Take-Down Knives - Topic For August 2012 Knives that can be disassembled
Posted 01 August 2012 - 03:58 AM
Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:58 AM
I could write a book on the various things that people have done to "wreck" take-down knives. I've had clients who had taken the knife apart....then lost one or more pieces, another used a pair of slip-joint pliers in an attempt to tighten the finish "nut", chewing/marring it all up. Still others have cross threaded, or stripped tang threads, and I even had one person who, after taking the knife apart, tried to force the parts back, in the wrong order, and literally split an ivory handle. I know it's "cool", and I know some collectors just love "take-downs:, but in all of the cases I described, I either got a phone call, or the knife showed up in the mail, out of the blue, with the expectation that I fix/repair the knife for free! I might hate myself later for saying this.....but the warranty on my knives does not cover "stupid".
Those who have/do make "take-downs" know the time and effort it takes to build one. And when somebody "messes" something up on one of these pieces, it's a lot of time and effort to "fix" it. So, all that being said, time and some dreadful experiences IF I build a take down for someone, they sign a waiver from me that if they wreck something by taking apart, and putting together the knife, I will repair it, BUT....the work will be accomplished at my hourly shop rate. OK, rant over.
Now, without getting overly long winded, as knifemakers, most of us never have to worry about how highly finished the "insides" of a knife are. All that changes when it comes to a "take-down". Whatever assembly method a person chooses, I believe it's essential to make the "insides" look as good as the "outside".....generally this means 2-3X the effort and time versus making the same knife in a NON take-down version. Making a take down also forces the Maker to use additional parts that would not be present in a non take down knife, such as guide pins, indexes, etc. All of this adds up to a new level of difficulty, and a lot of extra time.....hence the cost of a take down version of a knife will often be twice that of the same knife in a non take down style.
Guess I didn't share a lot of "technique" in this thread, but I will come back later, and add some more info.
Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:32 AM
I find making a knife in this manner eliminates a ton of variables in finishing a knife, allowing me much more freedom, and reduces my assembly time dramatically, allowing me more time to devote to the individual pieces.
Since Jerry Rados taught me this method in late '99, I have made this type of knife practically exclusively and in 13 years have yet to get the first one back.
I have made hundreds.
A second grader can take my knives apart and put them back together without threat of error.
I've tested them extensively for failure - in fact my JS performance knife was a take-down - and have found them to be every bit as dependable as any other type of construction, if not stronger, since it incorporates the entire knife from tip to butt.
There are certainly ways to accomplish many tasks in knife making, and some of those ways work, and others, not done correctly, are failures.
It would behoove those who are having trouble with take-downs to slow down and step back for a second and find out what they're doing wrong. I've found throughout out my time making these knives that those who are having trouble with take-downs are missing something along the way.
There is also a moment during the making of a take-down knife where the customer must be educated as to the various aspects of the take-down knife.
As long as my customers who have 6-8- or a dozen knives of mine that are take-down keep on ordering them, I'll keep on happily making them and improving them, as we all should in our chosen methods.
Done well, I think it's one of the most effective ways to build a knife that is built to last.
Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:36 AM
Anvil Top Custom Knives
Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:52 AM
The comments in Ed's and Karl's posts are exactly why I thought this would be a good topic. A take-down knife has to be bullet proof and also idiot proof. It has to be strong enough to serve without failing and to resist wear from repeated disassembly/reassembly. It also has to be designed so it is virtually impossible to reassemble it incorrectly, and/or damage it while assembling.
There is a good bit of interest in take-down knives. Both in building them and also from customers who request them. A take-down knife is a logical choice when maintenance and cleaning of the knife would best be done with the knife disassembled. There are also knives that are worthy of having the internal parts admired for the construction technique employed. The San Francisco bowie that I recently built was a take-down.
I have built a few take-down knives, but do not consider myself to be an expert at it. To date, I have only had one folder come back reassembled incorrectly. I admit that I am reluctant to build a take-down when I do not know who the knife is going to be sold to. But, I feel that if I were more confident and knowledgeable in the technique, I would have no reason to have a concern.
So to continue this thread, what are the best methods, materials and techniques for building take-down knives?
Posted 01 August 2012 - 09:14 AM
If not, proper fit up and subsequent failure is imminent.
I mill all mating surfaces.
And when there's a butt cap, butt end of knife, etc. all things must be in a straight line as well.
The pieces need to be true and well mated before the first step of creating the "take-down" assembly.
There won't be any glues or fillers to fill gaps and voids. Once screwed together, it almost need to be waterproof because of such a good fit.
That is the challenge - and the pleasure - of a properly done take-down.
Once these are accomplished with regularity, the assembly is pretty simple.
Of course, the pins - if used - need to be properly located and established perpendicular to the surfaces so as to not throw off the assembly in any way.
I also see about a dozen different ways of making the threaded assembly, and after hundreds of these under my belt, it's just soooooooooooooooooo much simpler, instead of welding and brazing and slotting things, to just thread the tang.
It's stupid simple.
When you start welding and attaching "stuff" for the threaded portion, it just complicates things and makes one more potential for failure as a maker.
It takes some time, and is daunting for the faint of heart, but once you get in a rhythm, it's a ton of fun.
Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:14 PM
Kevin A Willey
Posted 11 August 2012 - 06:20 PM
The thing that is really killing me is finding a suitable "finneal" (sp) nut/bolt thing for the attachment on the butt end.
I dont have a lathe.....so.....IDK
What do some of you other takedown makers use?
Work smarter NOT harder
Posted 11 August 2012 - 09:38 PM
Necessity is the mother of invention. I have seen people make these in drill press with files and even in hand drills that were clamped to a bench.
The common theme is to start with a short piece of rod, drill and tap to the desired size, clamp the rod in the drill chuck and file the step on the threaded end then turn the piece around and file in the actual finial that will be exposed.