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Phil Pascoe

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Has anyone rehandled a pig sticker? How did you cut out the hole? i've three nice ones to do and I'm debating splitting a nice straight tight grained piece of ash, cutting it to fit then glueing it back - it would never split on the glue line. I suppose I could drill it, but as the hole tapers both ways that's probably less than ideal. I wonder how they were done originally?
 

Droogs

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I used ash to rehandle one of mine and just drilled a hole slightly smaller than the full width of the tang ie if the tang was 10mm than I drilled an 8mm hole. then just used the gas torch on the tang and once hot hammered on the handle. That was 3 years ago and its still on there
 

AJB Temple

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Agree with the guys above. I burnt mine in. Example the same method as for Japanese knives.
 

D_W

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Not a pigsticker, but I've burned in a couple of other tang chisel handles. It works wonderfully, especially if the tang is a little rough (incredible holding power vs. what you'd expect)
 

AES

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Not sure about pig stickers or chisels, but the above "burning in" method is the recommended method when you want to fix wooden (not plastic!) handles permanently to files. Never tried it myself, but understand it works well. Come to think of it, if you got the temp "just right/not TOO hot" it would probably work well on plastic handles too.

And yes, just WHY are they called pig stickers?
 

Jacob

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Drill a hole in the blank small enough to make it a tight fit but not so small as to split it. Could do it in two drill sizes for the taper.
Bang in the tang until it is tight fit. If it won't go, pull it out and rasp the corner marks inside the hole. Once firmly in that's it - don't take it out again.
You could wet it a bit then it'll rust in even tighter.
Shape handle (by eye) to fit the oval bolster and line up straight with the sharp edge on centre line.
"Pig stickers" I guess a recent nick-name, as they do look a bit fierce. More usually called "mortice chisel"
 

Phil Pascoe

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I appreciate that's the usual way of fitting a tang, I've always done it that way. I would think there has to be better way for these, though - I'd have to drill a 20mm hole for one of them, which would leave a huge gap around the oblong tang. I think a partial drilling then burning may be the way.
 

Jacob

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phil.p":7tnbis5m said:
I appreciate that's the usual way of fitting a tang, I've always done it that way. I would think there has to be better way for these, though - I'd have to drill a 20mm hole for one of them, which would leave a huge gap around the oblong tang. I think a partial drilling then burning may be the way.
Combination of drilling and chiselling? Drill first, fit tang as far as will go, chisel out where it binds - you can tell by looking down the hole.
I don't fancy burning at all - what a palaver! Sounds like one of those "good ideas" which get put about but never get put away again! There's a lot of them around.
PS it doesn't have to be tidy it just has to be a tight fit - enough to stop it dropping off. If it did drop off you just cut say 5mm of the hole end and tap it back on.
 

AndyT

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Chiselling works, so does burning. Burning is what we were taught at school for file handles and no boy that wanted to survive would argue with Mr Jackson... :)
 

Phil Pascoe

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Jacob":18hmom43 said:
PS it doesn't have to be tidy it just has to be a tight fit - enough to stop it dropping off. If it did drop off you just cut say 5mm of the hole end and tap it back on.
Good point. Just make the thing over length to start and you have leeway. :D
 

dannyr

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Thought I'd posted, but seems to have disappeared -- being 'moderated?

I've removed quite a few of what look like original beech handles from old 'stickers' - you can see from charring that some 'burnt in' for final fit and some (more) did not. Another thing some makers did was to chisel a few small 'barbs' of about 3mm into the metal of the tang edges to keep it in place in the handle.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I've seen a couple that were undoubtedly rusted in, whether deliberately or not, who knows?
I've not seen any with barbs, but it makes sense - it's a quick taper if they don't fit very well.
 

Cheshirechappie

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thetyreman":1gsp5vva said:
why are they called pig stickers?
As far as I can gather, it's a North American colloquialism; the British version is 'Oval Bolstered Mortice Chisel'. However, the use of the phrase 'pig sticker' for an OBM chisel seems to have crossed the pond in recent decades.

A quick interweb image search brought up a lot of Peppa Pig stickers, and some fearsome looking very heavy-duty knives. The phrase 'sticking a pig' used to be used to describe the action of despatching one for the purposes of turning it into chops, bacon and pies back before the days of humane stunning (among other, arguably less savoury activities); presumably this required the use of a fairly substantial tool, hence the use of the phrase to describe something large and sharp.
 

rxh

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I start with an oversize rectangular block of wood. I trace the shape of the tang on the sides and use these lines to guide the drilling of two holes of the correct width in "V" formation. I make and fit an oversize leather washer to the tang. Then I chisel out the remainder of the waste, inserting the tang frequently to check how the operation is going. When I think I have removed enough waste I hold the chisel in a vice and drive on the block. If I am lucky all is well - it is a fine line between splitting the block and it being too loose. Then I shape the block with spokeshave, rasp and cabinet scraper.
 

ED65

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Re. burning in generally, a lot of the objections to it are based on the assumption that you're literally burning the wood, and some people do heat the tang until it's glowing so when they press it home you'll see flame and it produces gouts of smoke. But it can be done with the tang heated to well below this temp, which scorches the wood but doesn't burn it and the tang hole is far less weakened by the process. It takes longer needless to say, but you get there in the end.

But whatever method you use to make a hole if you end up with a sloppy fit the handle is by no means a write-off. You can successfully fix a chisel tang in place with any number of glue + powder concoctions that equate to the "cutler's cement" of old, the simplest version of which is just epoxy + wood dust. There should be no concerns about such a mix being incapable of taking impacts, filled epoxy is widely used in shotgun and rifle stock repairs and fitting.
 

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Cheshirechappie":1akx4k1u said:
thetyreman":1akx4k1u said:
why are they called pig stickers?
As far as I can gather, it's a North American colloquialism; the British version is 'Oval Bolstered Mortice Chisel'. However, the use of the phrase 'pig sticker' for an OBM chisel seems to have crossed the pond in recent decades.

A quick interweb image search brought up a lot of Peppa Pig stickers, and some fearsome looking very heavy-duty knives. The phrase 'sticking a pig' used to be used to describe the action of despatching one for the purposes of turning it into chops, bacon and pies back before the days of humane stunning (among other, arguably less savoury activities); presumably this required the use of a fairly substantial tool, hence the use of the phrase to describe something large and sharp.
Sticking a pig is a particular technique to bleed the carcass: instead of cutting the carotid arteries in the neck, you insert your pig sticker directly into the heart and wiggle it about a bit. With the pig hoisted, all the blood drains out through holes in the heart. This mortice chisel looks perfect for the job.

You may want to remember that the pig often objects to this treatment, as the advice is to hoist the pig whilst alive. (The advice is also to never butcher a pig that is overheated, excited or very, very angry because dangling from one leg). Butchery for real men.

Edit: forgot to mention boar spears: when hunting wild boar, you hold a spear and let the charging boar run into the blade. It has a cross-piece to stop the boar running up the full-length of the spear and eating you owing to being excessively peeved. This may also be called a pig-sticker.
 
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