More often than not you will read about pocket knives that lean more toward the “tactical” or “outdoorsy” niches. However, we would like to dedicate some time to the classic, and classy, gentleman’s folder. A pocket knife right at home in the pocket of a suit or tux. A blade that is not going to freak people out if you open it up in a Starbucks. So get ready to take a break from the fixed blade hunting knives and enjoy something a bit more refined.
Go First Class with a Gentleman's Folder
Why should I even consider a gentleman’s folder?
Assisted openers and pocket clips are great for some EDC or knocking around town on the weekend. However, there are times when something a bit more formal is in order. For instance in the office or social gathering. A gentleman’s folder is sharp-looking, mature, and exudes confidence. While you’ll look quite confident deploying the blade of an assisted opening Benchmade, doing so in the wrong setting can be unsettling to bystanders. Think James Bond; not Dwight Schrute.
How can I spot a gentleman’s folder?
Look for clean lines and a smaller profile. Smooth, polished surfaces and rich wood accents are fairly common. There are some variations here and there, but for the most part a gentleman’s folder embodies the following traits.
Elegance: Formal attire and formal gear pair nicely. Like we said, tactical knives can be intimidating. Look for something smaller with a less aggressive style.
Streamlined and Lightweight: A bulky knife looks terrible in slacks or in the pocket of a nice jacket. The last thing you’d want is the huge and heavy knife flopping around whenever you take a step.
Check out our suggestions for getting your first gentleman’s folder:
Shun Higo-No Kami
The Higo-No Kami is based upon the design of the first Japanese pocket knife. Shun’s take on a 150 year old design oozes elegance. The Pakka handle is is polished to a beautiful matte finish while low profile 3.5″ VG-10 blade presents a razor sharp edge. Handcrafted in Japan, just like the original Higo-No Kami that inspired Shun’s classy gentlemen’s folder.
Boker Plus Urban Trapper
Trapper and gentleman might not be terms you would expect to find commingling in any scenario. However, as soon as you lay eyes upon Boker’s titanium framelock flipper, any questions about the knife’s name fade away. Just reading the specs are enough to impress. Titanium frame, cocobolo scales (handles), and a VG-10 blade. Combine those impressive details with a sleek and elegant knife design… oh and did we mention it’s very affordable?
Packing all of that awesomeness into a value priced 1.8 ounce package does require you to forgo bragging about where it was built and by whom. And while Chinese knives may have spotty quality control and a less than stellar reputation, we think this model is an exception. Holding it in hand it feels like a pretty high quality piece of gear. However, don’t take that to mean it will match the quality of other gentlemen’s folders in this list. We just think it’s a great value. Take a look at the price. You’ll be as surprised as we were.
Al Mar Hawk Ultralight
The Hawk from Al Mar is a great gentlemen’s folder. However, we prefer this version; the Hawk Ultralight. The polished black linen Micarta looks classy while reducing weight and adding a bit of increased durability. Like other Al Mar knives this model’s 2.75″ blade is made from AUS-8. It’s also made in Seki City, Japan.
The Japanese built and hand finished knife does however have a few quirks. The most prominent may be the AUS-8 steel. Granted it’s a fine material for a blade, but at this price point we would like to see a more modern steel like VG-10. We’re also not in love with its lock back mechanism, located near the blade. However, taking a step back to consider that this is a gentleman’s pocket knife the two minor quirks will go unnoticed by 95 percent of those who purchase the Hawk.
A gentleman’s folder might just be the best edc knife for people who work in an office environment. They’re non-threatening, often their appearance is less menacing than a letter opener. For those of us who do not work in an office; a adding a gentleman’s folder to your collection is an excellent way to give your tactical folder or well worn everyday carry blade a well deserved break.
These classy knives are wonderful for myriad reasons, but perhaps the best reason is that you can never have too many pocket knives. If you have any suggestions or think we missed out on a beautiful gentleman’s folder, let us know. We’d love to take a look, conduct a bit of research, and maybe add your favorite to our list of awesome gentlemans folders.