Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tang, gluing of

I've been trying to get a couple of things done for Medieval Fair(April 4, 5, 6) and remembered to take a picture of this. 'This' being one of the most basic ways of setting a blade tang into a hilt. In this case the blade is about 4", the tang about 2.5". For a bigger blade I'd use a longer tang, for one this size this works quite well.

First you have to cut a slot or drill a hole in the material of the grip(I know, I know, I got in a hurry and forgot, I'll shoot my method on this next chance I get). Ideally it'll be just a touch wider and thicker than the tang: not a 'drive in' fit, because you want to leave space for the glue. In this case, epoxy.

The thing about epoxy is that as it cures it won't shrink or enlarge much, if any(depends on brand, your mileage may vary), so you can do something to increase the strength of the bond. Namely, notch the corners of the tang.

In this case, small notches. And after doing this, you hit the sides with some rough sandpaper to clean and roughen the surface, the better for the glue to grab onto. Then you mix up the stuff, and dribble enough into the hole so that, when the tang is fully seated a little is squeezed out. Then you set the piece aside. Epoxy is very good(when mixed & used properly) about giving a very strong chemical bond between materials, and what the notches do is this: the epoxy fills in the notches and as it cures stays there. Now, even if you don't get a good chemical bond for some reason, you get a very strong mechanical bond. As long as the stuff grabs onto the handle material, even if it doesn't 'grab' the steel it'll be locked into the notches, keeping the tang from pulling out.

Note: as long as the surfaces are prepped(cleaned and roughened) properly, I've never had this stuff not hold. The one problem I had was with horn scales glued and pinned to the sides of a full tang: I sanded the surfaces meeting the tang too smooth, and even the epoxy couldn't grab onto them.


Anonymous said...

Notches work to create the mechanical bond, but would holes cross-drilled through the tang work better?

thud said...

I use epoxy and stainless dowels when repairing stonework...great stuff.

Firehand said...

Cross-drilled holes would work quite well. On a tang this narrow and thin, I prefer to go with the notches.