Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by switchblades. I’ve always wanted to make one, but there has been relatively little information available on how to do so. Back around 2002 I learned to make scale release automatics. The blade on a scale release automatic is driven by a coil spring, and while this is cool, I find there to be something really special about an automatic knife that uses a leaf spring to throw the blade and a button to fire it.
I guess it was around 2006 when I met Don Hall, who some might know as Merlin. Don is a fantastic switchblade maker, and he was kind enough to show me a thing or two. Using his techniques I was able to build the type of automatic I had always wanted to make.
In this video I build an automatic based on the general design of my EDC-1 slipjoint pattern. The knife uses a leaf spring to throw the blade, and it uses a lever to fire it. I pretty much design the knife on the fly, and while this may not be the best method, the viewer should benefit from seeing what works and what does not.
Building a lever action automatic is an advanced level knifemaking project, and it helps to have some experience in building folders prior to taking it on. That being said, if you’ve previously made a lock-back folder, then you are well on your way to building a lever action auto.
Because of the advanced nature of this project, I do not cover topics such as blade grinding and heat treating, shaping and cleaning up the bolsters and scales, peening the knife together, and other basic knifemaking processes. If you do need help with these things, they are covered in detail in my slipjoint DVD, and there are many other resources available online and in print that can be of assistance.
(Running Time: 5 Hours 28 Minutes)