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Knife Information


Click on a selection below for information on automatic knives and much more!

1. Florida Statutes concerning Automatic Knives & Switchblade Knives
2. Glossary of Automatic Knife Terms

3. What is an Automatic Knife?
4. What is a Balisong Knife (a.k.a. Butterfly Knife)?


Florida Statutes concerning Automatic Knives
& Switchblade Knives as of January 1st 2010

Florida Statute 790.17- Furnishing weapons to minors under 18 years of age or persons of unsound mind is prohibited by law. A person who sells, barters, or gives any minor under 18 years of age any dirk, or other weapon, other than an ordinary pocketknife, without permission of the minor's parent or guardian, or sells, or gives to any person of unsound mind any dangerous weapon, other than an ordinary pocketknife, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in statutes 775.082 and 775.083.

Florida Statute 790.225- Ballistic self-propelled knives are unlawful to manufacture, sell, or possess punishable by forfeiture and penalty.
It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, display, sell, own, possess, or use a ballistic self-propelled knife which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile and which physically separates the blade from the device by means of a coil spring, elastic material, or compressed gas. A ballistic self-propelled knife is declared to be a dangerous or deadly weapon and a contraband item. It shall be subject to seizure and shall be disposed of as provided in 790.08. Any person violating these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.
This section shall not apply to any device from which a knifelike blade opens, where such blade remains physically integrated with the device when open (ie Switchblade, stiletto, etc).


Glossary of Automatic Knife Terms


Abalone
Medium-sized to very large edible sea snails.
The thick inner layer of the Abalone's shell is made of colorful, iridescent nacre (a.k.a. "Mother-of-Pearl").

ABS
A black amorphous thermoplastic terpolymer with high impact strength.

African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon)
Origin: Mozambique, East Africa
An exceptionally hard and dense, straight-grained rosewood.
It is black, but not as solid black grain as ebony, and it is actually more stable than ebony.
Polishes smoothly and is oily and resinous.
Makes a strong, long lasting knife handle.
Also used in musical wind instruments, bearings, pulley blocks, and carvings.

Alloy
A metal that has been blended with some other metallic or non-metallic substance in order to give it special qualities, such as resistance to corrosion or greater hardness.
A metal's atoms are held together by the "metallic bond". In a pure metal the atoms are all the same size and can slip over each other if a force is applied. In an alloy, the presence of different sized atoms prevents such dislocations from weakening the metal.
Brass, Nickel Silver, Pewter, Solder, Steel, Tool Steel, and Stainless Steel are some common, useful alloys.

Alloying Element
Any of the metallic elements that are added during the melting of steel or aluminum in order to increase corrosion resistance, hardness, or strength.
Molybdenum (Mo), Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), Chromium (Cr), and Vanadium (V) are some common alloying elements.

Alloy Steel
Steel alloyed with other elements in amounts between 1% and 50% by weight in order to improve it's mechanical properties.
These steels have greater strength, hardness, wear resistance, hardenability, or toughness compared to carbon steel, but in order to achieve this, heat treatment may be required.

Aluminum (Al)
A nonferrous metal, commonly used to make knife handles, that provides a solid feel, without extra weight.
The most common finishing process is anodization.
The most common alloy is 6061-T6 Aircraft Aluminum.

Aluminum Alloy
An alloy of Aluminium (Al), usually with Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn), Silicon (Si), or Magnesium (Mg).
Much lighter and more corrosion resistant than Carbon Steel, but not as corrosion resistant as pure Aluminium.

Annealing
A heat treatment technique for metals and alloys that:
- Induces ductility
- Softens the material
- Relieves internal stresses
- Improves cold working properties

Anodization
An electrochemical process that is used to add color to Aluminum (Al) and Titanium (Ti).
Depending on the voltage used, colors can vary.
High voltage creates dark colors.
Low voltage creates light colors.

Anodized Aluminum
Subjecting Aluminum (Al) to electrolytic action in order to coat it with a protective and decorative film.

Arririba Wood
See "Canarywood"

AUS-8
A Japanese medium carbon, high chromium stainless steel that is an excellent compromise of toughness, strength, edge retention, and resistance to corrosion.
0.7 - 0.8% Carbon (C), 1.0% Manganese (Mn), 13.0 - 14.5% Chromium (Cr), 0.5% Nickel (Ni), 0.1 - 0.25% Vanadium (V), 0.1 - 0.3% Molybedenum (Mo).

Automatic Knives
Also known as "Switchblade Knives" or just "Switchblades".
The type of knife characterized by a blade that is deployed by pushing a button or sliding a switch, instead of it having to be pulled out manually.
Can be either "side opening" or "front opening".

Back (of the blade)
The opposite side of the belly.
The unsharpened side of a single-edged blade.

Bacote Wood (Cordia alliodora)
Origin: Mexico, Central and South America
Also called "Rosewood" and "Palissandro Wood"
A very dense, straight-grained hardwood.
When first cut, it exhibits striking patterns of color including rich reddish browns, tans, oranges, yellows, dark reds, and dark browns and after a year or two of use, it darkens considerably, and is very stable.
Is very oily and very resinous.
Has a reputation for dependability, and is probably the most popular wood used for knife handles and gun grips.
Also used in turnery, handles, bowling balls, sculpture, carving, scientific instruments, boat wheels, forks and spoons, limited veneers, and wooden jewelry.

Bahama Cherrywood (#9)
A red colored DymondWood.

Balisong / Butterfly Knife
A knife that has two separate handle sections that rotate around the blade's pivots in order to create a handle, that then rotate back in order to cover and protect the blade while it's closed.
Believed to have originated in the UK and brought to the Philippines by English sailors. It was adopted and popularized in the Philippines, and is often used in Filipino martial arts.

Batangas Latch
On a Balisong / Butterfly knife, a Latch that is attached to the "Bite Handle".

Bayonet Blade
A blade shape that has an equal amount of curve on the back side and the cutting edge. The two curves meet at the point.
Similiar in shape to a "Spear Point" blade, the difference is that the back side of a Bayonet blade has a swedge that goes from the tip down to 1/2 - 1/3 of the length of the blade.
Most notably found on Italian Stilettos and Swinguards, Benchmade's "Weehawk" blade style is basically the same thing.
Designed for piercing and general-purpose cutting.

Bead Blasting
A process by which steel, aluminum, and titanium are finished, providing a 100% subdued, non-glare finish.
A type of "Satin" finish.

Belly (of the blade)
The curved / fattest part of the blade's edge.
It enhances slicing and may have either a plain, serrated, or partially serrated edge.
The larger it is, the blunter the point of the blade becomes.

Benchmade Knife Company, USA
An Oregon-based knife manufacturing company that originated in California in 1988.
Their product line originally consisted of mainly their "Bali-Song" knives.
Their philosophy is "Make it cool, make it solid, make it happen, and definitely make it Benchmade."

Benchmade BK1 Blade Coating
A matte black coating that provides excellent corrosion protection, which exceeds the ASTM-117 spec for saltwater while possessing higher scratch resistance.

Benchmade Black Class Knives
THE CHOICE FOR MILITARY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, & RESCUE
Only the best knives for the job. Time honored designs and field proven performance. To serve and protect the professional in their world - no matter the circumstance.

Benchmade Blue Class Knives
A KNIFE FOR THE REAL KNIFE PERSON
Knives for the individual who appreciates more in a knife. The heart of everything Benchmade through exclusive innovation and quality of materials.

Benchmade BP1 Blade Coating
Black Pearl (BP) is a Physical Vapor Veposition (PVD) coating made up of Titanium Carbo-Nitride (TiCN). It is a darker, near black, scratch resistant coating with nice decorative qualities.

Benchmade BT2 Blade Coating
Benchmade's proprietary blade coating that is Xylan based to provide excellent corrosion resistance which exceeds the ASTM-117 spec for saltwater and increases overall surface lubricity.

Benchmade Gold Class Knives
FOR THE REAL BLADE CONNOISSEUR
It's a matter of satisfying the ultimate desire. These knives of true custom collectible quality are not for everyone. Only for those individuals who aspire for life's great treasures and know how to get it.

Benchmade Product Classes
Benchmade has separated it's brand into four different product classes: Red, Black, Blue, and Gold.
Benchmade created these classes for easier distinction of their knives throughout their entire line.
No matter the classification within the Benchmade knives line, realize you're getting an uncompromising, value added cutting tool, specially designed and built for premium performance.

Benchmade Red Class Knives
A KNIFE FOR EVERY POCKET
These knives offer the same reputable Benchmade signature innovation, and performance driven mindset - geared for the casual knife buyer.

Bevel
The sloping area that falls from the spine towards the edge and false edge or swedge of the blade.

Bite Handle
Of the two pivoting handles on a Balisong / Butterfly Knife, the "Bite Handle" is the one that rotates around to close on the sharpened edge, or "Belly" of the blade.
The other is called the "Safe Handle".

Blood Groove
An inaccurate term, or misnomer used for the "Fuller", which is the "groove" or slot on the flat side of a blade.
The "Fuller" is not designed to allow blood to flow from a stab wound.

Bloodwood (Brosimum paraense)
Origin: South America
Also called "Satine Wood"
A heavy and moderately hard, straight-grained hardwood.
It is bright blood red.
It lasts very well with moderate sealing and takes a good polish.
Makes a very durable and long lasting knife handle.
Also used in turnery, fine cabinets, ornamental woodwork.

Bolster
A piece of metal, generally Nickel Silver or Stainless Steel, that is located at one or both ends of a folding knife handle.

Brass
An alloy of Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn), the proportions of which can be varied in order to create a range of brasses with varying properties.
"High Brass", which contains 65% Copper and 35% Zinc, has a high tensile strength and is used for springs, screws, and rivets.

Brushed Finish
A distinctive finish, where the metal has been "brushed", usually with sand paper of a fine grade, creating a pattern of extremely fine, parallel lines, while still allowing the metal to keep a small amount of it's original reflective brilliance.
A type of "Satin" finish.

Button Lock
A locking mechanism.

Canarywood (Centrolobium microchaete)
Origin: Brazil
Also called "Arririba Wood"
From a small tree, with tight and mostly straight grain, and some wavy grain.
It is yellow to tan with red and black streaks, and it holds its bright color.
Very stable and polishes well.
Makes a stunning, interesting knife handle.
Also used in naval architecture and cabinet veneers.

Carbon (C)
An alloying element used to increase the hardness and strength of stainless steel.

Carbon Fiber
A lightweight material made of small, hair-sized graphite fibers, that have been woven together and fused in an epoxy resin. This creates a three-dimensional appearance and is an excellent, yet expensive, handle material.

Carbonitriding
A "Case Hardening" process in which a softer, low carbon steel is maintained in a hot gaseous atmosphere where it simultaneously absorbs Carbon (C) and Nitrogen (Ni). This produces a thin (.07mm -.5mm), protective surface (or case) that is harder and more wear resistant.
Carbonitrided parts have a surface Rockwell Hardness (HRC) of 55-62.

Carbon Steel
A steel with Carbon (C) as it's main alloying element.
Is sometimes used to reference any steel that is not stainless steel.

Case Hardening
Also known as "Surface Hardening"
Infusing elements into a Steel's surface in order to form a thin layer of a harder alloy.
Is usually done after the metal part has been formed into its final shape.
Processes include Nitriding (a.k.a. "Nitridization") and Carbonitriding.

Charcoal Silverstone (#5)
A grey colored DymondWood.

Chemical Vapor Veposition (CVD)
A process used to produce high-purity, high-performance solid materials, as well as thin films.
This is a purely chemical process, as opposed to the deposition of materials from vapor without chemical reactions, as in Physical Vapor Veposition (PVD).

Choil
The unsharpened part where the blade becomes part of the handle.
It is left at full thickness, like the blade's spine.
Sometimes it will be shaped to accept the index finger.

Chromium (Cr)
A hard, steel-gray metallic alloying element that increases the hardness and melting temperature of steel.
When large amounts are used in stainless steel, in addition to large amounts of Nickel (Ni), a hard oxide forms on the metal surface that inhibits corrosion.

Clip Point Blade
A blade that has a concave or straight cut-out at the tip (which is known as the "clip"). This brings the blade's point lower for extra control and enhances the sharpness of the tip.
They usually have a Swedge and a larger Belly to allow for easier slicing.

Cocobolo Wood (Dalbergia retusa)
Origin: Pacific seaboard of Central America from Mexico to Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua
Also called "Palissandro Wood"
A very dense, straight-grained hardwood.
When first cut, it exhibits striking patterns of color including rich reddish browns, tans, oranges, yellows, dark reds, and dark browns and after a year or two of use, it darkens considerably, and is very stable.
Is very oily and very resinous.
Has a reputation for dependability, and is probably the most popular wood used for knife handles and gun grips.
Also used in turnery, handles, bowling balls, sculpture, carving, scientific instruments, boat wheels, forks and spoons, limited veneers, and wooden jewelry.

Combination Edge (Partially Serrated)
A blade that has a partially serrated, partially plain edge.

Cordura
Cordura is a long lasting, certified fabric from INVISTA that is used in many products.
It is resistant to abrasions, tears and scuffs.

Corrosion
The deterioration of a metal, caused by the metal's encironment and it's reaction to that environment.

D-2
A high carbon, high chromium heat treatable, air-hardened Tool Steel intended for applications requiring high wear resistance.
Used in high-end production knives.
1.4 - 1.6% Carbon (C), 0.6% Manganese (Mn), 11.0 - 13.0% Chromium (Cr), 0.3% Nickel (Ni), 1.1% Vanadium (V), 0.7 - 1.2% Molybedenum (Mo)

Damascus Steel
Originated as a hot-forged steel used in Middle Eastern swordmaking from about 1100 - 1700 AD.
Modern Damascus Steel is a lamination of two types of steel that are folded repeatedly during the forging process.
The surface layers or lines are exposed and accentuated by grinding and polishing, which creates a very unique visual effect.
True Damascus patterns are formed when the steel is forged and trace elements of Carbon (C) change properties, forming visible swirls in the steel mix, creating the patterns.
It offers remarkable toughness and edge quality.
Used in special applications due to its high cost and artistic nature.

Double Action
A Front Opening Automatic Knife that opens and closes automatically, usually by means of a sliding button or switch.
The movement of the button provides the spring tension, therefore, accidental opening is virtually impossible.
The term "Double Action" is sometimes used interchangeably with the term "Dual Action".

Double-Edged Blade
A blade with two sharpened edges.
Usually a Spear Point Blade.

Double Flat Grind
A blade that is ground flat on both sides of the blade, tapering to an edge that is straight, not rounded.

Drop Point Blade
A blade with a lowered tip due to a convex arc, which provides extra control and leaves the blade's strength intact.
This blade style also has a larger belly, which is better for slicing.

Dual Action
A Side Opening Automatic Knife with more than one way to deploy the blade.
This type of knife can be opened either manually, usually by use of a "Thumb Stud", or automatically by use of a firing button or a "hidden release".
The term "Dual Action" is sometimes used interchangeably with the term "Double Action".

DymondWood
A highly engineered wood/plastic composite, made and sold by Rutland Plywood Corporation, that has the physical and mechanical properties of high density hardwood, acrylic and polycarbonate plastics, and brass.
Select hardwood (Birch) veneers in 1/16" thicknesses are vacuum impregnated with advanced penetrating dyes in order to create rich natural or vivid colors, and with advanced engineering-grade phenolic resins to provide strength and durability. These veneer sheets are layered and subjected to tremendous heat and pressure in a densification process that compresses 2" of raw material into a finished 1" thick panel. The result is a beautiful, highly engineered material with properties that allow precise and efficient crafting with most woodworking, plastics, and metal fabricating tools and equipment.
Noted for it's unique strength, durability, dimensional stability, and weather/moisture resistance as compared to regular wood. Exceptional hardness makes it resistant to unusual wear and abrasion.
A stabilized laminate that is extremely durable, polishes up brightly, and is long lasting. The natural bright wood grain requires no further finishing other than sanding and polishing.
Comes in 52 standard colors.
Also used in Archery Stock, Pistol Grips, Crafts, Knitting Needles, Ornaments, Pens, Brushes, Awards, Frames, Billiards Tables and Pool Cues, and Musical Instruments.

Edge
The sharpened part of the blade.
Blades will either be single-edged or double-edged.

Ergonomics
Knife designs that work with the structure of the human hand, making for a more useful and comfortable grip.

False Edge
An additional bevel on the back of the blade that enhances the blade's point.
This also removes weight from the blade, which may change the blade's balance, and makes penetration easier.
See also"Swedge"

Filework
A decorative art form that not only personalizes a knife, but also works to keep the hand or fingers from slipping on a slick spine.
Evolved from Jimping
A pattern is created through a succession of cuts using different hand files, needle files and micro files, then worked over to ensure accuracy and uniformity.

Flat Grind
A blade that is ground flat from the cutting edge all the way to the blade's spine, tapering to an edge that is straight, not rounded.

Flat Saber Grind
A blade that is ground flat from the cutting edge to a grind line running down the center of the blade.
It is flat ground just to the grind line, unlike a Full Flat Grind, which tapers from the edge all the way to the blade's spine

Frame Lock
Also known as a "Mono Lock".
A locking mechanism that is similar to a "Liner Lock", except that the frame itself is used as the lock-bar.
There is no scale on the lock side, making the lock bar actually part of the handle instead of just being part of the liner.
It is usually much more secure than a Liner Lock because the lock-bar can be thicker and is naturally prevented from slipping by the grip of the user's hand being wrapped around the lock-bar.
Found on most higher-end knives today.
Designed by Chris Reeve.

Front Opening Knives
Also known as "Frontal Opening" or "Out the Front" Knives)
A knife with a blade that deploys straight out the front of the handle, rather than swinging around a pivot and deploying from the side (like a Side Opening Knife.
Out the Front Knives can be either "Single Action" or "Double Action".

Fuller
A "groove" or slot on the flat side of a blade, who's purpose is to lighten and provide added strength to the blade.
Sometimes, the "Fuller" is called a "Blood Groove", which is inaccurate, as it is not designed to allow blood to flow from a stab wound.

Gut Hook
A "hook" located on the blade's spine.
Can be either sharpened or unsharpened.
Designed to allow a hunter to field dress his catch without puncturing it's intestine.

G10
Abbreviation for "NEMA Grade G10".
A durable "thermosetting" laminate material consisting of woven fiberglass sheets bonded with epoxy resin and baked under high pressure that is sometimes used as material for scales.
A dense, yet lightweight, moisture-resistant material that maintains excellent mechanical, electrical, and physical properties even at temperatures up to 266 degrees.
While G10 is an older, non-flame retardant grade of glass epoxy laminate, "NEMA Grade FR4" is a newer, flame-retardant version.


Handguard
Also known as just a "Guard".
A protrusion or expansion between the blade and the top of the handle that protects hands from the blade's sharp edge when cutting.

Hawkbill Blade
A blade that is in the shape of a violently curved hook, much like the talon of a bird of prey.

Heat Treatment
A method used to alter the physical properties of a metal.
Involves heating or chilling the metal in order to achieve a desired result, such as hardening or softening the metal.
Different techniques include:
- Annealing
- Case Hardening
- Precipitation Hardening
- Tempering
- Quenching

Heritage Walnut (#2)
A medium brown colored DymondWood.

Hilt
The entire handle, including the pommel and the guard.

Hollow Ground
A blade edge that is ground with a radius leaving a concave shape above the cutting surface.

Hook Blade
A blade edge that curves in a concave manner.

Inlays
Also known as "Inserts".
Objects of metal or other material inlaid into the handles of a knife.

Iron (Fe)
The most widely used of all the metals, most commonly in Steel.

Jigged Bone
Bone taken from deceased animals, usually the chin bone of a cow.
Textured by cutting grooves into it.
Can be dyed in a wide variety of colors.

Jimping
Machined cuts or cross-hatched patterns made on the back of the spine of the handle and/or blade for improved finger traction.
The simple, utilitarian precursor to the decorative art form called "Filework".
Is usually machine cut, whereas Filework must be hand-cut.

Kick
The unsharpened part of the underside of the knife blade, on the front edge of the tang.
The blade rests here while in the closed position, which keeps the sharpened part of the edge from hitting the spring.

Kraton
A rubbery thermoplastic polymer that is used as a flexible inlay for knife handles that make for an better grip.

Lanyard
A cord or strap that is sometimes used to attach a knife to clothing or a belt.
Originally used by sailors to keep their knives from falling overboard.

Lanyard Hole
A hole placed in the end of a knife handle, on the opposite side from the blade, in order to attach a lanyard.

Latch
On a Balisong / Butterfly knife, the mechanism that locks the handles together, keeping the knife either closed or open.
See also: "Spring Latch", "Batangas Latch", and "Manila Latch".

Liner
The thin sheets of metal that lie between the blade and the handle material of folding knives.

Liner Lock
A locking mechanism that consists of a bent, "leaf spring"-like liner that butts up against the rear of the tang when the blade opens, preventing it from swinging back and closing.
In order to disengage the lock, the liner must be pressed to the side of the knife that it is attached to.
Allows easy, one-handed use.
Found on most knives today.
Designed by Michael Walker.

Lock Back
A locking mechanism similiar to a "Slip Joint", except that the lock consists of a latch rather than a back spring.
In order to disengage the lock, the latch on the spine of the handle is pressed down, which releases the tang.
Found on most traditional locking knives.

Locking Mechanism
Prohibits the blade of a folding knife from accidentally closing on a user's hand after it has been deployed and in the open position.

Magnesium (Mg)
An alloying element used to:
- Remove Sulfur (S) from Iron (Fe) and Steel
- Refine Titanium (Ti)
- Improve certain mechanical characteristics of Aluminium (Al).

Manganese (Mn)
An alloying element used to increase the tensile strength and hardenability of steel.

Manila Latch
On a Balisong / Butterfly knife, a Latch that is attached to the "Safe Handle".

Matte Finish
A brushed or satin finish.
Not a mirror finish.

Micarta
The most common form is linen micarta, where layers of linen cloth are soaked in a phoenolic resin, producing a material that is lightweight, yet strong.
It has no surface texture, making it is extremely smooth to the touch.
It is fairly soft and can be scratched if not treated properly.

Mirror Finish
A highly reflective finish obtained by polishing with successively finer abrasives and then buffing extensively until free of grit lines.

Molybdenum (Mo)
An alloying element used to increase the high temperature strength and hardness in Tool Steel.

Mono Lock
See "Frame Lock"

Mother-of-Pearl
See "Nacre"



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