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4" folder training knives

Dec 28, 1998
While training with my oak tanto knife I came to the earth shattering realization that it feels nothing like my 4" folder. Discretion being the better part of valour, I've deceided that I should being training with something closer to what I carry. The question is, where do I find one? Anyone know where to find training knives similar to a 4" folder?

Stephan Howard-Cooper
If you want a trainer that looks like your knife, I can't help you.

However, if you want a good trainer for simulating a small knife during sparring, I reccomend a plactic hair comb.

No, really! Take some duct tape and wrap it around the comb, leaving only the desired length of the "blade" as exposed comb teeth. Because combs are blunt ended, you can stab at somebody with little fear of causing injury, and while the teeth of the comb do make a noise when slashing, and may even leave a small scratch, it's not painful and I've never seen it draw blood. Works as good as any pre-packaged generic trainer. If you use your real knife at all, it'll already be familiar to your hand, so I don't worry about that either.
You can make a training knife the exact size as your "carry" knife by tracing it on a piece of 3/8" plexiglas with a pencil.The plexiglas can be purchased at a Plastics(Fabricating,Finishing, or Decorating) shop.It is fairly inexpensive and comes in a variety of colors.Cut out the "knife" on a bandsaw with a fine cutting blade.Sand the edges smooth.Finish it off by buffing the edges on a buffing wheel using a green or rouge final finishing compound(Buffing wheels and compound available at "Sears").

Stephan -- you can buy another 4" folder like what you carry and then dull its edge. Now you have a trainer that feels, weights, and functions like your carry folder.
It depends on what sort of training you will be doing. Will you be training against air and don't want to risk cutting yourself? Will you be doing impact training against a dummy or heavy bag? Or will you be training with a partner?

I have an AFCK which I had the edge and tip dulled down. This is suitable for shadow work and impact training with the proper equipment. I have a heavy bag which I wrapped with a heavy blanket. I can slash the bag without damage, but when I tried a thrust the thin, blunt tip cut through the blanket and cut the bag cover. I bought a section of cowhide and attached it to my bag with nylon webbing and use that for thrusts. The leather is dented by the thrusts but not cut. The dulled knife is definitely not recommended for use with a partner unless you have a high level of skill like Kelly Worden.

I also have an aluminum trainer which is cut to resemble an AFCK. This works for all modes of training, but does not have quite the weight, balance, and feel of the real knife. You also cannot practice openings followed by impact training.

The best solution I have found is also very expensive and available only from a cooperative custom maker. My daily carry knife is a Crawford KFF. Pat Crawford also made me a training knife which is identical to my carry knife except that the blade is left dull and blunt. The blade is beveled but has a thick enough tip that it does not penetrate the blanket on my heavy bag. I do not need the leather pad to train with it. He also balanced the blade by shaving off material with shallow drill holes. I can perform openings followed by full power slashes and thrusts to my heavy bag. The blade is thick and dull enough to be used with a partner as long as you don't thrust too hard. It won't penetrate but you could bruise your partner. I also wouldn't use it for disarming drills because dropping the knife could damage it. The downside of this trainer is that it cost as much as the sharpened KFF. I also doubt that most makers would be willing to pursue such an undertaking. Although I believe that Emerson is now making folding trainers for his production knives. I have not had a chance to handle one however. Bob Taylor also was considering a folding trainer for the Carnivour. I don't know if he decided to pursue it. He wrote that it would cost about as much as the sharp version.

Hope this helps,