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Thread: First set of replacement scales.. Let me have your feedback

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    Senior Member MikekiM's Avatar
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    Default First set of replacement scales.. Let me have your feedback

    And, feel free to be brutal, I'm not sensitive. The only way I will get better is to get critiqued.

    These are in Blood Wood. In general, I am not a big fan of wood scales, but I have a huge inventory of hard woods so it's a good place to start. The shape is my own. I just laid the blade out, traced it and worked the lines of the scales around the blade.

    My thoughts... Here's the good:

    Shape of the scales is very nice, though I bellied the top edge just a little too deep. I really like the long pivot end, and the points don't interfere with stropping. At a snick under 1/8", I think I made them thin enough for a first attempt and can certainly make them thinner.

    Ergonomics.. stropping is comfortable. Haven't shaved with them yet, so can't comment.

    Opening and closing the blade is super smooth with no high or low spots, so guessing I got the wedge geometry close to correct, though it more luck than skill.

    Finish on the scales is rubbed CA. I used to use this technique on other wood working projects. It puts a strong coating on the wood, while letting just a hint of grain come through. I think there are about a dozen coats in and out with light sanding between. To be frank, not knowing how the scales would actually feel in service, I didn't spend as much time on the finish as I could, and I can still go back and work them further.

    Now, here's where I think I need to improve:

    The wedge. It works. The blade opens and closes smoothly. I used Corian, because of it's density and I wanted a strong contrasting color. With the naked eye it's shape looks decent. But look closer, loupe or lens, and it's a train wreck. There are gaps between the wedge and scales that I deem unacceptable. More on that in a second. I could have shaped it closer to the blade on the top. (truth told, I started shaping these scales for a different blade).

    Shaping the scales. I am deducting a few points here. Once assembled, I see that the wedge end of the scales aren't exactly symmetrical. One side is just a touch thicker in the contour on the bottom where it tapers down to the wedge. I would love some tips on how you guys get the sides to be perfect matches. The pivot end scores massive points as they came out symmetrical, smooth and pleasing to my eye. The over all shaping could use a bit more finesse. Those of you do this stuff know that once the finish goes on, all your sins become obvious. There are a few spots where I didn't contour them as well as I would like.

    Micro fasteners.. I like that they are easy enough to assemble and disassemble while working on the build-up, but I don't like the feel of them standing proud above the scales. Plus, I ordered from the materials list posted elsewhere in the forum and washers that came are way too large. They are more like pivot bushings. So I scrounged some smaller washers which a visually more pleasing with the screws, but I like the look and feel of pinning better.

    My shop tools are large for working in this scale. Table saw, band saw and a 4" bench top belt sander. I think there is a place for these tools when making scales, but not for gentle curves. The band saw is fine, the other tools need to be downsized. I should have spent more time hand sanding. I had originally made the scales a little too thick so went back to the belt sander to thin them down. With the hp and brute force this thing has (I bought it to grind steel), just one lapse in concentration took off a little too much on the inside of the wedge end on one of the scales. Irreversible.

    The other lesson I learned (no, I relearned.. I knew, but forgot).. When you are making on set, make three. It's just easier to work production style than one off and if you goof, like I did when thinning the scales, you have an easy fall back.

    If I paid for these, I would be pissed. But for a first attempt, I think they are okay. What could I do better, that I haven't already touched on?













    ...The train wreck

    I'm not even going to show you the top side of the wedge.. it's an embarrassment. Fortunately, it's easy to rebuild and replace...

    Higher resolution versions of these, plus a few more images are here....
    Last edited by MikekiM; 09-28-2013 at 05:04 PM.
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    Senior Member meleii's Avatar
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    Scales look great! To me it looks like the scales may be sanded unevenly at the wedge. The wedge looks very straight to me. Great job for a first try! Looking forward to seeing you progress.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Looks real nice. congrats and keep up the good work. The more you do the better you get

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    Senior Member Wolfpack34's Avatar
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    Great first effort! Minor workmanship flaws aside, I really like the elegant classic lines of the scales.

    Very nice job!

    WP34

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    What is the bit about being my own worst critic? To me, the biggest issues are the gaps at the wedge, and perhaps the scales still being a tad thick. Taping together with double face tape works well during shaping. You could try tapeing individual scales to a larger piece of wood while you are doing the initial thinning on your belt sander. I use screws during mock up, and pins for final assembly. Overall, I like your scales. Consider it an excellent job for your first set. You know what to do next time.

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    I'm a social vegan. I avoid meet. JBHoren's Avatar
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    Very nice! The pivot end reminds me of a pair of barber's scissors, and the rounded toe contrasts nicely with the squared-off blade end. Negatives? I find microfasteners unattractive, and much prefer the simple elegance of pins that have been filed-down flush with their collars.

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    I'd give it all up, for just a little more.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    If my first effort looks half as good (near future) I'll be happy. I like the wood, the shape and the fact that they don't appear to be bulky. I too would prefer pins to bolts but I've split enough rescales to understand your going with the fasteners. Fine job AFAIC.

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    Historically Inquisitive Martin103's Avatar
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    The scales look really good! the wedge is not all that bad, i sure can appreciate doing a wedge instead of a spacer. As other have mentioned looks like the problem is with the scales not the wedge, if you make the wedge bigger then the scales then it can be profiled with the scales.
    Also i prefer pins as well, great effort well on your way.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MikekiM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meleii View Post
    Scales look great! To me it looks like the scales may be sanded unevenly at the wedge. The wedge looks very straight to me. Great job for a first try! Looking forward to seeing you progress.
    They most certainly are.. they lack the symmetry I would demand if someone were making them for me. The wedge works, but it ain't pretty upclose.

    Quote Originally Posted by bouschie View Post
    Looks real nice. congrats and keep up the good work. The more you do the better you get
    Thanks.. I have enough wood to keep me going a long, long time, but I really want to source some bone and horn. Just can't find the pieces I want.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfpack34 View Post
    Great first effort! Minor workmanship flaws aside, I really like the elegant classic lines of the scales.

    Very nice job!

    WP34
    Thank you Sir! I drew ideas from a few of my favorite razors.. then balanced them out.

    Quote Originally Posted by skipnord View Post
    What is the bit about being my own worst critic? To me, the biggest issues are the gaps at the wedge, and perhaps the scales still being a tad thick. Taping together with double face tape works well during shaping. You could try tapeing individual scales to a larger piece of wood while you are doing the initial thinning on your belt sander. I use screws during mock up, and pins for final assembly. Overall, I like your scales. Consider it an excellent job for your first set. You know what to do next time.
    Well, I am not entirely new to creating stuff.. migrating my skills over to scales is a challenge. Much smaller size to contend with. I believe if you can't be the first to identify your shortcoming, you'll have a hard time taking critique from others.

    I did have the two sides taped together up until the final hand sanding. Taping to a larger piece of wood makes good sense. I actually did that for the initial sizing. I rough cut the stock from a larger slab of Blood Wood, using the band saw. Cleaned the saw marks and slight burn marks using a surface planer. The minimum thickness and size of the rough stock required that I use a support board. It was at that step that I should have gone thinner. Live and learn. And I did use the screws through out the mock up. I we pretty sure I was going to be redoing the wedge so figured sacrificing a set of screws to be able to disassemble later, made good sense as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBHoren View Post
    Very nice! The pivot end reminds me of a pair of barber's scissors, and the rounded toe contrasts nicely with the squared-off blade end. Negatives? I find microfasteners unattractive, and much prefer the simple elegance of pins that have been filed-down flush with their collars.

    VERY NICE!!
    Thank you... I totally agree on the micro fasteners. And I don't like the feel either. I have an idea that might allow the use of the screw as an adjustable pivot, without the nast look of the screws as they are. We'll see if it works.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyHAD View Post
    If my first effort looks half as good (near future) I'll be happy. I like the wood, the shape and the fact that they don't appear to be bulky. I too would prefer pins to bolts but I've split enough rescales to understand your going with the fasteners. Fine job AFAIC.
    Again, thanks. And I agree on the fasteners. The wood turned out better than I expected, though not as nice as some camel bone or blonde horn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin103 View Post
    The scales look really good! the wedge is not all that bad, i sure can appreciate doing a wedge instead of a spacer. As other have mentioned looks like the problem is with the scales not the wedge, if you make the wedge bigger then the scales then it can be profiled with the scales.
    Also i prefer pins as well, great effort well on your way.
    Oh no.. the wedge sucks. It's functions properly, but it looks horrid if you look closely. I did make the wedge bigger, then taped and bolted it to one side so I could size it down, then did the final sanding by hand. I think I needed to bring it in earlier in the shaping process. Again, live and learn. I'll do better on the next one. The scales just needed more time with sanding.. and to be a little thinner.

    And to wrap today's adventure up.. Today's Shave out on the deck....

    Hot Shower, Ice Water Rinse
    Rattler & Co, refreshed in Blood Wood scales
    Mike's Natural, Lemongrass & Eucalyptus
    Custom Boar
    Ice Water Rinse
    C&E West Indies Lime


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