Why don’t you like flippers?

Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
890
A flippin' revolution
Posted June 11, 2013 by Tony Sculimbrene.https://www.alloutdoor.com/2013/06/11/flipper-knife/#disqus_thread


flipper-flipper-660x495.jpg


Modern knives are defined, in large part, by two innovations: 1) the pocket clip; and 2) the ability to open the knife with one hand without the use of a mechanized assist, such as a spring. For a long time, the three primary methods were thumb studs (and thumb disks), an opening hole as seen on Spyderco knives, and the Emerson Wave. In the mid 90s, the flipper was added to the list. The flipper is a quick, easy to use, low maintenance method of opening a knife one handed. It also happens to be an excellent introduction to the history of knife making over the last 50 or 60 years.

Tracing the origins of the flipper deployment method is something akin to looking at the strata of the earth’s crust as a record of the past — in one place you get a snapshot of the history of knife design over the last 50 or so years.

We’ll start this brief look at the history of the flipper with the Switchblade Knife Act of 1958. Politicians, scared by images of 50’s-era gang war on the silver screen, reacted to something that was really nothing by passing new laws (this is, after all, what they do best). In banning switchblades and other fast opening knives, the federal government and the states that followed, limited the public’s access to knives that not only deployed fast but also deployed with one hand, a very convenient feature, especially in work knives. All that remained after the act’s passage were slow, nail knick knives and a powerful incentive to innovate.

Over the years, makers got creative. The thumbstud and thumb disk allowed for one handed deployment, but neither were particularly fast or attractive.



Then Sal Glesser, the founder of Spyderco, made the thumb hole famous. It is a simple and ingenious development that made knives convenient again but without running afoul of the law.



Ernie Emerson, of Emerson Knives, created the wave feature that solved the slow deployment problem. Waved knives are as fast or faster than switchblades (retrieve v. retrieve + push button).

To these two classic innovations we can now add a third, newer method of opening a knife: the flipper. Developed by the famed custom maker Kit Carson, flipper deployment is as fast and as easy as it comes, rivaling the Spyderco hole and the Emerson wave. Flippers make autos and assists unnecessary for most users.

The flipper was made possible (or perhaps more strictly speaking, more easy to implement) by two other innovations–Michael Walker’s liner lock and Chris Reeve’s frame lock.

Flippers come in many different shapes, but the basic mechanics are simple: a part of the blade is shaped into a shark-fin like protrusion that extends through the spine of the knife when closed. The flipper’s open-back construction is what made the liner or frame lock necessary. Pushing down or pulling back on the flipper puts pressure on the detent, which is a combination of a tiny notch and bearing on the blade and handle designed to hold the blade closed) . When the applied pressure overcomes the detent then the blade will snap into the open position. There is a bit of skill in designing and making a good detent, but a good flipper is something that any novice can spot–the knife should open with no wrist or arm action whatsoever. Finger pressure alone should be enough. Here is a good example:

Flippers have encouraged other knife innovations as well, mainly ultra-smooth bearing-based pivots. IKBS and KVT are two of the more prominent bearing-based pivot systems. All of these systems use ball bearings around the knife pivot to radically reduce friction during deployment. The end result is a flipper that operates with much more speed and ease of deployment; these pivots also yield a more rigid knife overall.

Flippers are here to stay, and they are available in all price ranges. The Kershaw Chill is an excellent, easy to deploy, budget-friendly flipper. The CRKT Swindle is a stylish, mid-priced knife with a unique look and IKBS pivot. Finally, at the top end of the production scale are the two titanium framelock flippers: the Spyderco Southard and the Zero Tolerance ZT560/561.

Time to take advantage of decades of innovation and get yourself a flipper. You’ll love it if for no other reason than the simple, addictive pleasure of opening and closing it over and over again.
 

afishhunter

Basic Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2014
Messages
8,645
I don't "hate them".
I don't need a one hand opening knife.
I don't want or need a knife that when I open it, it sounds like I just racked a slide action shotgun. (for some strange reason, people in the vacinity get ... "nervous" ... when that happens.) I prefer discretion. I have no need to show off when I use one of my knives.
An "old school" two hand opening traditional does everything I've ever needed a knife to do.
Although I do own and regularly carry a single blade knife (for example a Buck 110) I prefer a knife with a minimum of two blades for 97% of the tasks I use a knife for, a 3 blade Stockman being my favorite pattern.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2016
Messages
11,264
Man you should wash the apple and eat the skins!
So says my man Jim Stoppani on youtube. ( he has a 3 min video you should check out on this )
Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods. They're packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. It's thought that polyphenols can improve or help treat digestion issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases.

I like the smoothness of flipper knives. Maybe the ones on bearings. I never could get to like the action on my hinderer xm18 flippers. Cant stand a sluggish action flipper.
The last flipper I had was the Emerson cqc7 flipper and the action was fantastic, I just think 3 opening mechanisms for a knife is excessive. I really like the design on the
new Williams blade design knife, but it looks like the tab sticks out a lot and the deep carry clip is going to be tough to dig out of pocket, then regrip to use flipper, I kind of
like this one but will probably pass.
OZF001_001_1024x1024.jpg

Who makes that williams flipper? Looks like a lionsteel clip to me.

And yes I know that the apple skins are actually the healthiest part. But a peeled Mcintosh apple is just so amazing.
 

herisson

Apple slicing rocking chair dweller
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
4,047
They have one thing going for them, in my book, and that's the clean blade without thumbstud, hole or nailnick... However, there are other folders with enough blade showing so they don't need a nailnick : that would be my choice for a folder (and my actual fad is fixed blades or higonokamis... don't ask me why !). I have just one "flipper type" knife and that's the Böker Wasabi. I was impressed by the clean fit & finish and the nicely ground "katana" blade. The opening action doesn't appeal much to me and I miss some positive locking in open position. Flippers are also way too on the technological side of knifemaking for my current taste. Add in the mix how most flippers have a protruding guard-like tab when open and that's the additional "Hem, no..." that breaks the deal. Can't say I hate flippers, though, it's rather "I'm not interested".
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
483
They have one thing going for them, in my book, and that's the clean blade without thumbstud, hole or nailnick... However, there are other folders with enough blade showing so they don't need a nailnick : that would be my choice for a folder (and my actual fad is fixed blades or higonokamis... don't ask me why !). I have just one "flipper type" knife and that's the Böker Wasabi.

Higonokami and straight razors are the OG front flippers.
 

herisson

Apple slicing rocking chair dweller
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
4,047
I guess it depends on your hands (palm/finger ratio, too). I'm only confortable opening sideways one-handed. I never opened a higo, another friction folder (even small levered) or a straight razor the front-way. Chalk it to a thumbstud/hole habit, possibly. However, good luck opening a Svord Peasant the front-way !
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
1,489
Typically if I can flip it, that means I could also do an inertia opening, and that means it's a "gravity knife".
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2015
Messages
6,975
Apples, apple skin and apple juice . . .
. . . and bearings
Yes eat the skin ; at least all the natural toxins the plant tries to generate to fend off insects and the bug spray the grower adds to fend off the bugs may at least kill something (hopefully not the apple eater).
I eat the skins always. Doesn't mean I can't use my knife. I dice 'em up and put them in soy yogurt add a couple of small lemon cookies, just for the nutritional value you understand. :thumbsup:

I do hate that my Grail (s) has bearings. It is too easy to at the very least get water in it while washing the blade. I don't use the Grail much for food for this reason. This is the third one as I said and so I couldn't help "trying'erout" for a couple days on food. This knife works exceedingly well for me on food. Shame about the vulnerability of the bearings. Tiny suckers.
Tiny, tiny, tiny . . . tiny !

IMG_5545.jpg
 

22-rimfire

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Messages
19,385
I think that’s a matter of practice. Just from exposure and fiddling, I find I open flippers the fastest and most naturally.

There is definitely a learning curve; I have had flippers that I thought were 100% impervious to user error until I handed them to my GF and she somehow magically got them to open only halfway.
My Urban Trapper opens half way if I'm not paying attention. But I still like the knife. It is really slim in the pocket and quite functional.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2015
Messages
6,975
If I want knife that opens fast I'll carry one of my autos not a penis knife.
Many (most) of these manual knives open faster than an auto.
My 710, my 951-1, my Griptillian . . . heck even my old Manix LW if I middle finger flicked it.
Not saying the flippers necessarily, basically I only have one flipper and it's not all that fast but opens well enough for me.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2015
Messages
6,975
Ernie Emerson, of Emerson Knives, created the wave feature
As I understand it that's not accurate. He uses it and made it popular.
Yes I know the blade stop / hook story but it seems we discussed this in the last year and there was already a similar thing on knives that functioned the same as the pocket hook. I haven't found the thread again yet.

use ball bearings around the knife pivot . . . . these pivots also yield a more rigid knife overall.
I don't think that is true. Maybe I am thinking strength when he is talking rigidity. A good bonze washer knife is going to have a larger radius of contact and so be stronger and if it works as well as my last Para 2, zero play and opens and swings effortlessly , (rare I know) then there is no reason for bearings if the knife is made as well as this particular Para2.

I mean, holding the knife like this
IMG_5157.jpg
I compress the compression lock and rotate my wrist slowly and the blade begins to swing open
IMG_5156.jpg
Keep rotating my arm slowly and the blade slowly pivots open like this
IMG_5155.jpg
IMG_5154.jpg
reverse my arm and it slowly pivots closed.
IMG_5155.jpg
IMG_5156.jpg
IMG_5157.jpg

I need ball bearings foooorrrrr . . . . . .
? ? ?
And once a bit of grit gets in amongst those ball bearings ! = not good.
That from a person who's one knife he calls his Grail actually has ball bearings.
I carry it in a belt pouch most of the time to help keep it clean though carried just loose in my pocket the titanium liner knife, even with the thick handle, is so light it is no problem at all; note there is no pocket clip . . . it is loose in pocket or the belt pouch.
IMG_4234.JPG
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
184
I was about to post that I don't like flippers as I prefer slow, smooth and gentle deployment. Then I realized that my Cold Steel Code 4 opens slowly and smoothly, but slams shut with force.

Okay. I'll take a lukewarm stance on it, then. I do enjoy the flippers I currently own, and I'm not opposed to buying another as I just realized one of the very top knives on my wishlist is a flipper.
 

barrabas74

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
7,956
I like some flippers and prefer just a thumbstud or hole with others. Some knives are more comfortable to hold and feel more secure in the grip with a flipper stud.
 
Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
890
As I understand it that's not accurate. He uses it and made it popular.
Yes I know the blade stop / hook story but it seems we discussed this in the last year and there was already a similar thing on knives that functioned the same as the pocket hook. I haven't found the thread again yet.

I don't think that is true. Maybe I am thinking strength when he is talking rigidity. A good bonze washer knife is going to have a larger radius of contact and so be stronger and if it works as well as my last Para 2, zero play and opens and swings effortlessly , (rare I know) then there is no reason for bearings if the knife is made as well as this particular Para2.

I need ball bearings foooorrrrr . . . . . .
? ? ?
And once a bit of grit gets in amongst those ball bearings ! = not good.
That from a person who's one knife he calls his Grail actually has ball bearings.
I carry it in a belt pouch most of the time to help keep it clean though carried just loose in my pocket the titanium liner knife, even with the thick handle, is so light it is no problem at all; note there is no pocket clip . . . it is loose in pocket or the belt pouch.

Yes, he was using the people who made it popular and I also agree with you for the Ball bearing, I don't own any, but I struggle with the idea that it can have less blade play.
 
Top