Custom Knife Scales

I like folding knives.  I am always on the lookout for folding knives from which I can easily strip the aluminum scales and replace them with pretty wooden ones.

I particularly like the type with a frame lock where one side of the metal frame is bent inwards and upon opening the blade, it engages against a flat spot on the blade, thus locking it in the open position.  To release the blade, simply push the lock to the side and close the blade.  If the knife also has a thumb stud, the knife is easily opened and closed with only one hand.  Knives with frame locks are not difficult to find, but it is a little tougher to find a small knife with a frame lock and a thumb stud.  This one is 6-1/2″ long when open.

I epoxied the scales in place and shaped them with rasps and sandpaper.  I decided to leave the scales bare and polished the wood using tripoli and white diamond abrasive compounds.

Tools I Use Daily

There are some of the non-powered tools which I use nearly every time I work in the shop. These are my necessities, tools that make my work so much easier and most are a joy to use. Some are expensive, some are not. All are worth every penny to me. Here’s the list:-COMBINATION SQUARE: I’m happy with my 18″ Empire Pro model – it goes for less than $20. I also own a few smaller 4″ and 6″ models (combo or double squares) and they are handy. They cost me from $25-50 each.

-STANLEY LEVERLOCK TAPE MEASURES: Some people find the locking mechanism awkward, but I love it. I found a 3-pack (30′, 25′, 12′) on sale for $10. I keep the 25′ and 30′ tapes scattered around my shop and the 12′ in my pocket. I also carry around a 6′ Tape-in-a-can which used to be made by Veritas. Good luck finding one nowadays though.

-STRAIGHT EDGE: Not a machinist’s precision-ground straight edge, just something to draw straight lines. A 1/2″ thick, straight piece of wood is a good size and costs me nothing. Aluminum or steel rules are nice too.

-MARKING GAUGE: I like the micro-adjustable wheel type. I don’t think graduations on the rod are that useful. Mine set me back about $35.

-0.5mm MECHANICAL PENCILS: They make a fine line and don’t need sharpening. Cheap too. I also use carpenter’s pencils a lot for less critical work. Their lines are less accurate, but I use the scales on my power tools to provide the accuracy.

-MARKING KNIFE: I have a bunch I use: one made from an old jigsaw blade (thank you Derek Cohen), an X-acto, a couple for carving, a spear-point. They all work, some better for certain tasks than others. I don’t like a knife with bevels on both faces for marking. None cost me more than $20.

-TUCKER VISE: Patternmaker’s vices are not cheap or easy to find, but they are very versatile and very useful. I use all the features – the quick-release, the rotation, the tilt, skewing of jaws – regularly. The quick-release foot pedal which I believe is exclusive to the Tucker is a real bonus and I am lost without it. It last retailed for about $700.

-SAFETY GOGGLES: Not glasses, goggles. They’re actually called Chemical Splash Goggles. I like them because they fit comfortably over my glasses, plus they protect from riccochets. $20 and worth every penny.

-EAR MUFFS: Easy to put on even over longer hair. The downside is that in the warmer months, the warmth they provide is unwanted. To keep cooler, I like Zem’s hearing protectors. Either type costs less than $25.