There are probably as many ways to make a pocket knife as there are to skin a cat, one of those cat-skinning methods coincidentally involving a pocket knife. That aside, we must distinguish between the methods of professionals and factory workers and those of the amateur. An amateur pocket knife maker, it may be, is but an expert in the making, but in the mean time there exists a need for relatively simple methods that involve only the kinds of tools and materials one is likely to have already on hand, can obtain at a local hardware store, or can purchase from a knife making supply store.
A Knife from Spare Change
A rudimentary type of knife can be created out of a nickel and a penny. Hammer the nickel on an anvil to increase its expanse and loosen it up for cutting. With a good gel pen, mark out a pattern for a blade with handle protruding. The exact dimensions are quite up to you. Take your hacksaw and remove the excess coin material. Next bend the penny in the vice till you can fit it around the handle you made on the nickel and squeeze it on tight. You will want to use a highly abrasive grinder to sharpen the blade and a medium level abrasive grinder to wear the face off the penny. Use a polisher to get everything smooth and shiny at the last, and you have your six cent knife.
A Wooden Folding Knife
Print out or draw out the patterns for the knife’s blade, handle sides, pin holes, etc. and cut them out. Glue them on slates of one eighth inch thick hardwood, and then make initial rough cuts with a hacksaw around the planned knife parts. Next trim closer to the lines, and then finally file things down just right, including the edge of the knife blade. Drill through the pin-holes and check and double-check that things will be aligned properly. Glue on the spring block that will assist the blade in opening and closing well- you can purchase one at a knife parts store. Now fish dowels of the width of your pin holes through a dowel maker to sand and shape them, before inserting them into the holes and trimming them to size. Glue the pins in and let dry. You can coat the wood with oil, or if you wish, wood stain.
A Liner Lock Metal Folding Knife with One Blade
Use hardened, high carbon steel for the blade, Micarta material for the handle, two silver and two brass holding pins, and titanium for the liner lock and the spring. You will need only basic tools, but make sure you use a good drill bit and a ball peen hammer. The whole project should cost about $25. Again, print your designs and cut them out. Glue them to the metals and cut around with a hacksaw, but leave extra space around the stop pin and lock which you can shave off later- you can always trim it down later, but you cannot put it back on. Mark the exact middle of your knife blade edge and proceed to file it sharp to a one sixteenth of an inch point (dime width). File and polish the other parts as needed. When you drill the pivot and stop pin holes, drill straight, using a drill guide or drill press if you need to. The holes must align correctly to render a properly functioning knife. Its a good idea to punch a small hole in the middle of the area to be drilled out so the drill bit can get started easy in the right spot. The titanium lock piece needs a T-shape cut out of it, and again a hacksaw can do the trick if you first drill a series of close-together holes to give the hacksaw an entry point. Fitting the knife blade to the lock and all the pieces together snug is a matter of trial and error. File and check; file and check. But know that the grooved areas just above and below the handle-touching end of the blade needs to be carefully adjusted by filing it little by little till it fits just right- the same goes for the corner point in the same general area, for it will prevent the blade from folding if it is too long. Once the pins are in and the knife folds and unfolds well, you are done.
A Two-blade Hacksaw and PVC Knife
This knife has blades made from filed down hacksaw blades which are connected to a handle of PVC pipe. A half inch pop rivet with a washer on each side holds the knife together. When grinding the hacksaw material, occasionally stop the dip the metal in water to cool it. Cut the PVC pipe in three and partially melt it over a burner, until it will fold around the width of both blades. Once you have drilled the hole and are ready to insert the pop rivet, make sure you put not two, but three, hacksaw blades in while fastening the knife together. This third piece is then removed, but it makes sure the knife blades have room to turn.
From the times of the ancient Romans, men have made and used pocket knives. Those undertaking such a project are thus not only making a useful tool and finding an enjoyable hobby, but are continuing a very old tradition.