Friction Folder Knives
Friction folders date back centuries to the ancient Romans who are thought to have invented the first folding knives. These knives were friction folders!
Are they locking or non-locking?
A friction folder has neither lock nor spring. The blade simply folds open and closed. While the blade is closed friction is created between the washers and the handle material on the blade. This friction keeps the blade closed in your pocket. When open, finger or hand pressure against a tab/extension on the back of the blade keeps the blade from closing.
With some friction folders you can easily adjust the tension of the pivot. This means that if you are worrying about the blade coming out the handle in your pocket, you can instead tighten the pivot giving you added reassurance it will not happen. However, if you do this you will probably find that the knife is much more difficult to open.
Do they have the extended blade tang?
You’ll find that many friction folders (not all) have extended tangs. The really useful thing about having the extended tang, is not only that it allows for smooth single hand opening, but it also gives and added safety feature. As the knife is unfolded, the extended tang moves down into the back of the handle. When you use then knife, your hand will cover the handle, which now includes the extended blade, therefore preventing the knife from closing.
As previously mentioned not all friction folders have these extended tangs, so there is greater potential risk of accidental closure, however as with slip joints, as long as the knife if used correctly, there should be no problem.
How do they compare to other non-locking joints?
Some people do believe though that the modern friction folder is safer than a traditional slipjoint. This is because with a slipjoint, the user puts all trust in the spring of the blade to stay open, if it fails, the blade will snap shut quick possibly causing injury. With the friction folder, you are constantly aware there is no lock and safe handling is natural.
Like we have said numerous times with any non-locking blade; if you use it correctly you shouldn’t have a problem. Friction folders like slipjoints are not designed for heavy duty tasks, so be sensible and know what your task requires.
If you think we’ve missed anything or want any more details on anything we have mentioned please leave a comment below and we will get back to you and answer any questions you have.
Now we thought we’d also take this opportunity to show you some of the various types of friction folders, because there are some stunning ones out there!