Some time ago I was looking for a pocket knife. I wanted something slim that’s easy to carry around with does not have too many tools on it. A blade and a bottle opener was more or less all I was looking for. It turned out to be surprisingly difficult to find something that I liked. The one that came closest was the Victorinox Bantam Alox.
The problem however is that I don’t like the look of it all that much. Luckily it is not that expensive so I figured I could just buy it, rip it apart and build up something that suits me better. The design is pretty simple. It is just two aluminium covers with three pins that keep the mechanism inside in place. So I drilled out the pins and took it apart. Next step was to create new covers. I decided to make them out of a 1 millimeter thick brass sheet. Brass is a bit heavier then the original aluminium parts but that’s OK.
I went for a shape that is not as round and used the old parts as a template for the holes needed for the pins. After cutting them out and drilling the holes I used a bit of 2 millimeter brass wire that I had laying around as pins and put it back together.
Then the sanding started. First filing down the pins and afterwards working through the grits until all the edges were smooth and the surface felt right. Because it does look quite boring like that I decided to cut a pattern into the brass. It took me a while to come up with a pattern that was easy enough to machine and still looks somewhat interesting.
To make the pattern pop a bit more I colored it black. The combination of gold and black works quite well. It builds up a patina relatively fast but I don’t mind that. And I can always polish it up again if I want it to really shine. I could put a clear coat on it but somehow I like it when it looks like it is used.
I really enjoyed making this one and am happy about how it turned out. As I have not done a lot of work with metal I also learned a couple of things. It was not that difficult and having something unique made by oneself has a certain appeal. So if you are looking for something to play around with that might be an option to look at.