A Guide to the Parts of a Folding Knife Blade and Handle

If you have been through my knife identification charts, you will know that there are a lot of knives out there.

In classes like pocket knives, chef knives, and others, it is surprising to note that there are also a lot of different types to choose from.

When getting a folding knife, though, no matter the kind, the knife parts remain almost the same.

Should you need to buy a pocket knife anytime soon, here are some of the parts that you might hear about – and what they mean.

But first…

What is a folding knife?

The folding knife is a kind of blade that can be retracted into its sheath when not in use. The sheath of a folding knife is built directly into the knife, making it possible to carry both knife and sheath with you wherever you go.

That said, it is evident that your average pocket knife is a folding knife – so either name works.

The Anatomy of a Folding Pocket Knife

There are many knife parts that make up something as small as your pocket knife. You might not see that on the first attempt but all of these parts have a purpose that they play on the knife.

To make this as realistic and easy to follow as possible, I split the various folding knife parts into two sections as seen below.

The Folding Knife Blade Parts

Courtesy: Gallantry

The above image shows the standard pocket knife blade and where the various parts we will talk about are located.

What do those parts mean for you, as a user, though?

Point

As the name implies, that is the sharp tip of the knife.

The knife point is important because it defines how functional a knife can be for different operations (from cutting to piercing). I discussed the various knife points (sheepfoot, drop, clip point, etc) in this piece here.

While the clip point is one of the best for thrusting, for example, you would need a drop point knife for cutting.

A knowledge of why you need the pocket knife in the first place should inform your choice of points.

Edge

The blade’s edge refers to that singular, sharp, and overall consistent line on the front.

Swedge

Every knife (not just folding knives) has a part on the back (opposite the knife edge) that is slightly bent but unsharpened. That is the knife swedge.

Bevel

Not every knife has a bevel. On the ones that do have it, it is the gently ground part of the knife blade that starts from the body and slopes into the knife’s front to create the edge.

Back

The flat, non-sharp part of the knife blade. This is where you rest your fingers when cutting items.

Front

This is the sharp part of the knife blade.

Jimping

If your knife has a jimping, they would be serrated-like formations on the back of the knife (close to the handle) in order to have a better grip on the knife. This is important for smaller knives, especially when they are used by people with a bigger hand/ thumb.

You can also press down on the jimping with your thumb to achieve a deeper cut.

Choil

The choil is a breakaway from the knife edge just before the start of the handle. It serves as a precautionary measure so that you don’t cut yourself when grappling the folding knife.

Flipper

This is self-explanatory.

The flipper is built into the blade to allow you to, well, flip the knife in and out of the handle as fast as possible.

PS some knives use a spring mechanism instead of a flipper. A spring release system might be easily triggered and could be unsafe, though.

Ricasso

The part of the knife underneath which the choil is housed.

The Folding Knife Handle Guide

Now that we know all that there is to see on the folding knife blade, let’s check what the handle has in store for us.

Folding Knife Handle Parts | Source: Gallantry

Clip

The clip (not to be confused with the clip point on the blade) is the region of the handle to peg the knife in your clothing.

Before you use a knife clip, make sure you are aware of the open carry laws in your area. You don’t want to get in trouble for announcing that you have a knife on you.

Lanyard Hole

The lanyard hole is sitting there for the cool customer that wants to be able to wear their pocket knives around their neck. You could also pass your lanyard through your belt holes so that the knife doesn’t get lost.

I recommend getting a lanyard if you spend a lot of time in the woods since your pocket knife could drop and you wouldn’t even notice it.

Liner

The liner rests inside the handle, towards the back of it. When closed, the liner prevents the knife blade from coming in contact with the internals of the handle.

Spine

The spine is the back of the folding knife handle. It can also be used to mean the back of a blade.

Lock

For safety, the lock is built to keep the knife safely tucked into the handle until it is needed. That way, the knife does not free itself from the sheath at the slightest impact.

Joint

The very point where the blade and the handle meet, held together by the pivot pin.

Guard

I recommend that you search for a knife with a guard. This part of the knife handle prevents your fingers/ hand from slipping from the handle to the blade.

Other Parts to Note

Some parts could have been classed under the handle or the blade, but I felt that they needed their section.

Here goes nothing.

Pivot

The pivot point, as the name implies, is what the folding knife rotates about.

From putting the knife back in and bringing it out, the pivot makes it all possible.

The flipper can be said to be a machine – but it’s the pivot that drives it.

Tang

Full tang and partial knife tang

The tang comes short on folding knives, but it is functional no doubt.

This tang refers to the bottom part of the knife that slopes into the blade. For most knife buyers, the tang is one of the most important considerations.

Quick-release mechanism

Most of the cool knife moves that you see are made possible by the quick release mechanism which allows you to open them with relative ease. This could be a spring-supported system, a button, or a slider.

And there you go

With the information you find here, you have become a small authority on folding knives too.

Whenever you are looking to get a folding knife/ pocket knife, make sure to look for the top parts on this list that might affect your experience with the products.

Till next time…

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