Slipjoint folder for my Dad

As a present for my Dad last Christmas, I bought him a slipjoint folder by Trevor Ablett. When I showed it to my wife, she admonished me, suggesting quite strongly that I should have made him one instead of buying one.
She was, of course, correct so I sold the Ablett on. Unfortunately on the time scale that was left, I didn't have time to make one for Christmas 2009 so I made him a promise that I would have it ready for Christmas 2010.

As often happens, this has been put off repeatedly but thanks to the likes of eBay telling me close Christmas is, I thought I had better get started!!

I'm making a slipjoint folder, which isn't something I've done before. For those that don't know, a slipjoint folder is a folding knife that doesn't lock, but uses a spring to hold the blade in place. A non-locking Swiss Army Knife is a familiar example.

Rather than designing a knife from scratch, I decided to use an old knife that I acquired a few years ago.

The opening action of this knife was absolutely awful. When you open the blade out, you should feel some resistance then when it's almost fully open, it should snap into place. This didn't do that so it was dismantled to see why.

The reason became obvious quite quickly.

The spring has been worn away where it contacts the knife tang. That curved section should be flat.

It matches the curve of the blade perfectly....

So the hope is that if I remake it with a straight spring, the action will be fine! I think it's a fair gamble as the knife has obviously had a history of being used. If it was rubbish, I imagine it wouldn't be this worn.

This is the curve of the tang:

I haven't seen the liners with large holes in before, but then I haven't studied many old folders. I know the liners get dished on some folding knives, but I don't actually know why!

The blade is very worn down. It's been sharpened many times.

The markings on the blade:

This is where I am:

The blade is over-sized all over at the minute. I would rather take bits off later!

The spring is currently over-sized too, but I'll be making it smaller before heat treatment

The overall plan at the moment is to have the blade ground as a chisel grind to give my old man something different. The scales will be some Laburnum that he dropped off earlier this year that we salvaged from a friends garden at least 15 years ago!! I'm thinking of brass bolsters and liners, soldered together. I've not done any soldering like this before though so I'm unsure at this stage....


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