The M-Zone!

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  • Flex Cut knife repairs

    after one month of use the blade of my FlexCut (large) roughing knife began walking out ... noticing this (thank you, God) before inflicting personal injury, i pushed it back in and continued.  within a minute it fell out on its own

    hardly having used the knife, i was shocked.  well, not that shocked ... it being an American product.  as the blade's tang (not to be confused with 'tang or Tang TM) had no retaining pin, and was hardened and tempered steel, my fooling around making a hole might damage the factory hardening and temper.  a different solution was called for

    to the Googleplex !  (search engine results for ''FlexCut knife failure blade loose'', etc)

    eventually i turned to the forum pages of a wood carving web site.  after being told on the carving forum that this is not unusual, i decided to be prepared for 'next time', if this happens again

    what advice did the professionals give ?

    some advised me to apply Super Glue to hold the blade in place.  while that may work it is not a solution that i can live with

    others suggested using epoxy.  as an Epoxy fanatic this seems like a good choice, but for the lack of a mechanical bond beyond that of the limited surface areas coming into contact.  personally, i'd need to cut the handle in half, carve out a recess in each half, and lay epoxy into the recess to hold the blade in place - but that's just me

    others reported their experiences of friendly people answering the phone, so i called the manufacturer's 800 number and arranged for a replacement.  while the replacement knife might work like a dream, i also have a (large) detail knife from the same company, and am concerned that either might pose the same problem in the near future

    so a more long-term solution follows :

    after making a mold of the knife handle, i will be able to insert the blade into the end of the mold and pour a new replacement handle made of a durable polyurethane (like that on a heavy-duty caster, with a durometer rating of around 80 or 90).  epoxy on the blade's tang will provide the mechanical interlock between the blade and the handle that will allow me to sleep at night


    here are the mold pieces i quickly banged together out of scrap ; some hardboard (Masonite) and a strip of wood

    mold parts clamped and secured to bottom

    the sides are clamped together (to the predetermined internal dimensions), then fixed to the bottom

    bottom mold edges sealed with hot glue

    after clamping, a bead of hot glue is applied to the bottom edges.  this is probably not necessary as the mold material is full to bursting with viscosity goodness

    ready to pour, making the mold

    using a pair of Chinese chopsticks (a staple here at the Easy Bake Laboratories) i friction clamped the blade, and suspended the knife above the floor of the mold.  the thickness at the top of the mold is important because the thickness there will hold the blade in position during future pouring ; the handle will be poured from what is currently the bottom of the mold.  that is to say, when used, this mold will be inverted and a small sprue (cut into what is here the bottom of the mold) will provide the ingress for the polyurethane (the replacement handle material)

    the reason for all the screwing around with inverting the mold is that i want the front of the replacement handle (where the blade enters the handle) to look as if it were factory fresh

    the knife floats, secured with weight

    being made of wood the handle is naturally buoyant ... not flamboyant - that would just be gay.  floating problem solved

    weight removed, tape applied

    after the molding material began to cure the weight was removed and the chopsticks were taped down (in the event it was still able to move), allowing for less impeded visual inspection while the mold cures completely


    FlexCut customer service repLIED to my email :

    Hi Marc,
    I apologize that you are having a problem with your knife. To answer your
    1. We do stand behind our products. Your knife clearly sounds like it is
    defective. To get a replacement, please forward the broken knife to: Flexcut
    Tool Company, Attn: Returns, 8105 Hawthorne Drive, Erie PA  16509. Be sure
    to include your name, shipping address (no P.O. boxes) and a phone number in
    case we need to reach you. All replacement are shipped via UPS Ground.
    2. This is NOT a common problem. We do have Quality Control in place,
    however, sometimes they still slip by.
    3. I cannot say whether your other knife will do the same thing. If it does,
    please follow the above procedure to get a replacement.
    4. While we strive to make quality tools that will last, I cannot say if you
    will continue to have these problems.
    Please do not hesitate to contact us should you continue to have problems
    with your tools or if you have any other questions.
    Customer Service
    Flexcut Tool Company, Inc.
    Fax: (814) 866-7312

    what a relief to know that all the members on the wood carving board are mistaken about how often this happens ...

    before demoulding knife

    before removing the knife from the mold, having trimmed the edges with a scalpel

    mold test

    here is a test casting using Laboratory Plaster (dental grade) which ensures the mould has no serious flaws

    Booyah !

    when the replacement knife arrives i'll keep an eye on it.  if the blade falls out again i will be ready to sculpt some epoxy onto the blade's tang and pour a new replacement handle made of a durable polyurethane (like that on a heavy-duty caster, with a durometer rating of around 80 or 90).  epoxy on the blade's tang will provide the mechanical interlock between the blade and the handle

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