Folders – Basic Knife and Blade Types

Folder knives are used to cut food, save lives, hunt, slice open cans and boxes, and carry out myriad other tasks. In short, they are as useful a tool as any.

There are three types of folders – manual, assisted opening, and automatic. With manual folding knives, the user is required to physically open the blade, typically using a thumb stud or cut out. Assisted opening knives are somewhere between manual and automatic knives, in that you have to partially open the blade before the internal mechanism takes over and completes the function. Automatic folders are commonly known as switchblades and can be opened with the switch of a button.

Types of blades

Now let’s focus on the most important part of the folding knife – the blade. There are three kinds –

  • the general-purpose straight-edge blade
  • the specific-purpose serrated blade; and
  • the combo, which is the best of both worlds.

Straight-edge blades are the most common folding blades. Their long, plain edge makes them ideal for general cutting tasks. Further, these blades call for relatively little maintenance and are easy to reprofile or sharpen. Serrated blades have a series of small, teeth-like edges carved into them, which make these tools excellent for tasks such as cutting through rope, small tree branches, and fibrous material. Serrated blades do not need constant sharpening; however, once dull, they often require professional help to get them back to factory sharpness. The combo blade is a blend of the first two. In this blade, the majority of the edge is plain which is closer to the tip. The serrated edge is closer to the hand and offers a better grip on tougher cuts.

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