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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 426

PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 6:15 pm    Post subject: handle decision         Reply with quote

i finally took the plunge in making the antler handle for my sword, i know i'll have to be very carefull with the drill press... one error means a scrapped piece or an injury.

i'll also have to make a spacer since the antler was too curved to make the handle in a single piece (had to cut two fairly straight pieces and shape them with a file). i can't really post pictures of it since my download and upload limit are close so i'll have to wait until november to post anything. i also forgot to snap some pictures when i started the work so nothing there either Worried

i'll be also using a drill press to pierce holes in a 1/4'' steel plate to make the spacer (i don't have a jeweller'S saw or anything to cut it to shape exept the drill press).

if you have any suggestion or advices on this please do share (or ask).


Last edited by Etienne Hamel on Sun 27 Oct, 2013 3:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Thu 24 Oct, 2013 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i knew a guy that did the same method for cutting out a blank. he went all around punching holes in the steel by drill press, then used a hacksaw to cut it free. finish it up with some file work, and it will look fine.

personally I've traded off saws for cold cutting, i don't have the deal with the power tool walking somewhere i don't like it. but for a 1/4 in of steel, a cold cut would take a while, and not as efficient in your case. in something like 18 gage steel i think i can cold cut the piece faster than using hand saw - or even my scroll saw.

if your worried about cracking your antler, slow down the press a little. and just remember even pressure, be ready for the smell too Confused its . . . unique.
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 426

PostPosted: Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Wallace wrote:
i knew a guy that did the same method for cutting out a blank. he went all around punching holes in the steel by drill press, then used a hacksaw to cut it free. finish it up with some file work, and it will look fine.

personally I've traded off saws for cold cutting, i don't have the deal with the power tool walking somewhere i don't like it. but for a 1/4 in of steel, a cold cut would take a while, and not as efficient in your case. in something like 18 gage steel i think i can cold cut the piece faster than using hand saw - or even my scroll saw.

if your worried about cracking your antler, slow down the press a little. and just remember even pressure, be ready for the smell too Confused its . . . unique.


the smell was ok when i cut the pieces so maybe it'll be the same when drilling?
i was thinking of making a metal riser with that 1/4'' plate so i don't think a 18 gauge steel would be enough. also i'm not worrying about cracking the antler for now since i plan on using thin drill bits to guide the bigger ones (until it is 1/4 inch for the blade's thickness), the only thing i'm worrying about is... how am i supposed to drill that without a vice -_-' i don't have the money to buy one neither so...

i talked with a friend and i thought about something by mixing both my idea and his. the idea is to use a thick piece of wood with a hole big enough to stick the antler in it and taping it with duct tape to keep it there while i'm drilling, the wood will also serve as a way to hold down what i need to pierce.. i might be a bad idea though!
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Fri 25 Oct, 2013 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

if you have an old 'C' clamp laying around that may help. I've drilled a few things of moderate size using just my hand to hold it in place, but its not a good practice. the drill bit can catch and rip the piece out of the grip of your fingers and slice it into your hand pretty easy. or you just slip and your hand gets wrapped around the drill bit and gets chew up.

the duck tape will probably work, antler doesn't seem to be that dense after you get through the outer layer. to drill and re-drill using different size bits, and without a clamp you could cause some alignment issues. use a small bit to just make a punch, then use your bigger bit, as long as the work is punched the bigger bit should stay on target.

using a smaller bit on dense stuff you risk breaking the bit I've done this on steel a few times. you'll hear a 'tink' coming from the bit as its spinning until it finally breaks just an indication to back up and ease up on the pressure.

and i can't stress safety glasses with any power tool enough, last time i broke a bit, it wasn't like it just snapped in half, it exploded into about 3 fragments and one of them smacked right in the center of my safety glass lens.
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 426

PostPosted: Sat 26 Oct, 2013 9:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

found a big table vice that could be used on a drill press but when i tried to drill i screwed up (lets just say i was angry when it happened) so i cut my holly block in parts for the same handle construction.

i hope it will work out...
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 426

PostPosted: Sun 27 Oct, 2013 3:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

tang slot finished on one of the two parts in the holly, also drilled around the handle template to chisel the handle from the block and began chiseling Happy everything is going well for now.
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 474

PostPosted: Sun 27 Oct, 2013 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Where did you get your holly from?
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 426

PostPosted: Mon 28 Oct, 2013 8:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a fellow forumite on SBG had some to share so he sent me a block
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 426

PostPosted: Thu 31 Oct, 2013 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

*UPDATE*

i '' finished '' the first half of my handle but i wonder if i shouldn't thin it a little more on the width it is 1.5'' wide and the blade is 2'' at base, it will not be a covered handle so no cords or leather will be used. it must be strong enough to withstand cracks and damage.

here'S some pictures of my progress so far:



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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 426

PostPosted: Tue 05 Nov, 2013 12:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i began filing the spacer to shape after having removed the most material i could with the saw. this will be long...
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 426

PostPosted: Mon 11 Nov, 2013 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

*progress of the spacer/riser*


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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 426

PostPosted: Mon 25 Nov, 2013 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i know i'm going back and forth with this project but i finally decided to thrash the metal spacer and make one from antler... took me 5 minutes to do with a dremel and i plan on taking pictures next week, by that time i hope to have finished the second half of the handle.
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