How do you set inlays in interframe folders?

Sep 17, 1999
Is the inlay made first or the hole first?
Does the inlay go all the way through the frame?
how do you get both parts to match?

Bleeding, it's a hobby of mine.
I'll take a stab at this although I am certainly no expert on the subject.

I believe the way Ron Lake made the first ones was to make his folder frame out of thin stock. The he used an overlay of stainless steel with a window cut out into which was inserted the inlay material. So the end result is inlay with a protective frame.

I'm planning on doing a little of this myself very soon and actually woke up this morning thinking about it.

Peter Atwood

In the book "how to make folding knives" Ron Lake shows how he makes his interframe folders. For the inlays he mills out a recess into the slab, but it doesn't go all the way through. He uses a set of steel templates to lay out the patterns for both the recess and the inlay. This takes alot of precision to even get the two peices to fit together with no gaps around the edges. On top of that, he had the depth set just right so that he wouldn't grind away to much of the face of the stag inlay as he shaped and finished the handle. I'd probably go with soem micarta or something similar for my first try since its a little more fogiving in the finishing process.
I think it would work just as well to cut the recess all the way through though, and then back it with liners. That would let you use something easy to mill for the frame, and still have tough liners.

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer... but I've got the sharpest knife in the room.
I think I will have to do it with liners until I get a mill. Does anyone know of another way to make a recessed pocket without a mill?

Bleeding, it's a hobby of mine.
The Lake method in the book mentioned above IS a GREAT way to do it. The only problem is you have to make your own speciall cutters and modify existing ones. I make punches and dies in a similar fashion at my full time job. Doing inlays like that, especially in SOFT 416 isn't bad. The challenge is making the cutters properly to end up with good fits. I would imagine that Ron Lake knows his way around and probably HAS a good tool and cutter grinder.


Hand Made Knives..High Tech Materials

[This message has been edited by Dr.Lathe (edited 06-07-2001).]
Mel Pardue has explained this to me a few times...
He mills out the inlay area all the way through the liner (or whatever) Then uses a material called "Cerosafe" available from has a melting point of 140, and does not shrink or expand...then you use a CNC-NC end mill (has to be cnc-nc because the shank size is exact), and use the cerosafe casting you just made, put that on top of the inlay material. Then mill around the material keeping the cerosafe casting riding on the shaft, and the cutter on the material, you mill it out...That will give you a perfect inlay.