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Your most difficult knife to learn how to open

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Tseg, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. Tseg


    Aug 25, 2018
    One of the interesting aspects of this knife hobby for me is realizing folding knifes don't just open naturally/easily for a novice. In fact, every knife, or at least knife brand seems to require its own technique/ grip / "muscle memory". Most new knives I've acquired have given me some version of "Sebenza Thumb" for at least the first few days.

    I'm now several weeks into owning a Shirogorov Neon Zero and while I'm much improved, easily flipping the knife open 50 times in a row, I still occasionally pick up the knife and jam my forefinger as if the blade was cemented with super-glue.

    What other knifes need just that right grip and deployment angle or the experience ends in tears?
    Dadpool likes this.
  2. Gravy

    Gravy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2014
    My Boker Plus Urban trapper was pretty difficult at first. Combination of a tiny flipper tab, light detent and very slim handle made it tricky.
  3. Dadpool

    Dadpool Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2015
    I'm not a novice and I still find this to be the case sometimes -- and it remains an aspect of this hobby that I find enjoyable. :) Apart from the rare knife that just never stops annoying me (and gets sold), I can usually make my hands "learn" most knives after some experimentation. Then I work on doing it without thinking, and lefty, and at weird angles, until the knife is fully mine and I can just open it automatically; I love that process.

    My gen4 Hinderer XM needed a pretty specific, intentional flipper technique that I had to figure out. My Microtech Socom Elite needed a specific "angle of attack" that made it easy to open; once learned, that led to me being able to open it other, more casual, ways as well. The thumb studs on the Benchmade 940 are set so close to the scale that it wasn't until I tried flicking it with my thumbnail (like a marble) that I got that one down.

    Closing assisted knives one-handed seemed like a huge paint in the butt until I found a way that worked for me. Weirdly, that also gave me a new approach to closing unassisted knives when I want to close them slowly.

    Everyone is different, everyone's hands and finger mobility and joints and age all play into and interact with how they can manipulate any given folding knife -- so it follows that some knives will be easier or harder to open, or need a "trick" to sort out, for some folks. :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
    Spankster23 and Tseg like this.
  4. PNWhovian


    Jan 16, 2015
    My Chaves Redencion 228. It wasn’t really difficult per se, but it did take some time to get the sweet spot and toughen up my thumb.
  5. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    the neon has a beastly detent. better not put any pressure on the lockbar at ALL or it won't open lol
    CPP likes this.
  6. jeffsenpai

    jeffsenpai Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 24, 2010
    Microtech UTX 70. I have the small California edition, and that spring is TOUGH to actuate with thumb alone with no leverage.
  7. DB_Cruiser


    Jul 17, 2018
    My most difficult to learn knife was my Manly Wasp. The 4 position action was surprising the first time I opened it. I knew about it, I just didn't expect it to be so pronounced. Now that it has broken in and I've become used to it, I wish more knives had this feature. I find it to be a great action on a slip joint and it has become one of my favorite knives because of it.
  8. jlauffer

    jlauffer Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    The Demko/CS AD15 (Scorpion Lock) takes a bit of getting used to...if you hold it too tight it is very difficult to break the detent, since you're pressing down on the lock bar.
    WValtakis likes this.
  9. cbrstar

    cbrstar Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 7, 2015
    Using the wave feature on my Spyderco Endura is a bit of a learning curve. I still get the occasional misfire.
  10. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    Try front flippers. That’s the big leagues when it comes to thumb pain
  11. Tseg


    Aug 25, 2018
    Now you tell me. I found (finally) if I place my first knuckle of my middle finger on top near the end of the pocket clip my hand gets fairly well-positioned. I then need to ensure that my right hand middle knuckle applies more pressure to the knife clip than my right-hand ring finger. When all the placement and pressures are in the right place I don't really feel my detent at all and the blade easily flies out. But over-curl that middle finger at too sharp an angle, or press down with the wrong spot of the floating ring finger, etc... and it all falls apart (or rather, nothing falls apart, it stays painfully locked up). Precision is the name of the game with this knife, but once mastered, is amazing. My pointer finger was hurting so bad the first few days I had to resort to the Bic Lighter thumb-opening method.
    razor-edge-knives likes this.
  12. Korean Hog

    Korean Hog Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 12, 2017
    I don't recall having any trouble with any of the modern opening mechanisms. I know people fuss about the Sebenza and Microtechs opening/ closing mechanisms being stiff or hard to get purchase on, but I experienced no such trouble. However, I'm a knife geek that works with my hands for a living, I'm used to tedious little pain in the rear electrical connections, so knife mechanisms produced with at least a little thought to human hands using it :rolleyes::D haven't been any trouble.

    With that said, basically everyone (normal non-knife people) that's borrowed my CRKs or Spydercos, Man, Woman, or teenager, needed help with the opening and closing of my knives.

    The only knives I've had trouble opening, and still basically despise, are the classic nail-nick slip joints. Probably because I'm like 24 and grew up with modern locking mechanisms, but I just really don't like old school nail nick slip joint blades.:p
  13. Jarhead Greasemonkey

    Jarhead Greasemonkey Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 4, 2015
    Don't have it anymore...

    But it took me a week before I could open up the SOG Trident with the thumb stud.
  14. BenchCo Spydermade

    BenchCo Spydermade

    Feb 10, 2014
    Copper mini natrix has the stabbiest flipper ever and no thumb studs.. Just painful and I almost never have tender fingers playing with knives. It hasnt been carried for that reason alone.

    Also, my hogue x5 has an insane detent, but it fires like nothing else. Used tonhave my finger slip before overcoming the detent.
  15. The Burgh

    The Burgh Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 22, 2015
    Probably all front flippers.

    Current pain-in-the-thumb is Kizer Feist. Great knife, awkward owner!
    Sharp & Fiery likes this.
  16. Mistman68

    Mistman68 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2019
    Getting the TRM Atlas open one handed, you really have to dig your thumb into the hole. I can do it now but not super easy.

    Laconico EZC is the hardest to get flipped consistently, you have to have your hand in the right spot or the blade just sputters out, the slippery scales don't help either.
  17. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    GEC #73.


    Very stout spring without pinch-open option.
    I had to build up some muscles.
    DB_Cruiser, AntDog and McFeeli like this.
  18. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    A ZT 0566 shredded my fingers when I was learning how to flip that consistently. The sharp jimping on the handle on the handle caused the most damage. Even that assisted model would give you trouble if you were pushing on the lock bar.
  19. HappyDaddy

    HappyDaddy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 21, 2013
    ZT 0450. The cause is obvious and well known (any pressure on the lockbar). For whatever reason this knife is way more sensitive than others that have the same issue. I'm still mystified as to why some frame locks are hypersensitive to lockbar pressure and on some it makes no difference at all.
    palonej likes this.
  20. GronK

    GronK Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 1, 2001
    ProTech Ciabatta. . . . . NO CONTEST! Fiddly gravity operated spring assist.
    WValtakis likes this.

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