attach with epoxy
Step 1. get the stuff....
pictured below is my ghettofab handle fabrication station. it consists of a cookie sheet, aluminium foil and a pasta roller! if you dont have a pasta roller I picked one up for this project for around $35, you could also use a rolling pin.
you will also need sculpey clay softener, I learned this the hard way, if you do not use this stuff you end up with air
bubbles and other weirdness going on inside the clay that you cannot see until you start sanding... it's ~$6
and finally Sculpey!! there are a lot of polymer clays out there I prefer Sculpey III for my pick handles. it gives a pretty good hardness while still being workable plus they offer a ton of colors.
final finally, gloves. just cheap latex ones work, the softener makes stuff get messy.
Step 2!! knead that stuff.
I didn't take any pictures of step 2 as I had gloves on and they were covered in sculpey slim.
but the jist of it, use you hands and the roller to knead in the softener into the clay, when you first open the packet the clay is kind of crumbly. we want it to get it some where between a play-do and silly putty consistency for the 2oz block of clay I used 6-8 drops total to get the clay moving right.
Step 3. roll that stuff
again not many pictures here right now. but Step 3 is form sheets!! this is where that pasta roller earns that $35 take the softened clay and run it through the roller a couple of time until you end up with a nice even sheet of clay. most pasta rollers have a thickness setting and a bonus the setting for fettuccine is right around 1/8" which is prefect IMO for handles to start. roll sheets, cut of excess and you end up with...
Step 4. cut that stuff
once you have your sheet. time to start cutting "scales", the sharper the knife the better and a ceramic knife might work better as it may be a bit more "slippery" through the clay. if the knife is dull or the clay sticks it will deform the sheet slowly with each cut. I use a pick blank as my guide/straight edge for cutting the scales, leaving about 1/16-2/16" over hang on each side.
Step 5! bake it.
follow the instructions based on your clay although honestly the sculpey instructions kinda suck for this and I semi wing it. 275f for about 10-12 minutes seems to work really well for me.
Step 6. out of the oven.
once out of the oven and cooled!(it is a bit brittle right out of the oven) you can snap apart your cut sheet. and you'll end up with a pile of scales.
Step 7. drill and prep.
Alright, at this point we have a nice stack of polymer scales and a pick shaped and ready to handles. I like to add rivets just because I like the look, they are not needed though so drilling is optional. if drilling I use the pick as a template for the holes in the scales, I used 1/16" carbide bit and dremel with drill press stand. use a fine tip sharpie make to mark the holes, drill them out then I use a carbide cutting bit on the dremel to counter sink.
Step 8. rough sand / scuff surface.
I take a 180 grit diamond coated file and rough up the surface of the pick where the handle will be attached. then I take 220 grit sanding screen and sand the inside of the scale, I also fold the screen over a few times to sand a shallow trough down the center of the scale to give a little more surface for the epoxy to grip.
Step 9. JB Weld! / epoxy
I love this stuff, this and duct tape holds the world together. I use JB Weld "original" cold set formula. you dont need a lot, use cut down street sweep bristles for mixing sticks, take a bead of epoxy and drag it down the center of the scale then I go back and evenly cover the surface. do this for both scales.
Step 10. Assemble and wait....
assemble the pick/scale sandwich, hammer rivets clamp the pick down and then wait... with the jb weld I let it set over night/ 12 hours before shaping.
Step 11. Power sanding.
Once the epoxy is set I take my dremel with a 220 grit sanding drum to get rid of all the extra material and epoxy from the top and bottom of the pick, I then use the dremel to clean up the rivets and go over the sides just to even things out a little.
Step 12. shaping and more sanding.
this is just finishing now, I like to round off all the edges of the handle for rough shaping I use 220 grit sanding screen, sand paper would work also but not nearly as well, paper tends to get gummed up quickly. after getting it shaped then I move up to 320, 400 then finally 600 girt sand paper this leaves the picks smooth but still have a matte finish, going higher the surface will shine up a bit and be more plastic feeling.
here is the pick after sanding with 320.
the handles end up pick width and around 3/8" thick so they fit nicely in any case.
if you need handles for a bunch of picks that are similar in size polymer clay scales are the shit!
p.s. the king isn't finished still needs a lot of shaping done. just wanted to get this tut finished.
Polymer Pick Handles II: the mold...