Bolts as Handle Fixings - Why?

Stuart Mitchell

Well-Known Member
I have listed a couple of knives for sale over the last couple of days and both of the listings got a passing reference to the fixings - stainless steel Corby type bolts and adhesive secure all together.

Please forgive me if I am trying to teach anyone to suck eggs here but I am not sure we all know what that means though, what it means for me as the maker and you as the owner, user.

Historically, and by far and away most of the Pat Mitchell ware you will see around, is pinned together, generally 1/8" brass rod (not wire, wire is different) that is rivetted into place, this works and all the Pat Mitchell knives that you still see doing the rounds proves it, I do tend not to use this method today though.

Another fixings used probably by the million on Sheffield was the cutlers rivet, now this was/is a very blunt instrument, there is a counterbore for the heads and then the female half sits through your first scale, the tang and then aligns your second scale, the male then placed into the female and you hit it with a hammer, we never adopted these as they rely purely on friction and one day they will come loose. I guarantee it.

These.



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These days things have moved on, thanks I dare say to the 'mericans those rivets have evolved, they evolved into these.



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Those are Corby, or Hidden type bolts, hidden I assume as when you shape the handle you grind away the gates of the screws and they then just look like a parallel sided pin, other bolts are available as knife handle fixings but I tend to stick with the type shown above.

These replace the hammer you'd use with the cutlers rivet with a screwdriver, they are very precise, very secure, the heads are well sunk into your scale material, again the female half sits through your first scale, the tang, and aligns your second scale and when you screw everything together you know it is fixed, it feels fixed, it is not coming apart, you combine that with a G10 scale and it is not coming apart ever, you won't get it apart, you would literally need to drill it out or smash the thing to smithereens to get it apart.

There are various cutters around and available to counterbore the heads, I get these made locally though.



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This is why, you can just imagine how securely the bolt head fits into there.



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You combine that superb mechanical fixing with adhesive, a thin wipe between the scale and the tang, a touch inside those counterbores, and the fact that those female portions align all.

You know it is fixed.

Forever.
 
Do you ever use loveless bolts Stuart? I considered using them in a contrasting manner (stainless bolt, brass nut) but thought it might look a bit silly.
 
Clever. And presumably the mosaic pattern are different metals fused in a pattern to then form bolt heads?
The mosaic are very different things, the mosaic are parallel sided and rely purely upon the adhesive used, for me mosaic should be used as an 'as well as', not as the primary fixings.

If you particularly want a mosaic then use a couple of Corby's to fix and stick a decorative mosaic in the middle.
Do you ever use loveless bolts Stuart? I considered using them in a contrasting manner (stainless bolt, brass nut) but thought it might look a bit silly.
I do sometimes, I am not a huge fan of the gaps that always exist around the threads though. Good fixings again though.
Cracker of a post. :thumb:
Thank you.
 
Another option of course to fancy things up a little is to engrave the heads of the Corby bolts, there is plenty of thick material there so engraving them is a very viable option.
 
Really interesting post. I hope you don't mind me asking, do you feel copper corby bolts are up to the task? I've just started scratching an itch to make my own knife and I thought they'd complement some elm burr well coupled with a fine red liner. I did have visions of using mosaics but have scrapped that given your thoughts.
 
Really interesting post. I hope you don't mind me asking, do you feel copper corby bolts are up to the task? I've just started scratching an itch to make my own knife and I thought they'd complement some elm burr well coupled with a fine red liner. I did have visions of using mosaics but have scrapped that given your thoughts.
Copper are fine, no problem at all, if anything the threads will be a little softer so just give them a nip up when you tighten but I personally would have no hesitation using copper at all.

Don't let me put you off the mosaic, they are in common usage as well all know, I just like to see something mechanical in there too.
 
Copper are fine, no problem at all, if anything the threads will be a little softer so just give them a nip up when you tighten but I personally would have no hesitation using copper at all.

Don't let me put you off the mosaic, they are in common usage as well all know, I just like to see something mechanical in there too.
Spot on - thanks. I'm making a pair - one for me, and one for my mentor, but don't tell him that.
 
Very interesting post, it’s when you start to see these knives undressed and partway through the build that you start to realise how much goes into them and why they are priced accordingly.
That is kinda what got me thinking about making the post, folk don't generally see what is going on inside the handle/under the scales, but it all contributes towards having a knife for life.

Another one of course is the heat treatment, you can't see it but it arguably the most important part of any knife.

We just have to hope that going to a reliable 'name' assures that you that the bits you can't see are as good as the bits you can.
 
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