Hidden Tang Knife

Click on any of the thumbnails below for a more detailed photo

Here's the classic bowie, updated for today in a sleeker, cleaner and more functional styling. Still a hardworking camp or hunting knife, this design goes back to the basics of function, form and design. Techniques shown can be used with all hidden tang blades. 
Here's what we have to start off: the excellent Frontier Bowie blade, the NCK012N nickel silver machined guard, the NCK401N nickel silver pommel, and a nice block of redwood burl. I loved the fit of the nickel silver pommel, but decided not to use it on this project.
The slot i  the guard is just a hair undersized to allow you to adjust for a perfect final fit. I use a file to widen the slot a hair, checking fit on the blade often. Should be tight and snug.
Sand the front and back of the guard to a perfectly flat finish  since it's easier to do it now than after it's mounted. When done on the belt sander, hand sand with 600 grit sandpaper or spend a few minutes on the buffer .
For a perfect fit, I use a fiberglass disk in a Dremel tool to square off the inside shoulders where the tang meets the knife. Keep checking the fit of the guard. Ahhhh, that's what it's supposed to look like. Good ,tight fit.
I use a magic marker to outline the shape of the guard and use a disk sander to bring it to shape. I then tilt the table 45 degrees to add a bevel to the rear of the guard to give it a nice appearance. 
Slide the guard on and solder. Soldering is kind of optional since the guard will be trapped between the shoulders of the knife and the epoxied handle, but I  think this adds a lot of strength and a professional appearance. For a more in depth tutorial on  soldering techniques, see Hints n Tips, Page 3.
Laying your design out on paper will help you visualize what you want to end up with. Hmmm. Looks like I'll have to cut the tang down just a bit to fit the handle  I want to put on this knife.
I use the fiberglass disk in a Dremel again to shorten the tang to fit the handle I want. As long as I've got this out, I  "nick"  the tang in a few random places to give the epoxy something more to hang onto.  
Trace the outline of the handle on the block and split it down the centerline with a bandsaw. Mark the outline of the tang on the inside to act as a guide to show you what's going to be needed to be routed or carved out to fit the tang. 
I used a Dremel with a carbide rasp and the routing head attachment to route the space in the handle where the tang will fit. Final touch up with a 1/4" chisel. Test fit and when you're satisfied, use a good carpenter's glue to put the blocks back together. Clamps recommended. 
Trace your handle shape on the block and check to make sure it meets with your satisfaction. I then used a bandsaw to bring it to the correct shape and profile. It saves a lot of sanding later.
Bring to a final shape by starting on the belt sander and finish by hand sanding. ( Isn't this easier to do now than after the handle is mounted on the blade?).  Finish up with several fine grits of sandpaper.
Now the messy part. Mix a good three hour epoxy and pour it into the tang hole.  A 1/16" weep hole near the bottom ( see the toothpick?) allows air to escape while the epoxy works it's way down the inside. Slide the tang in and check for alignment. Hold it upright with a clamp while it cures. Use those three hours to clean the excess epoxy off your hands.
Before the epoxy has fully set, clean up any of the excess with a rag and some acetone. After the epoxy has set, tape off the handle and buff the guard for a few minutes. I used several coats of  tung oil for a finish on the handle but any penetrating oil finish will do.
Done. Oooooh, I like it. Has a very sleek, functional look.

To purchase the Frontier Bowie blade and hardware, click HERE

To see the old Hidden Tang Tutorial, click HERE