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Knives from the Texas Hill Country

Since 1978

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How-to filework a folding knife

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This page is created for those that have been wanting to know how to go about doing filework on a 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.

Rocket Knives exaample of a liner locking knife to be fileworked

Above shows the finished filework done for this tutorial. This is the mini tactical model. Scroll down to see the steps taken to make the filework on this piece possible.

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The first photograph shows the knife as nearly completed. Only filework and etching a logo on the blade remain. To learn how this knife has made it to this point, go to "How to make a liner locking folder".  Rocket Handmade Knives will offer a number of tutorials in the coming months. Is there a certain tutorial that would be of interest?  Please let us know.

All finished parts shown before knife is fileworked for this tutorial

This shows all of the parts of this piece. The part circled in red is the part that will be fileworked. This part is called the buttspacer or backpiece.

Here are the supplies needed to accomplish the task. A machinists' scale (any measuring tool will work), a 3-corner or handsaw file, a 1/8" round chain saw file, some scrap wood pieces to hold the backspacer in place and the vise to hold it with.

The tools need to perform the filework on this liner locking folding knife for this tutorial
Marke made for the first cuts for the filework on this knife for this tutorial

The buttspacer is locked-up in a vise between two pieces of wood to prevent scarring the piece. Marks are made 3/16" of an inch apart. This will be where the initial cuts are made.

The initial "V" cuts are made with the 3-corner file and the backspacer is turned around on the other end of the vise. Marks are made 3/16" apart here as well.

First cuts are made on the fromt part of the backpiece on this knife filework tutorial
Final cuts are made for the filework on this knife tutorial by Rocket Knives

The "V" notches are cut in this end. Between each of those notches, the chain saw file is used to make the "half moon" cut. The piece is turned around and the pattern is repeated on the opposite side of the backspacer.

This is what the backspacer looks like when the filework is completed.
This is a very basic pattern and really quite common. Very easy to do.

Side view of the finished filework for the knife on this tutorial by Rocket Knives
Rear view of the filework for the knife in this tutorial by Rocket Handmade Knives

The same piece turned up on its' side to get an idea of what will be seen from the back of the finished piece. Marks are still on the backspacer. Slight sanding will remove these marks. The backspacer is made from stainless damascus steel and is etched after the piece is filed.

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