I decided to reinforce the throat of the handle with epoxy and carbon fiber tape. Instead of doing like before, and embedding the tang in carbon fiber and epoxy, I just used epoxy.
That was all good luck; I had not yet had the benefit of the commentariat’s advice regarding carbon fiber’s electrochemical properties with steel.
The decision to wrap the throat had more to do with my having turned them slightly smaller than was ideal for the ferrules. So “oops! what do I do now?” came into play. The other alternative would have been a less mobile epoxy paste like PC-7, which would have also worked just fine.
I twisted the ferrules down onto that gooey mess,cleaned them up, and then made another gooey mess the next day, seating the tangs down into the drilled holes in the handles. It was a good fit, lubricated with G-Flex and I’m pretty sure that those are in there for good this time.
Before I permanently attached the blades, I gave them a bath in some ferric chloride to bring out the pattern in the metal. It’s a whole lot easier putting just the blade in the ferric tank, than having to figure out how to somehow suspend the whole kaboodle.
Well, I said I wanted “dramatic”, right? I did a bit of polish on the cutting edge to make it more visually distinct, and did some highlight polish on the chamfers on the shoulders – stuff like that. One problem with great big masses of steel is that they tend to look slabby and flat unless you put some thought into how the viewer’s eye is going to move on the piece.
There is still a little cleanup to do, so I left the wrapping on the handles. There’s vaseline on the tangs, so in principle that stuff should lift right off with a touch of a knife.
But, then, something occurred to me…