Single liners – Opinions


Oct 26, 1998
The most popular knife that I know of that uses a single liner under the handle material is the Spyderco Military. I recently found out that the William Henry Carbon Fiber Lancet, “Knife of the Year” at the Blade Show, uses similar construction. I used to own a Boker/Klotzli folder with G-10 handles that had the same feature, and I know that the same knife is offered with different materials but the same design.

I am not all that crazy about this development. What other knives or makers use it? Could anyone point out the advantages to this design? Are designers just removing what they feel is an unnecessary piece considering the other materials used in the knife?

I've tried a few of these now, and I have come to the conclusion that they are just not for me. Can't say that I've had any problem's of having only one liner, maybe it's all psychological?
At least for now, I'll stay with dual liner's.

"War to the knife and knife to the hilt"

If the single liner is like a double liner but only one, I dislike them, they throw off the balance.

But if it is nested like the Military, I like it. It is harder to make, slimmer, lighter and offers plenty of strength in my opinion. Especially in the case of the Military where they have a thicker G-10 weave.

Marion David Poff aka Eye, one can msg me at If I fail to check back with this thread and you want some info, email me.

Check out my review of the Kasper AFCK, thougths on the AFCK and interview of Bob Kasper.

Agreements here, especially with MDP's thoughts. I also had a Boker, one of the early Omegas, that had a rather think set of G-10 scales backed by a single liner. I was unfortunately less than impressed with the perceived sturdiness and rigidity of the handle, and sent it back after a couple of days. Duals for me from then on.

Don LeHue

The pen is mightier than the sword...outside of arm's reach. Modify radius accordingly for rifle.

I have two knives with single liners, and both are solid.

One is the Boker/Klotzli that StJames mentions, but in aluminum scales (which perhaps accounts for the added rigidity). The spacerless knife is amazingly light, just like its G-10 cousin, but the G-10 version turned me off when I noticed how easily the unlined G-10 scale pinched when squeezed. Same goes for the Spyderco Starmate, which flexed when I gave the G-10 scales a tight squeeze.

My other knife is the Spyderco Wegner Jr, which has relatively thick G-10 scales and more significantly, a thick SS spacer which gives it tremendous rigidity.

I think single liner designs can be effective, but there are more material and design factors to consider than for a double liner. My aluminum Klotzli's unlined aluminum scale is thicker than the lined scale, so the balance appears to be even .. a nice design touch.
In general I do not like this idea either. On the very first Spyderco military I picked up, I was able to push the two sides of the handles together until they almost touched! However, I have seen recent models with the large spacer, but this is still not to my liking. One of the aspects that makes Benchmade knives feel so solid is the dual titanium liners. The only knife I like with the single liner is my Walker/Klotzli with carbon fiber handles. The carbon fiber is twice as thick on the non-liner side and it is a classy little knife IMO. Also, this knife is more like a gentlemans knife than a heavy duty tactical folder, so the single liner is acceptable.
The Spyder Wegner is a single liner model, and is more than robust. When I first got it, and hadn't carried it at all, I thought it was "cheap" compared to my dual lined BMs. But my opinion did a 180 after carrying it for just a week. It feels solid as a brick, and single-handedly (single-lineredly?) made me re-think my clunky double-linered Benchmades.

The Boker Orion in my pocket has a single liner, and with about as much effort as I could muster, I couldn't pinch the CF scales. And that's an open, no backspacer frame.

I think that the necessity of the second liner is something that involves the overall design of the knife. A knife doesn't, by definition, require two liners. But some materials or designs may benefit from the additional stability.
Thanks James, I intended say something about that Lancet I got. I received the knife but found that it had just the one liner, meaning that the other scale of Carbon Fiber was more than tough enough. To me it just wasn't right, and so I returned it. Now I loved the blade shape and size, the missing liner syndrome shook me enough that I couldn't get past it. I might get an Amber Series Lancet, but that is a little down the road. I know that some knives have no liners at all, my Calypso Jr. is that way and my new Boye Cobalt folder is just the Zytel scales, but it appears balanced and not out of sorts, hard to really rationalize, just weird I guess.

Still love that Spearpoint Rainbow series though! (had to throw that in)


It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me,
it is the parts that I do understand.
Mark Twain

[This message has been edited by Gary W. Graley (edited 27 August 1999).]
I'm the one that bought the Klotzli-Walker G10 from James. I really like the knife...that is the size/shape of the knife and the materials...but I agree with James that the single liner leaves it's sturdiness in question, but this is due to the ultra-thin scales. Although I haven't tested to see if the knife will fail, so I can't say if this is a problem. What I can say is that the G10 on the liner side is soooo thin that when the blade is closed the scale bulges due to the liner-lock springing out. I don't like this at all. Seems to me that if the G10 scales were thicker there would be no question about how sturdy it is. I will say that the other scale is thick enough to be stiff, but... Boker/Klotzli should have been attentive to the this problem...I certainly would have been concerned and never designed a knife with such thin scales.

I just don't like the look of a single liner; it is asymmetrical...aesthetically unbalanced, but I would buy a knife if it were sturdy enough (unlike the Klotzli/Walker).


[This message has been edited by jeffj (edited 27 August 1999).]
I gotta tell ya, when I first got my Military I was rather freaked out about a single liner but after using it, I find that it is more than adequate for my needs. It is WAY stronger than it looks. I have just recently acquired a full size Spydie Wegner and this knife is PLENTY stout even with the single liner. I'm so impressed with this knife I don't know why Spyderco isn't promoting it more. Anyway, now I am getting over the psychological hangup of HAVING to have double liners and I am the better for it. I've had no problems at all with single liners so far.

BTW If you haven't tried a Spydie Wegner yet, get off your duff and try one!!

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

Jeffj: I'll reiterate that I have the same Klotzli/Walker, but in aluminum and that makes a world of a difference. Mine is both light and sturdy and the aluminum scales don't budge when pinched. I think the G-10 version should've been reinforced with a spacer to make it more rigid (like the Wegner that Misque mentioned).

Single liners aren't by themselves a predictor on the feel of the knife, but they do require compensating design factors, which the G-10 Klotzli seems lacking.

Misque: I have the Wegner Jr also and maybe a possible answer to your question about discontinuing the Wegner series. When I shopped, I found it hard at first to tell the difference between the Wegner, Pro-venator and Pro-grip. The Wegner is the most expensive of the three, and it may not have been striking enough to allow ELUs to discern the advantages in construction over the superficial similarities to the cheaper models. I believe that is the reason why they haven't moved as well as Spyderco wanted, and therefore is going away. And I agree, everyone owe it to themselves to check it out before it's gone. The single liner is compensated by thick G-10 scales and a SS spacer that acts like a reinforcing spine...OTOH if you don't that's OK too, since I'd still like to buy 2 more myself when I get the cash for them and hope there'll still be some left by then
Longden, I've got the aluminum handle model and thought that I would pick up the G10 because I assumed that they would have to make the scales thicker since G10 is not as mistake in assuming. What bothers me about the aluminum scaled version is that the aluminum is just thin enough to where I feel uncomfortable using this knife...for if you ever did twist the scales, aluminum does not spring back! The aluminum while more rigid will not take the abuse of the G10. I think Boker/Klotzli failed to execute a very good design.


[This message has been edited by jeffj (edited 28 August 1999).]
Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but I just will not purchase a liner lock with one liner. Noothing I've read above convinces me I should. I can't see that it costs that much more to produce the matching liner. It is difficult to understand why Michael Walker would lend his name to something so obviousley cheap, but then again his name is on a Zytel model.
Even a small knife should be as sturdy as the design will allow, but excess weight is a consideration. Still is exactly this point that turns me off to the William Henrys.
My Humble Opinion
Jeffj, I hear where you're coming from.

I got turned on to the aluminum Klotzli from bro Bill McWilliams and it's a heckuva knife for the money. A full 3" 440c blade with just a bare handle wrapped around it...sweet and light but strong.

My problems were several items: 1) I keep my knife in my pocket with loose change and the spacerless scales allowed the change to occasionally jam into the blade; 2) while the anodized finish was tough, I noticed the corners beginning to wear shiny; and 3) the aluminum was a bit slick at times.

I hadn't considered the problem you mentioned about deforming the aluminum scales.

I was hoping, as you, that the G-10 version would give me the same light knife but with better gripping and better toleration of abuse (with the exception of the missing spacer problem), and was sorely disappointed at the knife store when I handled the flimsy G-10 version.

Still, you should have a look at the Wegner (or Wegner Jr.. also recommended by Bill) and I'd like to hear your impressions. I think it shows that a single liner can work.
And, I might add, it works REALLY WELL, too!

I hate to see such a fine product like the Wegner's go bye-bye, but I can see Spyderco's reasoning behind it.
If it is not selling, they have about a gazillion other models that need their chance in the spotlight and the Wegner's might be (sad to say,) "dead weight" in their seriously huge lineup.
So, who knows, they might come out with something next week that is (BLASPHEMY!) better than the Wegners.
I sure don't know how you can improve on perfecton, but I've seen stranger things and I am coming to expect nothing less from Spyderco!
I didn't even know that they were killing them until I read your post.
Now I have to decide whether to pick up a spare or wait and see.
Oh well, such is life!


If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

[This message has been edited by misque (edited 29 August 1999).]
I don't feel that single liners are generally a strength concern, but I do find them unattractive. Nested partial liners and "leaf" locks (no clear line between the two) are rather nice.

Some of the nicest older Benchmade liner-locks have only a single liner (Leopard, Brend, Spike, Tsunami, Kodiak) and these are very tough knives, with aluminum scales on both sides. That said, I just got finished putting a second liner into a Model 600 Brend Talon II, and I think it looks a whole lot prettier that way.

Japanese-made Spydercos have added a single liner to the G-10 Lockback models. This was not done for overall strength, but in order to hold the screws from the clip (G-10 strips threads very easily). This is somewhat awkward-looking and adding an entire liner just to hold these three threads seems like an inelegant engineering solution. On the other hand, I was just able to compare my older, linerless G-10 Civilian to a new Civilian with a single steel liner (and new C-clip, too!). The newer knife was noticeably thicker and heavier, something I appreciated - so perhaps one liner is better than none on a lockback.

The Wegner is a real oddity, a Japanese-made Spydie liner-lock with G-10 scales and a single liner. I just acquired one of these and everything folks have said is true - it's as solid and beefy as any folder I've held. Clearly a single liner can be quite enough for a strong liner-lock, even with G-10 scales.

The Military, Starmate, and the two Centofantes use a nested partial liner. This avoids the assymmetrical appearance and produces a slimmer, lighter knife. The Military, for example, is slimmer than the comparable AFCK even though it uses 5/32" bladestock instead of 1/8", while the large Centofante is lighter than any production knife its size due to this construction. Both are extremely solid, reliable knives.

On the extreme end of lightweight leaf-style construction I was just able to examine a couple of Owen Wood's carbon fiber folders that use extremely strong, light CF for the unsupported scales, with only a small titanium leaf acting as a linerlock. Combine this with a slim, fully-ground blade and you have a knife of comparable size to a BM Leopard Cub or Spydie Jess Horn, yet which weighs so little you can hardly belive you're holding it.

In short, knives with single liners can appear awkward but, if properly built, are quite sufficiently strong. Partial liners or "leaf-locks" avoid this unsightly asymmetry and also slim and lighten the knife. If modern synthetics like G-10 or carbon fiber are used, these knives can also be as strong as any folder needs to be. I like 'em all, but would rather have the appearance of two liners or none. Of course, if everything goes to leaf-locks, where will our filework go?

-Drew Gleason
Little Bear Knives
I had a feeling I knew where this thread was going... If not I was going to chime in w/ the Spydie Wegner. Once again, I'm preaching to the choir here, but if you haven't had the chance to play w/ one, you're missing out. I replaced a BM Ascent (Eclipse then) w/ a Wegner as my "every day, go anywhere" knife & Boom- right out of the box I was impressed. Single liner or not- unless you're beating it into a rockface to use as a piton, you shouldn't have any trouble.

Runs With Scissors
AKTI# A000107
I guess I have to add "my opinion".

PROPERLY MADE nested liners produce a thinner and lighter knife, generally easier to carry.

PROPERLY MADE nested liners are more rigid and generally stronger that liners held together only with pins or screws.

PROPERLY MADE nested liners are considerably more expensive to make than "slapping on" a couple of liners held in place with a few pins or screws. Dual liners are the "cheap" solution.

All of Michael Walkers custom made Linerlocks have nested liners.

Modern technoogy provides for us to nest liners to produce more effective solutions.

Because you don't like your G10 Boker, you're not going to purchase a G10 Spyderco? Now that's logical.

Airplanes no longer use two sets of wings (modern technology has improved the airplane) and one wing now does a better job than two used to.

Just a few thoughts to fan the fire.

Guess I'll join the chorus for the Wenger. I own 3, 1 full size and two Jr's. One definitely wasn't enough and I sure hope they keep making them. Their solid, comfortable, and in my opinion a good looking piece of equipment. For hunting, there's few folders out there that are more appropriate. When I grab the scales and squeeze them hard, they barely budge.

I guess if their going extinct, I better order a couple more.


Cogita tute
I guess that I don't necessarily feel that lighter is better just for its own sake. The Boker I sold jeff was a solid little knife, sharp, good lockup, just a little too thin and light for why I bought it. One of the reasons I haven’t picked up a Military is I like a little weight on a knife I use for the jobs I will ask the Military to do. Feel is important to me when choosing a knife, and I just haven’t held a single liner knife that felt right to me.

But from the sounds of it, I might just want to pick up a Wenger