Oupa suggested I start a new thread on this subject since there seems to be a lot of interest in it. So, I thought I'd document and share the tips and techniques I use to come up with what I want to be a well made liner-lock pocket knife.
Since I have to keep up with orders and shows and "honey-do lists", I'll have to take it in stages, but I'll try to keep things rolling. What I plan to cover will start with materials I use, how to come up with a design, what tools I use and maybe most importantly, WHY I do things a certain way. As I've stated before, there are many ways to get this done, witnessed by several books, blogs, discussions and pictures about liner lock construction.
Please don't let the tools I own and use intimidate you and persuade you to think that you can't make a knife unless you have the same tools I do! Remember, I've been at this for over 25 years, and I'm not wealthy. I had to accumulate all my stuff a little at a time when there was extra money (not too often!) in the shop fund. I chose to buy them because I thought they would make life easier in the shop....they do! But if one can't make a knife with hand tools, then all the fancy equipment out there won't be of help. It just takes more time and effort. They are just a means to an end and don't determine the outcome of a project...the maker does.
My way is NOT the 'correct' way nor is it the only way. In fact, I'm hoping that by describing how I make a liner lock, those who follow along and try to make one themselves, will eventually improve upon the process and come up with better techniques and their own designs. Hopefully, they will then pass along what they've learned and discovered to someone else, and encourage another beginner in their efforts. I certainly wasn't born with the knowledge of how to make a knife. Yes, there was a lot of trial and error on my part, but it took other makers sharing what they know with me, to give me a giant head start in the whole process. After I learned the basics, I was eventually able to come up with a few improvements (to me, anyway) that made things easier and increased the odds of success for my efforts.
It helps me to think of making a knife as a simple series of steps, each one affecting the others. If the initial steps are done well, then usually, a good outcome (a nice knife you made yourself!) will follow. I've been making knives from scratch since 1983. I didn't start folders until 10 to 15 years ago, and liner locks within the last 10 years. One thing about this whole business never ceases to give me tremendous satisfaction...that my efforts please someone else to the extent that they want to give me their hard earned money for one of my knives. I can think of no greater compliment. Of course, its not about the money, though its necessary to continue making knives. If you figure an hourly wage, and then the cost of materials, this craft won't make anyone rich (there are of course, rare exceptions..). You have to love it to continue. (What's that old joke?? "If I had a million dollars, I'd just keep making knives until it was all gone...!)
Well, enough of the philosophy....the next 'installment' will get into materials used for the design work and construction of the knife. I'll try to provide meaningful photos whenever I can, and make sure we're all on the same page when it comes to terminology.
I hope this will be of some help to those interested! Please keep the posts coming with questions, comments, and of course the needling, razzing and joking for which the CLB O’ TRU BSTDS are famous.