When I started the modification of the alox Bantam I faced all kind of problems and I made any possible mistake.
I thought I was well prepared because I studied much about modding and rivets.
Theory is invaluable but when we go to the workshop things look different.
We can play war games all day long in the computer but when in the field of at the shooting range our weakness and lack of experience betray us.
Modding alox SAKs is all the rage. Alox does not forgive mistakes and our work is exposed. The are no cellidor scales to cover the poor workmanship.
I’ve studied a lot about rivets and rivet setting before getting started. Riveting is the most difficult part when modding an alox SAK and can lead to fatal errors.
Everything else is reversible but mistakes when riveting may destroy our work.
So let’s get started. We’ll use the destroyed Bantam for demonstration.When things go badWe missed the Center of the rivet
It was not our lucky day, meaning we were careless and hasty.
We tried to remove the rivet of the scale-donor with the drill and punch method but we had a slip and the drill drilled the alox scales near the rivet.
If that happens to the Bantam we just throw it away and get a new one.
But what if we drilled wrong our beloved, expensive and discontinued blue farmer?
No matter how loud we cry and curse, the hole will be there forever and we can not call this “character”.
Without a press we cannot make the head of the new rivet wide enough to cover the hole. The head of the rivet will eventually crack and break if we try to make it extra wide.
So our project failed before it even started.
But there is still something we can do.
One of our donors is probably a cellidor SAK. And after we disassembled it we had those spare rings:
Maybe we can use them to correct our mistake.
Let’s do this.
This is the drawing of the ring:
We widen the hole and insert the ring. This will support the rivet.
We set the rivet on the other side:
If we use our ball peen hammer with a little patience we can make the ring/rivet system to look like a massive rivet. One body one soul:
I think it’s better to have a rivet with a big head that to have a hole near the rivet.
The diameter of that head is 5mm. A normal one would be 3mm. Anyway a 5mm head is not that huge after all. And finally we convince our selves that we’ve made a rivet and knife with “character”, one of a kind etc.
We better use a guide or even better a vertical base for the drill. There are bases with a vice which hold the knife securely.The knife explodes
We forgot to tie the knife with tape and it exploded.
There is no need to remove the already set rivets and start from the beginning.
With a thin screwdriver or something similar we can push the backspring and the blade goes back to the right position.
If we are making a SAK with 3 or 4 layers this is tricky but we will get there eventually. The exposed part of the pin which will form a round head is too long.
If we keep on hitting with the hammer this will lead to a rivet with cracked head because of metal-fatigue. And after too many strkes the possibility to hit the scales is raising dramatically. Also the finished knife will most likely have a noticable horizontal blade play.
We better shorten the pin with a file. If we have already started and have a nice round head say 0.7 or 1mm away from the scales then it’s better to file the head or a part of it and then continue with the hammer. The finished knife is too tight and the blades do not close with the backspring action.
We oil the joints and see if it improves.
If not we open an opener and stretch it horizontally. This will stretch the rivet a bit and this is enough in most cases.Not all parts (scales, backsprings, blades) are on the same axis.
This is caused because of a wrong hole (not fully centered) or a bent pin.
That will maybe lead to a blade which does not fully opens and this is an accident waiting to happen.
We can baton with the knife with care and not much force. We do not hit the spine near the tip or in the middle but near the pivot. A few light hits and we try the blade and so on.
This will bend the brass pivot/pin slightly and the blade will fully open.
If the problem is a big one or if we baton too hard, then we’ll finally have a noticable vertical blade play.
If we are working with black alox scales
and scratch them, there is a nice product for black anodizind.
I have used it to anodize black flashlights and aluminium gun parts and works great. However it doen’t give a hard anodizing but only a very thin and quite sensitive anodized layer.Our limits
If you are a novice like me and you’ve made an acceptable and functional rivet and you notice that you do not see a serious improvement any more then stop!
We may think that with a few more hits with the hammer we’ll make that rivet perfect.
Well, the possibilities are that we’ll crack the head or hurt the scales. Besides excessive hitting may lead to a bent pivot and the blades will lose the initial axis.
The difference between an acceptable rivet and a perfect one is not just a few hits but few months or years of experience.
Let’s face it, we are not Scibeer and we better be happy with what we’ve achieved.
As an engineer and remote control model airplane modeler I’ve seen too many damaged projects for the sake of perfection.