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Practical Advantages: 3" Fixed vs 3" Folder

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by GLDNDomer, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. GLDNDomer


    Apr 8, 2011
    I've researched this question, and there are several threads on it, but they all seem to turn into all fixed vs folders in general, not just the 3" range, or the threads start to sway toward only outdoor carry.

    Here's what I already understand from previous threads and see what each has going for it.

    Fixed blades:
    are easier to clean/sanitize
    usually cost less for the same amount/type of steel
    have no pivot, so dirt/debris cannot muck up opening/closing

    Safety - Fixed blades are safer in hand, but less safe when not in hand (folders' blades are encased within handle using steel pivot pins/liners).
    Ease of Access - Thinking this is a tie because it can usually go both ways: a belt/pocket sheath knife is easier to get out, but harder to put back into the sheath than a folder into your pocket, and I just personally don't consider neck knives, but they are somewhat tied because EDCing one means it will be under a shirt but carrying one in the woods will be easier to access.

    Length/Weight is more convenient
    Generally considered more public friendly than sheath knife
    I already have one, why pay for something I already have covered? (besides just wanting one)

    I can see why people carry them: because they like them more, they don't trust folders' locks, they don't like opening/closing the blade with their fingers -- these are more personal advantages.

    I'm really interested to hear what you all think are any remaining practical advantages of a 3"-3.5" fixed blade over a 3"-3.5" folder. The quick answer always seems to be that the fixed blade is stronger, but stronger for what? What does anyone use a 3"-3.5" fixed blade for that would break a folder of similar size?? The only thing I can think of is prying, but won't that break any knife tip that's thin enough?? Does anyone who EDCs a fixed blade do anything with it that would break a Buck 110 or a thick ZT??

    Basically, I'm trying to get someone to talk me into thinking that I need a BK14 Eskabar. I just want to know if it will accomplish anything that my Buck Vantage Pro or USA Schrade folders shouldn't be used for.

    I did see quite a few posts about how a folder's blade is already broken, so why would you want to use a blade that's already broken?? Well, I got to thinking, it actually isn't broken. If a folder's blade were broken, it would look like this...


    Thanks, guys, I'm counting on y'all.
  2. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002

    You didn't do very much research then.....

    They are talking about the knives not being one solid piece in reference to the locks on folders and the fact they fold or as said already broken.

    That said there is nothing in using a knife that a fixed blade can't do as well or better then a folder generally speaking, that is keeping things apples to apples as in comparable blade shapes etc.

    The only thing that a folder does better is fold to make them fit in a pocket easier, other than that there are zero advantages of a folder over a fixed blade.

    That's not even a debatable subject topic.

    It's one of those DUH... HUH..... WHAT..... topics.
  3. Chris Pierce

    Chris Pierce Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    It's a matter of personal preference. I've tried and tried to carry fixed blades, but for the most part my American Lawman does everything I need and more. That being said, if I have the choice between using a fixed blade or folder when there is bloody work to be done, I'll always choose the fixed blade since it's easier to clean.
  4. matt1987


    Nov 2, 2009
    At that size it's more for ease of use and cleaning IMO. I doubt you will be able to utilize the extra strength at that size since you can't really chop or baton with it.
  5. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    It's all about compromises. Portability, concealability, and convenience make folders preferable to a large number of people who find that the "weakness" and "lack of performance" supposed to be inherent in a folder do not matter to them and how they use their knives. Oh, and the "unreasonable" concern for the sensitivity of NKP's might also be a factor in personal preference.
  6. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    I have a preference for fixed blades. I always carry one (the smallest has a 4" blade) along with a smallish folder. Id say, unless your going to be in a dusty/dirty enviornment, or unless you plan on using your knife for tasks that could get it loaded with dirt/animal fluids/general crud, I'd say there isn't really any practical advantage of a 3" fixed-blade over a 3" folder. I'd say the only real advantage is ease of cleaning and maintenance.
  7. goodeyesniper


    Aug 31, 2009
    I feel like the "strength" factor is almost all mental, it makes you feel more confidence in your knife. Like you said, take a fixed blade with the same exact dimensions, grind, heat treat, materials as a folder, and what will it ACTUALLY DO BETTER??? in that size range, not much. Easier to clean, and simpler.

    I have done really hard work with liner locks, backlocks, and even slipjoints that could have broken fixed blades.... And I can't think of an activity a small FB is realistically stronger than a folder, except maybe spine whacks :p

    Oh and longevity goes to fixed blades, too. Hard use which might not cause a good folder to fail, can still wear it out eventually.

    Don't get me wrong, if I could legally conceal a fixed blade I'd probably carry my RC3-MIL around, and have a few izulas to boot. I like the simplicity. I just think that they are in no realistic way stronger than a folder.
  8. GLDNDomer


    Apr 8, 2011
    Thanks for the responses, guys. And that's a good point singularity. The sensitivity of NKP's are probably a personal preference. I'm wondering if any of the Beckerheads will jump in to cheer on the Eskabar. I am starting to see an agreement that 3" fixed blade carry is more personal preference and ease of cleaning/maintenance than the fixed blade strength capabilities.

    Hey Ankerson, thanks for your response. My comment disagreeing with the statement that folders have broken blades was referring to the blade alone, not the handle and blade as a whole. Saying that a folder has a broken blade is completely incorrect. It just makes it sound like anyone who buys a cutting blade that folds is a chump for buying something already "broken", and I don't like being called a chump. A completely different statement would be to say that the blade is broken away from the handle... Although going back and reading your post now, it seems like you already understand this. I just wanted to show I did do a little research. And I also wanted to say that I think your youtube videos are very informative - your videos with the stump in the picture are really great because you actually compare the size of the reviewed knife with other well-known knives, more video reviews should do that.
  9. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Sure they are, it really doesn't take as much as one would think to put a folder lock out of spec so it could fail, lots of variables there.

    A folder is great until it fails and closes on ones fingers and it wouldn't take very hard use if the lock is getting worn, dirty or out of spec.

    It can and does happen.
  10. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    I agree. It's just kinda hard to go against majority opinion here sometimes.
  11. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Thanks. :)

    I just wanted to add the comments that folders really aren't an across the board replacement for a fixed blade.

    They still fold and can fail or even open in ones pocket.
  12. Leatherface


    Dec 3, 2005
    I carry a small fixed blade every day of my life...I also carry a small folder (Kershaw)

    I prefer the fixed blade
  13. Shotgun


    Feb 3, 2006
    Nope you absolutely can. I use my Izula 2 when camping to split kindling and in an emergency I wouldn't think twice about batoning it cross grain to cut a sappling for a splint or to make poles for my shelter. For every day tasks I admit there really is no reason to go with a fixed blade over a folder though. The reason why I do about 50% of the time is the fact that it would be nice to have if I was ever caught in a disaster like an earthquake and had to fend for myself for a short time and caught away from home. The other reason is having it with me at work reminds me of the adventures I can have with it while backpacking and makes my day go by faster.

    And as far as the broken comment. I've never heard someone say the blade is broken. They usually say the knife is broken, which it is.;)
  14. midnight flyer

    midnight flyer

    Jan 12, 2009
    Since this topic has been beat to a pulp for years, why didn't you just lead with that?

    Common sense will tell you that a piece of sharpened bar stock with scales on it (or in this case, not even any scales) with no moving parts will take more outright punishment and abuse than an equal sized device with moving, fitted parts. Surely you didn't need help figuring that out.

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  15. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    That's until that lock fails due to various things that can happen over time. ;)

    Personally I would rather keep all ten fingers and in good working order.

    Yes a lot of us carry folders and like them etc, me included.

    No lock is 100% fool proof and things can and do happen.

    Using common since and checking to be sure the locks are working from time to time is always a good idea to see if they are still within spec.

    It only takes one time for a lock to fail to do a lot of damage, even permanent damage.
  16. Chris Pierce

    Chris Pierce Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    I really really can't see how any one is trying to argue that a fixed blade knife is not stronger than a folding knife. Maybe the difference in strength doesn't matter for the things that they use a knife for, but to say that a folding knife and a fixed blade knife are the same is absurd.
  17. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Reality gets pushed aside when it goes against their own opinions. ;)

    That said anyone who really thinks that a folder is as strong as a fixed blade is delusional at best.
  18. GLDNDomer


    Apr 8, 2011
    I really like that reminder way of thinking. And I think if I see one more comment about my folding knives already being broken, I'm going to explode and start suing Kershaw, Spyderco, Buck, and Benchmade for selling me broken products! How dare they take advantage of us like that... haha

    I didn't lead out with this because the main point of my thread is to try to find what everyone who carries a 3" to 3.5" fixed blade uses it for, and if those same uses would break a similarly-sized folding knife. The same common sense that is telling me that a single sheet of sharpened metal is stronger than a folding pivot is also telling me that a 3" knife doesn't do folder-breaking jobs. That's where I want you to come in, to disprove my common sense and tell me something that actually utilizes that inherent fixed blade strength, but only in a 3" to 3.5" knife.
  19. Sulaco


    Nov 15, 2003
    I've had folder locks loosen up over time and need adjusting. I've had them gunk up with pocket lint and other mess. I've had them wear in and get less stable (liner locks) from opening/closing. I've inadvertently actuated and defeated folder locks while using the knife and it scared me. A lot. None of these things has ever happened with a fixed blade.

    Also, when I need to clean game, I DREAD!!!! cleaning folders. I can never get all of the fat and hair out. Fixed blades? Pfft, nothing to it.

    I also like the retention I can get with a good Kydex holster for EDC type fixed blade knives. I'd skip the Eskabar and get an Izula II or step up to a Scrapivore.

    All of that said, I keep a Case Peanut in my change pocket for normal stuff like opening boxes or cutting wire ties, string, tags, etc., and carry a SAK in the woods. I use my fixed blade for larger chores.
  20. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Do you realise how easy it really is to damage most folders or put them out of spec?

    I say most because there are some that can take abuse and still be functional however even those can still be damaged easier than a comparable FB.

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