From 25Ideas: The Top 15 unique knife-mechanisms




In the beginning, there were rocks. Then man began to forge fixed-blade knives. Then comes the friction-folder, and from that point forward there have been scores of mechanisms used to open a folding knife. The site compiled a list of the 15 most unique, like the Kershaw ET:

The Kershaw ET uses a toggle mechanism to open and close the blade. You can actually engage the blade through many ways (using your thumb like a traditional folder and dropping the handle while holding the blade), but the toggle is probably the most fun. You can use a lever near the butt of the handle to open and close it. The knife was discontinued, probably because there’s the danger of the knife closing on your thumb when you use the toggle.

I don’t want to steal their thunder, check it out for yourself. Each knife has its own animated .GIF, and it shows a wonderful variety of somewhat out-there knife opening mechanisms. Here is my favorite:

The Lone Wolf Defender was the 2009 winner of the Overall Knife of the Year award at Blade Show. The designer of the knife, Paul Poehlmann, invented the Paul Axiel locking mechanism, which can be seen on the Defender and a few others.

One way to open this knife is to hold the pivot between your thumb and index finger with the handle pointing upward. When the pivot is depressed with your fingers, the blade unlocks and the weight of the handle will cause it to fall, revealing the blade. To close it, you do the same thing but in reverse.

Which one is your favorite?


  1. cmeat says:

    since they mostly seem to forego opened strength for novelty, i would need sometime actuating each to decide which was most fun. i would like to have them all.
    my dad had a small version of that “funny folder”, but as he had survived rationing i’m sure his was not a russell. it’s around here somewhere.

  2. Sam L. says:

    I bought a Spyderco Meerkat for its hidden unlocking and closing mechanism.

  3. Wade says:

    I had a switch blade once that looked like a lock blade knife, you know the kind everyone had in the 80’s, except mine couldn’t be opened if you didn’t know how to open it. I would like to have one again, but I haven’t saw one since I lost it in a club one night in Germany. You had to cant the handles a certain way to make it open with the palm of your hand. I went back to where I bought it to try and buy another one, but the German guy who made it said he wouldn’t make another as it was to hard to make, had I known that then I would of never carried it.

    By the way, after rocks and sticks man made the Atlatl, that’s what put us at the top of food chain.

  4. DENNIS O'BRIEN says:

    While not really radical, I love my knife with a piston flipper. Knife afficionados I show it to usually have never seen one and spend some time trying to figure out how the flipper “disappears”.

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From 25Ideas: The Top 15 unique knife-mechanisms

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