Balisong Care

Thank you for your purchase and for supporting the Batangas balisong industry. In recent years, the balisong   makers of Batangas have faced hard times due to dwindling interest in their products. Thanks to renewed interest in their traditional handmade knives, things are looking up again. I’m dedicated to ensuring the most skilled makers in the province are able to live and support their children.

When you first receive your balisong, balicomb or balisong trainer:

When receiving your balisong, balicomb or balisong trainer (I’ll call them all balisongs from this point on as they are essentially the same), unlatch it and open it with care.

Please be careful when latching your balisong open or closed. Ensure the latch is lined up correctly with the slots in the handles or you may push the latch out of alignment or even knock the pins on the latch out. Very little downward pressure should be required to latch your balisong. Some balisongs may require the handles to be squeezed together when latching them open.

You will most likely find the opening action of the handles is quite stiff compared to a modern, machine-made balisong. This is normal for Batangas balisongs as they are pinned together tighter than necessary so they break in without becoming too loose. This break in period is very much a part of Filipino balisong culture. Some advocate prying the handles back and forth, and others say you should strike the tang of your closed balisong against a hard surface. I do not condone either of these methods. While they will shorten the break in period, I believe doing so will bend your pins out of shape and may result in significant lateral blade play when your knife is latched open.

 

My method is to apply a good quality oil to the pivots and then manipulate the knife as normally as possible. You can hold onto one handle and move the other one back and forth across its range, and then switch handles and repeat. Please be careful not to get oil on the handles as it may stain your inserts and also make the handles extremely slippery.

The oil I use most often is mineral oil. You may prefer to use vegetable oil, household oil or a dry lubricant, but I prefer to use mineral oil as it is colorless and is less likely to stain bone inserts. Mineral oil is cheap and readily available in drug stores (check the laxatives aisle!) or at hardware stores. If you live in a British Commonwealth country, mineral oil is known as paraffin oil. Apply liberally and wipe off the excess.

Do you have a carbon steel (leaf spring or bearing steel) blade?

If your knife has a carbon steel blade, you should wipe it clean of fingerprints and oil the blade, pivot area and the end of the tang to prevent rust and staining. While carbon steel takes a great edge and is very durable, it corrodes quickly and stains readily. Do not leave fingerprints on your blade or they will stain the blade quickly. If I am using one of my carbon steel blades, I am careful to wipe prints off immediately and I keep the blade lightly oiled to prevent corrosion.

If your balisong has a stainless blade, this is much less likely. Stainless steel is corrosion and stain resistant, but it is less flexible and usually more difficult to sharpen. Stainless steel blades are an excellent choice for low maintenance EDC blades, however.

Flipping your balisong.

Please exercise extreme caution when flipping your balisong. Balisongs are potentially lethal if misused. Extra caution is required with kris and double edged balisongs because there is no safe handle (on most Batangas balisongs, the handle without the latch is considered the safe handle, as only the back of the blade can make contact with your hand when you are holding this handle).

Are your tang, bolster or insert pins loose or have they fallen out?

Since FHMs are entirely handmade, there is a possibility that the pins used in their construction may back out, particularly after they have been flipped extensively. This is completely normal and is seen on $300+ Benchmade custom balisongs (tang pins deform or pivot screws back out). On a balisong with screw construction, LocTite is used to hold the pins in place. On FHMs, I use industrial strength epoxy. Clean your pin with alcohol and carefully apply a little epoxy to the pin and reinsert it. Wipe off the excess immediately. Apply pressure and leave to dry according to the instructions on the package. This will hold your pin in place virtually indefinitely.

If you are missing a pin or bolster, I can have them replaced for you at no charge if you send your item back as long as you cover return shipping. Please note this may take several months as I personally have to take your item back to the Philippines to have it professionally repaired.

 

 

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