BLADE Magazine

Pocket To Me: Four Factory Slip Joints That Shine

The Latest In Factory Slip Joint Pocketknives Make Great EDC Tools. This Quartet Of Blades Does A Little Bit Of Everything And Would Make Any Knife Lover Happy.

The slip joint is perhaps the most recognized form of folding knife. Chances are you started your knife collecting journey by buying some sort of slip joint, such as a Swiss Army knife or other multi-blade.

Slip joints have been on the comeback trail for some time now, with an increasing number of factory knife companies offering new examples of the tried-and-true design. This is good for the entire slip-joint genre, as novice collectors discover, and veteran ones rediscover, their love for the classic traditional folders.

CRKT Venandi

CRKT and custom knifemaker Richard Rogers have a few factory collaborations under their belts. Richard’s distinct style lends to knives with both a signature-refined appearance and a high level of usability. He mainly makes higher-end custom knives, and his work is sought by discerning collectors.

CRKT’s newest Rogers collaboration is the Venandi, a single-blade trapper featuring a 3-inch 

blade in a modified clip-point pattern and 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. The handle is a brown-and-black G-10, and the contour brings out the woodgrain-style layers for an exciting visual pop. The triangular-shaped bolts and pivot bolt provide a distinctive touch of class, and the bomb shield is a nice touch.

Despite being a larger slip joint, at 1.8 ounces the knife is lightweight and rides comfortably inside a pocket or next to your wallet. The blade’s pull is a bit stiff and that’s on purpose. There is a half-stop, in which the blade pauses midway through opening and closing cycles. A large nail nick assists in opening. A hollow grind and a bit of a swedge dress up the blade’s appearance.

The Venandi is stylish and functional. It’s a knife you can carry when dressed up for church or the office, tackling home improvement projects, or doing yardwork. Out of the box, the blade is centered and the action is crisp. 

My only complaint is the lack of a hole to attach a lanyard for grabbing at the top of the pocket for easier knife access. With an MSRP of $49.99 and made in China, the Venandi is a highly functional custom-designed folder that won’t break the budget—and it’s really good looking to boot.

Spyderco Lil Native Slipit

With optimized ergonomics for enhanced cutting performance, the Spyderco Lil Native Slipit is a compact folder that feels larger in the hand than you might think. Of course, this is no surprise as Spyderco is the master of ergonomics for smaller knives, the result being an extremely comfortable user experience. 

The Slipit line of slip joints offers traditional Spyderco performance for jurisdictions—most of which are overseas—that ban lockblade folders. The company’s Native locking folders have been great sellers, and it makes sense to offer the design in a Slipit version, too.

The Lil Native Slipit’s 2.4-inch blade is CPM S30V stainless steel, well known for its edge-holding power, and features Spyderco’s signature leaf shape. A full flat grind thins the cutting edge out nicely, enabling the knife to sail through a variety of materials quickly and efficiently. 

The handle is peel-ply G-10 in a texture that provides enough traction without being overly aggressive. In an open length just shy of six inches, the folder is big enough to complete most daily cutting chores.

The action is extremely smooth thanks to bronze washers and a full polished tang, allowing the blade’s spring to glide effortlessly over the surface while opening and closing. Since the Lil Native isn’t a traditional slip joint, Spyderco uses a notched joint in the tang to allow the backsprings to firmly seat to hold the blade open. 

To close, applying pressure to the blade spine generates enough force to overcome the notched joint and thus allows the blade to rotate closed. The action is akin to a lockback folder—firm yet smooth. The blade hole allows you to open and close the folder easily with one hand as you would with any of the company’s lockblade models—a rarity for a slip joint. A steel pocket clip mounts in one of four configurations for carrying the Lil Native Slipit most any way you desire. 

Made in the USA, the MSRP is $198.

Boker Barlow Prime EDC

The barlow is a classic pocketknife pattern many workingmen know. It’s a simple design that holds up well to a variety of slicing chores. Through the years many companies have offered their own versions of the pattern, and the Boker Barlow Prime EDC is one of the latest iterations.

Featuring an old-school design executed with modern materials, the knife has a 2.4-inch spear-point blade ground from N690 stainless steel and a satin finish. Action is smooth opening and closing. There’s also a nice half-stop.

The handle is black canvas Micarta® with a smooth polished finish that is a touchy-feely delight. Even the pins are flush with the grip surface. The handle is linerless, which helps save weight and reduce thickness. The contoured handle allows the Barlow Prime EDC to both feel terrific and ride comfortably in a pocket. Speaking of which, the knife almost disappears in the bottom of one.

Weighing in at 1.23 ounces, the Boker makes a great EDC knife. It is perfect for those who do not like bulk when carrying a pocketknife. It takes on small, mundane daily cutting tasks with ease—opening mail and boxes, packs of crackers, pesky clamshell packages, etc. It’s small enough to not attract unwanted attention. For those who like single-blade slip joints for daily carry, add this one to your list. 

Made in Germany, the Boker Barlow Prime EDC has an MSRP of $185.95.

LionSteel JKCF Jack

And now, for something a bit different—the LionSteel JK3CF Jack.  LionSteel’s slip joints are a departure from the norm since they have nothing but high-end materials in their construction. The JK3CF is a perfect example. Taking the traditional jackknife and putting its spin on it, LionSteel offers the knife in three configurations.

The JK3CF has all the boxes checked. It has a main blade, a screwdriver/bottle opener combo tool, and a corkscrew. The handle is carbon fiber with titanium bolsters and liners. The 3-inch main blade is a traditional clip point with a swedge. Premium M390 stainless steel provides the ultimate in edge holding. Normally M390 is reserved for tactical knives, and this might be a rare occasion that it’s used on a slip joint. 

The ambidextrous long blade pulls allow quick and easy deployment. The screwdriver/bottle opener also has matching long pulls. Everything fits up on the JK3CF, including excellent craftsmanship and smooth action of the blades. The spring tension is firm and does a great job holding the blades open.

A couple of things on this one I particularly like are not commonly found on slip joints. First is the use of Torx fasteners throughout. The scales are secured by the fasteners, as well as the pivot. 

Second is the crowning (rounding) of the exposed edges of the liners, backsprings, and blade spines. The extra touch provides a lot of visual pop. Not every manufacturer takes the time and effort to crown the edges, so when you see a knife that has it done, it stands out even more—and I really dig it. You can tell LionSteel took extra measures for the knife’s aesthetics.

The flat grind allows the blade to sever various materials easily, and the M390 won’t give up when other steels do. It is in it for the long haul. The handle width is perfect for use as a thumb rest to apply pressure to the blade. There’s something about using a high-end production knife made with premium materials. 

The JK3CF is meant to be used, so go ahead and use it with confidence. M390 is one of my favorite go-to steels when I need the ultimate in edge holding. The blade shape is conducive to work. The flat grind cuts a variety of tough materials easily and the defined tip is a good scoring tool. 

Made in Italy, the JK3CF has an MSRP of $225, which arguably is fairly steep for a production slip joint. But remember, it uses titanium and a premium blade steel.

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