can skip this step. If not, you'll need to start by drilling a hole for the threaded tang just a hair smaller than the diameter of the threads themselves.
You can use an appropriately sized tap to cut the internal threads in the tang hole , but I never seemed to have the right one laying around, Instead, I cut a groove on both sides of the threaded tang with a Dremel fiberglass disk to give it some "tooth" to cut the internal threads. I also shortened the threaded tang by 1/4" to better fit the depth of the pommel hole.

Twist the threaded tang into the tang hole a quarter turn and back it out. Repeat this, cutting a little bit more internal thread each time. It's tedious, but not hard to do.

make a few passes on the bench sander to make sure the shoulder is perfectly flat and will sit tightly against the the back of the wooded handle.
Thread the pommel on.  This one threaded on pretty tightly but in the past, if it was loose, I wrapped the threaded tang a few times with a 1/4" wide strip of aluminum foil. Wow, that looks like a lot of metal at the back of this knife. We'll take care of this in a moment.

use the disk sander for most of the stock removal ( disk sanding pads are cheaper and faster than belts but do a crummy final finish  )  to shape the knife and finish up with finer and finer grit belts on the bench sander.

Voila. Not too shabby. If anyone is wondering, the handle is made of a type of wood called Bubinga.  

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                                                         Got a good tip that you think your fellow knifemakers would like to know about? Drop me a note at pjp2@northcoastknives.com