DIY: folding knives
this is one of the projects I have started recently - folding knives. one will be inspired by a piece auctioned some time ago at HH - 14./15. century German folding knife. it has an interesting handle construction, from folded piece of metal. I have decided to use a different shape of blade. (1st picture)

The second one will be based on a rather well-known find from London, with handle made from antler.
Both have a very simple construction, but as it is my first try on folding knifes, I did not want to start with more decorative pieces.
Second picture picture shows two blades, cut from the spring steel (N 14 260) by angle grinder, and roughly shaped.

after that, I had smoothed the shape by hand-files and sand paper, and had them hardened and quenched in oil - thatīs the last one.

more to follow...

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I had couple of hours to spend of this project, so I worked on the smaller knife. After some experiments I abandoned the idea of antler handle, and went for an elm-wood. I still had some left from my earlier bauerwehr project (, and I really like the way it darkens and shows year rings when coated with oil.

picture 1: So the first thing was to cut a block of wood with a hack-saw (it works much better than a normal saw wood) and draw lines of the handle. I played a bit with the blade to find where to position a pivoting rivet.

Picture 2: The handle has been roughly shaped. I was using a belt grinder, but it could be easily done with a rasp, files and sand-paper. The most complicated part was to cut a slit for a blade. First I nearly ruined everything with the hack-saw, but then I got an idea that worked: I have cut it with a angle-grinder (looks like my favorite tool:)), using a disc that was a little bit narrower, than the blade. It worked well.
Then I drilled a hole for the pivot.

Picture 3: I worked a bit on the blade. I have bent a thumb-piece to a small loop (inspiration taken from medieval folding knives from Novgorod, Russia), and did some file-work on both sides. I have made a small brass insertion at the end of the blade, and cleaned the whole thing with a sand-paper.

Next. I have softened the edges on the handle with files and sand-paper, assembled the whole thing, using a brass pivot, cleaned it again with a fine sand-paper, and coated in oil. The knife is finished. I will take some pictures tomorrow in the daylight and post them.

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Thats some good work. And timely, I was going to start on making another folding knife and those are some great insperation.
here are some pictures of the finished piece. i should start working on the second one.

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simple and neat.

i was building my own little folder quite a while back - much more modern, they are a challenge.
Great work, Radovan! Did you look at originals first? Which timeframe could be applied to this one? Tought about making one myself, but I've too many ideas and too few spare time these days...
Thomas R. wrote:
Great work, Radovan! Did you look at originals first? Which timeframe could be applied to this one? Tought about making one myself, but I've too many ideas and too few spare time these days...

I agree very nice work.
Thank you. Thomas: this first one was generally inspired by a knife pictured in MoL book Knives and Scabbards on p. 106, which is dated to late 13th cent. But I have changed the shape of blade and handle, so it resembles more a knife from Simon Moore: Penknives and other folding knives, on p. 6 (top), which is dated to 14th century. So you could choose :)

Yesterday I managed to finish the second one, too. In the end, I have used a different blade than planned originally. It is a left-over from another project (large kitchen knife, posted somewhere else on this forum), made from an old blade I found rusting in a corner of our garden (it was probably from a grass-cutter).

First, Iīve made a handle. I had cut a strip from 2mm mild steel sheet, and bent it in my vice. (picture 1 and 2 - with blade, which was later re-shaped). The center was wrapped around a metal rod, to make that tubular shape at the end of the handle. A larger recess on the back side will accommodate the thumb-piece.

I worked a bit on the handle, cleaning it and adding some details with files. A very simple design was engraved on one side. (picture 3)

Then the knife was assembled with brass pivot and a brass pin in the thumb-piece, which stops blade in the right position. I have cleaned it again with sand paper, but retained some pitted areas (both blade and handle were made from an old metal, quite heavily rusted) to give it an "antiqued" look. The result is shown on the last picture.

Your comments and ideas are welcome. I have to say that I like the "utilitarian" and simple look of this all-steel construction, and will definitely try to make another piece some time (hopefully, with a better result:))

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...and some more pictures, from different angles.

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