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Opening methods for folders. Which is your favorite?

Opening methods for folders. Which is your favorite?


Today’s pocket knives are the pinnacle of  performance with their innovative and efficient openings. At Liong Mah Design, I strive for the perfect opening mechanisms. To have opened my folders feels natural.  Two of the most applied mechanisms in my designs are the Flipper tab and the Opening Hole.  Here are a few popular choices that are safereliable, and easy-to-use.  Which one is your favorite?

Hole Opening

The hole opening mechanism is one of the simplest and most effective ways to quickly and safely open a pocket knife. A round or elliptical hole on the blade, usually located near the top of the blade, known as the “opening hole”, is used to open the knife. To open the knife, the user uses their thumb or index finger to hook the hole and rotate the blade outward until it is fully open and locked in place. The opening hole generally requires a taller blade to facilitate the inclusion of the hole

Liong Mah Design IG - user submitted EDC - An array of 3 Field Duties in action

Front Flipper Opening

The front flipper opening mechanism is a tab on the blade in the front of the handle that assists a user in opening the blade. The advantage of the front flipper opening mechanism is the low profile that can be designed on the blade. As opposed to the traditional flipper that is on the bottom of the blade tab, a design does not need extra steel at the bottom to open the knife.

Thumb/Disk Opening

The thumb stud/disk have been utilized in the knife world for a long time. The advantages of these are the low profile on the blades that utilize these opening mechanisms. The disadvantage of the thumb stud / disk is that the placement of these mechanisms may interfere with the cutting edge. They also snag on clothing and materials when being utilized.

These 4-5 different opening mechanisms all offer their own advantages and disadvantages. Every time I design a knife – and I look at incorporating an opening mechanism or two or three I think about the advantages and disadvantages. And I take into account the usability for someone who’s looking at it as an EDC user. This is the most important part of what I do. It isn’t just to come up with something that I think is cool – it is to come up with something that really solves a problem for my customer.  As a customer- you will choose what works best for your daily needs and budget. 

Advantages of Opening Mechanisms

  • Thumb stud is the most common mechanism for folding knives. It is easy to use and requires little strength.
  • Thumb disk is similar to a thumb stud, but it is circular in shape. It can be found on higher-end folding knives because it is more aesthetically pleasing and can be customized with different designs.
  • Front flipper is a relatively new mechanism that is becoming increasingly popular. It is fast and easy to use, and it does not require the user to use their thumb.
  • Flipper is a similar mechanism to a front flipper, but it is located on the back of the blade. It is also fast and easy to use.
  • Hole opener is a simple and effective mechanism, but it can be difficult to use with gloves on.

These 4 different opening mechanisms all offer their own advantages and disadvantages. Every time I design a knife – and I look at incorporating an opening mechanism or two or three I think about the advantages and disadvantages. And I take into account the usability for someone who’s looking at it as an EDC user. This is the most important part of what I do. It isn’t just to come up with something that I think is cool – it is to come up with something that really solves a problem for my customer.  As a customer- you will choose what works best for your daily needs and budget.

Liong Mah designs are renowned for their innovative and efficient opening and locking mechanisms. These mechanisms provide users with speed, ease of use, security, and aesthetics. When combined with Liong Mah’s finely crafted blades and ergonomic handles, these mechanisms elevate the pocket knife experience to new heights

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