Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives

Assembling the Prototype

The first step towards assembling the knife is to cut the locking notch into the blade as indicated in the picture below by the red outline. Notice that the top of the notch is about on the centerline of the pivot hole. The next question you must answer is how far into the blade should the cut go? The answer is illustrated with the green arrow and the blue line. The green arrow shows the distance between the bottom of the pivot hole and the bottom of the blade. When cutting the notch into the blade, you need to make sure that the distance indicated by the blue line is less than the distance indicated by the green arrow, otherwise the lock will not work properly. As far as the lock is concerned, the deeper the notch is, the better off you are. There is a practical limit, off course, and that is that you must leave enough space for a washer of reasonable size. The width of the washer from the edge of the pivot hole to the outer edge of the washer is the length of the blue line. The washer on this side of the blade cannot be allowed to extend over the notch or else it would interfere with the locking bar as it tries to move into position to lock the blade.

To cut the notch, you will need a protractor of some sort to set the angle of the platen on your grinder. The protractor in the picture is plastic and costs under $5 at most any hardware store. I set the angle at 10 degrees but it is common for makers to use anywhere from 6 to 11 degrees. With experience, you may decide to use a different angle but for now let's use 10 degrees.

With the blade flat on the tool rest, push into the belt to cut the notch. Notice that the edge of the belt is on the centerline of the pivot hole. Pay special attention to the fact that the cutting edge of the blade is facing to the right. The blade must be facing in this direction if you are making a standard right handed knife.

Once the locking notch is cut it should look about like the picture below. Shown with the blade is a piece of material used to make the washers we will need. In this case, the material is nylotron but there are many other popular materials that could be used.

There are two holes already punched in the nylotron. They were punched to match my pivot size using an ordinary hand punch from a set that you might find at a hardware store or Harbor Freight for less than $10. I assume that most everyone has access to a punch set like that or can get one.

But, as a first time folder maker you may not have an elaborate set of large punches that would allow you to make nice round washers with a perfectly centered hole in the middle. So, just to show you that fancy tools aren't really needed to make the knife function properly, I cut these washers out using a pair of scissors and I intentionally did a sloppy job of it.

In this next picture, you can see the blade in the handle with the washers in place. The smaller washer is under the blade, the larger one is visible. They could both be the same size as the smaller washer - it's just a matter of personal preference.

Next, we are preparing to cut the lock into the liner. The first step is to secure the blade into the exact position we want it to be when the knife is open. To do this, we need to make a new tool. In the picture below, you can see an ivory colored thing sitting on the pivot. This is a donut shaped spacer that temporarily replaces the left handle scale on the knife and allows the pivot screw to be screwed down tight enough so that the blade will not move too easily. These donuts can be made from anything you have handy, this one is a scrap of ivory Micarta.

There are two important things to know about the donut spacer. One is that the diameter needs to be small enough that it does not extend over the locking notch on the blade. The second thing is that it should be either the same thickness as your back spacer or the same thickness as your blade. Having it be one of these thicknesses will allow you to easily substitute the donut for the blade and still assemble the handle as usual without the blade. This is useful when putting the finishing touches on a handle although we probably will not need to use it that way on this prototype.

Next, we cut the lock....

Cutting the Lock

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Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives