(16) Fully assembled sandwich with back screws in place
Now that the liner/bolster has been prepared it's time to add the scale material to the handle.
Although I love natural handle materials my choice for integral handles is usually a synthetic.
The reason is simply that a handle slab on my integral knives is only .070 inches thick - that's
70 thousanths of an inch folks. It can be done with natural materials but synthetics are
much stronger. In this case, we are using G-10 fiberglass laminate - green on one knife and
black on the other. Picture (14) shows the G-10 scale being glued to the liner with 2-ton epoxy.
Clamps hold the scale while the glue sets over night. Notice that the 1/8th inch thick scale
stands up above the bolster by a good margin (.055 to be exact). This must be sanded down later.
In picture (15) we are tapping the liners for the little screws that will support the scales.
You can see the screws sticking out of the completed liner. They will be ground flat later.
The epoxy is super strong and will probably never let go but I use it primarily as a means of ensuring
that no moisture will ever collect under the scales. The screws guarantee the scales won't be tempted
to move in the unlikely event the epoxy does let go. OK, so I tend to over build a little - some people
like that about my knives.
You may ask why I didn't put the scale screws in earlier so they could hold the scale while the glue
dried and that would be a good question. That's how I usually do it - except when I working on a knife
that will be anodized. The presence of any conductive material like a steel screw causes an unpleasant
reaction in the anodizing bath. So, by putting the screws in after the glue sets I am able to remove them
just before anodizing. Although only one of the knives will be anodized I follow the same steps for both
to help me avoid making a mistake.
Now that the scale screws are in place the scale itself can be ground flat with the bolster. After that,
the two remaining structural screws (the two screws in the spine) are put in place. The sandwich can now
be fully assembled into a rigid, coherent package as seen in picture (16).