Friction folder build

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#1
I figured I would start a new thread for the build thingy. First, my disclaimer, I am no expert, I do not claim this is the best way or the only way to build a friction folder it is simply a way to do it. I am a self taught blacksmith learning what I can from books, videos, trial and error for the last 3 or 4 years. I have only been making blades for a short time but sometimes when you do not have tons of knowledge there is not as much to get in the way of creativity. This particular knife design I made for myself to be as light as I could make it for EDC light use. I guess it struck a chord with others because people are asking me to build them. First request was for a sheepsfoot blade. The handle is canvass micarta with no liners, a small 1/8th aluminum spacer and 1/8th thick 1080 blade. This is a very, very basic folding knife design and in my opinion, perfect for someone interested in learning how folders work. Since I finished it I have put the prototype through a fairly thorough flogging and it has held up. So I guess its time to start the process.
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#2
The method I use to design my folding knives I adapted from a lesson given by Ray Rogers on how to design a slipjoint folder. Like Ray I start with a circle the same width as my finished blade, in this case 3/4 of an inch.
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Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#3
Next I mark the center of the circle with an “X”. Hint: If you use a compass to make your circle the center will be marked perfectly by the pointy end of the compass. This will mark your pivot hole.
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Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#4
Since the width of your blade has already been formed by the circle all you have left to do is draw the rest of your blade to scale however you wish. Here is the prototype this knife is designed after. B75ECCFB-92C4-4E58-B0A5-18314E0545D1.jpeg E62B7A48-6512-4C3D-B4D1-EDBCC833B528.jpeg AFD58F29-073F-424F-8DA2-407E480B6DFC.jpeg
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#5
Now notice the two additional marks on either side of the pivot pin. The center of these three holes must be in line with one another because once the boss (for lack of a better term) is shapped the outter holes will contact your stop pin in the open and closed positions. The stop pin is the copper pin shown in my prototype.
 
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Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#6
Next I rough out my handle slabs by cutting my blade out and laying it upside down on the paper. Mark the tip (which you want covered in the handle) and the end of the boss which you want covered. Enclose it with straight lines raising the spine line enough to allow space for a small spacer. 1745A205-20AC-4CC2-B541-B58F81568684.jpeg 5D814542-97B1-4760-8FC9-C5D4374FE178.jpeg 71231CD9-E069-4334-A387-E1E928554BD6.jpeg
 
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Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#7
Remember I designed this to be small and light so if you want to add more area for a larger spacer go ahead I did a minimalist approach. I also like my tang (hold down) to sit at an angle when the blade is closed so I design my friction folders that way.
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#8
Now you have a full drawn to scale template. You can glue this straight to your materials and start cutting it out or do like I do and make a permanant template by glueing them to 1/8th inch plywood, then cutting them out. I do this so I can transfer the pattern to my steel using redneck layout fluid (coloring my steel with a sharpie) and a scribe. The micarta I trace with a silver paint pen I stole from my wife’s craft drawyer. 9898E9FE-95BD-4D4A-9D02-40D5B8875EED.jpeg 9898E9FE-95BD-4D4A-9D02-40D5B8875EED.jpeg
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#9
I plan on finishing this knife this weekend so I will post the rest as I go. For some reason they keep expecting me to show up at my real job during the week.
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#11
I went ahead and glued the template to the steel since I now have a portaband. The reason I scribbed the template before was because of the heat generated by cutting the profile with a grinder. Heat + Paper = Fire. Then I profiled on my belt grinder which took minutes thanks to the new saw.
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Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#13
Now you can use your handle template to cut the slabs out. Then I will use one small drop of super glue on each end to glue the slabs together. I also suggest you make some long temporary pivot and stop pins so you can check the action. You will use these often for everything from this point on.
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Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#15
Use the template or your blade to mark and drill the pivot and stop pin holes. NOTE: you will only drill two holes in the handle even though the blade had three. Drill the pivot and the stop pin hole (think open position). Once you have done this you can use your temporary pins to check everything out. Leave your slabs glued together though.
 

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Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#16
After looking things over I do not like the spacing on the blade for the stop pin holes. I marked them each .220 from the center of the pivot hole. The problem I see is that it has forced me to make the boss (pivot ring) area thinner than I would like because the pins are close together. In retrospect I would increase the distance to each stop pin from the center of the pivot hole. I do not harden the boss section of my folder blades so it still should be fine but it is thinner than I would like.
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#17
Its time to grind. Pre-HT post HT your choice but if you use your temporary pins to look at your blade from the “back” side you can mark where you want your plunge line to start so you can have the ricasso you want.
Since your scales are still glued together it is a good time to shape the end of the handle closest to the blade.
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Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#19
Spacer time: With scales seperated go ahead and dry assemble the knife using one scale only the put the blade in the closed position. If it does not close like you want file the closed position stop pin notch on the blade until it closes the way you want. Once you are happy with the fit the lay a piece of spacer material next to the blade where you want it and trace a line on the outside to mark your cut. In other words put the spacer in place turn the scale over and mark the parts of you spacer which protrude so you can cut it flush with the scale. Remember I am going for ultra-light weight so use a longer/bigger spacer if you wish.
 

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Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#20
Next I shape and assemble, then shape and assemble, then shape and sssemble, then shape and assemble. When I get ready for final assembly I use sexbolt pivots and bronze spacers I picked up at USA KNIFEMAKER. You can peen the pivot in place and I have done so but if you peen it too tight its a pain to fix. I would use the pivots bolts at least for your first few. The other pins are peened in place.
 

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