ESEE has introduced a friction folder named after the trail that winds through hundreds of miles of the Appalachian Mountains: the Pinhoti.

Friction folders are an impressive feat of engineering. With no locks or springs, these versatile folding knives rely solely upon the handle’s friction against its extended tang to stay open—letting you slice and dice quickly.

This unique folding-knife design has been steadily refined over the years, with an extended tang to ensure secure and safe handling so you won’t end up getting bit. The ESEE Knives Pinhoti is proudly earning its place in this tool’s long-running history.


Fewer moving parts trumps complexity any day. Friction folding knives have a long history found in many cultures around the world. It has been said that early Native Americans first invented them. However, their rich history goes back even further. Each culture has found a unique use for them, from protection against predators to creating tools.

Kabobs over coals is a favorite with the author. The Pinhoti Friction Folder cut uniform pieces of peppers, onions, ham, and pineapple for a woods delight.

Today’s friction-folding knife designs are based on those used throughout ancient Greece, Rome, and Viking Scandinavia. Whether you choose an original design or one of the more modern incarnations, friction folding knives can serve you well on your daily adventures.


Shane Adams designed this bad boy to go with you anywhere and get the job done right. With a folded length of 5.75 inches and an opened length of 8.25 inches, this knife is as tough as it is compact. It features a sturdy 1095 high carbon steel blade, a Scandi grind with a 90-degree spine, and a heat treat of 55-57 HRC. It’s excellent for various cutting tasks.

The Pinhoti Friction Folder features 1095 high carbon steel, has an overall length of 8.25 inches, and has brown sculpted Micarta scales.

The tumbled black oxide finish provides a rustic appearance, while the brown sculpted Micarta handle gives you superior comfort and control. On top of that, it comes with a leather taco-style belt pouch for secure belt or pocket carrying. Lightweight yet durable, at just 3.8 ounces without sheath and 5.9 ounces with sheath, this U.S.-made knife is here to take your crafting up a notch in one simple package.


Never forget it’s a friction folder! When using a friction folder, it is essential to take proper safety precautions. Choose folders with secure, textured grips so there is no risk of slipping while using the knife. Plus, leather gloves can help protect your hands from cuts or slippage while operating the tool.

Make sure it’s ready to go in a secure fist grip. In a full-fist grip, you’re safe. However, moving your hand past the tang will let you know the error of your ways. In a chest-lever grip, the forefinger and middle finger must stay over the tang to keep it safe and working for you. Have an appropriate surface to work on when handling the knife, such as a cutting board or secure log to bear down.

Making several notches for a try stick requires skill and patience. When making the knife tip mortice, extra attention must be taken when using the Pinhoti Friction Folder, as this task requires a bit of working out.

Also, if you carry it tang side down, take notice of the knife’s tendency to open when you first remove it from the sheath and act accordingly.


I first received the Pinhoti while visiting with the ESEE folks in Dalton, Georgia, in the fall. It was still grilling season; when is it not down south? Pork shoulder was on the menu, and we used a marinade I brought back from the Philippines.

“With no locks or springs, these versatile folding knives rely solely upon the handle’s friction against its extended tang to stay open…”

The Pinhoti was tasked with cutting about 2 pounds of meat off the bone and then cutting it into cubes for skewers. The blade sliced through tough fat caps, silver skin, and pork. There were no problems or issues during this test, but this was step one of a marathon. The textured Micarta kicked in throughout the slippery affair, yet the blade sailed onward.

While the friction folder is a very old style of knife, the ESEE Pinhoti Friction Folder incorporates new design elements and modern materials.

Once I was back in the Northeast woods, I put the Pinhoti through some realistic tests I would typically do with most knives. I have two go-to tests that I always perform first: shaving arm hair, and then making feather sticks. When these go well, I take it as a good omen—and it usually is. The Pinhoti passed.

Notches pave the way. A few cuts on a try stick will tell a lot about the knife at hand.

December in the Northeast is cold. Cooking over coals starts with the usual fire preparation done with more significant heavy-lifting tools. The Pinhoti prepped food, tinder, and kindling. The super sharp zero Scandi grind excelled at feathering wood. I expected it would shine in the wood carving department, and it delivered.

When it was time to ignite, the spine and tang were used as the striker for the ferro rod. By the way, the knife was in the closed position for this, which was more natural and safe. The 90-degree spine was sharp and delivered a shower of molten sparks onto the poplar bark bird’s nest and brought me that much closer to cooking my food.

Ham, onions, peppers, and pineapples were sliced while the hearty fire built up heat to generate good, hardwood cooking coals perfect for kabobs. As expected, the blade sliced well, yet great concentration went into where I should hold the knife to prevent it from closing on me. This is true with most new tools. The simple act of putting the knife down often made my hand travel toward the middle of the handle and allowed the blade to close since I wasn’t supporting it. Live and learn, however, I never cut myself.


I’m a huge advocate of making things to get a real feel of how the tool responds. I like making bucksaws, traps, tarp stakes, and try sticks to practice notches. Questions about comfort, blade retention, and geometry are often addressed and answered while making things.

“I have two go-to tests that I always perform first: shaving arm hair, and then making feather sticks…The Pinhoti passed.”

When crafting the 11-notch try stick, many blade positions were used. This was when I had to be mindful of transitioning into different grips. When carving fine work like a square in the wood (knife tip mortice) with a fixed blade, several knife positions go into this.

A completed try stick in the rain with the Pinhoti Friction Folder.

Utilizing a chest lever grip, the author makes a 7-notch on the try stick. He uses a thumb-assisted push cut from the opposite knife hand for this.

Having a solid surface to bear down on helps with hard cuts and adds a measure of safety to a friction folder.

Using the Pinhoti was challenging for this task, and I spent more time gripping and being cautious—as all should be when using any knife. Backing up my work on a sturdy piece of wood always makes it safer and more manageable, like carving the V-end of the root stripper. Having a solid surface to bear down on makes a huge difference.


From ancient Greece and Rome all through Viking Scandinavia, generations have found unique ways of utilizing friction folders. Putting a modern twist on an age-old tradition will surely come in handy during your next grand escapade. The Pinhoti brings simplicity and rustic refinement to the rugged, hardworking knives synonymous with ESEE Knives.

The Pinhoti Friction Folder stays securely open in a full-fist grip.

When using the Pinhoti Friction Folder in a chest-lever grip, the blade can stay open while executing power cuts.

When the author grips too low on the handle, it causes the blade to close.

Edge geometry doesn’t lie because it can’t. Thin slivers of wood are what every outdoors person is after when making a fire with natural materials. The Pinhoti Friction Folder is your tool for this!

When the Pinhoti Friction Folder is used as a ferro rod striker, it’s almost like cheating. The 90-degree spine is super sharp and reigns down a shower of sparks igniting most types of tinder.

While the author waited for coals to build up, he carved a few stakes for tarps or tents.

Feather sticks are made by holding the knife arm in a fixed position and drawing the wood back against the blade.

The ESEE Knives Pinhoti has a 3.25-inch blade that proved to be plenty sharp for all of the author’s tasks.

The ESEE Knives Pinhoti can be carried with the tang down or up, depending on how you prefer to open the knife. The sheath has a shock cord for security and a belt loop.

Closed, the ESEE Knives Pinhoti is 5.7 inches long, with its protruding tang used for security when deployed and striking a ferro rod when closed.



With his love of adventure, Pinhoti designer Shane Adams lives the outdoor lifestyle in North Georgia. He enjoys cycling and bowhunting with his sons, fly fishing, whitewater kayaking, and backpacking, not to mention being an avid endurance racer. He also adds certified swift-water rescue and Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and NASAR SARTECH 1 credentials, plus a bachelor’s degree from UGA, and a master’s degree from Walden University to the mix.

KI: What do you do for ESEE/RAT?

Adams: My official title is marketing director/utility player. If you talk to someone on social media, that’s me. I also work on the RAT (Randall’s Adventure and Training) side of the business as a SAR (Search and Rescue) instructor and personal assistant to Patrick Rollins. Videos, podcasts, product photos, and anything founder Jeff doesn’t want to do kind of roll my way.

KI: What were your thoughts and intentions behind the Pinhoti Friction Folder and revamping an old-school-style knife?

Adams: I grew up in a gun-and-blade household and became enamored with my grandfather’s straight razors years ago.  I discovered some niche friction folders about five years ago and couldn’t get the design off of my mind. My main goal was to design a simple yet functional friction folder that you could use all day long.

KI: What safety measures do people need to take when using a friction folder?

Adams: Folks have obvious reasons to be careful with any knife, and a friction folder is no exception. The lack of a lock is off-putting for many folks, and I completely get that. But when you use the knife, have it in hand, and put it to real use, its function becomes second nature. It is designed with a 90-degree spine so you can scrape tinder or a ferro rod safely WHILE CLOSED. Used in this manner, it is a safe and easy-to-use tool.

KI: Why this steel?

Adams: It’s simple: 1095 high carbon steel is what we do and do well.

KI: Who is this knife for?

Adams: Honestly, me. I designed this knife because I wanted to, and it never dawned on me that it would go into production. I wanted it to be comfortable, functional, and straightforward. It’s been cool to see the market reception from folks who like it and have had NO experience with friction folders. I didn’t expect many to “get it” but have been happily surprised at the positive reception from our customers.

KI: What are the benefits of a friction folder over slipjoints or lockbacks?

Adams: Simplicity. It’s a very simple knife to use and produce. There are very few moving parts and not much to maintain. The beauty is in the simplicity of the design.


■ Ancient friction-folding knife designs were based on those used in Greece, Rome, and Viking Scandinavia.

■  Friction folding knives have a long history, with early Native Americans adapting them.

■  These tools were known as peasant knives from the Middle Ages and were made of simple materials such as wood or bone.

■  Today’s modern versions offer increased functionality for daily adventures.


Model: ESEE Pinhoti
Type: Friction folder
Folded Length: 5.75 inches
Opened Length: 8.25 inches
Cutting Edge: 3.25 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.125 inch
Blade Steel: 1095 carbon steel
Blade Style: Scandi w/90-degree spine
Blade Finish: Tumbled black oxide
Handle Material:  Brown sculpted Micarta
Sheath: Leather taco-style belt pouch
Weight: 3.8 ounces, 5.9 ounces w/sheath
Designer:  Shane Adams
Origin: USA
MSRP: $239.95


ESEE Knives

P.O. Box 99
Gallant, AL 35972

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