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Working with Flat Tang Blades & Cutlery Rivets

Flat tang
blades feature a full tang, flat handle, and rivet holes on the flat faces to allow you attach handle materials on each side of your blade. There is a wide variety of flat tang blades for different applications, including hunting, cutlery, tactical and more. This article will give you a step by step process for preparing and assembling your flat tang blade and handle materials using cutlery rivets.

Necessary Materials:

Tools You'll Need


  1. Select blade, gather all tools and materials necessary.
  2. Read procedure completely before you begin.
  3. Cover sharp edge of blade with masking tape. This will protect you and the blade.
  4. Lay blade on handle material and scribe to length desired. Cut, leaving a little extra to allow for shaping ends. When using a material with varied or contrasting colors (such as Dymondwood) be sure to mark the side that will go against the blade so that the handles will match.
  5. Drill handle material for rivets.
    A. Position blade on one piece of handle material, carefully scribe holes using blade as a guide.
    B. Drill hole nearest to the blade first, drill hole at opposite end, drill center hole last.
    C. Position drilled piece of handle material on top of second piece, (be sure the sides that will be against blade tang are together). Using first holes drilled as a guide, drill holes in second piece in same order as the first piece, dropping female half of rivet into each hole as drilled to use as "slave pin".
    D. Countersink holes to desired depth, generally this is done to the thickness of the rivet head. You may want to try this on a scrap of material first, (be sure it is the same thickness as your handle material). Rivet drills are designed to drill and countersink easily and accurately, they should be used in a drill press and can be helpful in perfect alignment of holes by adjusting location of holes with the cutting tip of the rivet drill.

  6. Shape the front edge of each piece of the han- dle material, sand and polish this area before attaching to blade. (This is a difficult area to work once the blade has been attached).
  7. Insert rivets thru one piece of handle and the blade. Scribe around tang to shape of handle. Repeat with second piece, using opposite side of blade. Cut away extra material using a jewelers saw.
  8. Using 220 grit sandpaper, sand handle materi- al flat on each side that will fit against tang. Sand tang of blade with same paper. This removes any foreign material from blade and handle material and assures a good adhesion of the blade to the handle.
  9. Brush handle material and blade lightly with 2- ton epoxy. Position blade between the two pieces of handle material. Insert rivet in front hole. Using a vise, squeeze lightly till rivet begins to close, (do not squeeze completely closed). Insert rivet at opposite end in same manner. Insert center rivet, adjust all making sure they fit properly. When all are in perfect position, squeeze lightly but com- pletely closing handle material to tang. Do not squeeze out all the epoxy.
  10. Allow to dry.
  11. Using a file, a half-round, second-cut works great, shape your handle to desired shape, fitting to your hand. Sand with sandpapers, finishing with a 600 grit wet-dry, if a polished look is desired, buff with a muslin wheel and a white rouge.
  12. Remove masking tape, clean and sharpen your knife to a keen edge.

Now, your blade is ready to use!

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