Really, there are so many occasions which arise in which to use one, its almost irresponsible not to have one with you. But there are a lot of elements that make up the anatomy of a folder.
Take blade shapes, for example. The silhouette of a folding knife actually has a pretty impactful effect on the overall functionality of the knife. Some blades are great for everyday tasks, like opening packages, whereas others were designed with combat in mind. Clip Point Blade Our Pick: Gerber Gator One of the most popular blade shapes available today, the clip point is seen in everything from tactical fixed-blades to folding hunting knives.
The unsharpened back of the blade extends about half of its length, before following a concave curve toward its point. This blade type makes for an excellent all-purpose knife. It is easily sharpened, comes to an extremely sharp and narrow point, and features a long and functional belly.
Drop Point Blade Our Pick: The unsharpened back of the blade follows a long and slight curve downward from its base toward the point. The belly, or edge, follows a similar but slightly more pronounced slope upward toward the point. The resulting blade features a long and easy to maintain cutting surface and a fairly sharp point. Harpoon Blade Our Pick: Zero Tolerance BW Titanium Flipper Not entirely dissimilar a drop point blade, harpoon style blades are marked by an upward ramp on the unsharpened back of the blade.
This ramp gives the blade the resemblance of a whaling harpoon with its sharp barb, hence the name. Though they are less common than other blade shapes, harpoon style blades offer a bit of extra leverage, as a thumb can be placed upon the ramp, allowing the user to exert extra downforce during cutting tasks. Leaf Blade Our Pick: Spyderco Paramilitary 2 The signature blade shape of Spyderco, the leaf is called such for its resemblance to the foliage of a plant.
Leaf shaped blades feature a drastic thumb ramp over the thumb hole, which usually features grip jimping, and then a straight downward slope toward the point. The belly of the blade follows a slight convex curve toward a harsh point. The James Brand County Knife About as basic as they come, the normal or straight blade type is the old-school original blade shape dating back literally thousands of years.
It is marked by a very simple, yet time-proven silhouette. The unsharpened back of the blade follows a straight non-sloped line from its base to the point. The long belly of these knives make them excellent candidates for slicing and cutting tasks, but the point is less effective than those of both the clip and drop point blades. That being said, this blade type is also probably the most easy to maintain and is superb for everyday use.
That is, they both feature a long slightly or non-sloped belly edge with a back that slopes toward the point. Spear Point Blade Our Pick: Cold Steel Recon 1 A bit like a more aggressive version of a drop point blade, spear points have a very similar silhouette.
The primary difference, however, is that spear point blades are sharpened along a portion or in some cases all of the back of the blade. While the addition of an extra edge changes little about the basic cutting functionality of the blade, it certainly makes the spear point a good deal more capable when it comes to stabbing or piercing tasks.
Two other blade types that are similar in format to the spear point are the dagger and needle. Dagger blades are straight and come to a more drastic point than a spear point and needles are even thinner and pointier than daggers. Talon Blade Our Pick: So, both the back and the edge of the blade follow a similar arcing slope and come to a fairly drastic curved point. This blade type is seen most commonly in knives used for combat, like the tactical karambit seen here.
This blade type is all but useless as an everyday cutting tool, but is certainly suited some for piercing and especially slashing tasks. The talon is easily the most combat-focused blade type available on the mass market.
Tanto Blade Our Pick: Kershaw Cryo Named after a traditional short dagger that was carried by the samurai of feudal Japan, tanto style blades have perhaps the most immediately recognizable shape of all of these common blade types, apart perhaps from the talon. Trailing Edge Blade Our Pick: Cold Steel Talwar A trailing edge style blade is similar to a talon in that the blade and the back follow a fairly drastic curve. These knives tend not to be as curved as talons, but their shape is certainly more drastic than nearly all other common types.
The largest benefit of a trailing edge blade is that it offers the greatest belly surface of any other blade type. They can also be helpful in piercing tasks, if the knife is not too harshly curved. They can, however, be difficult to sharpen due to their curvature.