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Review: Slip-Joint Knives


If you’re a Boomer or Gen-Xer, you may have a fond memory of your father or other relative giving you a pocket knife at a young age. It may have been a lock-back or a fixed blade, but for most of us it was a simple slip-joint folding pocket knife with no locking mechanism. The blade was held open under simple spring pressure. Sometimes it was a single blade Barlow style or Jack knife. In other cases, it may have been a Trapper with a drop-point knife blade and a Spey blade. If you were really lucky, it could’ve been a multi-blade Congress knife or a Swiss Army Knife.

The Value of Slip-Joint Knives

Many of us who were more serious about knives may have graduated on to something with a Walker liner lock, frame lock, or Axis lock-type mechanism. That was the goal from the 1980s onward, to have a folding knife that locked up like a fixed blade. Still, many of us look back on fond memories of that first knife type. Custom knife makers often offer a few slip joints in this category as a testament to modern craftsmanship and materials or for customers with a bit of nostalgia.

These knives are still very capable in our modern age and will still perform over 90 percent of common daily tasks. They tend to be on the smaller side and are easily stowed in a pocket, so you always have a knife. Additionally, if you travel outside of the U.S., you’ll find that they’re usually the only knife that won’t land you in prison in most of Europe.

Slip-Joint Knives and Lanyards

Because slip-joint knives are typically carried loose in a pocket, a lanyard of some type makes more sense as a means of being able to locate and retrieve the knife. Unfortunately, this is a small detail that is often overlooked to keep with tradition. In the past, slip joints were cheaper knives sold in hardware stores, gun shops and department stores. Modern slip joints are a little bit more expensive in many cases, but still more affordable on average than typical tactical folding knives.

Spyderco Roadie

The Roadie is an evolved penknife that is more practical than typical slip joints. It relies on a pair of symmetrical dimples in the blade that allow a fingernail-free two-handed opening. Far superior to a traditional nail nick, they also don’t collect dirt or debris. The Roadie also features a subtle index-finger choil that acts as a safeguard against unintentional closure.

Overall length: 5.1 inches

Blade Length: 2.1 inches

Weight: 1 ounce

Blade Material: N690Co


  • The blade slices like a surgical scalpel.
  • Its handle scales are extremely comfortable.
  • Lanyard hole makes it easily accessible.


  • This knife would be better with a pocket clip.
  • The sheepsfoot blade worked well for its original design, but a clip-point or drop-point variant would be welcome.

Price: $84


Mikov Rybicka

Mikov is a classic European knife manufacturer that has been making knives in the Czech Republic since 1794. The Rybicka or “Little Fish Knife” has been in their catalog for over 100 years and is a traditional slip joint design that is often passed down from father to son. Original knives of this type sported carbon steel blades and often had carved wooden handles. Mikov began offering these knives with a 420 steel blade and Zinc alloy handles a few decades ago. This makes them more—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

By: Patrick Diedrich
Title: Review: Slip-Joint Knives
Sourced From:
Published Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2024 22:53:11 +0000

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