There will be times when you need to cut something and you don’t have anything to cut with. Times like this can be incredibly frustrating, but you can always be at the ready when you have a pocket knife on hand. In this guide, we are going to fill you in on why these tools are so important to have and why they are much better to have than a regular knife.
For all you knife enthusiasts, this is the guide for you!
In the knife world, you either have a fixed blade knife or a folding knife, typically called a pocket knife. Both knives have their uses, their advantages, and disadvantages, and many knife enthusiasts will often get into heated debates over which type of knife is better.
In this section, we are going to take a closer look at both types of knives and weigh the pros and cons of each knife.
A fixed blade knife uses a solid piece of steel that has been forged into a blade shape. Then the blade is anchored securely to a handle. These knives are often preferred among those who need to accomplish tough tasks where you want to be sure the blade isn’t going to go anywhere.
Large and In Charge. The fixed blade knife is going to be available in a wide variety of sizes, but they really shine as a large machete-type knife. The fixed blade is going to be very strong in comparison to a folding knife.
Less Likely To Break
With a fixed blade, there aren’t any moving parts that could come loose, lock up, or just fail to perform. With a fixed blade, what you see is what you get.
Easy To Maintain
A fixed blade knife is going to be much easier to take care of. Since there aren’t any moving parts, you don’t have to worry about making sure no debris or gunk gums up the hinges. To clean one of these knives, all you need is a wet rag!
The blades for a fixed blade knife can be much longer than a pocket knife. This can be a great asset when you are confronted with a large task because it will significantly cut down on the effort needed to make cuts.
Better Tool For Survival
Fixed blades are versatile and can perform a wide variety of tasks associated with “survival.” These tasks include:
The Large Size Isn’t Always A Benefit
While there are a myriad of advantages to having a fixed blade knife, the fact of the matter remains that these knives aren’t very portable, especially when you have many things to carry. The fixed blade knives can be heavy, cumbersome, and take up quite a bit of space when it is sheathed and stored in a backpack.
Solid Steel = Costly
A fixed blade knife can get pretty expensive because it uses a solid piece of steel. Some people equate cost to quality and that isn’t always your best bet. There are some expensive fixed blade knives that can cost a pretty penny, but it doesn’t mean it will be an effective knife.
Reading through all the benefits of using a fixed blade knife, you may be wondering why you would even want to consider a folding knife. A pocket knife may not be as durable as a fixed knife, but that doesn’t these knives aren’t useful.
Hide and Seek. A pocket knife is going to be much smaller and easier to conceal. For some people, the fact that they are easy to conceal makes them a great weapon for self-defense. Do keep in mind that if you want to carry a knife, you know what you can safely and legally carry in your state. Look up your state laws here.
In survival situations, you are going to want to carry as much as you can. A pocket knife can be a crucial tool to have without taking up a lot of space, thus making room for other items you may need.
Equally Strong And Durable
Despite what we may have said about fixed blades being stronger and more durable than a folding knife, we want to clarify on that. You can find great pocket knives that are constructed so well they rival some fixed blade knives. If you purchase the best pocket knife you can afford, you may have the ability to eliminate the need for a fixed blade.
Better Control For Detailed Tasks
The overall construction of the folding knife is going to be more compact and concise than a fixed blade knife. This means you can have better control for detailed tasks like cleaning fish and small game, whittling, and carving.
Moving Parts = More Opportunities For Breaking
Perhaps the biggest drawback of a folding knife is that there are moving parts that you need to pay attention to and perform regular maintenance on. This includes giving the knife a thorough cleaning and even applying lubricant to the moving parts.
Easier To Lose
The pocket knife is going to be considerably smaller than a fixed blade knife. This means there is a greater opportunity to lose the knife, even if they do include a pouch or a pocket clip.
The pocket knife can fall into one of two categories: a single blade pocket knife and a multi-blade pocket knife (note: while a multi-tool may have knife blades on it, it is not necessarily a pocket knife. A multi-tool will have many different tools on it that include screw drivers, nail files, scissors, magnifying glass, and more).
The single blade pocket knife will come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but the main draw of these knives is how simplistic the knife is, and how easy it is to use. With a single blade, you will get a large blade that is going to be very sturdy, solidly built, and will be more capable of performing tougher tasks.
These knives will have a locking mechanism that will hold the blade in place. There are some single blade knives that will feature a spring-loaded opening mechanism that will make opening the knife that much easier.
While a single blade folding knife can only perform one task, a multi-blade folding knife will have up to four other blades. These knives will have any combination of a spey, drop point, sheepsfoot, or a pen blade.
It is worth noting that the more blades your knife has, the weaker and less durable it will be. If strength and durability is more important to you, then you may want to stick with a single blade knife.
There are many different types of blades that can be on a pocket knife. Here is a brief look at the different blade styles:
A clip point is the most common type of blade on a folding knife. The blade features a sharp pointed tip that is easy to control and there is a thicker middle to cut with.
A drop point will have a straight spine for the most part of the blade. Near the tip, it will taper down to meet the bottom of the blade. These blades are very similar to how a clip point blade will handle, the only difference is the tip is going to be stronger.
The pen blade is a very small, not so sharp blade that can be perfect for delicate tasks.
The sheepsfoot blade features a straight dull back and curves downward to the edge of the blade. The cutting edge is straight and offers a larger cutting surface. This blade is especially popular among whittlers.
The spey blade features a single sharp straight edge that turns upward to create a short, dull point. These blades are useful on stockman knives because they tend to be short.
The tanto style blade was popularized in Japan is often used on a tactical folding knife. These blades are thicker and come to a very angular point. These knives are great for stabbing or piercing through tough materials such as metal or Kevlar.
The wharncliffe blade isn’t a common blade. It looks much like a sheepsfoot, but the spine will meet the edge of the blade to create a very sharp point. These blades are usually used by sailors.
To use a switchblade, the user simply presses a button located somewhere on the knife. The button releases a spring loaded blade that will lock into place.
A knife with an assisted opening mechanism will only spring open after the blade has been pushed open slightly by the user.
The locking mechanism on a pocket knife is very important safety feature that you do not want to overlook when you are shopping for a new folding knife. After all, the knife isn’t going to be very practical if it isn’t secure and locked in place!
There are many different types of locking mechanisms that can be found on a folding knife. These include:
When the blade is open, there is a metal bar that runs along the inside of handle. This is angled toward the center of the handle, which locks the tang of the blade in place. The pressure of the lock bar will prevent the blade from moving.
When the blade is open, the blade will push the spine out until the notch on the spine and the blade have hooked into place. These two notches will create pressure on one another to hold the blade securely in place.
This locking mechanism is similar to the liner lock, except instead of utilizing a vertical bar inside the handle to lock the blade in place, the frame of the knife will actually lock instead.
When the blade is fully open, there is a blade in the handle that will fit in a hole that has been put in the blade’s tang. When the lever on the knife is pushed down, the lever will lift the pin out of the tang, allowing it to close.
A clasp lock uses a strong bit of metal to hold the blade up. To disengage the lock, you will need to push on the clasp until the metal piece lifts up and the blade can move away from the hole.
The mid lock is pretty much the same thing as a lockback, except the release for the locking mechanism is located in the middle of the handle, rather than at the bottom.
To use this type of lock, you will need to twist the ring at the top of the knife’s handle to open or close the knife. This type of locking mechanism is usually found on a Opinel Knife
A slip lock won’t actually hold the blade in place – it will use pressure from a spring to keep the blade upright. When enough pressure has been applied, the blade will then fold down.
There are many types of pocket knives available on the market, but we recommend that you spend your money on well-known brands who specialize in creating top quality folding knives. These companies include:
The company was founded back in 1974 and the worked very hard to create tools and knives that their customers would be proud to carry. The Kershaw pocket knife known for lasting a lifetime and they feature the patented SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism: the first of its kind at the time of release.
One reason why people love Kershaw is because all of their products come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty that guarantees the knife is free of manufacturing defects.
The Victorinox company has been creating innovative, high quality products for more than 130 years. The Victorinox pocket knife, also known as the iconic Swiss Army Knife, isn’t the only product in their lineup. They create a variety of knives, watches, apparel, and interestingly enough, fragrances for men and women.
The W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company began in 1889 and for over a century, they have been creating top of the line collectibles. The Case pocket knife is the classic knife that can be passed down for generations.
Not only will you find folding knives in their product lineup, but you can find knives made from a variety of metals like stainless steel, Chrome Vanadium, and more.
The Spyderco company was formed back in 1976 and the first product was the Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, a cutting edge (no pun intended) knife sharpener that can sharpen all sorts of tools, toys and knives: not just the Spyderco pocket knife.
The company product list has expanded beyond pocket knives and sharpeners to include fixed blade knives, accessories, and more.
Buck Knives is another company that has been around for more than a century. The Buck Knives pocket knife is just one of the incredible products offered by this company. You can find all sorts of knives, be they for hunting, survival, recreation, fishing, or the kitchen.
You can even create a customized knife for that knife enthusiast in your life. One reason why customers love Buck Knives is because they, too, offer a “Forever” Warranty. This warranty ensures customers their knives will be free from defects in material or workmanship for the life of the knife.
As you use your folding knife, the edge will become dull and you will want to sharpen it so you can continue to use it. To do this, you can use one of three methods:
If you are using a sharpening stone (also known as a whetstone), you will want to wet the stone with water or sharpening oil. Then you will want to hold your knife perpendicular to the stone at an angle (we recommend a 20 degree angle for maximum sharpening).
Next, you will want to slide the blade down the stone (or away from you). Flip the knife over and slide the knife at the same angle up the stone (or toward you). Finally, wipe the blade with a clean cloth to remove shavings or dust from the knife.
If you have a knife set for the kitchen, chances are you may already have a sharpening steel or a honing rod. If you do, you will want to hold the handle of the rod and put the tip on a solid and sturdy surface.
Next, angle the knife at the 20 degree angle we recommended using with the whetstone. Run one side of the blade down the blade, using light pressure. It is important that you go from the base of the sharp edge all the way to the tip. After doing this on one side, repeat the process on the other side of the blade. Finally, clean the blade with a clean rag.
You can also sharpen your pocket knife with a knife sharpener, although we recommend going with either the steel or the stone for the best edge. These sharpeners are great if you’re in a hurry because you can just run the blade through machine. You will want to read the instructions that come with your knife sharpener for proper use.
Whether you are looking for a gift for a loved one or you want to have a sharp edge on your person at all times, a pocket knife is a great thing to have. Depending on who you talk to, they may talk you into getting a fixed blade knife instead of a folding blade knife; but don’t give in! Many folding blade knives can be just as solid and reliable to use as a fixed blade.
Unlike a fixed blade, pocket knives are great to travel with. Their compact size allows you to keep it in your pocket (hence the name), but you can toss it in your glove box, your bug out bag, first aid kit, or even your pocket book.
There are many different types of folding knives on the market and they all perform different functions. When you are trying to decide which knife you need or want, you first want to consider how many blades you will need. If you want a basic tool for around the house, a multi-blade knife is a great option.
However, if you intend on using your knife for outdoor tasks, then we recommend a sturdy single blade pocket knife. The best pocket knives are usually single blade knives because a well-made knife can be just as sturdy and reliable as a fixed blade knife.
If you are interested in purchasing a folding blade knife but you don’t know where to begin, we have created a buying guide that can help you out. In our buying guide, we talk about the important features you will want to consider when choosing a pocket knife. We also provide you with five options worthy of consideration: three of them are single blade folding knives and two are multi-blade tools.