How to: Butterfly Knife or Balisong, A Guide for Beginners

Are you a first-time butterfly knife or balisong owner?

So you got your first butterfly knife, and you're wondering, “how to butterfly knife/balisong?” And, what's next? First of all, welcome to the community! We are so happy to see a new fellow butterfly knife flipper. Here's everything you need to know to get started on your beginner butterfly knife journey.

What is a butterfly knife?

The butterfly knife, more commonly known as a balisong amongst the community, is a popular collector's item and skill toy.


The anatomy of a balisong usually contains one blade and two folding handles that rotate on pivots to become a sheath.


A butterfly knife trainer or balisong trainer is not a real knife and is used for training purposes. The "blade" on a balisong trainer is dull and designed to mimic the weight and feel of a real blade without the sharp cutting edge. Trainers offer a safe way to practice flipping without the risk of cutting yourself.


Want to take a deeper dive? Read about the history of the balisong.


Butterfly Knife Balisong Anatomy

How to get started with beginner butterfly knife/balisong tricks

Members in the community are called flippers, and performing tricks on the balisong is called flipping.


To get started with flipping, we recommend getting started with basic openings. Learn 5 Basic Butterfly Knife/Balisong Openings below. Once you've mastered some basic openings, you're ready to move on to Thumb Rollover (also known as the Y2K or Zen Rollover), and then the Chaplin. Remember, practice and repetition are key. We encourage beginners to work through the Beginner's Flipping Tutorial playlist to steadily build up their skills. Once you've mastered enough tricks, you'll be able to start stringing them together into mesmerizing combos. 

How to tune and maintain my butterfly knife/balisong?

Everything you need to tune and maintain your balisong can be found in our Balisong Maintenance Kit, which includes a T10 Torx screwdriver, lubricating oil, Loctite®, and more. Before you begin tuning and maintaining your balisong, it's important to familiarize yourself with the anatomy of the balisong.


What are lubricating oil and Loctite®, and why are they important?

Lubricating oil is used in our balisong assembly process to ensure that the handles swing freely and smoothly. The oil will dry out over long periods of use, so additional oil must be applied to maintain that same buttery feeling. No set amount of oil is required, but we recommend applying oil on your balisong whenever your handles start sounding squeaky or slowing down.

Loctite® is a thread-locking adhesive used to secure the screws of our products and prevent loosening while flipping. Depending on usage and environment, the Loctite® on the screws will eventually start to wear down and become undone. We recommend reapplying Loctite® whenever your screws start loosening while flipping or if your balisong is losing its tune too quickly. For a detailed balisong Loctite application tutorial, see How to Apply Loctite.

Man tuning a butterfly knife/balisong
Butterfly Knife Balisong Flipping Tutorials
Butterfly Knife/Baliosong Maintenance Playlist | Squid Industries Youtube

Common Butterfly Knife/Balisong Tuning and Maintenance Issues

Common issues beginners and flippers face include experiencing stiff balisong handles. You may notice your handles start moving slower and feel like they are getting stuck. We have an easy fix on “How to Fix Stiff Handles.”


Another common issue is experiencing spinning pivots. This often occurs when you go to take out the screws, and the pivots on the other side just keep spinning. Read “How to Fix Spinning Pivots.”

Leveling up Butterfly Knife/Balisong Skills

Feeling ready to level up? These are the balisongs we recommend for Intermediate flippers. We also have intermediate flipping tutorials and advanced flipping tutorials to help with leveling up your flipping skills.

Krake Raken Trainer Butterfly Knife Flipping Squid Industries

Balisongs for Beginner Flippers

Balisongs for Intermediate Flippers

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