Making a folding knife is not easy but with the right help, you can get there. Most people think that you can just pick up a piece of wood or piece of steel and shape it into a knife but that’s not the case. When learning how to make a knife it’s important that you follow the right steps otherwise it won’t come out nicely. The steps are not difficult but you have to take your time in order to get them correct.
We’ll give you five steps to follow and then the rest is up to you. You’ll need to work on your techniques and practice the method. You should also be aware that you’ll be using machines like lathes and drills. So you might want to consult an expert or learn the right techniques before operating them.
Making a knife won’t happen overnight so you’ll need to put aside quite a lot of time for this process. To make a good knife you should bank on 2 weeks for design and construction. So with that being said here’s our guide to making a knife at home.
Table of Contents
1. How A Folding Knife Works
Making a fixed blade knife is one thing but making a folding knife is another. A folding knife has moving joints whereas a fixed blade has none. Fixed blades are usually really strong in comparison to a folding knife. This does not mean a fixed blade is better but just different.
A folding knife uses an opening mechanism to flick open the blade. Some are manual and some are automatic. Manual mechanisms are stronger than automatic ones. This is because there are fewer moving parts built into the design.
A folding knife has the blade attached to a pivot point which allows for the blade to rotate. Some folding knives have a spring mechanism loaded into the handle that I can spring open the blade.
This is very convenient however it is not necessarily the best way to do things. A folding knife has two handle pieces one on each side of the blade. These two sides are connected through screws or a pivot pin that runs through the tang of the blade.
You might be asking how the blade stays closed. The locking mechanism is designed to click the knife into place at the pivot point. You’ll usually see a stopper or spine lock design fitted. We’ll describe these in more detail later.
2. Homemade Folding Knife Materials
To get started you’re going to need to find all the necessary materials. You can choose which ones you prefer to use. If you’re looking to make a wooden knife with a steel blade that’s perfectly fine just choose the right materials. Hardwoods are definitely the way to go because they do not crack or splinter under excessive force.
The blade should be made of high-carbon steel. High carbon steel needs to be of stainless make otherwise rust will eat the blade away. You could also use a ceramic blade because they are extremely sharp and very tough. Seeing as though you’re making a knife at home you’ll probably be prioritizing durability. So you’ll want to go for something that is robust and strong.
You’re also going I need to get your hands on some strong screws preferably made of stainless steel as well. These screws or pins are going to hold your knife together and they will be the pivot point of the folding knife. Other than that you’re going to need some drill bits, a lathe (which would be found at a workshop), some sandpaper, and sharpening stones.
3. Hazard Protection
Please take care when preparing to make a knife at home. This can be a hazardous process due to the use of powered machinery and sharp objects. When using a lathe you should wear proper personal protective gear like goggles, gloves, or a face shield. Using proper techniques with these machines is imperative because you could get injured if you don’t use them correctly.
We recommend consulting a professional or an expert to get their advice on the best way to use these machines safely. If you have no experience at all using these types of devices then you should allow experts to do the work for you.
4. Folding Knife Design
The most important thing is to get the design right. A flawed design is the biggest mistake a person can make when making anything. So we’re going to take you through the important things to note when creating your design.
First things first – measurements. When making a knife at home you want to be as precise as possible with the design. In a factory, machines and computers can measure out everything perfectly. However, at home, this is not possible.
So take your time to think of the sizes that you want and proceed to sketch them down with a ruler in an accurate way. If possible use three-dimensional drawings that can depict the length, height, and width of the knife.
Then you’ll want to do a rough sketch of the knife showing how you would like it to look at the end. This will give you a picture of what you need to follow during the process.
5. How To Make A Folding Knife
Now let’s get on to the method. You’re going to start by shaping out the handle pieces. Turn on the lathe and get going with the shaping process. It doesn’t have to be perfect in the beginning but having a rough shape will allow you to start on other parts at the same time. Then we’re going to drill holes into the handle pieces after marking them out.
The markings are very important because if it’s drilled in the wrong place the screws will be offset and the knife will not open properly. Next, you’re going to take your piece of steel and shape it as well. Then with the same drill bit drill a hole into the tang of the blade. Next, go ahead and align the pieces and apply the screws or the pins to the pivot point. Test to see if the knife opens and closes properly.
Once you have finished all of the components you can assemble the knife and see that it fits all the requirements. Then you can go ahead and polish up each of the pieces individually to make it look perfect and refined.
You don’t have to rush through because that’s how mistakes are made. Take your time to get everything right the first time. Remember that it’s harder to put something back on a knife than it is to take it off. Be creative and don’t let the fact that you are not a professional hinder you. It might take a while to get used to all of the machines but you’ll get it. Stick to your design and don’t change halfway through.