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Scale Finishing Project - Step 2


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In step 1 of this project, we managed to get the scales ready for glueing and pinning. We also looked at several options for our wedge and made some choices.

In step 2, we are going to drill the wedge and scales for both the pivot end and wedge end. Then we are going to glue the wedge in place, making sure the pivot end is aligned correctly. We have a lot of stuff to cover so let's get to it.

The first thing I want to cover is the wedge. I measured the thickness of the blade just ahead of the pivot hole. It was 4mm wide. Remember our rule of thumb, make the wedge 1/2 the thickness we just measured. I made the wedge 2mm and here is what that looks like.



Now we have all the pieces required to get the scales set and mount the blade. The first thing we need to do then is decide where the pivot point of the blade is going to be located, mark it and drill both scales, at the same time, so we have an exact alignment. To do this, we will take one scale and place the blade on top of it and find a position for the pivot pin that lies on the flat of the scale. Be careful here and don't make the mistake of allowing the washer to lay over the curve. Here, we are looking for that perfect location.


After finding the location, we mark it with a magic marker, as you can see in this photo.


And here is a group of the scales blade and wedge with the pivot mark on the upper scales.


Now we need to put the pair of scales together, lign them up and clamp them together. We will then put them in the drill press, make sure the bottom side is flat and perpendicular to the 1/16" drill bit and drill the hole. After the hole is drilled, we will put a #80 screw through the pin hole.


It is time to figure out where the wedge is going to go. We will mount the blade on the pin and mark the location for the wedge. Usually we want between 1/16" and 1/8" clearance from the tip of the blade. With the blade in position, place the wedge on the scale, and mark the finished location with a marker.




Now, we need to temporarily glue the wedge in place on the marked scale. I use only 1 small drop of CA glue to do this.



Now that we have the wedge temporarily in place, we need to mark where we want to install the pin. Here we will simply decide, by looks, and mark its position.


Next, we will take this out to the drill press and drill our 1/16" hole. When we drill this hole, we want to make sure we have the center line of the wedge perpindicular to the drill bit. After drilling the hole, I took this photo to try and illustrate that alignment by using a pin in the hole and setting the centerline horizontal to the square. As you can see, once that is done, the pin is perpindicular to that center line.


Now comes the fun part. We need to drill the remainder of the wedge hole, but it is critical that this end up in perfect alignment with the pivot pin. Getting this hole out of alignment is usually the cause for blades not centering on the scales.

To do this we will put the scales together at the pivot end using an adjustable pin and washers. Once the pin is in, we will clamp the two wedge ends together and begin to align them with the pivot hole.


By squeezing the pivot end together and trying to move the pin back and forth, we can tell if there is a misalignment. If there is, try and reposition the clamp and recheck. Make sure you do not cover the bottom scale where the drill bit is goin to exit when you drill it. Once you can move the pin freely, drill the rest of the hole using the same procedure as described above.


Once we get the drilling completed on the wedge end, we are ready to start putting the scales together. But first, we need to remove the wedge from the scale it was temporarily glued to. Removing the wedge is easy, you just pop it off with a razor knife. Before you do that, though, put a mark on one side so you don't install it backwards on the scales.


Now the scales are ready to glue to the wedge. Here are some of the miscellaneous items I will be using.

The wedge is made from a very oily wood, Ebony, and needs to have that oil removed. Either one of these products will do that just fine. I chose Acetone just because I put the other away first.


The adjustable pin that goes through the wedge end, needs to be coated with somethin to keep it from being glued into the end, and I have had this happen more than once. Since I am a fly tyer, I had some dubbing wax available and use that. Vaseline, chapstick, or anything like that will also work.


Of course there are the various screws, nuts and washers.


The final product is my choice of epoxy. I use System 3 T-88. It is a slow setting epoxy with incredible bonding qualities. I think you could use any other epoxy that takes 8hrs to set, but I haven't tried them.


So now we are ready to do the glueing. Prep the surface of the wedge and scales with the oil remover, coat the pin with wax, and mix a couple of dollups of epoxy with a toothpick. You are now ready to go.


Spread a light amount of the epoxy on the scale where the wedge goes. Don't over do this, it will make a real mess.


Put the pin through the wedge and aligh the edge of the wedge with the mark we made earlier. Then put a little glue on the top of the wedge.


Put the remaining scale on and the washers and nut. Holding the nut with your fingers, tighten the screw with as tight as you can.


Add the pivot pin, align the scales as before and tighten the wedge end down tight. Recheck the alignment, and if it is good, let the scales set for the night.


That wraps up part 2 of this project. In step 3, we will finish the razor.

Here is a tip you might want for that step. In order for the pins to have a really nice rounded look, you need to make sure the tool you make them with is finished also. Here is a photo of the peen end of my 2oz hammer. Notice the polished finish.


As always, questions are welcomed




Well-Known Member
Absolutely outstanding Sir Ray thank you
You are a very skilled dude for sure
I think its wonderful of you to share your knowledge and talent with us all, I am soon going to be making a set of olive wood scales and I have no doubt at all that this article will be of the utmost help :thumbup:
Thanks again my friend its all so very very cool


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That's a little late, but...

Olive wood? :w00t: Wow, when I was in Italy in 2008 we went to a woodworker's shop in Orvieto, AFAIR. I guess everything there was made of olive wood and I was just struck with the beauty of it. Where do you get this? Consider the finish, you might want to save that fantastic smell.

Or maybe you're already done with this, won't you share some results, Ralfy?

kind regards,


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well.. it sits in my drawer awaiting me as we speak, the wood not the scales problem I have is finding/choosing which blade to use, I am happy with all of my razors, and any I have that need scales dont inspire me at this time, I will have to set my heart more at it, and will of course post the results.
as far as finish, i was thinking of CE glue, but the smell would be lost forever, any suggestions would be wonderful


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Hm... I've heard of microcrystalline wax finish, or maybe just oil finish would do the job? I saw plates, bowls, kitchen boards, they seemed to have been oiled and still were giving off this lovely smell. The question is whether these kinds of finish would endure shaving conditions. Some experts' advice needed.



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matis said:
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Salad bowl finish will work. The only difference between it and other finishes is that it is certified as "food safe". The primary thing you need to look out for is the amount of oil released by the wood itself. Some high oil emitters are Rosewood, Gaboon Ebony and Cocobolo. On these types of wood you must use either CA finishes or Oil finishes and no others. If you try, let's say, a laquer finish it will just peel off.



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Wonderfull article Ray!

Have a question though : Wedges! These darn things are really tricky to make..Are there any easy way of making them ? All the attempts I did resulted in an uneven rounded surface that wont fill the gap between the scales so I always end up making them the simple way: Same thickness allover. They still do their job...but its annoying :p

regards gents


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rayman said:
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But Olive wood is not a high oil releaser is it? I am aiming to make a start at these today, however I lack even the basic wood working tools so I expect a bit of an adventure along the am I right in thinking that I can use almost any water resistant finish on the olive wood?


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tat2Ralfy said:
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Dont worry about the tools, I made some scales with a coping saw, sandpaper, and a borrowed cordless drill for the pin holes. Oh, and the hammer i used for peening definately wasnt a light peening hammer - was some chunky square thing. And well, how did it turn out? not too bad. Ill post pics at somepoint. :thumbup:


Active Member
I'll second that. I don't use any power or any special tools when I make mine. I carve the rough shape using a small carving chisel or a small knife. Then hand sand everything down to around 1500 grit then switch to steel wool if needed. I drill my holes by using a small drill bit turning between my fingers. I also use a coping saw to rough out the small block i get each side with. I do have a very small hammer I use at times but I tend to gravitate to small screw or micro bolt and washers-nut on each end.
If anything its a nice way to spend an evening ! and each one is a learning experience you just cant get without getting in there and trying!


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Ah, thank you Ray :)
So I have Gun oil,Danish oil (takes over night to dry and smells like shit) a couple of different yacht varnishes (both in satin) or good old clear epoxy, oh and CA of course, but alas no boiled linseed to cure it with, mmm we will have to see..


Well-Known Member
Ah, thank you Ray :)
So I have Gun oil,Danish oil (takes over night to dry and smells like shit) a couple of different yacht varnishes (both in satin) or good old clear epoxy, oh and CA of course, but alas no boiled linseed to cure it with, mmm we will have to see..