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How to Make a Slip Joint Pocket Knife
Page 12 of 12

Let me start off by explaining what's in this next picture. The small piece of metal to the right is a razor blade that has been broken in half, and I ground a small cutout into the end of the edge side. The two metal pieces in the center are scrap pieces that I use as wedges. Take the razor blade and work it in between the blade and the liner. Fit the cutout around the pivot pin, but try not to get the razor between the liner and the spring. The razor will keep us from peening the knife together and wedging the blade to where it will not open or close. Put the wedges in between the liners to keep the liners from closing up as we peen the blade in. Peen this pin like we did the other bolster. When finished, remove the wedges and the razor. The razor will be hard to remove, so be careful. I usually have to use pliers to remove it while I work the blade back and forth.


Use a high grit belt to grind the pins down and smooth up the bolsters. If the pins were peened correctly, you should not be able to see the bolster pins at all after you finish grinding them. Grind the bone so that it's rounded and has a smooth transition between it and the bolsters. The brass pins in the bone can also be ground down smooth if desired. When you are finished grinding, take a small file and round off all of the knife's edges. (Blade excluded.)


Take sand paper and smooth the bone and bolsters. Keep using finer and finer paper until you are satisfied with the look. I usually go for a frosted looking finish because it will not show the scratches that a mirror polished finish would. I sand up to about a 800 grit paper. Then I move to a "00" steel wool followed by a "0000" steel wool. This gives the bolsters, pins, and liner a nice smooth look, and it really polishes up the bone.


The knife is almost finished. We just need to sharpen it and clean it up. I start the sharpening process off by running the blade across a 220 grit belt a couple of times to cut the main edge. Then I take it to a very fine stone and work it back and forth until I'm satisfied with the results. I'll also strop it to remove the wire edge. The knife is nice and sharp now.


This is my favorite part: Take WD-40 and blow out all of the grit and grime that has collected in and around the knife. Use it to clean all of the grit out of the blade's pivot area. Wipe the excess oil away with clean dry cloth, put a drop of lubricating oil in the pivot area, open and close the knife a few times, and go show your wife.


The finished knife. I really enjoyed making this knife and this tutorial, but I'm glad to be done with both. As with every knife that I finish, I see things that I could, and would have, done different. However, these are the basic steps that I take to make a slip joint folder.

I hope the tutorial was informative and enjoyable. Please email me if you have any questions or comments.

Happy knife making! -Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford Knives [link will open new window]

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