What attributes do you like in a slipjoint?

Jun 7, 2007
I always hear people post about what is their favorite pattern. Do they like the pattern itself or because of certain attributes the knife has? I like many patterns but I am starting to realize there are certain things I like in a knife.

1. Equal ended...doesn't matter if it is swaybacked, humpbacked, splitbacked etc I like the symmetry of equal ends.

2. Bolsters- rounded preferred

3. Jigged bone or ivory

4. Clip or spear main blade...wharncliffe and sheepsfoot should always be secondary

5. Shield...pinned preferred no reason why

6. Multi-bladed...Single bladed never appealed

7. Plain pulls or nicks...matchstriker never seemed elegant to me.

8. Pins...I like to see the pins holding the scales on

9. Sunken joints preferred

10. Strong springs 7 or better on the pull scale

11. carbon steel

12. Long clips >> short clips

13. Swedges on spear blades, none on clips

14. Crocus or emery finish >>> mirror polish

15. Two backsprings at the most

16. Not fond of filework on blade or springs. Appreciate the skill though

That is not to say I do not admire knives without these things. I do. I just get more attached to carrying knives with more of these attributes

Kyui Su Kim

Gold Member
Aug 26, 2000
I always hear people post about what is their favorite pattern. Do they like the pattern itself or because of certain attributes the knife has? I like many patterns but I am starting to realize there are certain things I like in a knife.

Hey another New Mexico fella! What part you in?

I am not sure what my favorite attribute is. I do have to say that I love thin blades. Guess it's from back when I liked the stiletto type look, hence my favorite pattern is the toothpick:D
Aug 20, 2009
Anything goes but I prefer, spearpoint or droppoint over most clip points.

What I really wish is good walk and authorative talk on my slippie.

I prefer single or two bladed slippies and thinner SAK's.

and lastly: Handle material doesn't matter aslong it looks good and feels even better while can withstands use and changing weather conditions.
Feb 7, 2000
I like many patterns but I am starting to realize there are certain things I like in a knife.

Me too. Namely:

Size- Much over 3.75" is pushing it for me.

Bolsters- rounded preferred

Clip or spear main blade...wharncliffe and sheepsfoot should always be secondary (this beauty is the one exception)

Plain pulls or nicks...matchstriker never seemed elegant to me and has kept me from ever buying a German Eye.

I like wood, bone or stag scales. Delrin is fine too, but I prefer it to look like delrin (Case yella, Buck 300 series or U.S.-made Old Timers), not faux stag or whatever. I've never liked fancy handles like pearl or celluloid or cracked ice.

Pins...I like to see the pins holding the scales on

Sunken joints preferred

Carbon steel

Turkish clips

Two backsprings at the most

Do not like filework on blade or springs. Even a pretty girl can put on too much makeup.

-- Mark
Jan 12, 2006
-Square bolsters on stockman patterns a must.
-Blade swedges rock.
-Long pulls are always a bonus
-2 blades are much more appealing to me than just one. What if I dull a blade and don't have immediate access to sharpening tools.
-I am open to most handle materials. Some work better with certain patterns than others. I usually shy away from MOP or stone.
-Lanyards holes are great, but again dependant on the pattern. Love them on backpocket trappers, scouts and EO's.
-Carbon steels on productions, stain resistant on customs.
-Preferred size closed is 3 5/8" to 4 ½". Smaller than that and I usually pass.
-Satin finish bolsters and blades on customs
-I am picky about shields, I dislike the bollocks shield, prefer federal, acorn or bomb shield. Pinned preferred, glued shields seem to fall out eventually.
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Dealer / Materials Provider
Platinum Member
Oct 26, 2005
I tried to be picky about things.It wore me down,in the end,I like a lot.I also never really stayed focused on collecting or accumulating any one style/type,or maker.
But what I carry & use is practical & high performance.


Goat herding fool and resident vermin breeder.
Staff member
Super Mod
Feb 27, 2001
Handle material - Bone, Stag, Ivory or MOP with blacklip my favorite MOP. I am not interested in synthetics on my slipjoints, but understand the appeal. Keep in mind I own a few that are over 100 years old in bone that look great with that age. Pins are very much my preference over screws.

Bolsters - rounded on most patterns. I like ratails and or file lines.

Shields - appropriate for the pattern. Would rather have a shadow with a shield than without.

Swedges - I really think they can set a well made knife off. I like 'em crisp as well as finished to a higher degree than the blade so they stand out a little more. A satin blade with polished swedges can set me to drooling. :D

Blade steel - I have so many "favorites" that it really does not matter as long as the heat treat is sound. 52100, A2, D2 can be the cat's meow, but I am also happy with ATS-34, BG-42, CPM-154, the old 440V etc.

File Work - I prefer plain backsprings and blade spines, but very much appreciate tasteful file work. If it has to be there, inside of the spring or in some cases the bolster (clamshell) would be my preference. Too much filework can really distract from a well made knife although coined liners can work on a fancier pattern as long as it is not the first thing that jumps out. If it has to be there, I prefer the subtle approach.

Half Stops - I like them on most patterns when done correctly.

Blades. I like at least two blades. 5 -7 on the pull scale. Crisp authoritative action. Long pulls when they work with the pattern. Nail nicks nice and crisp. A badly thought out nick or pull can mess up a design big time in my pointed head. Sunken joints are great when possible with the pattern.

Size 3" to 4". Most that I carry are around 3 1/2.
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Dec 7, 2007
Antique knives

Crispy-mint, crocus polish, square ended tangs, sunk joint construction, cut in swages, fancy bolsters, shield (a must), internal filework, blades and backspring fileworked, gilding, ivory, t/shell, pearl all OK, overall high quality.

Modern knives

Clean, no filework, single blade, rat tailed bolsters, modern blade steel, stag scales with a shield, under 4".

Immaculate fit and finish.

Oct 20, 2009
For me, a knife has to be very well made. If it is well made, it is beautiful. The rest are details that contribute to variety, the spice of life.


Gold Member
Jan 13, 2001
Steel - Carbon in productions, premium stainless for customs.

Blades - Multi-blade patterns for productions, I like single-blades for customs.

Blade grind - I like flat ground blades.

Handle materials - Natural handle materials for me. Stag, jigged bone, and ivory with wood a distant second. Synthetics need not apply, I like those for modern folders.

Filework - Don't like it. All I see are a bunch of tiny little crevices that are a PITA to clean.

Shields - Depends on the knife. My favorite shield of all time though was an engraved acorn on a Don Morrow trapper.

Half-stops - I don't really like them. I prefer cam-ends. Not a deal breaker though.

Springs - I prefer that they be flush. I understand that it's not always possible, but on customs they gotta be flush.

Blade-play - I don't like it at all. If I can feel it, it's too much.

- Christian
Aug 18, 2009
I've really just started getting into pocket knives, so my experience is limited, but so far, the GEC Scout #73 pattern is perfect for my tastes because:

1. It's not too big and not too small -- about 3.5 to 3.75 inches closed seems ideal to me.

2. Drop point blade profile is my favorite -- looks awesome, and is just so versatile. I even prefer it to clip points.

3. Full flat grind -- a must for me.

4. My Scout only has one bolster, at the pivot, and I like that for weight savings.

5. Wood is my preferred handle material, but I'm ordering one in smooth bone shortly, so that might change.

6. I like the simplicity of a single blade for some reason, including in my Swiss Army Knives. I don't own any SAKs with multiple blades; just one blade and multiple tools.
Oct 16, 2003
]Steel - Carbon, please. I like the simple carbon steels for production knives but for customs my favorite is 52100. I appreciate why folks prefer stainless for their customs, but I won't buy a knife that I won't use, and if it's gonna see use, it should have a patina to complement the scratches.

Blades - The only blades that I don't care for are wharncliff and Turkish clips. Although I really like the Zulu spear, so go figure. And unlike a lot of folks, I like spey blades.

Handle materials - I kinda like micarta for shadow patterns, but for bolstered knives I prefer natural materials. My favorite is stag, hands down.

Filework - No, thank you. It makes knives look too busy, at least to me. But I do love the coined liners that Ken Erickson did on Elliot's cattle knife.

Shields - I like the bollocks shield that Tony Bose has popularized, but I think my favorite is the federal shield. It really depends on the knife, though.

Half-stops - If they're appropriate to the pattern, I like them.

Springs - At least a 5, and all the way up to an 8. Or a 9, if I can pinch the blade open. The downside(?) of that is that I'm the only one brave enough to use my knives.

Feb 21, 2006
Steel: I like carbon over stainless but stainless has it's place.

blades: I like multi blades,3 mostly, and I like a single blade like a copperlock.
Swedges preferred, almost mandatory, with nice crinks. I also like the raw look of the drop forged look around a tang(rogh sharp edges like a Queen as apposed to a tumbled like a new Case. If it's tumbled it cheapens it for me.This isn't an issue on an old knife.

scales: Ebony, then bone wood and stag, not neccesarily in that order, but ebony first.

bolsters: Squared on a stockman, but what fits the pattern. I like rattails too. I like a good steel bolster on an old knife but NS is my preference over steel and brass.

pattern: Stocman,but as long as it is old it doesn't matter.

size: 3 1/4 to 3 5/8.

f/f: Nice tight blades with good walk and talk. no springs sticking up or down. Blades don't have to line up with the springs in the open position, but it is a plus.I'm talking production knives.

Age: Old and old. I do like new knives and buy them but only traditionals. but the older the better.Had a thing for tacticals for a bit but it went away. I do like a nice boot knife though, and still have a Turzola Spyderco, so I like the benchmades.
Jan 6, 2004
GOSH GUYS....it seems to me you are taking something pretty darned simple and making it pretty darned complicated !!!