How to Make Better Bolsters


Between eyeballing the proper position according to my design, and then refining by measuring, I’m going to mark out the placement of holes to drill by scribing an “X” at the center point.

I’m now going to line up a center punch on the crosshairs, knock the top of the punch lightly with a rawhide or plastic mallet, and therefore register a mark for drilling my holes.

A Bit Closer to the Bit

I like to work as close to the drill bit as possible. My table only rises to a certain level, so I raise my work up closer to the tip of the drill bit by placing the bolster on a precision 1-inch-by-2-inch-by-3-inch block.

Make certain the table is square and level and that all work surfaces are clean, assuring a perfect hole.

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Drilling into any material, and especially titanium, requires even pressure, and above all, patience. Proper drilling is done by penetrating the material in small increments, backing the drill bit out, then burrowing a little deeper into the material; in and out, in and out. Do not drill all the way through the material in one motion; you are sure to wear out your tools, as well as potentially break the drill bit off in your material.

The holes will eventually be tapped for 2-56 screws, so the drill bit to use here is a number 50. Drill bits come in regular, long and short lengths. I prefer the short bits because they are more than adequate as far as flute length goes. Rarely in knifemaking is any one hole drilled over an inch deep. The shorter the drill bit, the sturdier it is, which also helps eliminate wobble.

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