When we decided to stock traditional English pocket knives we went to Taylor's Eye Witness in Sheffield, which has been trading since 1838. While they do do modern work their manufacture of folding knives relies on skill, practice, and remarkably unsophisticated machinery. Each knife is made by a single craftsman. In the video below we see a lot of traditional tools such as a knife maker's anvil which has a slot for the excess pivot pins. They have buffing wheels galore and the traditional disposable plastic coffee cup for cooling. Take a look at the video. The knives we stock are from their "Premier" decorative and fancier line, with multiple blades and decorative workbacks and take more effort and skill, but the core concept is the same.
The way you get good at free hand blade grinding is you practice. Here is how it's done (not at Taylor's Eyewitness but at another firm)
If you want to make your own folding knife the videos above were made in conjunction with this website which has very well done step by step instructions for making a folding knife and assumes you know very little about the process. If you navigate the website thoroughly it even has videos on knife design and short videos on hand operations that might seem tricky like riveting. I'm impressed at the method of instruction.
If you want to take a look at some very nice, very fancy, yet production, very useful, made in Sheffield folding knives for a present for your self or someone else - (father's day and graduation day are coming click here.
Here is a link to the researcher who made the films and the how to website as part of a project to understand how craft skills can be taught. Dr. Nicola Wood.
There's a nice slide show about another Sheffield knifemaker, part of the Guardian's Disappearing Acts series: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/audioslideshow/2010/jan/26/sheffield-pocket-knife-trevor-ablett?INTCMP=SRCH