Styles of Slip-joint Pocket Knives

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A slip-joint pocket knife is defined as a pocket knife with a blade that doesn't lock, but is instead held by a spring, which allows the blade to fold when a certain level of pressure is applied.

Slip-joint knives are usually smaller than typical pocket knives.  They don't rely on a multitude of tools and often contain only blades.  Here are a few common types of slip-joint pocket knives and their shapes.

Barlow Knife

A Barlow knife has a long bolster and two blades.  Its handle is often elongated and made of a variety of materials.  More expensive versions of the knife can have handles made of elaborately carved ivory. The Barlow knife was especially popular among farmers and frontiersman around the turn of the century, and was celebrated in literature by Mark Twain.

Congress Knife

The Congress knife has a convex front with either a straight or concave back.  It usually has four blades.  Though they vary from knife to knife, the blades are usually arranged so that the knife can function in a variety of ways.  One common blade combination in congress knives is spear point, coping, sheepsfoot and pen blade.

Canoe Knife

A canoe knife gets its name from its handle, which is shaped like some of the shallow canoes that were used by Native Americans.  A canoe knife typically comes with two spear point blades or one spear point blade and one pen blade.  It is popular among fisherman for its ability to cut fishing line and perform other fishing-related tasks.

Elephant's Foot Knife

The elephant's foot knife, also known as the elephant's toenail, is one of the largest pocket knives available for sale and is usually in the range of between four and five inches.  The elephant's foot knife usually contains two extremely wide blades.  

Stockman Knife

The stockman knife is of average size and usually has three blades, often a clip, sheepsfoot and spey blade.  Though there are straight versions of this knife, most stockman knives come in either a serpentine or sowbelly shape.

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