Stacked leather for a Buck 119 (pic heavy)

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Draven, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Draven

    Draven Guide

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    Howdy folks!
    A while back I bought a Buck 119 in 5160. I liked the knife, but I'm not a fan of the plastic handle. I did some work on it before, but kinda jacked it up and decided to try again and experiment a little As of now I don't use it anyway, so the worst case scenario is I don't use it more!

    The biggest problem for doing stacked leather on these is the tang - it's quite short. My original plan was to weld on an extension, but I read an interesting claim on a popular knife forum that brazing was the better option on a heat-treated blade because the lower temperatures are less likely to cause grain growth, which you couldn't correct without messing up the heat treat. I have no idea if that claim is true, but it sounds reasonable so I gave it a shot in the name of science. To be fair, this is probably a less-than-ideal way to test brazing a tang extension, since the leather doesn't add much support (particularly in bending) to the tang. But what the hey.

    I shaped a guard from 1/8" steel stock and took a grade 8 1/4-20 bolt about the right length and cut a slot in the tang. I flattened the head on the bolt and cut it into a dovetail shape, which was replicated on the tang. At least it has some good mechanical support in tension. The 1/4" bolt is a little thicker than the tang, so the guard has to be on when it's fitted, but the leather has enough give that it goes over the bolt no problem.

    [​IMG]

    Did I mention I don't have an oxy-anything setup? I did the brazing with a MAPP torch. It wasn't easy. I could get it hot enough - just - but little mistakes took forever to fix. No idea if it did any damage to the steel in the tang, but I did keep an eye on the color of the blade and it's OK. The brazing is OK at best (absolute best). Hopefully it'll hold.

    [​IMG]
    I also soldered the guard after this and forgot to take a pic - whole lot easier than the brazing with the mapp torch though.

    I made a small stack to shape first, so that I didn't have to do a whole lot of hogging near the guard and mess it up. I used a 1/2" chisel and a home-made chisel about 3/16" or so to cut the slots in the leather.
    [​IMG]

    Since the last couple pieces of leather and the pommel were on the bolt shank only, I keyed them together with a 1/8" piece of rod soldered into the pommel. This would hopefully eliminate/minimize twisting.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I then mixed up some 24hr JB weld and glued it all together. The whole thing compressed about 1/2" I would guess. Probably would have compressed more if I had more thread.
    [​IMG]
    Shaping! The rough hogging was done with a 50 grid belt on my 1x30, the fine work was done with a cut up 80 grit belt by hand.
    [​IMG]
    Started filing the grooves in by hand with a square, then round.
    [​IMG]
    After using a 3/16 chainsaw file for the grooves I burnish them with a piece of thick hemp twine.
    [​IMG]
    The leather was sealed with superglue and the blade blued. A little bit of solder leaked past the guard onto the blade, but I can live with it!
    [​IMG]
    Here it is with the family!
    [​IMG]
    Now I only need to get the courage to see if the brazed joint will hold.

    Thanks for looking, comments welcome :D
     
  2. Broke

    Broke I found my hat! Supporter Bushclass I

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    That's pretty damned stellar!
     
  3. Luzster

    Luzster Of course your opinion matters, just not to me... Supporter

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    I'M IN!!!I'M SOOOOOO IN!

    Beautiful work @Draven !! Thoughts on what you're going to do on or for a sheath? Don't think the regular one will do this one justice.
     
  4. theskyiscrying

    theskyiscrying Tracker

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    nice work!
     
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  5. ozwolf

    ozwolf Scout

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    That looks amazing. Great work
     
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  6. Draven

    Draven Guide

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    Thanks y'all :D

    Thanks! I'm not too sure as yet - it will probably be either in the typical vietnam-era Randall style ( a personal favorite of mine) or like the pilot knife - depends how lazy I'm feeling :D
     
  7. CSM1970

    CSM1970 Scout

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    Nice job! If you ever need to weld an extension to a tang, put the blade tip down in a can of water with the tang end up. The water will keep the blade cool through more welding than you will have to do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  8. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    A fine job young fellar. joe
     
  9. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    Well done!
     
  10. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Beautiful work, as always bro. You've got it dialed!
     
  11. POGEYBAIT

    POGEYBAIT Supporter Supporter

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    Very cool man, nice job. Looks awesome!
     
  12. FreudianSlip

    FreudianSlip Guide

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    Great work!
     
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  13. x39

    x39 Bushmaster

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    @Draven , I've brazed enough stuff to tell you just by looking at what you did, it ain't going anywhere. Good job. The knife turned out real good, I really like it.
     
  14. 1911srule

    1911srule Scout

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    Very impressive, you have a gift! My biggest curiosity is exactly how to sand the leather to achieve uniformity.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  15. Draven

    Draven Guide

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    Thanks again folks :D

    Thanks! Unfortunately I don't have a welder - there's a young guy (couldn't be older than 21-22) near here who does iron fencing I usually take stuff to - he may be young but he is just an artist with a stick welder!

    Thanks, I appreciate it! This was my first time brazing, so I was wondering if it looked ok :D

    Thanks! As for sanding the leather, sharp belts are key - a belt can have lots more miles of cutting to do on steel, but they really need to be fresh to cut leather without burning in my experience. I hog it off with a fresh, coarse belt and then tear a finer one into strips to refine the shape. Even just under hand power a sharp belt will cut it pretty good, and gives you lots of control for doing the curves! The torn up belts are pretty tough, but if you use regular sandpaper it helps a lot to back it with duct tape before cutting so it doesn't keep breaking.
     
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  16. 1911srule

    1911srule Scout

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    Excellent info, much appreciated. I got a cigar box full of blades needing handles. I've never done one, but reading this makes me want to put one together. Which reminds me I got another Forged in Fire show taped ! Thanks!
     
  17. Northwest Axe

    Northwest Axe Tracker

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    Really great job on that!!
     
  18. halo2

    halo2 Supporter Supporter

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    That came out really nice.
     
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  19. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    I love it, good work!!
     
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  20. Fixedblade

    Fixedblade 3% Supporter

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    Outstanding work!
     
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  21. sweet trav

    sweet trav Guide

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  22. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    They took all my words! Beautiful job!

    Thanks for the tips on working the leather too.
     
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  23. weltondl

    weltondl Sergeant of Marines Hobbyist Supporter

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    Outfrigginstanding!
     
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  24. Snakeshooter

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    I absolutely love it.
     
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  25. Draven

    Draven Guide

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    I appreciate the kind words folks :D

    Get cracking :D really, it's fun to do - stacked leather is a little labor intensive due to making all the washers, but worth it for the classic look!

    That was in the back of my mind when I decided to do it - I wish I could get that blade with the longer Tang in 5160! I'm really not a fan of the buck stainless.
     
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  26. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That looks great, thanks for the write up!
     
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  27. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Great project with fantastic results!!! Such a great show of skill and effort! Thanks for posting that, I enjoyed it!!
     
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  28. x39

    x39 Bushmaster

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  29. Zaveral

    Zaveral Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Yeah it looks way better than the factory version. Good job it looks great!
     
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  30. Draven

    Draven Guide

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    Thanks for the words folks, you're too kind :D
     
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  31. Rooster

    Rooster Scout

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    I've always hated the handle on the Buck 119. The shape is all wrong for my hand and I've always found it uncomfortable to use. It's also hard to hold on to when it gets wet or my hand is sweaty, if there's a little blood on it then it's even worse. This is a great upgrade, you've actually made I knife I wouldn't mind using. Well done mate, you've made it a better knife!
    P.S. It's also a much better looking knife
     
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  32. Draven

    Draven Guide

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    Thanks, I appreciate it! I agree about the 119 handle - there really ain't a thing I like about it. It's slick, too thick, corners and contours in the wrong places and too short.
     
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  33. Solphilos

    Solphilos Guide

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    Awesome!
    Great answer to the slickest handle ever created. I did a shoddy job replacing mine with wood, and I had one hell of a time chiseling that handle apart. I can't see anyone ever breaking a 119 handle without the intention to do so. :eek:
     
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  34. crewhead05

    crewhead05 caffeine, nicotine, knives and nature. Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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