Folding vs. Fixed-Blade---->Which one?

Jun 19, 1999
Well, I am a one knife kind of guy. I'm looking to buy a new knife for all-around use, mainly camping, hiking, and the occasional household use.

Am I better off with a fixed-blade, or a folder?

What are your favorite fixed-blade and folding knives?


"How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those that are wise and of good will." -Albert Einstein
For the uses you listed, I would go with a fixed blade of 4"-6" with a flat grind, no more than 5/32" thick. You not planning on hacking right? Plenty of custom and production choices there.

I have set, 3.5" and 6", of knives being made by MadPoet (Mel Sorg). His prices are not much more than good production knives.
You wouldn't go wrong with either a good quality folder or a small personal sized carrying fixed blade. Alot depends on your budget also as to what brand you might want.
If your not hunting a 4' blade in either a folder or a fixed would be plenty adequate.

[This message has been edited by goshawk (edited 25 June 1999).]
Fixed blade. Try a Spyderco Moran first. I bet that will fit your needs. Unless your looking for a Y2K-end-of-the-world-knife. Then you might want to buy 2.

I would try a Fallkniven F1 Swedish Air Force Survival knife. It has about a 4" full grind fixed blade made out of VG10 alloy. Well made, very practical design. Economical. I got mine through:

Fixed blade is much better when the application is a little tougher or a little messier.

If you needed to carry a knife in areas where it would be socially unacceptable, get a folder. A Buck model 110 would be rugged enough for most purposes, but the steel isn't top notch. The Spyderco Calypso has a full grind and is made out of VG10 steel. It would work as an only folding knife. Sharp enough for any application.

"Defense against knife attack:
Option 1. If you have a gun shoot him."
If your circumstances allow you to carry a fixed blade all the time, by all means carry a fixed blade. I only carry folders because of the concealed carry laws here in CA.

If stainlessness is a big issue, I recommend the David Boye custom 4" hunter. It is made of Boye Dendritic Steel (cast 440C), and it holds an edge like no other stainless steel, about twice as well.

If stainlessness isn't paramount, the 4.5" Mad Dog Lab Rat is one of the finest knives I have seen. Selectively tempered, holds an edge supremely well, strong, indestructible handle, superb ergonomics.

If somebody took those two knives away from me, I think I would go with a Mad Poet D-2 hunter, or maybe one of Tom Mayo's hunters. Rob Simonich's Cetan and Wambli also look like excellent choices. A Talonite Wambli would be a heck of an outdoor knife.

If price is a big issue, I like the Falkniven VG-10 blades, or a Cold Steel Carbon V Master Hunter.

If circumstances make it easier for you to carry a folder, my favorites are:

Darrel Ralph Large Apogee
Benchmade 710 Axis lock
Chris Reeve Sebenza
Mission A-2 MPF
Benchmade M-2 AFCK
REKAT Pioneer
Barry Wood/Mike Irie Swing Lock Folder
David Boye (BDS Cast 440C) folder
David Boye BDC (Boye Dendritic Cobalt) folder
Spyderco Military
Gerber Covert (single ground)

That was fun.


[This message has been edited by Steve Harvey (edited 25 June 1999).]
I think it's basically been said already, but go with a fixed-blade whenever possible.

There are no functional advantages to a folder except perhaps ease-of-carry. The trouble is that folders are socially acceptable in most circles and fixed-blades are not. Also, there's something to be said for the "nifty machine" aspect of folders.

I own almost entirely folders because I like the way they work and rarely am in a situation that requires hard knife use or is away from people. I'd be willing to carry a "rig" for concealing a gun, but to me it isn't worth it for a small fixed-blade when there are so many decent pocket-clip folders available. Others may feel differently.

But whenever it is possible to carry one, a fixed-blade is preferable. It can't disengage, is inherently stronger, and makes no compromises of blade or handle shape in order to fold up.

Either way you choose to go, check out Spyderco. They make the finest large-production folders in the world and their one fixed-blade, the Moran, would also likely suit your needs.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
What you say you need sounds like a classic Hunter style knife would do just fine. Maybe a 6" Russell or if you want to stay with production (cheaper) a good Buck or Gerber should fill the bill.

Lots out there to choose from, price will be your main factor.
Fixed blade knives are superior to folders in every respect except for convenience of carry. There is nothing a folder will do that a fixed blade knife won't do except fit comfortably in the pocket.

Having said that, a good folder will generall get most jobs done. Favorites? That's hard. As a result of a cutlery addiction I've accumulated a drawerful of knives that I own and use all the time. My favorite fixed blade knife is the Fallkniven F1 for a hunter type knife and the Cold Steel Trailmaster for a large wilderness/survival/Bowie type knife. My favorite among the modern high tech folders is the EDI 100 Genesis. Most days I carry a Benchmade 820 Ascent or a Boye Prophet Companion folder so they would rank pretty high on my favorite list as well. The Leatherman Wave gets a lot of use, too, as does my Victorinox Deluxe Tinker. And then there's the...........

Knife Outlet

I used to be a 1 knifer also, but changed my ways. Different tasks require different blade designs. A small utility knife, like an Old Timer can handle 95% of the routine jobs. Somehow I can't bring myself to slice a tomatoe ( is there an "e" at the end,or did I pull a Quayle?) with the same knife I use to open a fertilizer bag or cut bait with. Speaking of cutting vs sliceing, a Leopard Cub is a wonderful slicer, a Stiff Kiss is a wonderful cutter. I like the flexability of different blade designs for different tasks.
However back on topic,a fixed blade would be the first choice. Folders are always a compromise.


[This message has been edited by Hal (edited 26 June 1999).]
Go with a one-piece knife as it is stronger and safer to use when a knife really is needed in some situations!
Have to agree with most of the others here. A fixed blade is to be preferred provided you can carry it where ever you happen to be. Folders exist because it has become politically incorrect to carry a fixed blade knife in many situations.

This being said, the exception to this rule has to do with multi-tool knives, something a fixed blade can not duplicate. The SAK is of course the quintisential multi-tool knife (multi-tools not with standing as they are primarily PLIERS, not knives), but there are others such as the traditional Boy Scout knife, or the sailor's knife with a marlin spike. If the knife must serve to be more than just a blade (or a single blade will not do), then the multi-tool/multi-blade folder may fit the job even better than a fixed blade knife even where you can carry the fixed blade.