Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives

Building the Prototype Handle

Stack all the handle parts in the proper order - left slab, Micarta spacer, liner, right slab - and clamp them into the jig (or secure them any other way that will hold all the pieces and not let them slip around). Make sure all the pieces are correctly lined up before you clamp them down. The edges don't really have to be clean, flat, and perfectly aligned but you need to be sure that the handle pattern has solid material behind it on every layer. Drill the pivot hole at the location that you marked with the toothpick hole earlier. If you need to mark the hole again, just lay the finished blade on the handle pattern, in the closed position, and mark through the blade's pivot hole.

Next, put the pivot through the hole and adjust the pivot length until it will put a slight clamping pressure on the handle to hold it together. I used a simple barrel pivot in this example. You can use a pressed in pivot in you want, you can countersink the screw heads or not, just so long as you end up with a pivot holding all the parts together. I call this blob a 'micarta sandwich'.

Now, place the blade in closed position over the pivot screw (which is easier to do if the screw head is not countersunk) and take this opportunity to adjust the positions you marked for the two handle screws if you think it's necessary, like this:

Put the sandwich back in the jig and drill the screw holes with the appropriate tap drill for the screws you plan to use. Drill all the way through the sandwich. If you want to countersink the screw heads after drilling the tap sized hole, replace the tap drill with the countersink drill without moving the jig.

Once you are finished with the countersinking (if you did it) take the sandwich apart and open up the tap sized holes to clearance size holes on all the pieces except the right side handle slab. The easiest way I've found to open up the holes is to put the jig in the vise (for a flat surface) and then place the piece to be drilled on the jig but do not clamp it. When the clearance drill touches the hole it will automatically center on the hole if the piece to be drilled is free to move a little.

Just for the record, I used 2-56 flat head screws. The tap size was a #51 drill, the countersink was a #13, and the clearance hole was a #44.

When the drilling is finished, tap the screw holes on the right side handle and assemble the sandwich, like this:

Once the sandwich is solidly assembled, it can be ground down to the shape of the pattern. At this time, we are not trying to get the handle to it's absolute final shape so leave a little extra material all around. When you are done, it should look about like this:

Next, we assemble the knife....

Assembling the Prototype

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Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives