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Thread: Stan Wilson Advisor III - a making of thread

  1. #1

    Stan Wilson Advisor III - a making of thread

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    some time ago I lurked around in a flashlight collectors forum (another of my hobbies) and saw a picture of a knife, that really completely took my breath.
    I had never before seen such a wonderful knife, and I was already collecting knives these days...
    I found out that it was an Advisor III made by Stan Wison and here it is:

    The very same day I contacted Stan by mail, had a nice discussion with him and for sure ordered my own Advisor.

    Looking at all the other knifes he ever made at his great website, I fell in love with Bertie Rietveld's Dragonskin Damascus as well as with Mammoth Tooth scales.
    So my dream combination was found very quickly.

    Stan, who is always making one complete knife after another, told me about 10-12 month to wait until he can start the work at my knife.

    Finally it took somewhat longer because Stan moved his workshop during this waiting period and also it is not too easy to get some of Berties rare Dragonskin Damascus, which he does not produce too often.
    We also did not find a pair of Mammoth Tooth scales that really met my taste - finally I found such a pair myself at an internet shop, got them shipped to me in Germany and then sent them back to Stan.
    Here they are:

    So earlier this year all materials for my knife were complete and last week Stan sent me an email telling me that he start making my knife.

    We both found that it would be a nice idea to show Stan's work and the progress of the knive in a "making of" thread here in the forum.
    And that is what I am now doing here I hope youlike it.
    Please excuse my poor english, but for me it is a foreign language and I am really trying my best.

    All further comments to the work progress pictures are from Stan himself, sent to me together with the pictures.

    Lets start with a picture of Stan in his new workshop and with the material for my knife on his desk.

    Here is the Damascus with the blade and spine marked out for rough cutting. Whenever I finish a knife I trace all the parts, if I need to duplicate the same blade shape I then copy the tracing and cut out paper templates for that particular variation of the knife.

    I sanded a strip of Titanium to remove all manufacturing marks and scratches, made sure it is nice and flat. here it is marked out and ready for cutting.

    I cover the back side of the ti so to not scratch it up when cutting or sanding, I have the front liner rough cut to shape and I will leave the back one as it is for now.

    I drilled the pivot hole and one of the pin holes in the top liner and now I will transfer those 2 holes to the back liner.

    The 2 liners can now be pinned together.

    Band saw off the excess from the bottom liner.

    Then to the belt grinder and sand close to the lines.

    To be continued... Jochen
    Last edited by ArsMachina; 04-19-2010 at 01:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Part II

    I cut out the blade and spine are rough cut.

    Then ground close to the final shape.

    They are a little thicker than I want them so it's surface ground closer to the final dimension.

    The blade and spine are profiled to fit, 2 holes are drilled into the spine and it can be pinned to the liner.
    Here it is closed, I still need to take a little off the inside of the spine.

    The back of the blade is sand down till I get a nice fit against the spine and the tip of the blade is as high as it should be.

    Now I will pin the knife together completely and sand the back of the blade, spine and liners down to the line.

    Next I will drill the screw holes for the frame.

    Holes have been drilled with a # 55 drill, this is the tap size for a 0-80 screw.

    The top liner and the spine need to be drilled out to clearance size, I will remove the back liner and drill the top liner and spine as one .

    Every hole that is drill gets deburred, I have a small drill pres set up just for this. I use an 1/8 " carbide spade bit for most holes.
    All my drill presses and many other machines are set up with fott pedals, step on the petal and press the part into the bit.

    To be continued ...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    10,000 Lakes
    Thanks for taking the time to do this. Very nice looking materials for your knife. And outstanding looking work from Stan Wilson.
    Dusty One

  4. #4
    Part III

    Next I will tap the holes in the back liner, here is my tapping setup. It is one of the old "turn your hand drill into a drill press things"
    I took out the spring and mounted a cordless screwdriver in it.

    Tapping the liners.

    Next I will counter bore the top liners for the screws. My main drill press is a mill/drill with a digital downfeed readout.
    Zero the drill bit onto the liner and counter bore to the exact depth needed.
    I use a #40 drill bit for this and I will turn the head of a flat head screw down to size.

    Screw hole have been drilled, counterbored and tapped.

    Next I go to the mini lathe to turn down some screws.

    Turning down the screw heads.

    After the heads have been turned down I want to shorten the heads a little. I have a plate to mount the screws into for this.

    After a quick hit on the disc sander.

    I can now screw the frames together. My screws are now slightly recessed below the liner.

    The screws are still too long so I clip them off with a modified wire cutter and sand then flush.

    To be continued ...

  5. #5
    Part IV

    Next is cutting out the bolsters, I have them marked out on the Damascus.

    Cutting the bolsters.

    Next I will rough in the dovetail angle on the bolsters.

    Bolsters are roughed out.

    I will now surface grind the dovetails, I have an angle fixture just for this.

    I clamp the bolster to the fixture.

    Making sparks with the surface grinder.

    Perfectly flat dovetail.

    Next I will use a filing jig to set my bolsters.

    To be continued ...

  6. #6
    Part V

    Line up the filing jig to the bolster line and tighten it down.

    A few drops of super glue and the front bolsters are in place

    Move the jig to the line for the back bolsters.

    More super glue and now the back bolsters ire in place.

    Remove the jig and now I can carefully disassemble the knife.

    With the bolsters glued to the liners I go back to the drill press and I drill the screw holes through the liners into the bolsters.

    When all the holes have been drilled a sharp tap on the bench will pop the bolsters off the liners. An acetone bath dissolves all the super glue.

    Now I can tap the bolsters, first I will give each hole a slight chamfer to help in tapping. Here one hole is chamfered.

    I made a depth guide for doing the blind tapped holes, I set the depth according to how deep the hole is drilled.
    In this case the holes in the bolsters were drilled .060 deep I set set the depth guide to .050

    First hole is tapped, the guide has bottomed out evenly across the back of the bolster.

    To be continued ...

  7. #7
    Part VI

    Counter boring the liners for the bolster screws. I will modify 8 more screws like I did the frame screws.

    Bolsters are screws in place.

    Bolsters have been ground close to the liners, I will assemble the knife and grind them right to the liners.

    Profiled and ready for the next phase. Surface grind the blade, filework and heat treat.

    To be continued ...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    First off, ArsMachina, thank you for your thread. It is VERY compelling indeed.

    I'm a Stan Wilson fanboy, and this WIP (Work In Process) tutorial supports this!

    Stan, your work is SO clean.

    Jim Cooper - Capturing the Artistry and Significance of Handmade Knives. • Makers & Clients: Read Post 815
    SBC on InstagramSBC on Facebook

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Victoria, Canada
    What a great thread. I am always amazed at how much precision there is in a folding knife. This is a real treat.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Nashville, TN
    I really, really, really like this thread so far.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Valdemarsvik, Sweden
    Interesting thread, thanks for posting.

    Beautiful knife.

    Kind regards,


  12. #12
    what a piece, i can't wait to see it finished

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Canberra, ACT, Australia
    Looking forward to seeing the rest of this. Especially how the pivot pin gets installed with the bolsters screwed on from the inside.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Canton, CT USA
    Quote Originally Posted by SharpByCoop View Post
    First off, ArsMachina, thank you for your thread. It is VERY compelling indeed.

    I'm a Stan Wilson fanboy, and this WIP (Work In Process) tutorial supports this!

    Stan, your work is SO clean.

    I'm also VERY impressed by Stan Wilson's work. I met him at his table at Blade 2008 and his knives were not only clean, they were as SMOOTH in operation as could be imagined. Handling his folders were like precision jewels.

    Looking forward to seeing the complettion.


  15. #15
    Thanks for all your positive feedback!
    This shows me it was a good idea to make such a thread.
    After ordering the knife I told Stan about my idea and am very happy that he agreed.
    Finally he has a lot of extra work to make all these wonderful pictures!

    I will continue this thread as soon as I get new pictures and explaining text from Stan.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Concord NC
    Thanks for posting this , really good.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Thanks much - we so rarely get to see folder WIPs - I'm enjoying this one.


  18. #18

    The pivot hole in the blade gets reamed to 3/16.

    The Front bolsters get recessed for the pivot screw.

    Back to the lathe and turn the pivot screws.

    ready to be threaded

    I could cut the threads with the lathe but it is a pain to change all the gears so I will just use a die.

    Threads are cut

    After the screw is parted off I clean up the head and using a jewelers saw cut a slot.

    Next I need to make a stepped pivot, 3/16" diameter with 1/8 diameter steps at each end.
    The 3/16" section needs to be as tall as the spine is thick, so mic the spine.

    The step pivot is turned.

    To be continued ...

  19. #19

    Cutting the dovetail for the signature plate.

    Ready for some filework. I mount the blade and spine to one of the liners, a filing jig and the other liner act as a spacer to get the work
    away from the vise. the filing jig also contacts the tang of the blade acting as a lock to keep the blade open.

    Marking out the first cuts.

    First side is almost done, I will now mount the blade and spine to the opposite side of the liner and do the second side to match the first.

    Filing away, I would be lost without my optivisor.

    Filework is done, ready for heat treat.

    I do all my Damascus heat treating in a propane forge. To eliminate scale I coat all the parts with Turco first.

    Since the bolsters have no through holes I need to hold them during heat treat so I use a the end of one of the screws I cut off for the bolsters earlier,
    I will screw both bolsters together and hang them from a wire.

    A nice even coat of Turco on the blade

    To be continued ...

  20. #20

    I'll heat up my quench oil.

    Light the forge, it's getting warm.

    I do my heat treating after it get dark so I can better see the color, I tried to get a good shot of the process but this is the best I could get.
    Blade is getting some color.

    All the parts have been hardened and cooled, letting the excess oil drip off.

    If the Turco is applied properly and not overheated most of the black will wipe off with a paper towel.

    I quickly cleaned up the bolsters and spine with some 0000 steel wool, I hit the blade with a scrap of 2000 grit paper I picked up off the floor.

    Ready to be tempered, I always heat treat all the Damascus parts to eliminate any variables in final finish and color.

    To be continued ...

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