Spyderco Mule: A Full Tang TutorialI've been commisioned by another member to put a handle on their Spyderco Mule blade and make a crossdraw sheath. I thought I'd take some photos to document the process.
First a picture of the raw materials, a Mule blade in 52100 steel and some Desert Ironwood from Pikebite.
This pic shows that the scales need to be flattened.
To do this I have secured some 40 grit paper to a piece of laminate flooring. The laminate is useful stuff as it is flat.
Once the scales are flat I changed to a finer grit...
and checked them by holding them up to the light. There is a slight gap at one corner but I'm not going to use this part of the scales.
The next step is to use double sided tape to hold the two scales together. This means I can treat the two scales as one block.
and mark out the rough outline of the handle. I spent a bit of time looking at the figure in the wood to make sure I get the best out of the block.
There a lots of different holes in the blade for different pin configurations. we're going to use to 6mm brass pins and a 6mm brass lanyard hole.
Now to rough out the outline of the handle with a coping saw.
I like to leave plenty of wood on at this stage
At this point i'm going to work on the edge of the scales that will be next to the ricasso of the knife. Its difficult to work this part of the scale once its glued to the blade so I need to get it done now.
First use a rasp to get down to the line...
Then use the pillar drill with a drum sander to tidy up.
Now it looks like this...
A few minutes on the buffer
and it looks even better
I'm using brass rod and tube from B&Q, it needs cutting to length...
I drilled a test hole in some oak to check the fit
Centre punch the lanyard hole
Check the position of the other holes
drill the other two holes for the pins
OK, we're just about ready to glue it all up. First i've got to separate the scales. I'm using my trust Victorinox pairing knife! I've also roughed up the Mule Team handle, taking care to keep the scratches away from the ricasso area.
Everything is to hand, ready for the epoxy. I'm using 24 hour Araldite. I've wiped all of the pieces over with some meths and have given them all plenty of time to dry.
Make sure the scales are well covered
With one scale in place I make sure the holes in the Mule Team handle are all filled with epoxy
Then it all gets pressed up tight in the vice
After half an hour I clean up the top edge of the scales next to the ricasso. wipe away any excess epoxy.
I'll leave it overnight before I do any more work but I'll keep checking the top edge of the scales and wipe away any more epoxy that appears.
Here are the next series of photographs.....
A pic of the blocks I'd used to clamp up the scales. Note the holes where the pins are, this makes sure the pressure from the clamps is applied to the scales, not the pins.
The glue line looks good
The first job is to use a rasp to get rid of some of the excess wood...
Once I've got down to the metal I tidy things up on the drum sander
And then its a case of filing, sanding, filing, sanding until things take shape.
Once I'm happy with the basic shape I use the buffer to show up the scratches and work between the buffer and some 240 grit paper
The next step is to apply a few coates of Danish oil.
Clean out the lanyard hole
And now the knife is looking like this
I'll give it a good look over for any scratches or parts that I'm not happy with and then go back to applying Danish oil.
I got the sheath done today...
I was asked to do a brown version of the crossdraw sheath I did for my own mule
I started with a paper template
Transferred the patterrn to 3.5mm veg tanned leather with red biro
and used my Mule to cut it out.
Next I cut out the welt
I used the edge beveller to round over the nose of the welt
and then created a template for the belt loop
Smooth out the top edge of the sheath with gum tracanth and sandpaper
The use the edge beveller
and the stitch groover
Glue the welt in place with impact adhesive
I clamped it all up to dry
and started work on the belt loop
Once the glue was dry I tidied up the edges on the drum sander
and then more glue and clamps
back to the sander to tidy things up
The next job was to mark the holes for drilling and stitching
and then drill each hole with a 1.5mm drill bit in the pillar drill.
Normally at this point I would stitch up the sheath and then dye it but this time I decided to do it the other way around
The sheath after it was dyed...
The sheath is still damp, the colour should lighten a bit as it dries
Here's another one I've just finished , commisioned by another member. The scales are green canvas micarta, the pins and tube are brass.
Thanks for looking!
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