Popular Knife Types-Styles

Basic Types of Knives

Knives are useful tools that people need despite the many advancements that technology continues to provide. However, knives are also a tool that people have made better over the years. Today, knives are sharper, stronger and more durable. People can buy knife types like folding, lockblade and slip-joint as well as fixed blade and butterfly knives.


To qualify as a folding knife, a cutting tool must feature at least one blade that closes down into the handle. The structure allows people to carry it easily and securely in small spaces such as pockets and purses. Folding knives date back to Roman times.

Folding Knife/Barlow

The knife artifacts that archaeologists have found from the Middle Ages are simple and practical. In the early part of the 17th century, innovators started updating the basic cutting tool. For instance, knife designers began adding a puzzle-locking device to the tool. The feature provided a new opening method for knife owners. Some of the knives from this era included combination locks. However, the knife style did not last long, and it was quickly replaced by back sprung slip-joint knives. Folding fruit knives became popular around 1784. Knife developers frequently added the fruit knife to travel sets. Fruit knives feature a silver blade, which is resistant to fruit acid.

For folding knives to slide into the handle, the blade must be in three different positions. Furthermore, it must function uniquely in each position. The first position is closed, and when the blade is in the closed position, it must be secure to avoid opening accidentally. During the second position, the blade is moving. Therefore, developers must construct it loosely to move smoothly from its closed position to the open one and back to its closed position. In the third state, the blade is open, and it is made to operate in the same way as a fixed blade. Therefore, folding knives typically lock to keep the user safe.


Lockblade knives fold down into the handle. In addition, the knife style includes a locking device that holds the blade in position when it is opened. A lockblade knife is safer than pocketknives that open and close without the locking mechanism.

Schrade Lockblade Old Timer 30 T Pocket Knife

With the lock, users will not close the blade onto their finger or any other part of their body. Manufacturers that make lockblade knives include Gerber, Case and China Blade. The handle of a lockblade knife is typically made from bone, wood or horn while producers often form the blade from steel.


A slip-joint knife is a cutting tool that is small enough for your pocket. The knife style's blade does not lock. Instead, it is held in place with a spring. The spring permits the blade to close when the user applies pressure to the cutting edge. Many slip-joint knife models are smaller than other types of pocketknives. Furthermore, slip-joint knives generally have just the blade and do not come with extra implements. Common types of slip-joint knives are Barlow, Congress and Canoe. Elephant's foot and Stockman are additional slip-joint knife models.

Boker Cera Titan Slip-Joint Lockblade Knife

The Barlow knife has two blades and a long bolster. In addition, manufacturers usually make the handle long. They also make the tool from an assortment of materials. High-end models may come with handles formed from intricately carved ivory. Mark Twain included the knife style in his writings, and at the turn of the century, Barlow knives were popular with frontiersman and farmers. Congress knives typically come with four blades such as the spear point, sheepsfoot, pen and coping. Canoe knives often feature two spear point blades, but some models may have one pen blade and one spear point blade. Canoe knives are popular with anglers. An Elephant's Foot knife is a large cutting tool. In fact, the knife style usually measures 4 to 5 inches, and it comes with two wide blades. Stockman knives generally come with three blades, which include the spey, sheepsfoot and clip. Furthermore, most models come in a serpentine or sowbelly shape.


A Butterfly knife is also called a Balison or Fan knife. Manufacturers of the Butterfly knife construct the model from two handgrips along with a blade and pivot section. When the user has the knife in the closed position, the handgrip conduits cover the blade. Once the owner flips the knife, he or she reveals the blade.

VIntage Wood Handle Butterfly Knife

People who practice opening the knife can learn to flip it open with just one hand. Butterfly knife developers make the cutting tool from a variety of materials. Collectors should assess the knife's construction before purchasing the cutting device. Some knife makers produce Butterfly knives entirely from steel while others make the tool with non-metal handgrips and a steel blade, which signifies an inferior product. However, non-metal handgrips are lighter, and people can learn the art of flipping knives more easily with cutting tools that feature non-metal handgrips.

Fixed Blade

According to historians, people used knife-like apparatuses at least 2-1/2 million years ago. The early tools were made from rock, flint and bone. After the cutting implement's invention, people began improving the tool by making the blade from iron, copper, steel and bronze. Fixed blade knives come in various designs and styles. Hunting, survival and combat knives feature fixed blades.

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Other knife types include dive, throwing and boot. Fixed blade knives are generally stronger than other knife types because of the tang. The tang is an extension of the blade that stretches into the handle. It does not have moving parts. Owners of fixed blade knives generally carry them in a sheath, which is attached to a vest or belt. Military soldiers usually have at least one because the knife style does not have to be opened, set or changed for use. Buck, SOG and Becker make Fixed blade knives.

Final Considerations

Collectors can buy knives in a variety of styles and sizes. Furthermore, the handy tools feature different blade types and gadgets to increase their usefulness.