I stopped selling knives a while back. However, this has been one of the most popular articles on this site. The photos are not clickable.
Folding and fixed blade knives each have unique capabilities and weaknesses. Only you can decide which best fits your situation. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
The first consideration is: What do you want/need this knife to do? How will it be used? Once this is clear in your mind, it is easier to evaluate the knives available.
Fixed Knife: Pros and Cons
The advantages of these knives are clear: They can be made in very large sizes, their design is simple – yet they are known for their potential strength. Because the blade is all one piece, from handle to blade tip, there are no moving parts and the knife is sturdy and long-lasting. They are also easy to keep clean.
Generally speaking, a fixed blade is twice the length of a folder (folded blade knife). Most fixed blade knives are sheathed (covered), for safety. Some fixed blades now come with an interchangeable blade!
In many cities, states and countries, fixed blades are banned (with or without a sheath). In certain locales, mores dictate that fixed blades are “socially unacceptable” (Only farm workers are exempted from this ban)!
Folding Knives: Pros and Cons
Folders are more discrete, the blade folds into the handle when not in use. Most of these tools are known as “pocket knives” – indicating their mode of transport. Urbanites prefer these; the general population is unaware that ‘you’re carrying.’
Folders must be well-constructed to be as tough as fixed blades. The most vulnerable parts of any folder are – the blade pivot (axis pin) and the lock spring. Quality tells here; this is where most folding knives fail.
The lock spring must keep the knife in an an open position, as long as you need it, and then release the blade to return into its holder. The longer bladed knives are more likely to have a problem – there’s more leverage on the axis pin, especially if using the flat side of the blade.
Thus, there’s a limit to the length of a blade. The longer the blade, the longer the handle must be to accommodate it.
One other problem, rarely mentioned: Pocket knives are a bit harder to clean. Fur, wood slivers, whatever are more likely to gather inside the handle and need to be removed.
Back to Our Question
Fixed blades are long-lasting, easy to clean, tough and strong. Folding blades are convenient, discrete and versatile.
You will probably finish your shopping expedition with one of each – one for the big jobs (fixed) and another in your pocket – for 1001 little jobs each day!
This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com