Well, I'm sure if you ask 10 knife makers out there, you'll get 15 different replies. That's what makes the world go around. I'm always learning new things, so if someone knows of a better, more efficient way, let me know. This is just how I've come to do them.
So, here we have a small fixed blade ready for bolsters. The steel I like is 416SS with matching pins. That is very important. Even if your pins are stainless, yet another variety, you will be able to see them even after they are peened. Ask me how I know. Always match your pin material with your bolster material.
Here are two pieces of stainless rough cut and flat on both sides. None of my steel comes flat unless it's from Also.
Next up is drilling out the 416SS. Not a very sexy shot, but you get the idea.
Here we have a couple of dummy pins that help to keep things aligned while shaping stuff.
And I always like to finish off the front of the bolsters before assembly because once they're on, you really can't get in too closely on the tang without screwing up the finish.
I've had this machine for what seems like forever. The disc on the side still helps with letting me square up stuff. In this case, the back of the bolsters.
Now is about time to get to peening. Peening is basically the spreading of a pin material which will cause it to swell and make for a secure bond to the knife.
HAMMER TIME! I've heard some guys who like to use a tapered reamer on the bolsters holes, but I prefer a tighter fit. DO clean your pin material with acetone before just so all your surfaces are free of crap. I start with a small ball peen hammer and move up to a larger one.
If the pin material swells like it's supposed to, you won't see any voids around the pins. I've seen lots of nice knives that show the pins. I've done one with 303 pins on 416 bolsters by accident and it wasn't that bad. But live and learn. What you don't want are gaps.
So, what next? Grab your handle material of choice and get to grinding.
After a little bit of sanding and work and pulling your hair out, you have satin finished bolsters.
If this helps illustrate my process, great. If not, blame LaBella.