Butterfly knives have a lot of subtle features that add to their overall functionality. It might take a while for you to figure out which of these features you prefer, and it might even take you a while just to figure out that certain features exist. One of these features that you might have noticed but not given much thought to is the type of construction your butterfly has.
Channel vs. Sandwich Construction
There are two different types of butterfly knife construction: channel construction and sandwich construction.
“Channel construction” means that each of the handles on the butterfly knife is constructed from a single, solid piece of material. With this type of construction, the blade typically sits within the grooves of the handle when the knife is closed.
“Sandwich construction” means that the handles of the butterfly are made up of layers that are connected with screws, pins, or spacers. In other words, the handles are not made up of one solid piece of material.
There are pros and cons that are inherent of each type of butterfly construction. First, let’s go over the pros and cons of channel construction butterfly knives.
(I found a lot of this information from YouTube reviews and from comments people made on various blade forums.)
A lot of people favor channel construction because they say that it has greater structural integrity since it’s made out of one solid piece of material.
Also, because the handles are solid and aren’t held together by any screws, etc., they can’t be taken apart. Since they can’t be taken apart, you don’t have to do much maintenance on them at all. That can be a great perk if you want a balisong knife that won’t constantly be needing your attention.
Some people say that butterfly knives with channel construction have a more uniform weight distribution since the handles are made of one solid piece and they don’t have spacers or anything else inside them. While this may be true, many people also say that a well-made balisong with sandwich construction can have weight distribution that’s just as good—you just have to find one that’s made by a good manufacturer.
While sandwich construction butterfly knives might require a little more maintenance than channel construction butterfly knives, some people like sandwich construction for that reason—it’s possible to do some maintenance on them. You can take the handles apart (provided they have screws and not pins) and clean them out to keep them looking pretty and functioning well.
Handles with sandwich construction also tend to be a little bit thinner than those with channel construction. If you prefer thin handles, this can be a good thing, but if you prefer thicker handles, it’s obviously a negative trait.
As mentioned above, some people say that because sandwich construction handles don’t have one solid piece of material, their weight is not very evenly distributed, making the butterfly harder to flip. Honestly, it’s not a huge deal if that’s what you’re used to, but you can also get a sandwich construction butterfly with great weight distribution and handling if you get one with great quality.
Which One is Better?
As with most things in the knife world, there is no “best” option here; it really all comes down to preference. Depending on the brand and model of the butterfly, you can find a knife that flips great, regardless of whether it has channel or sandwich construction.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, but what type of construction do you prefer out of channel vs. sandwich?
If you’re in the market for a new butterfly knife, be sure to head on over to Blade HQ to see the great selection of balisongs!