Looking for constructive criticism please.


Well-Known Member
First off, please don't take my request for criticism to just be an a-hole. Please use some tact if possible.

But I'm really enjoying making these lockback folders. I really have the function down, even my peening has gotten really good. But I guess I'm wondering if there is something to the style or looks I could improve upon. I've only made 4. The mammoth tooth is the first one and I kept it. The others have been for friends.

San Mai and g10, carbon fiber and custom damascus. Mammoth ivory and 8670, Mammoth tooth and 8670

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First of all, completing any working folder is an achievement to be proud of. There are a great many things that go into a folder that are not required when creating a straight knife. Also, creating folders requires much finer/tighter tolerances when compared to straight knives.

Please keep in mind that the things I mention come from someone who has been building various types of folders for over 2 decades, so the things I see/say may be only a matter of time before you see the same things.

The first thing that catches my eye is proportions....it could certainly be the photos, but the blades looks somewhat small for the handles. This often occurs in the first few folders a person makes.... in your case there are two contributing factors....first is the fact that these are "lock back" folders...meaning that the pivot must be positioned in such a manner that the lock mechanism works it's intended function(s) in both the open and closed positions. In order to make everything look proportional, it would require repositioning of the pivot, and then changing the other parts of the folder to match the repositioning.

I would recommend to reconsider the use of copper pins (thats what they appear to be?) They will wear very quickly in a lockback folder application, causing any number of problems. I know they are easier to install, but their wear characteristics are just too low for a folder application. Likely not an issue for folders that you've given away, but if you you're selling them, copper pins WILL cause you issues sooner than later. ;)

Otherwise I can only say that refinement will come with time, practice, and repetition. Folders are not "easy" by anybody's measure.....especially those first.... 10....or 20.....or..... :)
Thank you Ed. I agree the handles are pretty damn big compared to the blades. I got stuck in the "I want to use as much of the mammoth tooth or ivory" as I could. When I should have cut those scales in half and had enough for two folders.

And noted on the copper pins. I should know better than to use something so soft.

Thanks again!

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I think you're off to a decent start, and I agree with Ed: Just getting the pieces together enough to fold and lock/unlock is further than a lot of makers get. I'm curious as to where you are getting your pattern for the pieces? I think you have an OK foundation, but I concur that the proportions could be tweaked. You might take an existing lockback that you like the looks of and take it apart. Examine the individual pieces. Measure them, study them, and heck, even use it as a pattern if need be.

Aside from that, overall fit and finish stands out to me as an area that could be improved. The lock bar should typically be flush with the back of the handle, and ideally, there shouldn't be a gap (or at least not a large one) under the back end of the lock bar. Looks like you fixed this with the marbled CF and the mammoth patterns. Other than that, I'd try to just clean up the general lines of the design to flow a little better, and work on making the contours a little more even and symmetrical. Personally, I'd probably knock out a few more "practice" pieces before I upgraded to more premium materials than simple carbon steel and lower cost phenolics, but that's me.

At any rate, keep moving forward, find at least one thing to improve with each piece (there's always at least one thing) and execute accordingly. Looking forward to seeing your future work!
Thank you as well. I did use an old lockback as a template. I love the size of the handle in my hand, but I agree, I need to work on the shape so it doesn't look like a potato. I'm moving my shop, so in a few weeks I'll get back to it. Maybe the break will do the creative side some good.

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