• Matt - Selfe Made Knives

What is a Friction Folder?

Updated: Oct 10

A friction folder is a non locking knife that is held open or closed by friction alone. This is the reason that UK friction folders are so popular due to our restrictive knife laws. In the UK you can only carry without reason a knife that has a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less. This blade must also be non locking making the friction folder an ideal candidate.



The other knife you may like to consider would be a slip joint. These knives use a compression back spring to hold the blade in the open and closed position but never locks, so again as long as the blade is 3" or less in length this makes it EDC (Every Day Carry) friendly.


A friction folder has an exposed tang when closed. It is this tang that provides friction against the handle when the blade is in the open position. Many friction folders have longer tangs to aid security when the blade is in the open position. Some even have a bottle opener built into the tang, but personally I don't think you should be opening a beer with a knife, I think you should be opening it with a bottle opener.

This is my standard model friction folder with the blade partially open showing the tang of the knife.

This large friction folder is my Goliath model. A really chunky design, but still with an EDC legal blade


And in this shot shows the tang secured in the handle when the blade is in the open position.


The friction folder mechanism consists of a pivot on which the blade rotates upon. Next to this is a stop pin. The blade is then carefully shaped to stop the blade in exactly the correct position in both the open and closed position


This isn't a heavy duty, or heavy use knife. They excel at light cutting duties. They are the perfect pocket knife making light work of opening boxes, cutting string and packaging materials or to prep your lunch on a picnic. They wont excel at battoning wood or any jobs where you want a secure blade with the knife only being held open or closed due to friction.

What is quite amazing though is that the first ever folding knife was a Roman Friction Folder made around 500 BC!


I love making these knives. Not only are they fun to make they allow everyday people to legally carry a knife for the day to day tasks needed without worry. With the vast range of handle material at my disposal I have made some truly beautiful and unique knives.


I often have a friction folder for sale on my Available Knives page.


If you would like a custom friction folder head over to my contact page where we can discuss your requirements.