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Hey all! Here's a little project I decided to start working on and thought I'd bring everyone along for the ride. I've been wanting to make myself a liner-lock for awhile now to replace my old lockback folder (ever since I finished up Robert's folder I've been a bit jealous and wanted one for myself :D).

Although folding knives are not too popular on this forum, I wanted to share my process for this type/style of knife and hopefully provide some inspiration and a kick in the butt to try something new. I don't have any crazy tools, in fact I have essentially the bare minimum, so really anyone can do this. My way isn't probably the best or most efficient way but it works. Please ask questions if I don't explain things well and I'll try my best to answer them. My instructions will get confusing, as folders are a complicated process.

Anyways, here we go!!

Basic Parts List :

  • TI050 Titanium Sheet 5 x 10 x .050 $29.95
  • Tap Wrench $8.95
  • 2-56 High Speed Steel Tap $10.95
  • 2-56 (0.0670") Cobalt Drill Bit $2.10
  • 2-56 Torx screw Buttonhead (packet of 12) $4.95
  • 3/16 Step Pivot (x 2) $5.90 or $11.80
  • 3/16 Washers (Nylotron is what I use) $5.00
  • 1/8" Stop pin $1.09
  • Two Stand offs $1.09
  • Thumb stud $2.95
  • **Ebony and bolsters (or handle material of your choice) $50
  • **1/8" Cobalt Drill Bit $4.98
  • **3/16" Cobalt Drill Bit $5.98
  • **Small files (Diamond/carbon) $20
  • 1/2" Countersink $10
  • 1/16" Detent Balls $2.50
  • 1/16" Cobalt Drill Bit $5 ________

Total: $90 - $170
** Materials you may already have.

So as you can see, it's expensive. Once you have the basic tools it gets cheaper.

I first start out with a design. A good plan from the start helps make life easy (most of the time). It's important to note that making a separate 2 piece design, and using a thumb tack, rotate the blade around the pivot area to see if it fits. An important area to look at is the stop pin (to make sure the blade rotates fully without making contact with it while closing)


I then forge a piece of damascus to a rough blank and to the thickness I need. (around 3/16 before grinding, and 1/8"th after grinding clean)

Cleaned off and ground to thickness

Not bad Robert. I think I remember you calling this pattern "The Funk" :D.

Alright so I cheated and took apart a previous folder I made for my dad and traced the shape of the liners onto my titanium sheet. It's the same design though.

I cut out the liners with my angle grinder and I'm now grinding to a ROUGH shape. Doesn't have to be perfect because you'll need room to work with when drilling your pivot and screw holes. Clean-up will happen afterword. ** Take note, Titanium sparks HOT so be aware of where the sparks are going.

So I drill all my priority holes on one liner and clamp it to the other liner. I drill through my original holes so that everything should line up with each other. Make sure to place a pin through each hole you drill so that any minor movements won't ruin your alignment. 3/16 bit for your pivot hole, 1/8th bit for your stop pin, and 2-56 bit for the screw holes.

Gotta love a good, sharp drill bit. The shavings are cool!

OK, so now we're at the point of starting our first tapping. This is where things can get confusing and mess-ups happen. Picture the knife finished.The inside of the liners are facing inwards, the outside faces, outwards. Take note and write down with a sharpie pen. I will only tap one liner, with the "inside" facing me.

The liner is tapped, the screws fit nice with no wobble or jiggle.

Now we take the other liner, and with the "outside" facing us this time, we widen the original hole so that the screw will fit through it. After we widen the hole to take the screw, we will counter-sink it so the screw sits down into the liner. Button head screws aren't really supposed to be used here but I use em and adjust things later.

Once countersinking is done, place the liner's together with the "Insides" facing inward and "outsides" facing outward. make sure everything fits correctly and is aligned right. Pivot, stop pin, and screws.

Now I put my stand-offs in place. They are placed in-between the liners and the screws go through them. Stand-offs make it easy, however you can make a spine to place in there instead. Just as long as you adjust it so as to fit when the blade is closed.

Now we focus on the blade. Trace your design down and drill your pivot hole. 3/16" bit.

Grind ROUGHLY around your tracing. You'll notice a lot of shaping starts out very roughly so that you'll have PLENTY of room to mess up and maybe correct your mistakes.

She's oversized, but fits!


So you can see it still needs more grinding and shaping for the blade to fit in the closed position.

Blade is clamped tightly and ground flush with the liners. At this point I'm winging it on the blade shape to what is pleasing to my eye and being able to fit when closed. This is can be hard to do and takes some practice and experience to get the proportions right.

Below you can see some rough sketching with a sharpie on where I might need to adjust the shape.

Edited by Austin_Lyles
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Now we work on fitting the stop pin. The purpose to the stop pin is to stop the blade from rotating too far.

I open the blade to where I want it when fully opened and mark the spot where the stop pin goes.





I begin to file the spot down and constantly check with the liners to make sure I'm going in the right direction. Notice the sharpy mark that I'm working down towards. It's slow work, however it's very important you get a perfect fit.




It's almost there, just a little more filing.





I marked out with a sharpie where I need to file.




The blade fits, the stop pin is in.




This is where I stopped tonight. It was pretty hot outside and I needed a break. Hopefully more to come in the next few days!


Thanks for looking.

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very sexy! surprisingly i have 3 standing orders for folder knives from friends.. i keep telling them im not "ready" for that journey yet lol.. What amount of time you think you have invested in this so far?

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Wesley, you can, although I'd highly recommend not to. Titanium is MUCH lighter, harder, and corrosion resistant. A good alternative is stainless.


Thanks Gabriel. Not much time yet, this was the easy part. Maybe 3 hours atm.

Edited by Austin_Lyles
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Wow! Excellent WIP. Thanks for sharing your process with so much detail. The parts list in the beginning is a nice, helpful touch.

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Nice! I want to pin this one, just need to decide where it should go, since for some reason the Newbie's area doesn't seem quite right for this level of work...


Also, the first linerlock I ever saw (and owned) way back in around 1981 or so had bronze liners. Titanium does have a higher cool factor!

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Thanks guys. The parts list was very important to me because when I first got into folders.... I had absolutely no clue what to purchase. I had to figure it out with lots of trial and error.


Alan, I was a bit iffy putting it here in the first place too. It's at a weird area where most folks can pull it off, and another where a beginner might have difficulty following what's going on. Place it wherever you see fit, I trust you. As to bronze liners, that's wayyy cooler than titanium in my books. :P

Edited by Austin_Lyles
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Day 2: I got a little bit done today. It's starting to look like something!



So we are focusing on creating the lock today. I traced out where I will cut in the lock.




Make sure to shake out all the scorpions, spiders, and other pesky insects that like to make your equipment their home.





Ok, so using a dremel I cut my slots. I believe a jewelers saw will accomplish the same thing but will require adjustment filing later if you don't cut perfectly straight lines. I accidentally went too far up and nicked the liner, although it won't matter in function and is hidden when everything is put together. It's not professional though and I would have made a new liner with a perfect cut if this was a custom order. GO SLOW and have a STEADY HAND! :P





So I start cleaning my liners, bring them up to a higher grit. We're doing this now because it will be much more difficult later on (although we will still have to clean up scuff marks).




At this point in time we install the detent ball. This is a VERY important part of the knife that keeps it closed while in your pocket. I center punch where I need the ball to go and drill with the 1/16"th drill bit for the 1/16"th ball. Make sure it's a sharp, new bit. You will drill no further then halfway through the liner, essentially just enough that the ball will fit into the hole halfway and stay there.




So the ball is dropped into the depression and stays in it with a pressure fit. I VERY GENTLY tap the detent ball with a hammer once. You're not trying to deform the ball. Smack the liner against the corner of your workbench and make sure the ball stays in. I've never had a detent ball fall out.





So since the detent ball is now in place we can bend the liner to form the lock. It's important to clamp the whole liner to a flat surface, as when you bend it, you need to make sure to ONLY bend the lock and not the whole thing. I use a set of pliers and gently bend, check the bend, and keep going until I get to where I want it.


(I took this picture on accident before the detent ball was actually put in, and quickly did that first)



Ok, so this is about how far you want to bend the liner. Not too much.





In this picture you can see how the locking mechanism works. The stop pin stops the blade from rotating too far, and the lock pushes into place once the blade reaches the stop pin.





Ok, as you may notice, we have quite a bit of filing to go to get to where the lock will press into place. Notice my sharpie mark and how it's slanted/angled?? This is extremely important for solid locking knife.





The blade goes back into the vice and we begin creating that angle and removing material until we get to where we need it. This part NEEDS TO BE SLOW. File too far and you've messed up the whole blade and have to make a new one.





Ok, we've filed to the point of where the lock pushes into place. But ever so slightly and just enough that the blade will lock solidly.



I'm sorry for the mess on my bench, All the important parts are placed in tubs so I don't misplace them.




So we get to the mentioned stop pin. We've got to file into the blade in order to make room for it. Here you can see where it's pushing into the blade.





Marked with a sharpie, we begin to file, using a round file.




So now the blade will close fully and has room for the pin.




That's it for today unless I feel like going back out tonight. Thanks for looking yall!

Edited by Austin_Lyles
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Thanks Alan! The only thing I wanted to share is HOW to do it instead of just showing the process. But show and tell is perfect.


Today I took a break and drank some beer and went to the lake. Might have stuff for tomorrow. See everyone then!

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Ok so yesterday was not a good day which eventually had me getting out of the shop before I broke something. Essentially I went about trying to fit bolsters and experimented with using the stop pin as a hidden pin behind the bolster. I'll go into that in a sec. Today was much better and things went smoothly.



Alrighty, this will be a long one, so strap in and enjoy the ride.



Now we focus on the bolsters. I also decided to ditch the stand-offs and went with a spine.





I got both the bolsters and spine cut out and shaped.





So I measure the spine. It's in between 5/32 and 3/16. This doesn't matter too much, just as long as it's even along the whole length of the spine.



The blade on the other hand will need to be thinner to accommodate both washers too. So with washers included, it should equal the spine thickness.




Here you can see what I'm talking about.





Bolsters are cut oversized and drilled with the 3/16"th bit to fit the pivot.





So here's where things go south. Instead of ruining the damascus bolsters with a screw, I wanted to try a hidden pin (using the stop pin) to clean things up. I drilled partially through the bolster where the stop pin will stick into and stop the bolster from rotating. This posed a problem later on.




Parts laid out and ready to test fit. bolsters are counter sunk to fit the pivot. Ok so here's the problem, I spent 4 hours yesterday tinkering with no progress past this point. The problem with adding more holes/bolsters is it effects the alignment creating a problem with the action not being smooth. I don't have the tools to remedy this (mill, surface grinder) so I have to make do and slowly and tediously make small adjustments until I get to where I want.





Alrighty so we're at today now. I'm back with a fresh mind and chilled temper. :rolleyes:



Once I got the bolsters fit and about where I wanted them, I begin to round the corners and grind to thickness.





Running on the slack helps get an even finish.




After the bolsters are rounded and to the right thickness I take my wood and trace the outline of the liner and cut it roughly to shape.





After I get both pieces of ebony cut, I now focus on my liners and where I want the screws to go. I screw both liners together and drill through both using my 2/56 drill bit.





We take our rough cut scales and cleanly grind a 90 degree angle where the scale will meet the bolster. There should be no gaps when pushed together.




Here we take our scales, and while pushing against the bolster we will clamp it to the liner. I'll use the holes we drilled though the liners as guide holes for the wood. You'll use the 2/56 drill bit first, then you'll widen the holes ONLY on the wood to accept the screws. (I'm sorry guys, I wasn't paying attention and didn't mean to get my belt skimmed knuckle in the shot. Hopefully no one minds a little blood)







Alrighty, pay attention. There's more tapping to be done now that both scales are drilled. Basically tap the liner from outside going in.





So now we'll go back to the scales once the tapping is done. Here since the screws can't go all the way through we'll need to counter bore (using a 3/16th bit) the holes to allow the screw to set into the scale. I'll drill about halfway through.




Edited by Austin_Lyles
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So both scales are attached. We have one small thing to do before we start shaping.




Ok since we used the button heads to attach both liners, they are now in the way of the scale being flush to the liner. This is easily fix by drilling partial holes into the scale.




So I screw the scale to the liner and mark through the two holes where the button head screws were pushing onto the liner.



Just partially drill enough so that the screws will go into the holes.




Once the scale fits we shape the scales to the knife using my grinder and file.







Alrighty. So I grind in my bevels and prepare for heat treat, but first we have to drill the thumbstud hole and the detent ball hole. I mark where I want the thumbstud and rotate the blade from open to close to make sure the stud doesn't come in contact with any part of the knife.




Now I'll sharpie the blade where I want the detent ball to go. You'll put the knife back together and open and close the blade a few times. This will mark through the sharpie and show you were to center punch for the hole.



EDIT: I know this step above was a bit vague.. so I got an older knife and hopefully explained it a little better. Thanks.


Basically you'll want to drill a small depression in the blade for the ball to go into once the blade is closed (having washers in for test fitting is a must at this point, as the washers give the detent ball room). It's also very important to do this step as it's what holds the blade in place when inside your pocket (you don't want to go to the emergency room for a blade in your leg). Here I took apart an older knife and showed how I did it. I scribbled sharpie on the blade, put the knife together and opened and closed the knife a few times... marking where the ball is sliding along the blade. Then I drilled my hole where the detent ball will be when the knife is fully closed.





A different angle to show the small hole better.




Sorry about the background noise. So what we're looking at atm is the blade opened... and while closing watch where the detent ball area is. See how the washer allows it to open without it pressing against the handle? Also note when the knife closes, you'll see it snaps close as it falls into the hole we drilled.




Ok, the thumbstud hole is drilled and counter sunk to accept the screw (I used a 1/16th bit because that's the size of screw that came with the stud). You can also see I drilled the detent ball hole. This hole does not need to be deep. Just enough so the ball can grab into it.




So I finish the blade to a 220g in preparation for heat treat.






The blade is tempering right now and I'll continue tomorrow. Thanks guys!

Edited by Austin_Lyles
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It was a long and hot day, but the blade is nearly done!



So in the video above, I noted that we need to make room to push the lock open and have a place to push the thumbstud open. I marked with a sharpie where I'll be sanding.





We'll also put a notch like below into the handle which will give us even more room.





So the handle is up to a scotchbright finish. I'll polish up the ebony and put a coat of tru-oil on it for what it's worth tomorrow.





Ok so know I'll start working on the pocket clip. I wanted to make my own this time so I took a pre-made one and eyeballed how much material I'll need.




I begin to forge the clip to thickness





The clip is ground clean and I begin to cut my design out.




A little bit of heat and I bend the clip to shape.






The holes are copied over to the bolster, drilled, and tapped to accept a 2-56 screw.




So we get to the filework. I ended up only doing the spine of the knife, leaving the underside bare. Filework drives me crazy and I can't stand it but somehow I end up doing it. :rolleyes: Both liners are attached together and I mark out where I will be filing with a ruler.





One side in progress. I'll do the best I can to clean up the corners. Here you can see I'm using a combo of diamond files and carbon files.




All done. I'll sand to 220g and buff lightly. I don't do this often so you can tell things are not in perfect alignment. I need much more practice!




Now off to heat treat all the fittings.




Tempering all to a spring temper.




And this is where we leave it tonight. I should have this knife done tomorrow. I've got to grind and sand the blade, etch everything, thin up the pocket clip, and do some final tuning. Also pictured is my current knife I'll be replacing. It's been going strong for a little over a year now and I love it but I need a new blade. :)


Edited by Austin_Lyles
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Absolutely Robert! I got a little behind the other day and some friends came out to make some cable knives. I'll have the rest of the pictures up today and will finish up the knife. Just polishing and putting an edge on it.

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I thought I had more pictures than this but there really wasn't much left to do on the knife.


All the parts and blade are finished to 600g and washed in hot soapy water in prep for etching.




Just a coat of tru-oil and after word I'll polish up and buff.



I'll post the finished blade in a separate thread so that folks don't have to wade through all the pictures.


And the final product is here (more pictures in other thread)




You can find the completed pictures here ----> http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=33857



Anyways, I hope this will inspire and help others learn how to do this style of knife! If there are any questions please ask away or P.M. me and I'll try to get to them as soon as I can.


Thank you for looking and thanks again to Alan for pinning this!

Edited by Austin_Lyles
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looks good. Impressive work. I don't understand a couple of pieces, like what rubbed the lines onto the blade so you could see where to put the detent hole? Was there a washer in there or something to do the rubbing?


outstanding work, really.

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