Small folding knife - reasonable price

Feb 16, 1999
I'm thinking of buying a small folding knife with a blade length below 2", smooth opening action(onehand) and with a reasonable price(~20-50$). Any suggestions?


[This message has been edited by Jonas (edited 25 February 1999).]

You should get into one of the internet dealer sites of your choice and check out Spyderco knives. They have the most selection of 2" and under folders that I have seen.

I picked a Spydie dragonfly with the sub 2 inch flat grind blade, aus8, for office stuff. Cuts well. Has a little plastic clip. Looks like a pen in my shirt pocket. Around $30 and under.


I'll recommend the Spyderco Pegasus(steel handle). A well made little knife. I have a friend who has a Dragonfly, and I can never get it open correctly. She has no problem with it, but it's too small for me. The Pegasus opens up quick, and fits my hand great. I believe they run around $40.00 or so depending on where ya look.

[This message has been edited by Blades (edited 25 February 1999).]
I'll second the Spyderco Dragonfly, too. Exceptional knife....small, well made, smooth opening. A great back up or office knife. Has to be the easiest knife I have for resharpening, too. I recommend the plain edge.


I've got a Spyderco Q. Very flashy. Its the only one I take to church with me and I never get hasseled for having it sticking out of my pocket. Overall very nice. The got for about $30.

Another Dragonfly buff here. It cuts like a larger knife due to its width and great edge geometry. Another little one-hander knife is the SOG Microdot. It has a clip point blade and a little thumb stud (righty only) and fits onto a key ring. You might also look into CRKT's P.E.C.K. knife. It's a frame lock with a wharncliffe-style blade. Don't have one yet, but...
I have reviewed some keychain/keyring knives a while ago. For non-kc/kr use the list might be somewhat different (e.g., the importance of good clips), but here are my impressions (hope you don't mind me repeating what I've written before):


SOG 29 MICRO-DOT; blade 2", plain edge, 440A, high hollow grind; overall length 4.5", length closed 2.6", weight "under 1 oz." (well under, couldn't find the actual data); reliable back-lock, pivot not very tight (after two years use); one-hand opening (right hand, Zytel stud, quite far away from the handle when open, may restrict slicing; Zytel handle, comfortable for 2-3 fingers (the keyring and keys continue from that, with only 1 ring you can easily keep the keys from rattling), surprisingly natural and secure (front) grip (a small finger guard); does not seem to gather pocket-lint too easily; price a bit over $20. This one does not, of course, have a clip.

SPRYDERCO SP28 DRAGONFLY Steel Body; blade length 2.4", edge 1.9", plain or serrated edge (I have both), AUS-8, flat grind, not very sharp before "reprofiling" the edge to Lansky-17 degrees (the plain version, of course); overall 5.4", closed 3.25", quite hefty, 2.25 oz.; very strong back/mid-lock, tight pivot; ambidexterous one-hand opening (hole), easy to open to reverse grip with the ring finger, too; stainless steel handle, polished (slippery, but doesn't get stuck in a pocket or come accidentally out with, e.g., a handkerchief, especially if the clip is removed), provides a variety of grasp positions (none of which very strong with my or my wife's hands), finger choil which overlaps the handle and the blade, very good for accurate work; stainless steel clip (butt-end, not very high) creates a "shelf" to increase leverage while opening; almost immune to pocket-lint, very easy to clean; a bit over $40. For non-kc/kr use, the Zytel version (with an integrated plastic clip) might be a good choice. It's very light and the handle feels even better.

SPYDERCO SP29 CRICKET; blade length 1.9", edge about 1.7", reverse curve with a "parrot's beak" tip, blade thickness 0.07", plain or serrated edge (I have both), blade steel GIN-1/G-2, hollow grind; overall length little over 4.5", closed 2.7", weight 2 oz.; liner lock (tightness varies, my older serrated version is much more precise than the newer plain one; haven't tried the plastic versions), very positive detent when closed (a must for a pocket liner-lock), tight pivot (adjustable); easy one-hand opening (hole), also with the ring-finger (to reverse-grip), but only with the right hand (don't think the other slab/liner can be Dremeled enough); flat black anodized aluminum handle, assembled with PH screws, smooth, oval shape (a bit of "dehorning" and you've got like a smooth, flat stone from the bottom of a mountain river in your pocket), surprisingly strong grip both front- and reverse (I'm not kidding, it surprised me, too); black metal clip on the pivot end (and I mean *end*, removable, fits perfectly to a BM AFCK); gathers somewhat pocket-lint, feels very well in a coins-pocket; between $40 and $50.

Tried but *NOT* appreciated

Benchmade 330 Mel Pardue Gentleman's folder (too light detent, action a bit gritty in my exemplar, right-hand only, not very smooth in shape, though thin, no clip), Boker Gamma liner-lock with ceramic blade (almost nonexistent detent, right-hand only, a horror to resharpen, a bit chubby, no clip), SOG 33 Mini Gentleman's knife (very difficult to open with one hand b/c too narrow hole, though would be ambidexterous, smooth in shape, and small, no clip), Timberline small drop point (rubbish, doesn't even take an edge), Gerber MicroLight LST (simply too small), Gerber UltraLight (no one-hand opening, difficult to get a really good edge, but because of the very secure half-way detent could well be my daughter's first folder when she will be 3). The three last mentioned do not, of course, have a clip.

Some more recent ADDITIONS. Spyderco LadyBug (less than $20) and Baby-Goddard (about $30). I'm sorry, but these would have go to the "tried but NOT appreciated" group (and I gather, you're not seeking anything *this* small). In many ways, they are fine little knives with nice blade profiles, tight pivots, and strong locks (and the Micarta on the BG looks great and smells funny), but the opening holes are simply too small (about 6.5 mm) for my (medium-sized) thumb. The one on the BG is, in addition, so much chamfered that it is virtually unusable. Also, I don't fancy serrations on very small pocket blades. It's much easier to, e.g., sharpen pencils with a plain one. Of these two, I'd prefer the LB. The handle shape of a larger Goddard simply does not function with the size of the BG (as well as the shape of the old Endura on the LB). Maybe the LB could be seen as a "child" of the Endura, so if you carry both, you could say (if needed): "but officer, this little one won't go anywhere without her mother" ;-)

Hope this helps, Jonas. But as Sing advised, do check small folders from (informative) internet dealer sites!


[This message has been edited by Markku Huttunen (edited 26 February 1999).]
I tried to edit the above post, but couldn't. Got a Server Error message. I would have modified some points to reflect your possible need for a clip. But maybe those thoughts were so obvious that the Server reacted?

A small addendum.

I enlarged the opening holes of the two very small Spydercos with my Dremel tool. Now they're about 1 mm larger. Helps a lot. Makes one-hand opening possible. The LadyBug is now a usable knive, though too small for me to be really useful. No comparison with, e.g., the SOG MicroDot. The modification didn't, of course, help with the bad ergonimics of the BabyGoddard. Tried to fix that with the Dremel and managed to ruin the knife.
Now it just smells funny.

Jonas, if you have any additional questions about (some of) the knives I've "reviewed", feel free to e-mail me.

I've had my Ladybug for about 3 years now, and although I don't use it much, I'm fairly happy with it and I carry it all the time. It is tiny, which may bother some, but that's exactly why I like it. It fits right into the change pocket on my jeans. The blade is about 1 3/4 inches, and comes Spyderco-sharp. It's about a $15 knife, so if it gets lost, no big deal. The thumbrest on the blade is fairly small, to be sure, and my hands are medium in size, but I found that after 2 minutes of tinkering around, opening and closing the knife, I'd gotten the hang of the one-hand action. I wind up using my thumbnail for a portion of the motion, but it's a breeze for me. If I ever lose or break this one, I might try one of the dragonflys that I keep hearing about, or I might just replace it. There's a lot to be said for simplicity.
Thank's for all of your replys. A lot of Spyderco fans on this forum, maybe for a good reason.

Unfortunately I don't have any good knife store in my surroundings that carry the Spyderco range. I'm also a bit hesitant regarding Internet shopping. The whole credit card security, shipping, currency thing. My first Spydie will have to wait until I travel to a larger city with better knife shops. Looks like I'm buying a Buck Lightning instead. I know it doesn't quite fit my describtion in this post, a bit larger blade - 2.5", but...

I've read your posts regarding keychain/keyring knives before and I will probably read them again. Very informative posts on the kind of knives that I like best.


[This message has been edited by Jonas (edited 08 March 1999).]

Glad you got your knife. But, your hesitation about buying over the "net" may not be fully justified. Lots of folks here do it and have not had a problem. Aside from better prices, there just more selection available this route than from most knifestores.

I was not that comfortable myself before with purchasing over the net. Instead, I called up the dealer to relay information. However, with one dealer whose email phone was out of service, I did purchase using the "secure" server service, and got the model I wanted fairly quickly.

Just something for you to consider should ever want a model that is not available at the local retailer.

I'm also glad you found a knife you can use.

I understand the hesitation you have about using the Internet for orders. However, with secure servers, you should have no problem. I believe all dealers now use secure servers, and their web ordering page should say so. If you have any reluctance to order using the servers, simply shop by internet and order using the phone number given on the dealers web page.

Browse through the BladeForums and you will soon learn who many of the dealers are that you can trust. This forum is a great place to learn about knives and dealers.
I'll second Sing's and Bob's thoughts about Internet ordering. Without that possibility I (as a Finn) would have perhaps 20 knives instead of the about 70 that I do have, and I would have had to leave some very interesting makes completely out of consideration.

Ordering to Scandinavia can be a chore - not all vendors serve international customers conveniently, and the local customs usually want to add about 1/3 to the price - but the pro's are still often overwhelming.

Surely you have already checked Peter Hjortberger's Fällkniven in Boden? I don't remember if he has Spydercos, but Benchmades, Cold Steels, etc. in abundance.


Jonas, WAIT!! Go to 1 888 828 1925
AUS8 steel; spear point deep hollow grind; 2" cutting edge; 2 3/8 blade, 6" OAL; 1.4 0z.; zytel handle; reversible thumb stud, removeable black steel pocket clip, made in Japan, plain or serrated; and only $19.95 shipped UPS!!!
Oh yeah, it' s the Spyderco Moki Series, model "Elite". A lot of knife for the money and often overlooked and underrated. A real sleeper. Have both "Elite" and larger "Zephyr". My favorite pocket knives. Hope this helps and not too late.


"To earn a million is easy, a real friend is not."

[This message has been edited by Nakano 2 (edited 09 March 1999).]
Sorry, I meant Jonas, not Sing. Couldn' t edit. Is there still a bug in the system??


"To earn a million is easy, a real friend is not."
Seems like a nice suggestion!

I've found the edit-glitch to prevail, too. It does edit, but reluctantly, i.e., doesn't tell you've succeeded, but gives an error message instead.

This is not a comparison to the above suggestions! I have a Tuff-Lite from Cold Steel, which if purchased at a discount is a better than decent knife. It's blade is under 2 inches and it is light. You can see their web site for actual specs.

I purchased it because I missed my Cold Steel small Shinobu. It has a key chain clip, like my earlier version. (I believe I lost the Shinobu when I had it unclipped after visiting the local courthouse and had not reclipped it...probably my keys pulled it out...)
Earlier one had Kraton handles and was built tough, blade was relatively thick. The Tuff-Lite has Zytel handles, is a lockback, and has a different edge geometry. The blade appears somewhat thinner and wider, which may be why it seems even sharper.

I use it when traveling by air, clipped to my keychain, and have had no comments. Advantages: sharp, decent steel (AUS8 as I recall), light, not too expensive to use when traveling, small yet usable.

If weight is the only concern, the Boye folders are only 2 oz and are very sharp. The cobalt Prophet Companion (has the thumb slot)is about the sharpest slicer I have used. Price is not necessarily "reasonable," as in---> I would certainly be upset if I lost it. The 440c version is less expensive at around $50+ if purchased at a substantial discount. The Boye folders have a pocket clip and I often clip it to the inside of my waistband, but it is light enough that I also clip it to a strong shirt pocket. The Prophet Companion model, i.e. the one with the slot, can be opened with one hand, left or right.
Note, both of these are locking knives, which I usually prefer, and there have been some posts suggesting that some foreign countries are paranoid about locking knives of any size.