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View Full Version : One for the knife makers - handle riveting



Stuart Br
10-07-2011, 10:04 AM
In the everlasting task of pursuing domestic harmony, I have another task that will keep me on the straight and narrow and help justify the investment in my shop.

We have a number of kitchen knives on which the handles appear to have been riveted with some form of Aluminum alloy.
After frequent cleaning in the dishwasher, the rivets are being "eaten away" and the handles are getting loose.

I would like to replace these with brass rivets, which should be "dishwasher proof".
Is there any particular grade of brass I should be looking for? Any hints or tips on setting the rivets?

I did do quite a bit of riveting with aluminum when I was an apprentice some 30 years ago, but I haven't done any since.

Thanks

Stuart

gwilson
10-07-2011, 10:10 AM
I just use regular 360 alloy brass(which seems to be he main alloy available).

You should never wash them in hot water at all.
it takes the edges off .

gizmo2
10-07-2011, 10:16 AM
Cutler's rivets come in different lengths, but the heads are all the same diameter. I made my counterbore from a wood screw set thingy drill (sorry for the technical talk, sometimes I just can't help myself) I got my rivets from Indian Ridge Traders which was bought out by Koval Knives which was purchased by Jantz Supply. Leave enough room in the hole for the rivet to swell and not split the handle material, and pick the rivet closest to the finished length and all should be well.

PTSideshow
10-07-2011, 10:21 AM
Lee valley is were I get mine they had a number of lengths etc. leevalley (http://www.leevalley.com/en/) You might try woodcraft (http://www.woodcraft.com) since they sell the stepped rivet drill for their knife kits.

spongerich
10-07-2011, 10:59 AM
Not to take this OT, but you really shouldn't be putting knives in the dish washer. It's hell on the handles and the edges take a beating too.

Stuart Br
10-07-2011, 11:15 AM
try telling that to my wife :D

duckman
10-07-2011, 01:38 PM
My cheap stainless knives go in the washer, but all my high carbon get washed by hand and dried by hand, and get a quick swipe on a scythe stone before each use.

kendall
10-07-2011, 01:46 PM
My cheap stainless knives go in the washer, but all my high carbon get washed by hand and dried by hand, and get a quick swipe on a scythe stone before each use.

My good knives are all hand washed, and then get a few quick swipes on the edge of the sink. Seems to work, only had to sharpen a couple of them for several years.

Tony
10-07-2011, 01:53 PM
how about breaking them down and putting some epoxy in to bond the
handles to the blank? that way the rivets are just for looks.

i've never had luck with rivets.. either 1) split the wood 2) aren't tight enough
and loosen as the wood moves or 3) i suck at rivet.

-Tony

lynnl
10-07-2011, 02:13 PM
You should never wash them in hot water at all.
it takes the edges off .

I've never heard of that. Are we talking hot water in a dishwasher? Or even washing by hand in the sink under hot water?

I claim no particular expertise here, but this sounds a little suspect to me.

dalee100
10-07-2011, 02:46 PM
Hi,

Washing in a dishwasher is tough on blades and edges and particularly handles. Getting bounced around dings up the edges. And abrasive detergents also get blasted against the blades rounding the cutting edge. It's better to wash your knives by hand to prevent that. But by all means use hot water even for plain high carbon steel blades. Just wipe dry when done washing them and put them away properly. That won't harm your edges at all. A stainless steel blade can even be left to air dry with no damage.

A blade can be resharpened and edges repaired easily. So dulling is a mere inconvenience. But damage the handles and the knife can be useless. While plastics of one kind or another are most common on kitchen knives these days and are pretty impervious to most kitchen usage. Things still happen like rivets loosening and materials splitting from exposure to harsh environments like dishwashers.

As nice looking as exposed full tang knives are, I prefer over-molded plastic handles for kitchen use. They have no rivets to loosen and are easier to keep clean.

dalee

Euph0ny
10-07-2011, 03:56 PM
I've never heard of that. Are we talking hot water in a dishwasher? Or even washing by hand in the sink under hot water?

I claim no particular expertise here, but this sounds a little suspect to me.

If you imagine the cutting edge of a very sharp knife is a thin but rather uniform strip of metal, attached to a thicker piece (the rest of the blade). When you heat the whole blade (in very hot water, for example), the thin bit heats and expands differently from the thicker bit, so you get microscopic uneven bending and curling, which tends to undo your hard work of honing the blade down to a thin, even line.

I just gently wipe my good kitchen knives with a sponge dipped in warm, but never hot, water and detergent. One rub of the steel (force of habit) and they go back in the block, ready to be taken out sharp next time.

Mike Folks
10-07-2011, 04:17 PM
Maybe something on this website will work:
http://www.rivetsonline.com/

gwilson
10-07-2011, 05:36 PM
Washing knives in hot water is indeed harmful to your edges. I was accused of B.S. years ago on the PM site,before a retired butcher came along and backed me up on it. That extremely thin little cutting edge will be hurt by hot water.

I'll tell you something else to not believe: It is bad to leave sharp files laying in direct sunlight.

Lots of differing opinions on this,but old timer butchers generally agree about not washing with hot water.

lynnl
10-07-2011, 07:17 PM
If you imagine the cutting edge of a very sharp knife is a thin but rather uniform strip of metal, attached to a thicker piece (the rest of the blade). When you heat the whole blade (in very hot water, for example), the thin bit heats and expands differently from the thicker bit, so you get microscopic uneven bending and curling, which tends to undo your hard work of honing the blade down to a thin, even line.



Firstly, considering the length of time it's in the water for washing, speaking of hand washing, and the temperature involved, maybe 180d F, I doubt there's enough differential in the heating/expansion to have much effect.

Plus, I certainly doubt that the distortion goes past the elasticity limit of the steel in question. So it will return to its normal state very quickly.

And finally, I think the distortion forces are very small, relative to the forces the edge must endure in use cutting tough meat, or other hard material, especially bone or gristle.

For the purpose of argument, the theory perhaps contains an element of validity. But from a practical sense, I don't think washing in hot water makes a bit of difference.

I remain a non-believer.

Now throwing it in the dishwasher, to clank around with other hard objects - that's a different story.

(added) Now I will concede that just the simple act of washing, on a microscopic level, can, or probably does, have some eroding effect on the edge, just by the mechanical actions, e.g. rubbing the washing pad/sponge/cloth/etc. against the edge. Perhaps even the force of water droplets, if we look down to the atomic and molecular level.

But again, compared to normal useage, that would be insignificant.
Ooops, one more caveat: In a commercial setting, where water temperature may be substantial hotter, the person washing the knife may experience such discomfort as to force him/her to drop the knife on the hard surface, thereby dulling it. :)

PTSideshow
10-07-2011, 08:10 PM
1st. What kind of dishwashers do you people have that bounce around the forks,and dishes. Granted we don't have any kind but most have racks and baskets. That hold the pots etc. while rotating wands have water with the liquid soap solution coming out? Granted the newer models also use steam in one cycle.

2nd. The handle rivets used are not ordinary hammer over type but this style if inside a tube then spreads the head in a receiver tube rivet.
Like these brass rivets (http://www.leevalley.com/en/hardware/page.aspx?p=40386&cat=3,41306,41327)

gvasale
10-07-2011, 08:31 PM
It could be that the dishwashing detergent has silica in it (or another fine abrasive.) Why I say that is because some time ago I had a leak under the sink which was eventually traced to the elbow that exited the disposal and it was worn paper thin and had a fine split in it. We don't put sand in the sink, and I doubt grinding normal food waste (no bones) is abrasive. Could there also be a chemical reaction going on too? Chlorine as a disinfectant?

Forestgnome
10-07-2011, 08:48 PM
Wow! Next time my wife tells me I'm too picky, I'll have to show her this thread. At my house, everything goes in the dishwasher. If a knife doesn't cut well, it gets sharpened. More things to do than ponder how my dishwasher is affecting the atomic structure of my knives (like hanging around on forums:D )

macona
10-07-2011, 09:05 PM
Chlorine is pretty caustic. I could eat out a elbow or P-Trap. I have seen some very thin ones when working on plumbing. Could be just natural corrosion, any oxide that builds up would be washed away by the water in that area.

Anyone with access to a SEM? Wash a bunch of razor blades in hot and cold water and see if there is a difference.

john hobdeclipe
10-07-2011, 11:17 PM
You should never wash them in hot water at all.
it takes the edges off .

I just ran out to the kitchen and washed all my wives knives in ice cold water but they still won't cut. What did I do wrong?

Your Old Dog
10-08-2011, 08:15 AM
.......................................
You should never wash them in hot water at all.
it takes the edges off .

I can't believe as many post went by before you were challenged on this one :D

Reminds me of a very early post I made years ago wherein I mentioned to the group that engravers frequently "pre-wear" the cutting surface of chisels with 4/0 jewelers sand paper to prevent the tips from snapping. Sir John, Earl of Sudspupwater had a ball with that one. :D It's true but what the hell did it matter! I've heard it said that fact is stranger then fiction sometimes.

Because of that response I don't think I ever mentioned that some engravers also believe that chisels get tired and need rested to get the best out of them. Or, now that I think of it, that some whittlers in the Ozarks believe in burying their carbon steel blades in the backyard until they get a bit of rust on them before putting them to serious use.

EDITED FOR CORRECTIVE MEASURES: I have received a flood of emails......alright, that's a lie. I received an email stating that it wasn't Sir John who belittled and disgraced my reputation, defamed my character and in general made life a living hell for me :D My rusty memory is telling me it was: ________________________

gwilson
10-08-2011, 10:04 AM
This is one of those things that everyone must do according to their beliefs. Opinions on both sides of the aisle,which I knew was going to result.

You must consider that the cutting edge,if sharp,is a very,very thin and acute surface. Can you be certain what really can happen to it? I just,based upon advice from old,long time users,wash my knives with soap and cool water,and dry them at once. This does pertain to carbon steel,BTW.

lynnl
10-08-2011, 02:08 PM
I'll tell you something else to not believe: It is bad to leave sharp files laying in direct sunlight.



Ok George, what's the story behind this one?

Man! You can't just toss these notions out here for our consumption without some entertaining and corroborating anecdotes to support them! :) That's not sporting!

But since we're in the realm of the "hard to believe," I'll toss out one that I haven't in a few years.
If you heat a pan of water (sturdy, substantial pan, e.g. cast iron) to a good rolling boil on the stove, you can then comfortably hold it in the palm of your hand, while it's still boiling.
(Caution! Be careful that it's not too full, so that the hot water doesn't splash over onto your hand or wrist.)

The reason being of course, that while the water is boiling, the whole system (pan + water) is in equilibrium, i.e. the escaping steam is taking away all of the heat from the pan bottom.

gwilson
10-08-2011, 02:11 PM
It is based upon advice from experienced butchers and other knife users. I don't so easily dismiss the advice of those with many years of experience. My work has benefitted much from such advice. That's all I can tell you.

lynnl
10-08-2011, 04:03 PM
No, I was referring to the "file in direct sunlight" issue.

Actually that one's a little easier for me to accept as a germ of truth. When you consider what any sharp edge looks like under high magnification: not one continuous keen edge, but rather a series of peaks and valleys, somewhat like a picket fence.

I can accept that over time some of those most prominent points (maybe molecules) will erode/deteriorate, and that intense, uninterrupted sunlight could tend to hasten that process.

But again, compared to the normal wear and edge deterioration from useage, I have doubts that the average file owner could ever detect a difference.

I assure you my intent here is NOT to take you or anyone else to task for offering these statements. It's just that I personally question the accuracy of some (not all) of these ideas.

Lots of good examples of this kind of folk wisdom is stuff like is found in the Farmers' Almanac, e.g. regarding planting and phases of the moon. On the surface some of it sounds like pure superstition, but over the long haul, when emperically it works out as advertised, it has to be accepted despite lack of any logical, physical explanation.

When I was in meteorology school (San Jose State), two of the professors were old navy men. They explained how many of the old folk weather predictors were very valid, when viewed in terms of modern knowledge of weather systems and parameters.

For example, the old saying "Red skies at night - sailors' delight; red skies in the morning - sailors take warning."
Well as it turns out, evening red skies are due to atmospheric conditions associated with subsidence at the levels for high clouds (cirrus) which implies a large high pressure (i.e. good weather) farther to the west. But morning red skies are a reflection of increasing mid level clouds, due to a warm front moving north, east of the sailor's position. And the warm front itself is a harbinger of a cyclone (low pressure/storm) likely to be moving in from the west later.

gwilson
10-08-2011, 06:12 PM
Things like knives in hot water and Sunlight on files always stirs up controversy. I expect it to. I just keep my files out of hot Sun,and wash carbon knives in cold water.

lazlo
10-08-2011, 06:42 PM
I don't think I ever mentioned that some engravers also believe that chisels get tired and need rested to get the best out of them.

There are more Old Wives' Tales in knifemaking than any other hobby I've endeavored.

Some Old School straight razor aficionados swear that a razor's edge needs a day to rest, and have odd and even day straight razors.

Some other ones:

"never quench a blade in a ferrous tank"
"the quench tank should be facing north, to align the magnetic field" ...

So bladesmiths often joke about aligning their anvil. Blacksmithing Feng Shui :)

Stuart: in addition to Corby/Cutler's bolts, you can also make stainless steel rivets out of Tig rod, or a tube rivet out of stainless tubing available at any knife supply, including Jantz. But if you're insistent on putting the knives in the dishwasher, should should probably be using micarta or G10 scales, and of course stainless blade steel: S30V, AEB-L/13C26, 440C... and that's quite a bit more involved to heat treat yourself. In the 'States, Texas Knife Supply, Peter's Heat Treat et al will heat treat stainless for you for around $8/blade including cryo, don't know what's available on your side of the pond.

If you're not aware, there's an outstanding, low bullsh!t knife forum in the UK: BritishBlades. Many famous US mastersmiths hang out there: Howard Clark, Kevin Cashen, ...

http://www.britishblades.com/forums/forum.php?

j.bain87
10-09-2011, 07:16 AM
So hot water ruins a sharp edge, now, is that an absolute, indisputable, proven fact, or just another old wives tale ?

OK, how many here still use a razor every morning, so what do you wash the razor in every day to clean it. This one multi-bladed, very small item is used for how long, say anywhere from 14 days to 28 days before your whiskers blunten the edges on these small items.

Now who in the heck, is still going to say washing a knife in hot water, stuffs up the edge ?

C'mon fellas, isn't this lot just a bit on the 'anal' side of things ? :rolleyes:

gwilson
10-09-2011, 09:50 AM
Razors are stainless steel. Stainless steel was the steel that enabled doctors to sterilize their instruments. A great advance. Carbon steel would dull in the autoclave.

Besides,I don't rinse my razor in hot water anyway.

lynnl
10-09-2011, 11:15 AM
....is used for how long, say anywhere from 14 days to 28 days before your whiskers blunten the edges on these small items.



I've never kept a record, but I probably use the same razor (blade) for 3 or 4 months! ...maybe as long as 6 months. (I use Schick disposables.)

Granted, it is beginning to drag and pull, before I finally toss it. But I get so many nicks and cuts with a new blade, that I postpone changing as long as possible. But I find the optimum razor performance is at about the 3 or 4 week point.

Black Forest
10-09-2011, 12:55 PM
I have been doing an experiment since I read this thread. I have been rinsing my razor in cold water instead of hot water. I use the Gilette Fusion Power razor. The blades are rediculously expensive in my mind. I get ten days if I am lucky out of a blade.

I actually think my blade is performing better. It pains me to admit there might be some truth in not washing the blade in hot water.

And for the record, my blades are not made of brass!!!!

lazlo
10-09-2011, 01:08 PM
I have been doing an experiment since I read this thread. I have been rinsing my razor in cold water instead of hot water. I use the Gilette Fusion Power razor.

Those are stainless steel blades. But thanks for the placebo false positive! :p

Your Old Dog
10-09-2011, 01:17 PM
Please read my post 21 of this thread for correction my conscience made me make. I was incorrect and I hang my head in shame.

gwilson
10-09-2011, 01:18 PM
It either works,or it doesn't,don't you think?

Thanks for being open minded,Black Forest. It never hurts to give old wisdom(which I did not invent) a chance. Sometimes it is good,though,of course,there are a lot of blind alleys out there,too.

lazlo
10-09-2011, 01:30 PM
Funny, I just Googled "rinse blade hot water" and the first hit was this post on the Mythbuster's forum.

Jim Hrisoulas is a well-known bladesmith/swordsmith, author of a series of popular books on bladesmithing, and a PhD in Metallurgy :)

Submit a Myth: Historical "Fact": Hot water blunts blades

http://community.discovery.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9551919888/m/51719176601


bezdanj
Posted 10-28-10 12:48 PM

It appears to be commong knowledge in my country (Croatia) that you should never wash a sharp knife or steel razorblade in hot water because it will get blunt much quicker. The explanation can be rarely heard, but one I heard is that the hot water can help de-temper the steel and make it less durable, hence it gets blunt quicker.

This has given me much thought while washing the dishes or shaving, but I have no precise way of checking it. I'd bet it's a myth and not a fact but I can't be sure.

Dr. J Hrisoulas
Hello..

Hot water will not have any effect upon the hardness of the steel as tempering/drawing processes are much higher (some almost 5 x depending upon the alloy) than the boiling temperature of water.

However the warmer temperature, coupled with the moisture can slightly elevate the speed of corrosion of the very thin "cutting edge" of the blade but if this would be even noticable in use? This I do not know for certain, but I doubt it. Moisture is usually the culprit when one talks about corrosion...but it can take some time and usually the blade will "dull" before that occurs..

Usually a razor gets "dull" from either errosion/wear along of the cutting edge or "roll over"..."Roll over" is usualy "correctable" by proper stropping. Actual "dulling" will require honing and then a finish stropping to remove any "wire egde" that remains and to help "smooth" the cutting edge...making for a much "smoother" cut

Nadam se ovo pomaže

JPH

gwilson
10-09-2011, 01:32 PM
Of COURSE hot water is no degrader of temper. It is the micro degrading of the cutting edge that does the job of making the knife a bit duller. It is factual that before stainless blades came along,surgeons could not autoclave their cutting edges because they would get dulled. Google that.

Autoclaving is,of course,a more extreme heat situation,but I think hot water does it too,just slower,and every time you wash the knife,it adds up.

John Stevenson
10-09-2011, 01:39 PM
Reminds me of a very early post I made years ago wherein I mentioned to the group that engravers frequently "pre-wear" the cutting surface of chisels with 4/0 jewellers sand paper to prevent the tips from snapping. Sir John, Earl of Sudspumpwater had a ball with that one. :D .

EDITED FOR CORRECTIVE MEASURES: I have received a flood of emails......alright, that's a lie. I received an email stating that it wasn't Sir John who belittled and disgraced my reputation, defamed my character and in general made life a living hell for me :D My rusty memory is telling me it was: ________________________

Well don't wash your memory in hot water, clumsy bastard............

lazlo
10-09-2011, 01:47 PM
Well don't wash your memory in hot water, clumsy bastard............

OK, now I'm morbidly curious -- who took YOD to task for the Old Wives Tale that you have to let blades (or gravers) "rest" before using them?

gwilson
10-09-2011, 02:08 PM
Strange,how I can do the work I do,and at the same time be so wrong about what I know,isn't it?

I had a guy who I taught to make guitars,and who only ever managed to produce one mediocre guitar in 3 years of trying,tell me that he knew as much about it as I did. I had hired him as my first apprentice in Williamsburg in 1970,having no one else with any experience to call upon. I had been building for about 16 years at that time.

Well,I didn't fire him. The director did.

Black Forest
10-09-2011, 03:02 PM
Mr. Wilson, Maybe your apprentice had a very skilled craftsman but unskilled teacher!

"Strange,how I can do the work I do,and at the same time be so wrong about what I know,isn't it?"

That does not make sense. The work you do is great. No doubt about that. BUT that doesn't have anything to do with why you shouldn't wash a steel knife in hot water. Just because you have always heard that you should not do it does not mean it is actually fact. I don't care how long you have been doing your good work. Makes no sense. The micro fractures could be so but I would have to have a controlled test to agree with that theory. You sound a little bit like the parent that tells the kid "because I said so!"

John Stevenson
10-09-2011, 03:08 PM
Strange,how I can do the work I do,and at the same time be so wrong about what I know,isn't it?



Magnetic personality ? :rolleyes:

gwilson
10-09-2011, 03:18 PM
Black Forest,didn't you just say that you thought you were getting better performance out of your razor by using cool water?

Tis thread has reached its conclusion. Stalemate. I'm done with it. Just head knocking about nothing,really. I just know what works for me.

Rigger
10-09-2011, 03:19 PM
God Dammit John that's another keyboard you owe me and if I keep spitting coffee all over these special forces guys I'm in deep trouble. :D

lynnl
10-09-2011, 05:46 PM
What about the hot juices encountered in slicing a roast right out of the 350F oven?

Hmmm, maybe this is why I have such trouble carving the turkey on Thanksgiving. I'll start cooling it in an ice bath from now on, prior to carving.

gwilson
10-09-2011, 05:50 PM
Not always possible to avoid bad conditions. I use an electric knife with carbide coated serrated blade. It will spoil anyone who uses one.

lynnl
10-09-2011, 06:00 PM
I use an electric knife with carbide coated serrated blade.

Speaking of serrated blades, we were given a GE electric knife as a wedding gift (1968). Have used it all these years, and I can't tell that it cuts any less efficiently than when new. Of course those are stainless blades.

Haven't seen any w/carbide or carbide coated blades. But then I haven't looked either.

gwilson
10-09-2011, 06:35 PM
Mine (I found another one) have a powdery coating of carbide on them. With it,I can slice the nicest,accurate, thin slices of turkey breast. Just wonderful for cutting meat. And,it doesn't make the most tender turkey fall apart from the effort of cutting. You should try it. I don't know if they are made any more.

I gave one to my mother years ago. She was horrified at it. Some time later,she had become completely addicted to the ease of using it,once she had gotten over being afraid of it.

John Stevenson
10-09-2011, 06:41 PM
17th Century carbide blades or brass ? :rolleyes:

lynnl
10-09-2011, 07:00 PM
I still remember the first time I used that electric knife - my first experience with one.

As I turned it on, I stuck my other thumb forward, out of habit, to test the sharpness just as I'd normally do with a regular knife. :rolleyes:

Fortunately just at the last moment I realized the folly of that. :D

Wife still reminds me of that just about every time I use it.

gwilson
10-09-2011, 07:43 PM
You are such a funny man,John. That was just so incomparably witty. Why don't you go in stage with your comedy show? Or,you COULD wait until you have something intelligent to say. But,on the other hand,I suppose you WOULD like to post again before you die of old age.

DFMiller
10-09-2011, 07:55 PM
Comedy is best with two people.

Thanks for the entertainment.
Dave