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When to drill pin holes.

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by DARblades, May 6, 2019.

  1. DARblades


    Mar 6, 2019
    I've been drilling pin holes after heat treat because I'm concerned about distortion. I have seen many makers drill before heat treat for obvious reasons. I would rather drill soft steel but am worried that the size will change in the heat treat process. Let me know your thoughts.
  2. Travis Talboys

    Travis Talboys

    Oct 30, 2018
    I always drill prior to heat treatment. You can always true up the holes later if needed, and it won't be as big of a headache as trying to drill hardened steal.
    Ken H> likes this.
  3. wayneblocker5369


    Dec 17, 2018
    Your holes should be a little over sized anyhow.
  4. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2005
    I wouldn't worry about distortion on a slightly oversized hole. I often do threaded tangs and never have had enough distortion to be a problem.
    wayneblocker5369 likes this.
  5. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Up to 2mm I drill 0,05mm over size, over 2mm I just tap it in
  6. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    Drill, countersink, ream (or at least re-drill) before heat. Make sure you don't have chips or grinding swarf in the holes when you're cleaning up for heat-treat. Easier to sand down pin stock (or drill oversize) than to drill through hard steel.
    scott.livesey and bike4fun919 like this.
  7. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    I just don't think it's that big of an issue with the sizes of parts and holes that we're dealing with. I might have to clean a little scale out of a hole on occasion, but like others have said, the tolerance of the pins and holes should allow for some minor discrepancies here and there.

    Worst case, have a carbide reamer, a barrel lap, or even just a drill bit on hand to do a quick cleanup of the hole.
  8. DARblades


    Mar 6, 2019
    Thanks all for the feed back. I do appreciate it! I'm going to dill before HT on my current batch.
  9. E.Carlson

    E.Carlson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 28, 2016
    I drill my holes right after I profile the blade as part of the profiling process. All holes are in before any bevel grinding is done.
    This tends to eliminate any encounters with the dreaded whirling blade of death.
  10. wayneblocker5369


    Dec 17, 2018
    What Ecarlson said, nothing makes me cringe more than someone drilling an just holding the blade with there bare hand!!! Safety first.
    daizee likes this.
  11. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Oh heck yeah! After profiling and before grinding bevels. I also will grind off any burrs from drilling and straighten any tweaked blades before grinding.


    Ready to grind bevels.


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