Picture of How to Make a Wooden Folding Knife
Knives are useful tools for many different applications (as Mrballeng has demonstrated), but what if you've got an aspiring boy scout around or you just want to teach someone how to handle knives safely? Or maybe you're like me; you're trying to make a knife of your own design and need to make a prototype first. Well then this is just the thing for you!

The main reason I chose to make my own folder is because most of the nicer ones you find on the market nowadays are over 3" long or are a bit too wide to fit comfortably in "girl pockets" (if you've never experienced them you have no idea how lucky you are). Plus I figured it'd be a nice challenge.

**Note** Please make an effort to read the annotations, I think they're more helpful than the formal instructions.
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Step 1: The Design

Picture of The Design
Now this is where you get creative. You have to keep a few things in mind, but other than that you have free reign here. Just do whatever you want and by the end of it you should have a nice blade and handle shape. 

Remember that you need to leave room for standoffs or a backspacer while the blade is in the closed position (see last pic). Also you should put a fair bit of care into figuring out the placement of the pivot and adjusting the blade length accordingly. If the pivot isn't aligned properly you're liable to end up losing a lot of blade and handle width by trying to correct it (or you could turn the misalignment into a "feature").
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jpineda62 years ago
Hey man can you post up the desgins?
gg1220 (author)  jpineda62 years ago
If I scan the templates and send them to you will that work? I haven't gotten around to cading them up yet.

Can you send them to me as well?

jpineda6 gg12202 years ago
sure man you can send them
gg1220 (author)  jpineda62 years ago
Alright, just warning you that I'm in the middle of college apps so it may take a little while to get the files up.
Climber039 months ago
Will it cut or whittle any thing?
Do you think that with the right kind of wood you could sharpen it enough to be useful for cutting rope or even to make a wooden wood carving knife
DF_Man2 years ago
Thanks. Very userful Instructable, and good photos & schemes. You provoked same new ideas to modeling of some instruments for works on wood. (Sorry by my English, can speak very little)
gg1220 (author)  DF_Man2 years ago
Thank you! What kind of instruments do you make?
eszaq12 years ago
in the wrong hands, with the wrong intentions, the perfect weapon. Schools and colleges should be right to be concerned.

Instructables should take a view on whether this sort of content is appropriate.

What next... build your own IED?
pencils don't kill people, People kill people!
I saw a guy stabbed with a wooden pencil. I guess in your eyes writing utensils are inappropriate, too, eh? Ah, the nanny state is alive and well. Geeze.
Wow...please tell me your joking?
srilyk eszaq12 years ago
In the wrong hands, with the wrong intentions *everything* is a weapon. Textbooks make a good club. Picture frames on the wall make good stabbing tools. Heck, you could pick up a chair and swing it. And you know those very same pens and pencils that they use to write with? Guess what make *great* stabbing tools? That's why prisons only allow stab-proof wobbly pens.

It is quite literally insane to think that you can stop a person who intends to be violent from being violent AND also allow them freedom of movement.

And, despite what the media might lead you to believe, most people are, in fact, nice people. Very few kids actually commit serious violence UNLESS... they're subjected to peer pressure (e.g. gangs), or psychotropic drugs, or other factors of that nature. Instead of "we need to prohibit weapons" policies, we need "this is a safe place to learn and grow" policies. Instead of expelling/suspending children for drawing pictures of guns, or bringing water guns to school, we need to stop the much more insidious problem of kids verbally abusing other kids. Remember Casey, the kid who (quite awesomely) power bombed the much smaller bullies because he /felt he had no other recourse/? Yeah, Casey did the right thing - the school totally failed to prevent the behavior that leads to violence in the first place. The bully? Yeah, that's totally gang behavior on the small scale.

So yes, building your own wooden knife *is* appropriate.
rrfxxxr eszaq12 years ago
Look around you, paper weight on your desk, or tire iron in your car. What about a PC mouse as improvised garrotte, PC keyboard, wire from spiral bound tablet. Bare hands with the "wrong intentions" ..... and on and on. Just looking at the bigger picture.
if someone was to use this as a weapon, they'd have to use aluminium for the blade. pressboard like this would snap in half w/o causing more then a serious bruise and putting a point on it would weaken the structure even further. especially in such a thin cross section.

seriously, it's people like you that are getting our liberties slowly stripped away from us and are going to be part of the ruination of this country. being paranoid about what can be used as a weapon and all. like in california, because of your logic, you can't even carry certain pens because they can be potential weapons. dirk (and dagger) definition in the law, see Dirk Or Dagger in PC 16100-17360 definitions, covers pretty much anything, because ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death applies to the screwdrives and pens just as well. And those things do get used in crimes as a stabbing weapon.
I think answered your cries for nanny-statehood nicely by making this a featured article on 9/11. Lol! Go Insructables!
Denger eszaq12 years ago
The only difference between a tool and a weapon lies in its application.

If you're worried about wooden weapons, baseball players will have to start switching over to using polyethylene foam bats (a.k.a. pool noodles), since wooden or metal bats can be (and frequently are) used as weapons. This Instructable shows only how to create a non-dangerous model for instructing a young person in the proper use of a knife (and that is as a tool).
gg1220 (author)  eszaq12 years ago
I agree with arawn. There's nothing anyone can really do to prevent the use of everything that could possibly be weaponized, and sometimes people try to misconstrue everything they see as a weapon just to make a point. Furthermore, a blunt object made from pressed wood fibers is very far down the list of choice weapons, especially when there are no metal detectors to deter the real thing (e.g. at schools). The mechanical pencil in the penultimate photo is honestly a more dangerous item than the knife.

And in regards to your quip about an IED, you might want to think about your timing, seeing as how tomorrow's the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

I understand your concern, but I just don't think your points are quite valid in this case. You may disagree, but hey, that's how these things work :)
arawn eszaq12 years ago
Man... if the person has bad intantions in school, even a pencil makes a good weapon.
riff raff2 years ago
Nice! Looks amazingly similar to some Kershaw designs! ;-)
gg1220 (author)  riff raff2 years ago
Haha I wouldn't be surprised, I've gone through their catalog many a time :)
Denger2 years ago
Nice Instructable, and great photos. I plan to use paint stirring sticks to construct these for Cub Scouts to use in practicing their knife safety skills.
gg1220 (author)  Denger2 years ago
That sounds great! I'd love to see pictures when you finish :)
Microbe2 years ago
Fantastic, just what I needed to take on a plane with me.
Take a look at kershaw knives, specifically the leek. They make some of the thinnest knives I've come across. I've got a composite blade version as my EDC.
gg1220 (author)  NitroRustlerDriver2 years ago
Thanks for the heads up!
chuckyd2 years ago
That looks good for a prototype. I would love to see it done with a noble wood, or even an exotic wood.
gg1220 (author)  chuckyd2 years ago
Haha that's a great idea, and there's a very easy way to make sure you see one, get to hold it in your hands, and feel the pride that comes with making it! If you decide to do it I'd love to see what you come up with :)
Very nicely done. Thank-you for sharing.

There is a strongly postivie correlation between edc-ing a knife and edc-ing a flashlight. Based on your fist/last photos, I suspect that you do both. :-)

As someone else has suggested, there are a number of very good choices for those with small hands and/or pockets. Your Paraframe is larger than anything I edc, and of marginal quality as well. If you've never handled a Spyderco Dragonfly with fibre reinforced nylon scales, I encourage you to do so. It is a very nice, well made, lightweight, small locking folder with excellent steel and ergonomics.

Again, thank-you for sharing your work with us.

gg1220 (author)  Frank_Zuccarini2 years ago
Thanks Mr. Frank :)
I'll definitely keep an eye on the Dragonfly. The main reason I've been hesitating about getting one is that I'm not much of a fan of lockbacks. I feel much safer with linerlocks or framelocks when it comes to closing the blades one-handed (yeah, I know it's a bit backwards). So I figured if I could make something more to my liking at roughly the same cost, why not?

Plus, for better or for worse, I'll be reminded of my craftsmanship every time I use it, and it'll make me work harder to produce a higher quality version next time around!

And that's a neat observation about the correlation between knives and flashlights.

Take care :)
MacNoska2 years ago
By Jove, that's a good-looking knife! How i wish i had the ability to measure accurately and cut in straight lines...

...and how I wish you anglophones would use centimeters instead of inches!!! I don't know who's to blame, but he must be in History books somewhere...I think I might track his descendants down and tell them a thing or two.  :-/

Great work, and so plainly and funnily explained! Thank you!
gg1220 (author)  MacNoska2 years ago
Thanks for the kind words! And you know what? You don't need straight lines at all. Some of the best designs out there are all curves :)

Haha I have no idea how we managed to earn our rep as cutting edge innovators and not switch over to metric... tsk tsk. However, if it makes you feel better, my brother and I are currently working on a project that's strictly metric (life is just so much easier that way).

l8nite2 years ago
Nice looking knife and very nice "ible". I use hardwood flooring to make sheath knives, although they won't hold a sharp edge for cutting they do have a use for protection

 Both of my daughters carry folding/lockable knives and have for many years, there are quality knives out there that fit a females smaller hand (and smaller pockets) just as there are handguns designed with females in mind,
I hope you follow through and make this knife and then share it with us
gg1220 (author)  l8nite2 years ago
Thanks for the tips! I do carry an edc (when legal), it's just that I have a few problems with it. It's not a bad knife at all (a Gerber Paraframe), but there are some things I figured I could do better (ergonomics, blade steel, fit and finish, etc.). Also, I just wanted something that was designed exactly for me (and others with smallish hands). 

By the way, nice use of recycled flooring! We've got a bunch lying around and I've just been doing turning projects to use it up.

And I'll definitely keep you guys posted on the real knife :)
M3G2 years ago
gg1220 (author)  M3G2 years ago
thanks :)
useraaaaa2 years ago
waiting for wooden 1911 instructable!
gg1220 (author)  useraaaaa2 years ago
Haha that'll be a few years off, but... challenge accepted!
aliasaint2 years ago
nice work! it looks great!
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