Safest way to use SAK/Slipjoint

Oct 21, 2004
In the good old UK, EDC is limited to sub 3 inch non locking folders unless you have a GOOD reason for carry (I don't :grumpy: ) I've decided to be sensible and bought three Vic Rally's (I know there not a popular choice of SAK, but have what I need) for my keyrings and limit myself to that. Trouble is i'm not used to slipjoint's and would like to know the safest way to use the blade. I can think of three ways.

1. Hold knife normally and cutting pressure should keep blade open.

2. Hold knife handle in a pinch like grip leaving nothing between blade and handle

3. Crooking finger under the dull part of blade to ensure it doesn't close.

1 I dont feel particularly comftable with, 3 should be safer but finger could slip down the blade (Ouch) 3 I suspect is safest but it seems a bit awkward to get a proper grip.

What does everyone remcomend?

PS I imagine a lot of people handled slipjoints/SAK's as their first knife but I didn't so I thought I'd better ask rather that lose/slice up a finger! :)
Hrm. Well, I've carried slipjoints for most of twenty-five years or so, and I've always had good luck with number 1. The only time one ever looked like closing on me was when I was acting the fool and tried to stab something. Don't do that. I have used number 2 once or twice maybe, when I wasn't sure of the immobility of what I was cutting. 3? Nah. Too much chance of your finger sliding up and you getting cut. Or so it seems to me.

So, yeah. As long as you're not prying or stabbing or something, and you treat the knife with respect, you shouldn't have any problems.

Yeah, choice 1 seems the best to me. As long as you really are just cutting something you won't really need a lock anyway, as the pressure is working to keep the knife open anyway.

As long as you keep in mind that the blade doesn't lock, and don't try doing anything to crazy with the knife you should be fine. The second option seems like it might be a bit awkward, and not give you as sure a grip on the knife. Door number three leaves a very good chance of getting cut as your hand slides down the blade if it closes unexpectidly.

I have used SAKs and other no locking blades without getting cut, or having the knife close unless I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing anyway. Always just held the knife in a normal grip that felt comfortable.
Thanks both for the responses - No 1 it is then, I kind of figured it should be OK but it just makes me fell sort of uneasy when using it. I guess that your both right and you have to give this sort of knife even more respect when using it then anything else.

Many thanks for the input,

#1 is the way to go. Only time I cut myself was using a knife incorrectly. Not the knife's fault to be sure, just keep the edge going away from any body parts. Hands are not always what gets cut, you have to be mindful of what is beyond the item being cut.
If the Rally has the pivot on the same end of the knife of the keyring, like the Classic, I would consider buying a different knife. I know that the small SAKs are probably the most popular pocketknives in the world but having the blade open in the direction of the keys is, to me anyway, a disadvantage. I find it much easier to use a knife where the blade faces away from the keys. That way I can keep the keys deep in my palm and hold the handle of the knife with my fingers.
Just use common sense. A knife is made for cutting, never use the cutting blade for a screwdriver or pry bar.

I think that mostly, you just have to realize and keep in mind that it's not a locking blade. Most accidents from slipjoints closing on fingers are the result of carelessness, probably brought on by familiarity with locking knives. If you're aware and cautious, "safety measures" aren't really necessary.
Shouldn't the ricasso prevent you from getting cut if it starts to close?

Doing #1, The blade will close to about 1/4 way, and the ricasso touches my finger.
Less likely that the blade will close if you only draw cut. In my experience, the blade closes when you are push cutting and the blade gets wedged in the material being cut.

If the blade gets wedged in the material being cut while draw cutting, clear the blade by lifting the end of the handle upwards with no forward pressure at all, so that the blade remains jammed against the handle with the tip of the blade acting as the fulcrum.

The above should keep your fingers safe!
airyq said:
Less likely that the blade will close if you only draw cut. In my experience, the blade closes when you are push cutting and the blade gets wedged in the material being cut.

I think that is the most common reason why people get cut using a slipjoint, the blade gets wedged and you pull it closed on your fingers. It can happen easily when cutting cardboard or whittling on a green branch. Be aware of the problem and stay safe.

I grew up carrying slipjoints and I think it's a good teacher on how to cut correctly with a knife. If you learn how to use a slipjoint you'll be less likely to depend so much on a locking folder.
When I was a kid all we had was slip joints. But then cars had tail fins and alot of the airlines still had propellers. I grew up with stockmen, barlow and trapper patterns. You learned the right way to use a knife, and the lack of a lock made you think about what you were doing.

I guess alot of the young guys into knives now have never handled a slip joint and being so used to a locking blade could get cut if not careful. A slippy will do any cutting you have to do if you're careful, its just a different technique, like the difference between driving a modern Toyota Camray with an automatic tranny and a 56 Chevy with a three on the tree.
gosh.. i can't imagine that someone should get into knives without having used/owned a slipjoint.

what these guys said should serve you well. the most important tidbits are these, in my opinion.
- don't stab anything.
- don't apply pressure to the spine (back) of the blade with your thumb or finger while cutting.

basically, a slipjoint will force you to learn that a knife is not a toy.

Many thanks for all the thoughtful replies,

I've always had knives and loved knives since I was a kid. My Dad only ever let me have locking knives because he thought they were safer. So that's what I've always stuck with (I must admit all my knives have been POS without the notable exception of Opinels which I was always fond of though I hope to rectify that soon)

Always better to ask then to use a tool incorretly IMO, you never know, there may be other people out their that have never had to use a slipjoint ?