Jump to content

Welcome to Ramanon
We are a community dedicated to knives, guns, and archery. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today! Having issues signing up? Contact us here!
Photo

Making a liner lock folder...One way to do it...Intro and a bit o' Philosophy

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
225 replies to this topic

#1
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 2
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.

Knipper
Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#2
blind_mouse

blind_mouse

    thieve

  • Members
  • 724 posts
  • 0
I am an excited and HAPPY Bastid!!

Cannot wait to try one "your way". Aparently my way dosent work very well.:wg:

Thank you for the time you will put into this!!

:beernana:
--BM

Ye Dessert dwellin', Ale drinkin', Metal meltin', Outside-the-box-thinkin' Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

McGurk: I was right and you were wrong....and now you're miserable.... and that is good.
_/
/ G
_/

#3
mitch13

mitch13

    Minister of Leather

  • Members
  • 2,736 posts
  • 0
Terry good on you mate:tu::tu:
I just made it a sticky thread, so it's easy to find:D
Mitch
Redhand Leather
http://www.allaboutp....php?category=3

"ye Original Sneaky Bstd (CLB OF TRU BSTDS)"

#4
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 0
Thanks, Mitch...I hope I can do it justice!

Knipper
Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#5
TC_Blades

TC_Blades

    Ramanon ownz me and I need a custom title

  • Members
  • 1,179 posts
  • 0
I for one am so thankful for this thread Terry. Very exciting!!!! :nanadance

#6
Karel

Karel

    Champion Nessmuk Builder

  • Members
  • 1,556 posts
  • 0
I cant wait for trying my new milling/drilling machine on some folders.

Thank you for this thread. Impatiently waiting for the continue.
Karel aka cosco
Ye Original Perfectionist Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

My Gallery 1 My Gallery 2

#7
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 0
In trying to organize this "virtual seminar", its becoming clear that its going to be a bit more complicated than if all of you could just look over my shoulder in my shop! I'd be there to instantly answer questions and show you first hand.

So, I'd like to propose that we start with an established pattern of mine, which I'll post here as soon as I get a good image. That way, I can write in some terminology that defines the parts of the blade and liners etc. With a reference as to what I call things and where they are, we can all be on the same page when questions arise. For example, when I'm referring to a particular part of the knife, I can just say "locking surface of the tang, 'figure A' and you can look at the diagram and know exactly where it is and what I'm talking about.

When I post the image, I'm hoping it will be actual size...maybe a PDF format would be best. What I recommend, is that you print this off and make several copies. The next step would be to cut out the various components from the drawings (cut INSIDE the pencil lines), paste them on some thin scrap such as sheet metal, and cut/grind them to shape. Drill holes where I show them and make an actual metal pattern. They should then fit together in a way that you can see and feel what is going on when the parts work together. You don't have to cut the tab, or anything like that, but just seeing how the blade pivots, and fits within the handle shows a lot! You can then see how removing metal, changing the dimensions in a given area, or shifting the position of stop pin holes or the pivot hole affects other components. Everything you do on these knife parts affects something else.

The pattern will be a Wharncliffe (in fact, the one I'm going to use for Oupa's knife) as it appears to be popular Down Under:)

When you understand the relationship between the parts, the sky is the limit when it comes to designing a different blade or handle shape. When I want to do a new design, I sketch out the profile of the entire knife when it is open. Then I put a dot where I think the pivot should be (NOTE: it is very rare that a design will work when the pivot hole is CENTERED on the blade tang...you need to leave room for the spacer bar when closed, so the pivot hole is usually closer to the edge side of the knife, than it is to the back side. Start with 55% of the width of the tang from the back of the blade, and adjust from there) I trace the pattern on mylar drafting film (much more durable than tracing paper or vellum) and then trace the blade only on another sheet. After lining up the pivot dots, I put a straight pin through the pivot dot, and rotate the blade tracing so it folds into the handle area. Then I can see where I need more room and what problems I'll encounter.

You can start your own design that way, or just with the blade or handle, depending on what you want the knife to look like. If you want a particular blade shape, then draw it, put in a dot where you want the pivot, and then make another tracing of the blade. put a pin through the pivot area and rotate the blade so the point is down (in what will be a closed positon). Now trace those together on one sheet. With the blade open and closed, you can see what shape the handle will need to be to accommodate that blade shape. Or...start with a handle shape you'd like. Establish where the pivot might be and draw the blade within the handle. Trace the blade shape on another sheet and then using a pin on the pivot again, rotate the blade shape into the open position. If things don't line up, you can see where you need to leave more or less room so everything will work.

When I finally get a pattern to work on paper, and its one that I like and think I might do again, I make a sheet metal template so I don't have to invent the wheel all over again! I just clamp the template on the steel I'm going to use and scribe it out onto the steel. I know exactly where all the holes should be, and this saves a lot of time . It also keeps my scrap pile from growing too large. If you don't want to make a metal template, stick with the mylar. But when you get a pattern you like, DON'T cut it up. Save it for future reference and make copies from which to cut out the various components.

Does this plan sound OK with everyone? I really don't know how else to give you a feel for how the folder works unless you get one in your hand. I'll post the pattern as soon as possible so you can start playing!

Knipper
Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#8
mpphoto

mpphoto

    Friction Folder Build Champ 09

  • Members
  • 586 posts
  • 0
Amazingly generous of you.
Looking forward to it!
Michael

Ye Scandi Build'n Knife Modd'n Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#9
oupa

oupa

    PhD Univ. of Life

  • Members
  • 3,151 posts
  • 0
Gather around you Bastids this is going to be good......:pirate:
Ye Original Ol’ Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)


Oupa's Outback Store

#10
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 0
I'm sending these through at the max allowed size, but I don't know how large it will be when the image is saved and printed. If it will be any help, the length from blade point to bottom of the handle should be around 7 1/2 inches. I'm providing a clean image to use for cut outs and another with my feeble attempt of uncluttered descriptions of various parts of the knife. My computer with the right software to print neatly on images is down right now, so my printing will have to do! :)

Look these over, cut 'em out and play a bit. See what happens when holes are repositioned and various dimensions are changed. If you go to the trouble to make some sheet metal templates, you will get a much more tactile feel for how the parts work. Just shift the blade a tad either direction from the pivot and notice how it either opens up or makes an area too tight!

This is just a start, guys....I'll try for some good close up pics when I do my next knife. Please be sure to ask lots of questions, as when you've done this as often as I have, you take certain things for granted. Then when you actually do try to record every separate step, you amaze yourself with just how many there are! No matter....as I said its just a step by step process, each step building on the previous one.

Attached Images

  • Wharncliffe No.1a.jpg

Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#11
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 0
Here's the image with terminology:

Attached Images

  • Wharncliffe No.1a with terminology.jpg

Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#12
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 0
Maybe this would be a good time to discuss what materials I use, and why I prefer them over other materials.

Liners: I use titanium alloy sheet for these, 6AL4V...that stands for 90% titanium, with 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium mixed in. The most common thickness I use is .050", but I've used as thin as .040. Too much thinner than that kind of defeats its purpose as a stiff, safe lock that prevents accidental closure. It won't rust. Its a natural spring that doesn't have to be heat treated. You can bend it to shape, and it will stay there, still functioning as a spring. It is wear resistant; though it will 'burnish' over time, it will not wear down very much through repeated contact and pressure against the hardened tang of the knife. It will work harden, if dull drill bits are used, and I'll tell you this...you do NOT want to try drilling work hardened 6AL4V. It eats drill bits for breakfast. However, a sharp regular drill bit will go right through it with constant pressure and medium rpms on the drill. Some other makers I know use regular steel, of one variety or another, and then heat treat it. To me, this is an unnecessary step, when this great alloy is all ready to use. Other stainless or tool steels may get a bit too smooth against the blade tang after repeated use, and may cause the locking tab to slip, causing failure. I don't ever want that to happen when I'm using a knife as I need my fingers to work! Scrap 6AL4V can be found where ever they make airplanes. Sometimes you can just google it and find good local sources. I ran into a real deal once, where a company had some perfect cut sheets of it, which was left over from a job. They didn't want to inventory the scrap and I bought it 30% less than market value because of the size...works great for me, though, as a knife liner isn't very wide...their 'scrap' was about 18" wide and they cut the sheet into 3ft long sections for me at no charge!

Blade steel: I don't want to get into an argument here over which steel is 'better'. I've seen too many heated discussions about stainless vs. 'high carbon' steel. First of all, stainless is also high carbon! The only difference is the chromium mixed in to give hardness and resist rust. Good stainless works fantasic...poor stainless is worse than rotten for blade steel. A lot of people just don't take care of their knives anymore, and due to neglect, or other circumstances, their blades are allowed to rust or corrode. They don't work very smoothly in folders when that happens. Ease of sharpening shouldn't be a factor either. I went to diamond and ceramic hones long before I owned and used stainless steel. Why? because I can hone dry, the hones wont 'dish out' like man made or natural stones, and it takes less work to get the job done. They've never failed to put a scary sharp edge on my knives. Some say stainless has "no soul". To me, the character or personality of a knife is more related to performance, design and how it feels in your hand. Having said that, I also use O1, 5160, L6 and 1095 for some of my fixed blade knives, when I want to make a blade that will be used to do more than just cutting. There are ways to heat treat tool steel that make them pretty much indestructible. But for folders, I want cutting performance and low maintenance and so choose stainless. I had been using ATS-34 for years, but have now come to really like CPM154CM, a powder metal steel that has a tight grain that finishes up beautifully, holds a great edge, and has good lateral stress resistance. 440C is good too. But use what YOU are comfortable with...its all good.

Bolsters: Use anything you think looks good. I've everything from brass to damascus. My standard models use 416 stainless, which works good and holds up well.

Handle material: Again, whatever you think looks good. I've used wood, pearl, micarta, carbon fiber, bone, and stag. I like the looks of a nice jigged bone for a using pocket knife though...

Screws: I'm going to plug my friend and teacher R.B. Johnson here. He has the most varied inventory of small screws suitable for knife construction I've ever found. His prices are very reasonable too. You can get black oxide, gold plated, and stainless finishes. He has button head, flat head, and socket head screws with a variety of drives in a variety of sizes. I prefer the Torx, or 6 lobe drives, as they don't strip out very easily. He also carries 1/8" and 3/16" pivots, as well as all the taps and drills and drivers one might need to use on a folder. Why use screws to put the knife together? Well, in making a liner lock, you end up taking it apart and putting it together many times before its finished. The screw together construction accommodates that well, and I've never had a knife come apart or loosen for a customer.

Have I missed something? The above materials pretty much cover it, I think, but I'll gladly field some questions should you have any.

Knipper
Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#13
mpphoto

mpphoto

    Friction Folder Build Champ 09

  • Members
  • 586 posts
  • 0
Great stuff Terry!
For us basement knifemakers does the titanium cut well with a benchtop bandsaw or by hand with a jewelers saw?

I have a million questions but I don't want to get ahead of the tutorial as they may be answered as we go along.

Thanks!
Michael

Ye Scandi Build'n Knife Modd'n Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#14
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 0
M.P....

Yes, that's what I use...
I have a friend that cuts all his slots with a dremel tool cut off wheel. He goes through a few, but they're cheap. I'll get into that, though. In fact, after cutting out the liners to shape, cutting the locking tab is the next step and the one I think is most important. I hope to have some good photos of it.

Terry
Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#15
Stew

Stew

    Probably quoted in a sig line by now

  • Members
  • 188 posts
  • 0

Screws: I'm going to plug my friend and teacher R.B. Johnson here. He has the most varied inventory of small screws suitable for knife construction I've ever found. His prices are very reasonable too. You can get black oxide, gold plated, and stainless finishes. He has button head, flat head, and socket head screws with a variety of drives in a variety of sizes. I prefer the Torx, or 6 lobe drives, as they don't strip out very easily. He also carries 1/8" and 3/16" pivots, as well as all the taps and drills and drivers one might need to use on a folder. Why use screws to put the knife together? Well, in making a liner lock, you end up taking it apart and putting it together many times before its finished. The screw together construction accommodates that well, and I've never had a knife come apart or loosen for a customer.


What size do you recommend?

I have a bunch of 1-72s but I'm wondering if they're a bit small. 2-56 better?

#16
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 0
Stew...

I use 2-56 (3/8" long) button head torx drive for the pivot. Mostly because the 1/8" pivot rod is already threaded for that size. 3/8" long 0-80 button head torx screws are what I use for the bottom bolster screw(trimming them down from the backside), and to fasten the handles to the liners. To screw the two liners together (with the spacer bar in between) I use 1/2" long 0-80 flat head torx drive screws. I usually go as long as I can figuring that I can always trim them, but if they're too short...you're 'screwed', pardon the pun! :)

You didn't mention what the head was on those 1-72's. If they're button head, they should work just fine for fastening the handles and bolsters. If they're flat head, they'll work for screwing the liners and spacer bar together (if they're 1/2" long) , so they won't go to waste.

Terry
Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#17
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 0
Just wanted to pose a quick question...

On posting images during construction, do you want to see stuff like cutting out/profiling the liners and blade, drilling etc? That's pretty basic stuff and I didn't want to waste space or viewing time if you'd rather just see key points, and what I do differently in liner lock construction. I'm willing to do whatever the forum wants to see, though.
(My wife just agreed to hold the camera and shoot some pics over my shoulder should I need it!)

Terry
Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)

#18
TC_Blades

TC_Blades

    Ramanon ownz me and I need a custom title

  • Members
  • 1,179 posts
  • 0
I'm just speaking for myself here - but I'll be happy with "end of the current step" pics. :)

#19
Stew

Stew

    Probably quoted in a sig line by now

  • Members
  • 188 posts
  • 0

You didn't mention what the head was on those 1-72's. If they're button head, they should work just fine for fastening the handles and bolsters. If they're flat head, they'll work for screwing the liners and spacer bar together (if they're 1/2" long) , so they won't go to waste.


Thanks Terry. I have both flat heads and button heads so I should be able to manage something. :satanlook

Just wanted to pose a quick question...

On posting images during construction, do you want to see stuff like cutting out/profiling the liners and blade, drilling etc? That's pretty basic stuff and I didn't want to waste space or viewing time if you'd rather just see key points, and what I do differently in liner lock construction. I'm willing to do whatever the forum wants to see, though.
(My wife just agreed to hold the camera and shoot some pics over my shoulder should I need it!)

Terry


space and viewing time is infinite! :D Bear in mind that not all folk have the same level of skills...

#20
Knipper

Knipper

    Love and respected by everyone

  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • 0
Hey all...trying to get these done as soon as I can. I know its tough to wait, but I have to work these in when I can...

At least this post will have some nice starter pics and a few tips I hope you'll find helpful.

If you've made a metal pattern from the drawing, proceed to the pic. Otherwise, if you've a paper cut out of the pattern, transfer the pattern onto steel as follows.

Cut out the blade shape right at the pencil line, but leave an extra 1/16" or a few mm at the tang end. You want some extra material for later fitting, and therefore extra steel at the tang end is necessary...so again...DON'T cut to the pencil line at the tang end, leave extra for now...a later pic will show about how much I leave. Now spray the back of the paper with some spray adhesive or use rubber cement.

A note regarding the steel stock you'll be using. If you want to save some hassles, buy precision ground stock. Its already flat and parallel. 1/8" should do the job. Since I have a small surface grinder, the stock I buy is much rougher and slightly oversize, so I grind it flat down to the thickness I want.

Place the paper pattern on the stock so there are no ripples in the pattern. Let dry. Now take a sharp punch and make a deep dot right in the middle of the pivot hole circle. Give it a good rap! Next do the same thing to the dot where the thumb stud will be. Now take a magic marker, and staring about a quarter inch inside the paper pattern, make a broad stroke that carries over onto the steel. Continue this all the way around until they meet the first stroke. I do it this way as opposed to just tracing a line around the paper because the markers bleed under the paper and will smudge that nice line you're trying to get. When the marker has dryed, peel off the paper pattern. You should have a nice clear area of what will be the blade with a lot of cross hatch marks all around. Cut or grind out the profile right to the line of the blade.

For those using the scribed method, grind so that the scribe line just disappears. I usually refine the profile of the blade by then using a disc grinder, or a belt sander with platen and work rest at 90 degrees to the platen. Its just a good idea not to leave really deep scratches anywhere on the blade blank at this point. 150 to 240 grit will work fine for the 'final profile sanding'.

Attached Images

  • scribing.jpg

Terry Knipschield
www.knipknives.com
Ye Original Tenacious Bstd (CLB O’ TRU BSTDS)




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users