Steve Shackleford Blog

Tomorrow’s Knife Trends Today

Adventure Flipper by Williams.

The Adventure Flipper by Lee Williams features a “pivot-less” build. Closed length: 5 inches. (Dave Stark image)

Thorburn's L46.

The L46 flipper in Bohler N690 stainless steel and an earth-brown G-10 handle is hot from Andre Thorburn. (BladeGallery image)

If you’re looking for what the knife trends are in custom blades or what the knife trends are going to be later on in the factory cutlery industry, some of today’s hottest custom folders is a great place to start.

Just about every current knife trend in both the custom and factory industries can be traced to a custom folder. LinerLocks™? BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Michael Walker revamped the design circa 1980 and has continued to improve it and build evermore creative folding mechanisms ever since, but it was his LinerLock design that revolutionized the custom knife industry in the late 1980s and the factory industry followed, with the locking mechanism appearing on scores of folders worldwide ever since. Flipper folders? BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Kit Carson popularized them in the 1990s and flippers seem to be appearing in droves in both the custom and factory industries to this day.

Walker still going strong.

Michael Walker is still going strong after all these years and his folders remain hotter than ever. (Dave Ellis image)

Augustus by Kirby Lambert.

Kirby Lambert named his flipper folder after his son, Augustus. (SharpByCoop image)

Nadeau's Cyclones.

Brian Nadeau’s “Cyclone” appears here in three different versions. (SharpByCoop image)

The Machine by Bharucha.

Tashi Bharucha’s “Machine” features a 3 5/8-inch blade of CPM 154 stainless. (Dave Stark image)

McNees' Copper Baby Bolt Flipper.

Johnathan McNees makes the Copper Baby Bolt Flipper. Closed length: 4 inches. (Andrew Delavan image)If you’re looking for what the knife trends are in custom blades or what the knife trends are going to be later on in the factory cutlery industry, some of today’s hottest custom folders is a great place to start.

These are but two examples. There are many more. There are also some really cool custom folders on today’s market, some of which no doubt will inspire other custom and, later, factory makers to emulate them in some form or fashion. A few of those sharp studies in standout steel would include:

Arnold's Tactical Front Flipper.

The Tactical Front Flipper by John Arnold. Closed length: 5 inches. (BladeGallery image)

•John Arnold’s Tactical Front Flipper. “He creates some of the most elegant daily carry folders, yet with collector-grade quality, that I have come across,” noted Daniel O’Malley of BladeGallery;

•The Copper Baby Bolt Flipper in CPM 154 stainless by Johnathan McNees;

•The Adventure Flipper by Lee Williams with Lee’s “Kick Stop” flipper mechanism;

•Kirby Lambert’s “Augustus” flipper, named after the Lamberts’ newborn son;

•Brian Nadeau’s “Cyclone,” termed by custom knife purveyor Les Robertson as “a great EDC, compact and lightweight”;

•The aforementioned Michael Walker and his large folder in Damasteel damascus;

•Andre Thorburn’s L46 flipper. “Of all the knives that I open and close each day,” O’Malley noted, “Andre Thorburn’s have the most consistent, smooth action of any”;

•Tashi Bharucha’s “Machine” with frames of blasted titanium and a blade-tip-up pocket clip.

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