A folding knife is a must-have item when camping, hiking, fishing, or participating in other outdoor activities.
These knives are lightweight, versatile, and easy to use whether you need to prepare food or cut some tinder.
One of the main advantages of these knives is that you can fold them and store them safely in your pocket.
Just like with any other knife, there are a few safety rules to follow. It’s important to learn to close a folding knife safely to prevent injuries.
How Do Folding Knives Work?
The particularity of these knives is that the blade pivots at a 180° angle. In the closed position, the sharp edge rests safely inside of a groove in the handle.
But in the open position, a folding knife looks like a regular knife with the blade extending from the handle.
There are different types of folding knives, but they all share a few common elements, including a handle, blade, and pivot.
Some knives have a bar spring or spring load near the pivot point. This spring applies pressure on the edge to keep it in its open or closed position.
You can find folding knives with an additional lock feature for safety.
For example, there are knives with a lock bar that prevents the edge from folding until you disengage this feature.
Other folding knives have a spring-loaded liner behind the blade, which keeps the blade in its open position.
Another option that some manufacturers offer is a knife with a ball detent design.
This style includes a small ball inside the knife liner that prevents the sharp side from moving until you disengage it.
Safety Rules for Using a Folding Knife
There are a few important safety rules to follow when using a knife.
Like any other tool or sharp object, it’s vital to know how to close a folding knife correctly to keep you and those around you safe.
Always be aware of your surroundings when using a knife. It’s best to use your knife when there is no one around you.
Hold the knife at arm’s length before opening it to get an idea of how far you can reach with the blade and ask others to stay away from this zone.
Cut Away From You
Use your dominant hand when holding your knife, and always cut away from you.
You should always keep the sharp edge away from you, including when you open and close the knife.
It’s important to have a firm grip on the handle when using your knife.
If you have a hard time cutting through something, it’s best to look for a different tool.
Even though pocket knives are versatile tools, you will encounter materials that are too thick or too tough to cut with a folding knife.
Remember that your knife is a cutting tool. You shouldn’t use it for prying or other applications.
You could snap the blade, send fragments flying, and hurt someone.
Closing the Blade
One of the advantages of a folding knife is that you can close the blade when storing it.
Remember to always fold the knife when you put it away or when you pass it to someone.
If you want to save time and pass it without closing the blade, pass the knife with the handle first and keep the sharp edge pointed toward you.
If you have a folding knife with a safety feature, check that you have engaged it before using the knife.
You can push on the dull side of the edge to make sure the safety is in place.
Be careful when closing or opening your knife. The blade folds into the handle and can cut your fingers if they are in the way.
When opening your folding knife, hold it with your non-dominant hand. Pull the blade out with your other hand.
There is usually a small depression in the blade that makes it easier to grab and pull.
Depending on the type of knife you have, you might have to push a button or engage another feature to unlock your knife.
Make sure the blade opens fully and slides into place. The spring could snap the edge back into place if you don’t open it all the way.
If your knife has a safety feature, now is the time to engage it. You might have to engage a bolt or twist a safety ring to secure the base of the blade.
When closing your knife, hold the handle in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Make sure your fingers are away from the groove where the sharp side will go.
Disengage the lock feature if applicable. Hold the thickest part of the blade on the side that isn’t sharp and push it back into the handle slowly.
Accompany the edge all the way in instead of letting it snap back into place.
How to Close a Folding Knife That Needs Maintenance
If you’re struggling to open and close your folding knife, it might need some maintenance.
Dirt, debris, and pocket lint can get into the handle and prevent the blade from closing properly. You can clean this groove with a toothpick or Q-tip.
You can clean the handle and sharp side of your knife with a toothbrush, some mild soap, and some warm water.
It’s a great way to remove dirt that builds up on the surface of the knife.
The pivot joint might need some lube. You can use mineral oil or gun oil to lubricate it.
Apply a small quantity and use a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
Rust and corrosion can appear on older knives.
If you can see signs of them on your folding knife, clean it with mild soap and warm water and apply a rust removal product.
Note that rust can damage moving parts, so if you can see signs of pitting and advanced corrosion, it might be safer to purchase a new knife.
A folding knife is a convenient item to have with you when exploring the outdoors.
It’s a safe tool as long as you follow a few rules and learn to close it while keeping your fingers away from the groove.
Hopefully, these tips will help keep you safe during your adventures!