Over the past half-century, the knife industry has taken a big step forward in the development and distribution of folding knives for urban carry.
From the classic “grandfather’s knives” with a wooden handle, which was worn on the belt in leather cases, they turned into high-tech products in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The most important factor that influenced their distribution was a significant change in the materials used for production.
Micarta, and G-10
First of all, the handle was modernized, which made it possible to make the knife flat for comfortable carrying in your pocket. Modern materials: titanium alloys, anodized aluminum, plastics, carbon fiber, micarta, and G-10, have reduced the thickness of the fingerboards compared to wood and horn.
Knives noticeably lost in volume and naturally in weight. There was no need for bulky cases, but another one arose – in the rigid fixation of Damascus folding knives in a pocket so that it does not interfere with walking and at the same time can be quickly removed from any clothes.
Knife on pockets made
This led to the need to develop a universal holder that allows you to fix the knife on pockets made of any fabric. At the same time, the latch had to be convenient to use and reliable to prevent the loss of the knife. A lot of work was done by knife designers, but the solution was “on the surface”.
The prototype was a holder for a ballpoint pen, which in its mechanics is a flat spring. On knives, such devices immediately began to be called “clip” (English clips – plural from the clip – clip).
In terms of its functionality, this is a quick-release mount that allows you to fix the knife on the upper edge of the pocket with one movement from top to bottom, and with the reverse movement from bottom to top, remove the knife out. The use of clips on knives began in the 80s of the XX century.
The shape of the clip and the methods of its installation can be completely different. Usually, this is a bent steel plate that is attached to one of the handles dies with two or three screws. In addition to the plate, the clip can also be wire.
The clip mount can be hidden and located on the inside of the die. The clip can be fastened on four sides, from each edge of the two halves of the handle. But this will require the presence of 4-6 holes on each die for its fastening, which reduces the aesthetics of the appearance of the knife in the closed state.
Therefore, most manufacturers put two-position clips on their knives. They are mounted in the “Tip-Up Carry” position for carrying the knifepoint up or “Tip-Down Carry” for carrying the knifepoint down.
When removing the knife from the position with the tip up, you can immediately open the knife, as the finger instantly rests on the tear-off device: peg, flipper, or automatic opening button.
Therefore, most modern manufacturers install the clip in this position. However, from a safety point of view, if the knife can open in the pocket, for example, with a loose detent ball (holding the blade closed), this way of carrying can lead to injury.
Location on the handle
In addition to the location on the handle, the clips are also divided by their fit on the pocket. Thanks to them, the knife can protrude quite significantly from the pocket, or “hide” there almost completely and not be recognized by its contours.
These clips are called “deep fit” clips. They require the manufacturer to have special tools for bending steel wire since a clip of this format will always be made of bent steel or other metal. Shallow fit clips come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
Clip-on clips often have a large and easily distinguishable manufacturer’s logo on their front surface. Thus, the owner of the knife becomes a free “advertising agent” of the knife company. Other manufacturers, on the contrary, try not to have logos on the clip, preferring that the knife is recognized only by dedicated “knife-makers” by its unique design.
Custom, expensive knives often use titanium alloy clips. They do not provide significant advantages when carrying a knife compared to steel ones, but they look beautiful even without coating and often outperform steel ones in terms of weight.
They do not rust and can be anodized to a variety of colors. These clips often feature countersunk mounting screws and high-end, intricate CNC engraving.
The most modern trend of expensive custom knives is the installation of a special ceramic or zirconium ball on the clip on the inside facing the pocket. Due to its shape, it glides over the fabric and makes it as easy as possible to “put” the knife on the pocket and also easily remove it from the pocket.
At the same time, thanks to the ball, the clip is parallel to the handle plate. This gives a beautiful visual effect, making the design of the knife more rigorous, technological, and expensive.
In recent years, technological solutions related to the so-called retractable clip mechanism – H.WAYL System. It ensures that the clip is completely immersed in the handle die, and a button is used to remove the clip.
When using a knife with this technology, the owner presses a button on the handle, the clip extends and the knife is placed in a pocket. When removing the knife from the pocket, the clip automatically hides in the handle.