How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

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How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:58 am

Allright,so here we go with the first teaching gig. So in this thread I am going to attempt to teach everyone how to make their own handles for a picklock. This will include how to make the safety slot,as well as how to pin the knife.

A note to everyone is that this is how I do it and there may be many other ways to achieve the same result. If any other makers or manglers want to jump in and tell us how you do it,feel free to anytime.

The donor for this project is an 11 inch M Italy Inox Picklock. Original front handle was completely cracked in half right across the button. It also had some minor repairs that needed to be done before I got to making the handles. Hopefully we can start covering repairs in this section of the forum later.

I opted to use stag for the handles,because you almost never see that tang stamp with stag,and we like to be different. So here it is,and my pics not be the best because my entire shop is overhead fluorescent lighting,but you can see what is going on pretty good.

I will try to create at least one post or step per day.
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Re: How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:58 am

First,make sure the bottom of the handle material you are using is dead flat,and it is at least 1/8 of an inch longer than it needs to be to fit in between the bolsters . Then lay the handle material next to the button area,and mark out how long the slot for the rocker needs to be.

*Note* Most picklock handles when finished are between 1/4 and 3/8 of an inch thick. So at this point you want to make sure that rough height will work with your rocker and your handle material. I know there will be many questions about this,so just ask and I will cover the variables.
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Re: How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:59 am

Next,router out that area. Now I use a milling machine for this,but not everyone has an expensive milling machine,just laying around.

So you can use a router,or a dremel,or you could even use a small dowel with sandpaper at the end,if you were really determined.

The point is to create a slot any way you can from point A to point B. You also want your depth of this slot to be a hair deeper than the height of your rocker. If you have the old handles,use the depth they used.

The bit I used here was a 1/4 inch wide standard router bit with a flat end. I also marked my depth on the actual bit with a sharpie.
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Re: How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:00 am

Next,you need to figure out where the button needs to go as well and how big the hole for the button needs to be.

I do this by laying the button side of the handle at the slot area,and marking the center of the button.

I then figure out how big the button hole needs to be by using a drill bit hole gauge. These are cheap and can pick them up at the hardware store.

In this case the hole needed to be 11/32 of an inch.
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Re: How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:01 am

So I lucked out that this was a standard size and drilled the hole. I use what is called a step bit or unibit,which come in many sizes. metric and standard. I have 10 of them total.

Sometimes these buttons are an odd size that is in between sizes on standard and even metric drill bits.Never go bigger than the button if you can help it. I do tend to make fun of people for that. Go smaller and file the hole to the exact size it needs to be with a round hand file. File a little at a time and keep checking until you get the perfect fit. :D

You can do this after the next step if need be.
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Re: How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:02 am

Now we have a front scale that is routed and drilled,but a bit too long at both ends to fit in between the bolsters. We will also need to fit the back scale in between the bolsters.

I do this by grinding the ends of the handle on a belt sander. Seems self explanatory to me. Just grind each end of the scale until you get the correct fit between the bolsters and also with a good fit at the button.

I do this by sanding a little at a time at each end and checking over and over until it is tight and correct. It could take 5-10 tries at each end of the scale to get this to fit the way you want it to. I use an 80 grit belt for this with a soft touch.

This is also where you go back and take a look at how much room I left myself to play with when I made my marks for routing and drilling.
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Re: How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:04 am

When you are done,it should look like this.
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Re: How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:04 am

So now you have handles that have the correct button hole size and also fit in between the bolsters properly. But the front scale will not sit flat against the liner because of the rocker spring. No problem,just paint a bit of nail polish on the rocker spring itself. Then press the front scale into it.
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Re: How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:05 am

Now the rocker spring area is marked and you know where to grind,or sand out material to make the handle sit flat against the liner. Just like everything with knives,this is kind of an exact science. You only grind or remove the material you have to. You want to leave as small of a footprint as possible.
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Re: How To Make New Handles For A Picklock

Postby Rubens Blades » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:06 am

Now you have your handles sitting flat on the liners,and you need to drill the holes. In this case all of the holes are 2mm. I do this by holding the material by hand and drilling. Some people clamp the material to the liner,and then drill the holes.

As I drill each hole I put a pin in,so the material does not move around or wobble.
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