Chow-Chow Liner Lock Kit - How to

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Chow-Chow Liner Lock Kit - How to

***This is the instructions only ***

Chow-Chow! Liner Lock Kit

It's not really accurate to call this a kit but it's the only name we can come up with. A kit is something you screw together, this collection of parts requires you to build a knife. The water jet cut pattern simply saves you the cutting and hole location. You do the rest and there is plenty to do. The parts are water jet cut by Great Lakes Water Jet using a David Curtis design.

Parts included are:

  • Elmax Blade - Annealed (soft)
  • Two 6AL-4v Titanium liners of .045" thick
  • 3/16" Sexbolt with screw
  • 3ea Hardened Stop Pins/Stand offs (interchangeable)
  • 4 Step Ring Thumb stud with screw
  • 2ea 3/16"x.015" Teflon Washers
  • 8ea 2-56 x 1/4" Flat Head Black screws
  • 1/16" hardened stainless detent ball

NOTE: Scales are NOT included. This allows you to put what ever scales you like on your build. We do have some optional scales available.

There is no tapping required to build this knife and that makes it even more awesome!

You will need to grind and heat treat the blade. This is premium steel, Elmax by Uddahom. We suggest heat treating to 61RC.

Elmax heat treat

  • Heat to 1200F, pause 10 minutes.
  • Then take to 1950F and soak for 20 minutes.
  • Quench.
  • Cryo (optional)
  • Temper twice at 450F for 2 hours and you should end up at 61RC


General order of your build:
The Blade can be ground and heat treated at most any time. Some makers prefer to grind the blades hard. I tend to grind blades soft and heat treat after I am done grinding. The Elmax blade thickness is approximately .148" to .152" initially. You want the finished blade to end up at .130" thick. That isn't much to take off on both sides since there is a light gray scale on the blade to be removed. Measure often when you removing the scale and getting to your preferred finish. Drill and ream the blade pivot hole to 3/16".

In the blade, locate, drill and countersink the thumb stud. (You want to mount the blade on your pivot, make a mark and swivel the blade to make sure the thumb stud will clear the handle. A little extra room to swivel the thumb stud here past the scales is better than not enough. I know this from experience.) The thumb stud screw is a bit long, grind it a little shorter.

Fabricate your scales by cutting and shaping to fit the liners or use the optional scales sold separately.

Grind off any tabs left on the liners, blade or optional g10 scales from the water jet process.

Drill liners and scales holes to proper size for screws and pivot and countersink for stop pin, standoff screws and Sexbolt pivot. The shoulder bosses on the stop pin/stand off's are 1/8". These bosses really make for a sturdy assembly.

The provided flat head screws have an 82 degree head. Use an 82 degree countersink.

You want the stop pin grind done before grinding the lock face. (some makers prefer to grind the stop pin after the lock face but these knives have a line along the handle and blade that you will want to follow) Partially assemble the knife and grind the blade stop pin contact point to fit the stop pin. Initially the blade may not open even half way due to the stop pin clearance. Once you have the blade open to the position you want by grinding the stop pin contact point on the blade, you are ready to move on.

At this point the blade should pivot to a full open and closed position with the stop pin in place. If the travel binds or is blocked by extra material on the blade, remove it now. The blade may bump into the stop pin. Just grind off the excess.

Carefully hammer in the 1/16" detent ball into the liner. You want the detent ball to sit at least .016" proud of the surface to it clears the washer. It's easiest to use a small carpenters finish nail pin punch that has a small hole in the end. If you smash it in too far, try tapping it back out a bit. If it that won't work, buy a replacement detent ball the next size up. The answer is, don't smash it in too far. Be patient, tap, look, measure, repeat. Once it is pushed into the hole, it won't come out.

Bend the Ti lock bar into a curve to give the lock bar enough tension to snap into place. I use a needle nose pliers and bend in several spots, not just one place.

You will need to cut one of the washers to a smaller circle so it doesn't bind up the liner lock. Using a scissors, cut the diameter down to about half of what it is. Leave the other side full size. Make sure the smaller washer is on the lock side.

Now you have the blade in place and have the entire knife assembled and it all fits together. The blade will swivel but not lock up. Check for any other issues and address them now. When you disassemble the knife (for about the tenth time) you should start to a slight round scratch mark on the blade from the detent ball. This is good. You will use that later.

Now to grind the lock face. Grind the blade side of the lock face to 8 to 10 degree angle. Make sure you have the angle on the correct side. Look at another liner lock if you aren't sure. Carefully, patiently, testing the fit after each pass. When you get it close, switch to 400 grit and slow the grinder down so it takes EVEN MORE time if that is possible. Take a light pass, check it. Repeat. If you go too far, you have to get a bigger stop pin or make a new blade. You want the lock bar contact point as far away from the pivot as possible for stronger geometry. The lock bar should slip on the blade lock face about 1/3 of the thickness of the blade.

If you have a carbidizer, now is the time to carbidize the Ti lock face. (A carbidizer bonds a layer of 70RC hard carbide onto metal. It is a nice to have, not a must have.) Your lock may need a slight refit now.

Put it all together and make sure the lock bar is where you want it.

Now disassemble and not the round scratch mark from the detent ball on the blade. Using a 1/16" carbide spade bit, drill a very slight hole exactly centered on the end of that scratch mark. This hole is where the detent ball slides into to hold the blade in place when closed.


Assemble and square, clean up and round off the edges all around.
Sharpen the blade. Use a thin edge, this is Elmax and can take it.

Admire your cool new knife....









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