The Spring Is the Thing: Folding Knife Workshop with Mike Todd

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Have you ever considered making a folding knife, but haven’t? Don’t be intimidated by the moving parts, tight tolerances or people who say you need a whole shop of machine tools and an engineering degree. Come spend the weekend with me at the SOFA shop and I’ll show you how you can make a good, functional pocket knife with nothing more than hand tools.

I will show you what I’ve figured out from trial and error- short cuts, the use of a fixtures to check and adjust the preload (tension) of the back spring and fit the blade tang to the spring. What makes the blade “walk and talk”- that’s the snap of the blade as it clicks open and closed. How to avoid mistakes and how to fix them when they happen.

The knife you make will be a single blade jack knife with scales (handles) made of your choice of brass or nickel silver. The profile of the handle and blade will be up to you. The blade and backspring will be made of 1075. You’ll use files to do the majority of the shaping, because mistakes happen slower that way and you can see them before they strike. We’ll do the heat treating with a torch and an electric hot plate. This will be all stock removal- no forging. The most complicated tool you’ll use is the drill press.

The cost is $175.00, that includes lunch and all materials. Also, you’ll take home a set of three good files with handles and the fixturing that you used to make your knife. Plan on spending 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and most of the day on Sunday. Prior knife making experience isn’t needed, but you’ll have to have at least some experience with working with tools and making stuff.

If you’ve ever thought of making a folder- now is your chance to do it! I will admit- it IS  a challenge and the road to success can have some stumbling blocks, but its not nearly as hard as some people make it out to be. Using simple tools and techniques, I will show you how to make a pocket knife you’ll be proud to carry and use.


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