Knives from the
Texas Hill Country
This page is created for those that have been wanting to know how to go about making a liner locking folding knife. This is a short archive of most of the steps involved with the knifemaking process.
Please keep in mind that this is only one way out of very many ways to accomplish the same thing. What works for me may not
work for you. This is intended as a guide to get started and assist in basic knowledge.
Have thoughts or ideas??? Let me know.
Above shows the finished piece for this tutorial. Scroll down to see the steps taken to make this piece possible.
||This is where it all starts. One
piece of stainless snakeskin damascus steel. The blade will
be sawn from this bar.
|This pic shows
a closer view of the damascus steel bar. It is partially
etched to show the pattern.
||A sheet of .100 thickness titanium. This will be used as the liner/frame for the knife. Notice
that there is a pattern next to the sheet. This is the pattern for the medium-sized
tactical folding knife and the pattern for this project.
|Two liners sawn from the titanium
sheet above. These liners have already been profiled with the belt sander.
This leaves a very smooth outside line and make the frame pieces the same
|Now there are two liners and a blade sawn. The blade will be just about 1/4"shorter than
the length of the frame. These parts are the beginning stages and now have to be properly mated.
|Before we can continue, the blade needs to be parallel at the spine and the cutting edge and the tang end needs to be perpendicular to those.|
|Blade installed. Two liners and a damascus steel blade joined by a male-female type pivot screw. The location of the pivot is somewhat critical, but at the same time, hard to explain where it should be. But, somewhere slightly below the middle of the blade vertically, about 3/8" from the tang end of the blade. Once the blade hole is drilled, line the blade up on the frame and drill the frame hole.|
|The blade is now notched for the lockbar. Notice the angle at which the notch is cut.....This is to allow the lock bar to lock-up tightly and stay tight.|
|The profiled liners with the notched blade. Now the stop pin has been installed. There are lots of ways to install the stop pin. And lots of different stop pins. I use use a screw inside of a stainless tube, allowing a bit more support at the stop pin.|
|Inserted into the vise is a small piece of G-10 to use as a butt piece spacer. The piece of G-10 is now .202" and needs to be milled down to .136" for a perfect thickness with the other internal parts. The blade is .116" thick and the 2 washers are .010" thick each.|
|The blade has been profiled and ground. A hole was drilled and tapped to accept the thumbstuds. Blade is ready for heat-treatment.|
|Blade coated with a compound to prevent scaling during heat-treatment. The compound is allowed to dry. Touch-ups may be needed to insure that the blade is completely covered.|
A Note About Heat-Treatment
I use a heat-treatment coating because it works best for me. Many makers use steel foil, some use other coatings such as Turco, some use nothing at all. A bigger trend has gone towards using professional heat-treaters. These guys do a good job at a fairly reasonable price. I do my own heat-treating because of the down-time that is involved with professional shops and because I prefer to do it myself. Bottom line, though....if you don't know anything about heat-treatment of steels, get a professional. If you want to learn to do your own, at least get documentation that will tell you how and what happens when you put a piece of steel in an oven @ 1900 F. Believe me, it will pay of in the long run. Whether you do your own heat-treating or not.
|Blade heat-treatment. The coated blade is going into the orange-hot oven. For this type of stainless damascus steel, temp is 1925 F. The blade is allowed to "soak" at this temperature until the blade is thoroughly heated. Some steels require pre-heat. Pre-heating is a good idea for most steels.|
|Heat-treated blade. Some of the coating remains, but is easily ground away after tempering. This type of damascus steel will temper @ 400F for 2 hours, put in the freezer overnight and again heated @400F for 2 hours. The blade is ready for clean-up and the knife will be ready for assembly and final shaping.|
|All parts ready for final clean-up and assembly. The back spacer has been drilled and fitted and holes are countersunk on one side of the frame and tapped on the other. Pass holes are drilled into the back spacer. The back spacer is ground in a shape that will conform to the blade edge, when the knife is in the closed position. .010" Washers are added to each side of the finished blade for ease in opening and closing.|
|The blade has been cleaned up and all of the parts assembled. Make sure that everything lines up and the blade works freely. The pivot nut is ground down until the proper length is attained to tighten down the pivot screw without putting it into a bind. After fitting is done, we can mark the place to cut the lock notch.|
|The mark has been made for the place to cut the notch for the lockbar. The short cut across the frame is being made. This is the part of the lock that will rest against the notch in the blade to hold it securely open. Be sure to leave a little "extra" to grind to make a perfect fit.|
|With the short part of the lock cut, we can now cut the length of the frame to finish up the locking bar. This cut is to make the lock flexible and work back and forth inside the blade notch to lock the blade in place and to help to keep the blade shut when it is supposed to be shut.|
|The lock bar cut and fitted. The knife is once again assembled. We can now proceed to make the final grinds and contours to the frame to finish this knife up. The blade still needs final grinding and hand sanding before it is etched to bring out the pattern in the stainless damascus steel blade.|
|After the frame has been contoured, the knife is disassembled to attach the pocket clip. Notice how the clip rests on the lockbar for extra support for the lock. A hole is drilled into the lockbar for the detent ball. The detent ball is used to hold the knife blade shut when the blade is supposed to be shut. A matching hole is drilled into the blade. The blade is hardened, so a diamond drill is used. Just a few thousandths of an inch is plenty.|
|The blade heat-treated, cleaned-up and then etched with ferric chloride. A final polish with 600 grit sandpaper (or finer) bring out the pattern in the steel. The blade is completed and ready for installation into the finished frame.|
|All parts ground, hand sanded and the titanium parts are heat-colored in the heat-treatment kiln. The clip is also heat colored. The thumbstuds are attached by using a shortened threaded shaft screwed into both thumbstuds and the blade. Next step is to assemble the piece and fine-tune. Washers are not shown here, but are necessary!!!|
|Knife completed and assembled. Thumbstuds are checkered.|