1/31/04 It’s glued up and almost ready to pin. I’ll clean up the excess JB Weld around the pins and front of the bolster before I peen. It’s important to clean the pins up so there isn’t any trapped when they are peened. Cleaning the excess from the front of the bolster allows you to see that the bolster is firmly seated against the blade with no gaps.I’ll clean out the dovetail when it is done being peened. The JB Weld has a working time of 20 to 30 minutes so there is no need to hurry and make a mistake.

1/31/04 To start the peen, I use the flat side of the ball peen hammer. This gets the mushroom started. I flip the blade several times to keep the progress even. The bolsters move around quite a bit at this stage so you have to constantly flush them up against the blade using a C clamp or pliers. If your pin holes are loose, you also need to make sure they don’t get out of alignment by checking the top and bottom corners. Tap them back into place if they slip. Once the mushroom of the pin is well formed, use the peen side of the hammer to finish the full rivet. It’s not important if it’s pretty, it’s going to get ground off anyway. The other thing I’m concerned with here in this picture is if my hair is thinning on top.

1/31/04 I’m wearing latex gloves to keep the JB Weld off of my skin. It is basically an epoxy and all epoxies are sensitizing and carcinogens. After peening a few of these, you will appreciate wearing hearing protectors. Remember, keep the bolsters flush against the blade and check the alignment frequently during the whole process. What holds the bolsters in place is swelling the pins by the peening process. The mushroom head helps push the bolsters flush against the blade but only a little. Using a C clamp several times to squeeze it all tight during the peening as the pins swell is critical here.


1/31/04 Once the peening is done, it’s time to bring out the big hammer. The 3 pound maul is used to compress and swell the pin stock. It gets a couple dozen serious thumps with this on both sides.


2/1/04 Here is a close up of the finished job. The pin stock is nearly flush with the bolster material. After it cures for a day I will grind off the remaining pin stock flush with the bolster and continue grinding the bolster down to 220 grit to remove all the dings, dents and pits to a smooth finish. When that is done, I’ll cut off the most of the excess bolster with the band saw and then grind the top and bottom edges flush to the blade. After that, I will continue to finish the bolsters to a mirror polish.

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Mickley Custom Knives