Butterfly Knives: Parts, Types, Using and Caring

All you want to know about using a butterfly knives.

Butterfly knives are a type of gravity knife, which is to say they are held in the hand or in the pocket with the blade pointing down. When you flick your wrist up, the knife opens automatically. The flip is essentially an open-and-close motion—no locking mechanism required.

A Balisong, or butterfly knife, has two handles that are connected by a pin in the center of the knife that, when pulled, allows the two handles to be brought together and rotate around the blade’s pivot point.

Balisong Parts

Butterfly Knife Parts.
  • Blade: is one of the most important elements of a butterfly knife. This is where it gets its name, after all! It’s the part of the knife you’ll use for your cut, so make sure it stays sharp.
  • Blade Lock: The blade lock secures the top portion of the blade to the handle while closed. If your knife doesn’t have a blade lock, you run the risk of scratching and cutting yourself.
  • Handle: The two-parts handle (safe handle and bite handle) is where you’ll hold your knife for flips and other tricks. Butterfly knife handles come in many shapes and styles—some are curved to help improve grip, while others feature multiple points for better dexterity.
  • Bushing: A bearing or bushing is used inside of certain parts of the knife, like the pivot point, to reduce friction and provide smooth operation.
  • Pivots: The tang pivot screws are used to secure the knife’s blades in place. Make sure they are tight. Pivot points can vary in size from one butterfly knife to another—this may affect how smooth it flips as well as its overall weight distribution.

Types of Butterfly Knives

There are several types of butterfly knives. Here are some of them:

  • Caged-Ball Bearing (CB): This knife has ball bearings attached to the blade that act as stops when opening. A ball bearing is around a metallic ring that can spin freely.
  • Caged-Needle Bearing (CNB): A caged needle bearing contains a metal cylindrical needle with a smooth outer surface. Like a caged-ball bearing, it reduces friction and increases the blade’s open speed.
  • Trainers: A trainer knife has no sharpened edge on the blade and typically features dulled edges—these knives are only for learning tricks.
    Trainer butterfly knife.
  • Flipper knives have sharp blades that can be used in combat. These knives are usually opened by centrifugal force—not the owner’s hands.
  • Stunt knives are similar to flippers in that they require no thumb stud or other protrusion on the blade for opening. Instead, these knives open automatically when their handles are pulled apart. While they may have sharpened edges, their blades are usually dull and feature a blunt tip.

There are also two main types of balisong construction:

  • “Sandwich construction” – handles are made of two pieces of metal that are held together by rivets.
  • “Channel construction” – the handles are machined from a solid piece of metal, which is usually aluminum or another lightweight material.

How to use a butterfly knife – Step-by-step Tutorial

Butterfly Knife Tricks

There is a variety of tricks that can be performed with butterfly knives. Some of the tricks include: opening and closing the knife in different ways, aerial tricks such as Y2K rollover, Fixed Flipping, Backhand Aerial, Orbit, Scissors, Behind The 8 Ball, Fakeout, Og Chaplin, Twirl Ladder, ZEN rollover, and others.

Butterfly Knife Opening and Closing Tutorial

Know your tools and practice safe handling. Butterfly knives can be dangerous if mishandled, so keep them out of reach of children and untrained individuals. The best way to open butterfly knives is by using a wrist flip. The basic manipulation is done as follows:

  1. Firmly grasp the knife, squeeze the handle in the palm of your hand, and use your little finger to flip the latch open.
  2. Holding the closed balisong in front of you (pointing it forward), slide it so that the handle is on the outside away from your palm.
  3. Twist your wrist sharply so that the knife opens and the Bite handle side strikes you between your thumb and forefinger.
  4. Flip the knife over, aiming your wrist downward, which will force the knife to close again.
  5. Raise your thumb and flip the knife over again, with a final upward fling its handle will hit you again on the first two fingers, and the balisong will remain in the open position.

Butterfly Knife Closing is performing in the same way.

How To Take Care Of Your Butterfly Knife

The most common problems with balisongs are rusting or chipping of the blade. This problem is easily avoided by applying a light coat of oil to the blade after cleaning it. It is also important to clean any excess oil from the handle. Balisongs should never be cleaned with acetone or any similar harsh solvent, as these chemicals can damage the handle materials. In addition to this precaution, balisongs should never be left out in damp environments where there is a chance of rust forming on the blade. Butterfly knife caring tips include the next points:

  1. Wash the blades with hot soapy water and dry them with a clean towel.
  2. Wipe the blades with oil and wipe off any excess.
  3. Spray the hinges and latch with WD-40 or other such lubricants to prevent rusting and corrosion, which can cause damage to your balisong’s mechanism. Turn all tension screws or nuts 1/2 to 1 full turn loose.

The other way to prevent rusting is you can clean, let it dry and apply a very thin coating of motor oil.

Do not use vegetable oil or mineral oil on balisongs. They will quickly break down the rubber washers that keep your butterfly knife sealed.

How to Sharpen Your Butterfly Knife’s Blade

If your balisong’s blade is beginning to dull, it may be sharpened with a fine-grained stone.

  • Flip the knife and place it edge up.
  • Hold the stone firmly against the ground and move the knife away from you so that its cutting edge rubs against the stone as it moves away from you.
  • Repeat this process until both sides of your knife’s blade are sharp.
  • Avoid using a grinding wheel to sharpen a balisong. Grinding wheels heat the metal and cause the blade to lose its temper, making it softer and more likely to bend or break.

Bottom Line

In this article, we’ve shown you how to take care of your butterfly knife and perform a few tricks. We hope that it has been helpful for you! The most important thing is to remember the points covered in the above paragraphs: always keep an eye on children when they are using a balisong; clean with hot soapy water and dry well after use; wipe blades with oil after cleaning or drying them out thoroughly. In addition, never leave your balisong outside where there is a risk of rust forming from moisture getting into the blade. Lastly, if needed sharpen with a stone rather than turning to more abrasive methods such as grinding wheels which can damage materials used in the construction of handles and hinges. These tips should help prolong the life of your butterfly knife. Enjoy!

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