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I just finished my first new (from Jantz Wyoming kit!)  creation. My first knife work attempt was restoration (or rather re-scaling) and old damaged and abused Western. I decided to start with a pair of Jantz kits first a Wyoming, then a Platte still to come. After that, I have a few blanks with some white sunbleached buffalo bone and black buffalo horn scales that I will be making for a friend, my son, and son in law. Each knife will get a sheath made from home tanned deer hide, harvested in the 2015 - 2016 black powder season.

I'm not overly keen on the Dymondwood scales Jantz supplies with the Wyoming and Platte kits - but it's not bad, easy to work with and looks quite good.. I read a lot of negative comments on a number of other sites about Dymondwood and cheap knives while searching for any recommendations on sealing or in any way finishing the Dymondwood. But in the end, my thinking was if Dymondwood is good enough for Buck knives which I think are generally very good - then it's good enough for me. At least for my first attempts.

I have some Patagonian Rosewood that is going to make it onto a knife some day which I think is going to be really nice.

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I forgot to say - tools use were a small WEN 9" throat x 62" band saw, a little Harbor Freight 1x30 belt sander, and a Dremel 4000 with Dremel "workstation" drill press. And a hand held power drill to drill the scales to 3/16 after an initial 1/8 pilot hole using the Dreml press to ensure pin holes were properly vertical.

Basic tools, but not much space in my little townhouse and a small plastic shed in the back garden.

Major kudos to you, allanm.

Absolutely great way to start.

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I .. like you .. am not fond of diamond wood.

Specifically .. the black/red .. black/red/green .. etc variety.

I will not mince words .. looks cheap to me.

<Note: Yours looks fine.>

It is however durable & easy to work with.

..and..

A convenient & cost effective way to learn. i.e. I'd rather mess up a piece of diamond wood than Desert Ironwood !!

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Congrats .. Looks Great !!

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Enjoy

D ale

Well Allan, I think it came out real well!  How does it feel in the hand?  Dymondwood is a great way to start actually.  Inexpensive and soft enough to get the feel for shaping but hard enough to make a decent finished handle

Thanks Dale, Jan - it does feel good, I thinned it down quite a bit. The original squared scales supplied were 3/8" thick. I'm not big, but not tiny either, and in my hands that was just ridiculously thick. By the time I was done, according to my little digital caliper, the total thickness is 18.5mm - 47/64"

I wondered also about tapering the thickness from the back towards the blade, and tapering down a little from the top towards the blade as well but decided not to over complicate things, especially on my first attempt.

I think a grinder / buffing wheel or dedicated buffer might be in my future too! Maybe also a spindle sander. :-)

allanm

Allow me to reinforce

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!!! .. WONDERFUL RESULT .. !!!

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Without offense .. please also let me suggest.

I temporarily assemble / test fit / dis-assemble / modify / repeat process

!!!!!  ...numerous times...  !!!!!

before final pinning .. to aid in the issue you've mentioned above .. among others

It is simply part of the learning process.

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some final handle trimming & further modification is always required ..but.. reduced by doing so

my projects are loosely assembled for "test fitting" multiple times before final epoxy & pinning

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last but foremost .. let me reiterate

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!!! .. WONDERFUL RESULT .. !!!

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D ale

allanm

Re: your statement

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I wondered also about tapering the thickness from the back towards the blade, and tapering down a little from the top towards the blade as well but decided not to over complicate things, especially on my first attempt.

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Some / much of this can still be performed with the 1X30 sander.

!! . TAPE THE BLADE FIRST . !!

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D ale

Thanks Dale, I truly appreciate your comments, and definitely no offense taken. I have plenty of gray hair even though I'm still a few years shy of 60 - but I know in this area at least I am a newbie and have a lot to learn.

The blade was taped (with good old blue painter's tape - or masking tape for John the brave straight razor man) right from the start. I did a few pin and check runs, but once I had a rough shape, all pinned so it was symmetrical - I pinned and glued and then did final sanding. Rough shape as in maybe 2mm all round left so sand before metal.

Is it better to pin scales and sand to the tang/handle shape, and only pin and glue when the scales are almost completed, then do final sanding and polishing? Maybe I should have asked more, but of course men across the world are the same - jump in and try before asking for directions or help! :-)  I did read the Jantz neophyte instructions of course. Quickly. Then I set them aside and started working. I'm sure I'm not unusual in that. ;-)

Maybe in time I will try a bit more shaping, and be willing to do more experimenting and sacrifice scales (even if I experiment only with hardwood floor samples) to find what really feels comfortable. This time, I didn't want to try too much and have to throw out a first attempt and start over - I wanted results I could look at and remember as a first learning experience. One thing I will do at some point, and did a little of with the knives I have at home, is go to a store where I can really look at and handle knives to feel what is comfortable - if I can find some that are not all in clam-shell plastic from China of course.

One thing I did was look very critically at a low cost Western by Camillus made in China from Walmart Christmas set I have, with Delron stag on a pocket folder and a gut hook fixed blade. The scales are barely rounded on the edges, mostly chunky blocks. I held that, moved it around, felt the fit, measured with my digital caliper at a bit over 22mm, and ended up deciding it was a bit too thick for my liking, and took my Dymondwood down to around 18.5mm overall thickness before I was happy. 4mm is not a lot, but in terms of feel it is quite substantial.

And for what it's worth, having switched to metric when I was in elementary school, I find 18.5mm a LOT easier to understand than weird stuff like 15/64 or 49/128, whatever the caliper claimed was the SAE equivalent

Great job Allan , I did one from a kit a couple of years ago , Enzo Trapper, haven't tried one since though. I guess it's a good introduction to knife making though I haven't made the next step yet . Judging by your success you will be buying an anvil next .

I have made a set of scales for a straight razor but messed the job up in fitting them , will try again when the weather warms up enough to go in the shed .

I had wondered if you thinned it out, some of those kits come rather bulky.  My guess is that is to make it more of a good experience for more folks, easier to thin it out than to have it feel small.  The tapering was a great thought but it is yors, maybe at some point you will think...let me try that?  Who knows.  I also wondered if you had thought about rounding the edges a bit, personal preference but I like them a little rounder because I do have small hands
allanm said:

Thanks Dale, Jan - it does feel good, I thinned it down quite a bit. The original squared scales supplied were 3/8" thick. I'm not big, but not tiny either, and in my hands that was just ridiculously thick. By the time I was done, according to my little digital caliper, the total thickness is 18.5mm - 47/64"

I wondered also about tapering the thickness from the back towards the blade, and tapering down a little from the top towards the blade as well but decided not to over complicate things, especially on my first attempt.

I think a grinder / buffing wheel or dedicated buffer might be in my future too! Maybe also a spindle sander. :-)

I understand harbor freight is having a large tool sale :)

I saw the ads Jan, thanks :-) I've already been thinking, and looking at my amazon wish list. Spindle sander, bench grinder / buffing wheels, router and router table ...

LOL Allan I understand.  I did buy the portaband for Donnie but we have yet to find a table on sale at a good enough price to obtain one. 

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