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Lead rivets.

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by 50 Shooter, Aug 30, 2013.

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  1. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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    So with the talk about the EK knives and the mention about the handles being held on with lead rivets... How would you pour lead into the holes without burning the wood or whatever material you used?

    Or am I missing something here? How would one even go about doing this? How would you protect yourself from handling the knife with lead in the handles.
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Well, rivets are not poured into anything, so the lead doesn't need to be hot. Or even warm. They're inserted into a hole bored through a couple or three pieces of material -- they're a bit longer than the hole is deep -- and then "upset" by hammering each end into a head, or into a heading form. Hammering the end of a piece of malleable metal makes it get shorter and fatter. Thus a rivet will swell a little to fill the hole, and then the heads will continue to swell a little more on either side of the hole and continue to tighten the pieces of stock together.
     
  3. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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    Ahh, got it. Anyone know where to actually find lead rivets?

    I guess you would need a rivet gun and a bucking bar to flatten them out or at least a heavy slab of steel to flatten them out right. I suppose with lead you might be able to get away with a good mallet to pound out the lead rivets.
     
  4. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Sam,

    Ek's history is that the lead was poured into place. The "rivet" part is probably just a convenient term.

    50 Shooter,

    I'm not aware of anything called a lead rivet. Read the history on John Ek's knives and you'll only see references to his pouring the lead. I corresponded with his son and asked if some alloy was used and he said his father melted lead and poured it and that aluminum or alloys weren't used in the day.
     
  5. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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    HSO,
    Yeah, I did some Googlefu and saw that EK did pour the rivets. Wonder how they kept the wood from burning.

    I did find plenty of places that make lead rivets, so finding something close or if you're making your own scales you can make them to match the rivets. If you have access to a press it would make seating the rivets easy.
     
  6. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Although the commando knives get all the attention... Ek did a few other styles back in the war years. Here's a "Navy knife" that shows what I'm talking about...

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/EK-NAVY-KNI...aultDomain_0&hash=item461267e136#ht_720wt_844

    The one time I spoke with him, all those years ago, he did have old blanks for this style of blade as well as the commando knife in that dusty old shop. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd think that the lead rivets after pouring were sanded down as part of the final sanding process -that would also clean off any burn marks in the wood.... If you look closely at picture number three you can see how those old blades were marked (use the zoom feature). All of this was long before Blackjack, etc.
     
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Oh! How interesting.
     
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    I remember asking John Ek's son about the burning issue and he said that's why his dad used hard maple. They'd flair, but then the lead just got pounded and a quick hand sand and that was that.

    BTW, he's quite the interesting character on his own.
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You wouldn't.

    Lead is not plutonium, and won't kill you from skin contact.

    Besides, nobody knew any better back when John Ek was making knives for WWII.
    They had much more truly dangerous things to worry about then.


    Here is a fake EK I made several years ago.
    I clamped the blade and scales to another board.
    And poured the melted lead into the holes..

    Final shaping and sanding took off anything that wasn't supposed to be there.

    FakeJohnEK3.jpg

    FakeJohnEK2.jpg



    rc
     
  10. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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    Thanks RC, once again you post something too cool.

    That and making me need to get off my arse to figure out what I'm going to do to finish the handle. Did you pour the lead through the hole and block the other side with something? Or do one side at a time?
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Poured clear through all at once.
    That is the only possible way to do it and have the lead hold the scales on the tang.

    The handle clamped to the backing board stops up the holes on the back side so the lead doesn't run out the back scale before it can harden.

    Countersink the holes on both side of the scales so you have a flared head on each side when you get done.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  12. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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    Thanks RC, while I don't have a melting pot I have a friend that does. Now all I need to do is find the wood that I want to use for the handles. Would like to to use black walnut but that's pretty pricey and if I make a mistake (more the likely) I'll be smacking myself in the head.
     
  13. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Why don't you use micarta?
     
  14. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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    I could as I like RC's scales that he did on his EK knife, he also did a good job with the wood scales in the pic above. I like both and its just something to think about, if I use the lead rivet method it permanent. If I use micarta I could swap out the scales at anytime.

    Decisions decisions....

    I think the lead rivets would be the harder way to go and requires more work but adds a more authentic look.
     
  15. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Use whatever wood you want! Very few woods are so expensive that you can't afford a LOT of knife scale material. Black walnut tends to be about $5-$7 a board foot. A board foot might make handles for roughly 40 knives if you cut carefully!

    Now you might want the wood stabilized for a knife handle. (Pores and fiber filled as much as possible with a hardening chemical.) Even so, stabilized walnut scale blanks might run you $8.

    We aren't talking about snakewood here.



    (Though, if you do use snakewood, I've GOT to see that!)
     
  16. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Considering micarta is even less sensitive to heat than wood, you do have the option of using the lead and micarta, too.
     
  17. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Is it? Cool, I didn't know that. Something else to play with someday!
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I would not use poured lead rivets with any type of Micarta.

    Although it is not especially heat sensitive to normal heat?
    It is extremely poor at carrying off excess heat at 500 degrees too!

    Molten lead will scorch the epoxy & and likely delaminate next to the poured lead rivets.

    Native hardwood like Oak or Hickory is best for this, as it will char inside the holes and stop the heat there.

    If you want positive fasteners with the option of removable scales??

    Use something like Corby fasteners.
    http://www.texasknife.com/vcom/product_info.php?cPath=52_36_620&products_id=951

    Or slotted screw fasteners:
    http://www.texasknife.com/vcom/product_info.php?cPath=52_36_622&products_id=967

    rc
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  19. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Max working temp for micarta is 250-300 °F depending on specifics.
     
  20. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    They also make a glass fiber high temp Micarta that will eat up your carbide tools working it faster then you can buy new ones!!

    Plus give you a fiber glass rash in all the wrong places for a week before you get done!!

    BTDT!!!

    rc
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Oh no! Yuk. Worse than G10?
     
  23. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    YES!!
    Much worse!!

    rc
     
  24. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Oooh. None for me, thanks.
     
  25. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    RC's Ek reproduction shows that it can be done and done well. Maple is what John Ek used for the most part and rock maple is readily available to play with.

    Most people thought that you had to work with molten lead to have an overexposure risk. Industry cared, a little, but the general public wasn't aware of any hazard and most never had a problem. There were those that did understand that plumbism/lead poisoning was a hazard as far back as the first century and then it became well recognized in the 19th. It wasn't really until the later half of the 20th that real clinical understanding came about.

    BTW, the lead rivets in the Eks represent a miniscule exposure problem. I wouldn't worry about them for normal use.

    No more permanent than drilling them out. I wouldn't use pure lead unless I was intent on restoring an original John Ek using all original methods.

    I agree with RC for all the same reasons that micarta is a poor choice with poured lead. Scortched phenolic resin isn't something you want to be exposed to.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
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