Folding Knife 101: Everything You Need to Know

A Folding Knife

The folding knife, also known as the pocket knife, is one of the most ingenious inventions that have ever been created as far as knives go. Pocket knives have been around for ages, and they date back to the iron age, at the point where man discovered the uses of iron. The moment their pocket knife was introduced, the history of mankind was altered. But what exactly is a folding knife?

This is a type of high-quality knife that has one or two handles that fold back into the handle of the knife when not in use. They are very handy as they can be squeezed into the pocket, and no one would even tell that you are carrying one with you. We will be looking at everything that’s related to folding knives, from the types that exist to the many uses that one can apply them to. If you have been looking to get a pocket knife but don’t know where to begin, then this is for you.

How to Fold a Folding Knife

The manner through which a pocket knife is folded depends on the type of the knife. The common thing about the entire process is that it is made to be easy to create convenience for the user. The following are the two ways you can fold a pocket knife.

Folding a Knife without a Lock

Folding a knife without a lock follows some simple steps.

  • Start by holding the knife by the sides of the hilt and avoid touching the slot where the blade will fold into. Use a firm grip to hold the knife in place.
  • Take hold of the back of the blade with your dominant hand with the dull side between your thumb and fingers. Push the knife into the slot slowly, making sure that the blade is secured in the slot completely

Folding a Knife with a Lock

A knife that comes with a lock has a different method of folding that involves the following steps.

  • Start by locating the liner and frame part that’s behind the blade on the underside of the hilt. This is the part that secures the knife in position when open.
  • Push the liner and the frame away from the blade using your dominant thumb. Make sure the sharp side is facing upwards.
  • Switch the thumb away from the slot before pushing the blade in with the other parts of your hand. Ensure the blade is firmly inside the slot.

Types of Folding Knives

The pocket knife family is made up of various unique knives that serve various functions during hunts and camping. They are the most versatile of outdoor knives because of their small and foldable design. The following are some of the most common types of folding knives.

Peasant Knife

Peasant Knife

The peasant knife is one of the oldest types of folding knives that made its first appearance many centuries ago. They are considered to be the precursor to the modern pocket knives, but unlike the modern ones, they never had any mechanism of locking in place. They were simply made to swivel at a pivot, keeping the blade open in case the owner wanted to use it at a moment’s notice. It can be compared to the modern shaving razor found in most barber shops.

Slip Joint Knife

Slip Joint Knife

The slip joint knife was made popular in the 1600s as a result of modifications that were made on knives that are available back then. The problem with early versions of pocket knives was that they didn’t have any lock mechanism to hold them in place once they were open for use or to hold them in place when close. This made cutting a bit of a pickle for many, leading to hand injuries. The answer to this problem was the slip joint knife.

Barlow Knife

Barlow Knife

A Barlow knife was the predecessor of the multitool, and it was invented in England by a guy called Barlow. Essentially, it was a multitool that had two blades, one short and another one longer; all fit into the same compartment in the handle area. The handle itself was an elongated and oval-shaped structure that had some groove marks all over to increase the grip when in use. The Barlow knife was designed for small tasks like prying open a food can or borrowing a hole into the wood; nothing heavier like having to cut a rope or split some firewood for kindling.

Camper Knife

Camper Knife

A camper knife was an improvement on the Barlow and resembles a modern-day multi-tool as it comes with a number of varying cutting and drilling tools, all of them fitting into the handle. It is one of the most convenient knives you can ever have when going out to camp as it has a tool for every task, be it opening a can, a screwdriver, or if you need a pair of scissors to cut that piece of cloth to make a bandage in an emergency. The famous Swiss army knife was inspired by the design of the camper knife.

Canoe Knife

Canoe Knife

The canoe knife derives its name from the fact that it has a handle shaped like a canoe, dipping in the middle and rising up on either side to create a mini curve. That handle is home to two blades that fit in from both ends, one bigger than the other. The canoe knife is ideal for simple tasks like opening a can or prying something that’s stuck in the ground or into the wall or something. It is a small knife that can fit snugly in the pocket once it is folded up and can be a good addition to your collection.

Congress Knife

Congress Knife

The congress knife is almost similar to the canoe knife in appearance, only that its middle curve faces the opposite direction, up, instead of down. Another big difference between the two also comes in the number of blades. The congress knife has four blades, two big ones, and another smaller pair, each with its own unique shape designed for various tasks. All the blades meet in the middle when the knife is closed, hence the name congress.

Pen Knife

Pen Knife


The Tanto Knife

 Tanto Knife

The Tanto blade comes from Japan and has one of the most unique shapes you would ever come across. It is a straight blade with a classy wooden handle and a separate wooden sheath that makes it look like a small box. The blade on the inside is also shaped like a rectangle with a harshly angled tip that’s so sharp that a simple touch will draw blood.

How to Sharpen a Folding Knife

Sharpening a folding knife is not as straightforward as many people assume it to be. This is not a kitchen knife that you throw onto a whetstone and grind away. You have to pay attention to how it is designed. The following are some steps you can follow in sharpening a folding knife.

  • Select your tools: You have to make a choice on the sharpening tools to use because, as we have mentioned, you can’t simply pick anything you want. Some whetstones require oil, some water, and some can do without. Find the one that works for you.
  • Clean the pocket knife: You have to first clean your pocket in order to see the outlines clearly. You can only find the edge angle and bevel on a clean knife.
  • Sharpening process: Once you have all your tools out, place the blade on the stone and slowly run the knife edge along the whetstone for the entire length of the knife. Use sweeping motions to increase contact between the sharp edge of the blade and the stone. Start with coarse-grit stones before shifting to the finer grit stones in this process.
  • Strop the blade: This is an optional step, but you can still do it. It is a stage where the blade is passed over a leather piece that has a polishing compound. It gives the blade that shiny gloss you see in new knives.


Uses of Folding Knives

Folding Knife

There are countless other types of folding knives, and each has a story behind it that shaped how it is being used today. Owing to how convenient and popular they are, the following are some of the notable applications of pocket knives.

  • Opening packages and cans: Sometimes, opening that can or package can be a headache, and if you don’t have the right tools with you, it may trouble you for a while. However, having something like a camper knife with you will make the work much easier as you can choose one of the many tools available. This can come in quite handy if you are dealing with a wine bottle that comes with a cock.
  • Cutting fruit: You don’t need to lumber around with a huge kitchen knife like a murderer on the prowl when all you need to enjoy some apples on the farm is to have a pocket knife with you. They are smaller, have a better grip, and you will look very cool just slicing fruit with your stylish pocket knife.
  • Whittling: Whittling is the process where you create sculptures out of wood or sandstone using a pocket knife. It is an art that has been around for years, which unfortunately may be dying out since it is not being passed down to new generations as often as it should. To be able to handle whittling, the knife has to be sharp and have a strong locking mechanism that holds the blade in place.
  • Making kindling wood: When you are out camping in the wild, carrying a huge ax may be out of the question, and as much as this may limit you a little, you can always rely on your folding knife to come through when you need to create some kindling for a fire. They are sharper, and handling them is easier, which makes splitting tiny wood into kindling a quick job.
  • Gutting animals: Be it fishing or hunting, the best knife to handle this kind of job would be the pocket knife. The reasons are simple. They are small enough to fit in the palm of the hand without the blade extending too much out. This gives you the leverage to hold the knife firmly and dig into the insides of the animal in swift and precise cuts.

The Bottom Line

There’s so much about folding knives for hunting  that cannot be covered sufficiently even if we had the entire day to ourselves. Almost every culture on the planet has its own unique folding knife. They are handy and reliable tools that every serious camper and hunter must have in their accessory bag at all times.

We are a renowned pocket knife manufacturer that specializes in all types of knives that can be used for a wide range of tasks. We have an impressive catalog of knives that may fit exactly what you may be looking for. Visit our website for more information.


Link to “Choosing the Right Hunting Knife: Factors to Consider”


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