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Copyright © 2003-2004 Phil Elmore, all rights reserved.
Hen and Rooster Linerlock Stiletto
A Product Review by Phil Elmore
Something about the long, thin blades and 1950s-era lines of stiletto-style knives has always held an attraction for me. As switchblades are not legal in my state, I must be content with locking stiletto-style folders that mimic the appearance of these knives while lacking the spring-opening mechanism. When I saw Hen & Rooster's linerlock stilettos, I knew I would not be able to resist them for long. Mine came to me through Smoky Mountain Knife Works.
The stiletto is about 8.8" long. The blade constitutes 3-7/8" of that and is a mere 1/2" at its widest point. It is very thin, too. The blade is ground from stock that is about a tenth of an inch thick, so the blade body is thinner still.
The dimpled metal handle is comfortable enough for this style of knife (locking stilettos have never been the most ergonomic of knives) but still fairly slippery. The guard protrusions are nicely rounded, so they don't bite skin the way the thin guards on some lockback stilettos do. Overall fit and finish is good, especially for the price paid.
The pocket clip is connected securely and does not shift as do some clips on cheaper knives. It has a pronounced bend to accommodate thick clothing and ends in a gentle curve. The knife is configured for tip-down carry, but the placement of the clip means that the head of the knife protrudes very visibly from a pocket.
The thumb stud is somewhat problematic. It sticks up from the blade like a tiny steel mushroom and, while comfortable enough against the thumb, is positioned poorly. There is very little leverage in that position. When I exerted enough pressure to open the blade, which was considerable, my finger slipped and I almost cut myself against the blade (which has a so-so factory edge but could do with a good honing to bring it to the razor-sharpness one expects from a stiletto). I tried this several times and had the same problem each time -- it's the position of the stud that causes it.
The knife is a linerlock with a pushbutton release. The liner engages the tang fully on the left side. The tang has a nice angle to allow for considerable blade wear. Lockup is secure, with no blade play.
Like the thumb stud, the pushbutton lock release protrudes quite some distance from the handle. It is set against a springy piece of metal that looks like a second liner lock, only shorter. When you press the button far enough (and you must press it down deeply to release the lock)...
...the secondary liner press against the linerlock that engages the blade tang, releasing it:
This is a neat mechanism, in that it allows the knife to appear (and operate) more like its less legal cousin, the Italian-style switchblade. When releasing the liner, however, one must start to close the blade and then release the button, or the secondary liner will prevent the blade from closing. Fortunately, there is enough distance between the base of the blade and the beginning of the edge that the secondary liner does not strike and dull the edge itself.
If you like stiletto knives and are looking for a budget-friendly alternative, these knives are a good buy.
They are not perfect, but they have a lot to offer the knife enthusiast who prefers this style.