10 Classic Gentleman's Knives

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Your EDC knife says a lot about you. And while any standard everyday carry knife can get the job done, chances are it'll raise some eyebrows and awkward questions depending on when and where you use it. That's why carrying something that can fly under the radar is often a good idea. A tactical folder probably isn't the best fit for this, especially when you need to dress up a bit for the occasion. What you want is something your coworkers won't bat an eye at. Something that looks as sharp as it cuts. That something, for a lot of EDCers, is a gent's knife. Thankfully, there's a wide variety to choose from when it comes to gent's knives. In this guide, we'll focus on 10 of the more “old school” options with traditional designs and timeless charm.

What's a gent's knife?

A gentleman's knife, or gent's knife, is deeply rooted in tradition. In the old days, it was simply unbecoming to carry something like a large knife in polite company. Instead, people carried pocketknives made with premium materials that reflected their taste and social status.

Even though they are made to add a touch of class to your ensemble, they aren't made just for show. The gent's knife is practical, but it isn't a run-of-the-mill utility knife. The gent's knife is beautiful, but it isn't going to be a futuristic-looking tactical blade.

For a large segment of the EDC community, only knives derived from the traditional forms fit the bill. Classic gent's knives either lack a locking mechanism, or they rely on older technology like slipjoints and lockback designs.

Now that you've got an idea of what a gent's knife is, check out these 10 excellent options.


The Best Gentleman's Folders for EDC


Opinel No. 8

The venerable Opinel No 8 is an affordable introduction to classic EDC gent's knives. It has an extremely sharp blade, making cutting tasks a breeze. It also comes in an assortment of beautiful wooden handles for you to choose from, including rare and exotic styles. The Opinel also has a twist collar lock that lets you hold the blade in place for more strenuous work.

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Fallkniven U2

The unique blade steel is what sets the Fallkniven U2 apart from the rest of the knives on this list. It's made of Super Gold Powdered Steel, an extremely high carbon alloy that has incredible sharpness and edge retention while remaining durable enough for daily use in your EDC. It's also ambidextrous, with nail nicks on both sides and a symmetrical handle.

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Buck 110 Folding Hunter Knife

If you're looking for a larger knife, the Buck 110 is your best bet. It has a sharp 3.75" 420HC blade with a sturdy lockback. When this knife came out in the 1960s it became famous both for its great looks and because it locked up reliably enough to be used like a fixed blade.

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Boker Wine Knife

If you want a classic gent's knife that'll do more than just cut, this one comes with a bottle opener, corkscrew, and flathead screwdriver.

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Case Small Texas Toothpick

The Texas Toothpick is a long and slender slipjoint knife that's great for opening up envelopes and cardboard boxes. Its unique blade shape makes it easy to slot it into small spaces. Just don't pry things open with it, it definitely isn't made for that.

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Douk-Douk

The douk-douk is based on a traditional French design, and it strikes a slimmer and longer profile compared to the Opinel. With its high-carbon steel blade, it can be honed to incredible sharpness. Just make sure to take care of it to avoid rust. The douk douk also lacks a locking mechanism of any sort, making it easier to carry around legally in more places.

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Higo no Kami

Traditional gent's knives aren't just from the West. The higo no kami is a traditional friction folding knife from Japan. It's designed so that the pressure you exert while holding the handle when the blade is open is enough to keep it in place for most light work. It has a brass handle and a tanto blade shape that is perfect for piercing tasks despite its small length.

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Al Mar Hawk Classic

The Hawk Classic is a lockback that features a small yet capable 2.5” AUS-8 blade. It's incredibly lightweight at just 1.5 ounces. You'll badly notice it until you need it. You can make this knife your own by choosing from a large number of available handle materials including mother of pearl and cocobolo.

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Schrade Old Timer Gut Hook

The Schrade Old Timer Guthook combines classic gent's folding lockback styling with a gut hook for dressing fish. It isn't just for the outdoors, though. When the blade is closed, the gut hook remains partially exposed. This helps you cut things like twine and rope without having to get the whole thing open.

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Great Eastern Cutlery Lick Creek

A purist will tell you the only acceptable gent's knife has multiple blades on a slipjoint. The Lick Creek model from Great Eastern Cutlery is one of the best within that criteria. It has a pair of slipjoint blades: a spear point for general use and a smaller, secondary pen blade for precision cutting (or to keep a sharp edge just in case). This particular style has a more minimalist appeal to it, with a clean ebony wood handle and sterile steel bolsters.

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#traditional-knives #classic-knives #gentlemens-knife #gents-knives #knives #buying-guides see all



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Discussion (26 total)

Most of the Swiss Army knives are seen as the modern gents carry. The swiss army classic are ideal for a minimal EDC.
I think only the slim ones up to 2 layers fit as gents knives. I use my Victorinox Compact or my Victorinox Tourist as gents knifes too, as a complement to the two i told about below.
Totally agree. I regularly carry a Victorinox Spartan or Cadet. Both are slim pocket knife that would fit into this category.
Great to see the Al Mar Hawk on the list. I've been carrying mine daily in my right hip pocket since Christmas 1980. Mine has the classic Al Mar lines with ivory mikarta handle material that has weathered and worn into a deep yellow. With a number of other knives in my collection to choose from, I still carry this one every day.
I own both the Fällkniven U2 and The Opinel. I use them both on several occasions.
A William Henry knife is conspicuously absent from the list. That line would fit this category perfectly.
I love my classic Buck 110 but cant call it a grnts knife imho, needs to be on a belt, its for outdoors not polite picket. :)
Opinel never a mistake. I carry a Douk-Douk "Squirrel"- spear point blade without the engraving: https://www.amazon.com/Douk-Douk-Knives-Folder-Squirrel-France/dp/B007V5ELCK?tag=bg999-20

the Great Eastern is a classy shiv, look for a possible selection of handle options.
Klecker Cordovan lite; now that's a good looking knife that I carry when I wear a suit or dressier clothes. Not the greatest steel (12Cr13 - SAK steel I think) but easy enough to maintain and a good looking (unique) style to boot.
Sorry, Al Mar and Opinel do NOT belong on the same list.
I have a schreade LB5 from back in the late 70's, one of the last things my dad bought me before he died. Needless to say it doesn't get used much, I probably shouldn't even be carrying it.
I think your Dad would be proud you carry it and put it to use. He likely wouldn't have it any other way.
Your probably right Joel....thanks man!
Thanks, nice selection.
Spydero Chaparral and Sage are modern gent's folders as well.
Been looking for a gents knife since seeing Nick Shabazz Gareth Bull Miura...
Think will try to acquire the Fantoni Dweller in Amboina Burl wood. ($125)
Also Buck has recently recently the 328 Graduate (under $30) that would make a nice inexpensive gents knife.
You have two photos of an Al Mar knife introducing your list but that knife is not among them -- which one is it?
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