There are a few reasons for Balisong taping. One is to protect the balisong,the other is to protect you.In the following article I will cover the “how” and “why” for taping your balisong.I will also cover options other than Balisong taping that are quicker,cleaner and in my opinion a better solution.
Why I have taped a Balisong (butterfly Knife)
Some people are balisong “collectors”, some flip and or actually use our balisong as an EDC. Some people fall somewhere in between. I personally fall in between, I`m not a balisong “collector” but I collect balisongs. I`m not an expert manipulator but I like to flip. So, when I spend the money on a nice balisong I prefer to keep it in good condition.There is no way I`m going to keep it in a safe or on a shelf and not flip it. When learning new routines (especially one that involves the bite handle) balisong taping has sped up my learning curve. It has also added some protection when dropping on the ground.
A Quick note about the “Haters” of balisong taping
Do not allow someone else’s opinion keep you from doing you! You will see people on facebook,Reddit,Instagram and forums talk smack about balisong taping and people who tape their balisong.It’s usually some punk who has seen it posted before and now it’s his turn to make the comment. It usually goes like this ” don’t be a coward” or “taping makes you learn bad habits”. Another is ” you need to get cut to respect and learn correctly”.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you allow the blade to come into contact with you because its taped and don’t make adjustments then yes, this will become a bad habit. You are taping the balisong “in case” it comes in contact with you. Not so that it “can” come in contact with you. You`ve heard the saying “Know Thyself”. You know if you are being sloppy because you are not in fear of getting cut. It`s up to you to make sure even with the balisong taped you are trying to keep the blade from making contact.
Tape is cheaper than band aids
If you are worried about what people think, don’t tell them. If you don’t screw up then you`re not pushing yourself and that’s no fun. Jeff Imada the OG of the balisong has written in his books that he suggests taping the blade when first learning to flip. So who are you going to listen to? Some 14-year-old on Reddit or a man who has been doing this for years and teaches celebrities how to manipulate in the movies
Tape is cheaper than band-aids. Eventually, you will become familiar enough with the balisong and will have learned enough to stop using the tape.Its a great option for beginners as it allows you to learn on your live bladed knife instead of a trainer.If you learn on a trainer you will have to get used to the balance and weight of your live bladed knife when you switch.
Balisong Taping for Balisong Protection
There are areas that seem to get dinged up more than others while learning to flip.The latch and areas that the latch can come in contact with like the blade and handles.Some Balisong manufacturers are helping with this by adding a latch block (gate) or a spring latch as shown in the photos of the Benchmade 51 and Benchmade 42.This keeps the latch out of the way of the handle and blade.Some will tell you if you are flipping the “right” way centrifugal force will keep the latch from coming into contact. This is true but we are talking about learning and people new to flipping. Even the best drop their balisong from time to time.
It’s not just the CCC butterfly knives that have a floppy or free floating latch. One of my favorites, the BRS Replicants along with other not so cheap balisongs have free floating latches. So, taping the areas shown in the photos can extend the life and appearance of these knives.
What type of tape for taping up your balisong (butterfly knife)
If you have been researching this you will have seen several different answers for this.Personally, 3M Scotch electrical tape is the best. It costs a bit more but a roll will last a long time. The electrical tape residue is the easiest to clean and it is made to help prevent corrosion so you won’t get rust spots under it(provides a better seal).It is also flexible and a bit thicker. Masking tape leaves a nasty residue and painters tape works but, my preference is electrical.You can remove the residue with WD40 or rubbing alcohol.
Taping the Balisong latch
Take a second to notice the areas your latch touches on your balisong when opened and closed.You will want to tape the top area of your latch. Then cut strips for the inside and outside of your safe handle where the latch will come into contact.See photos for a visual. Its will be obvious where you need protection.
Taping the Balisong blade
Taping the blade is pretty obvious as well. Cut a piece the length of the blade.Place the tape on top of the blade with half of it hanging over the edge of the blade. Fold the tape over the edge (see photos). You want to try and keep the tape smooth and flat, no wrinkles. This will help keep moisture from getting under the tape which could cause rust spots.It’s a good idea to change the tape every few weeks. This allows you to check the blade for issues and keep it fresh.Just a little disclaimer, you can still get bit by the blade with tape on it. You probably won’t need stitches but you can get nicked.
Other options for taping your balisong
Once you get familiar with your knife and flipping you will probably get to the point you stop taping for your protection. You will still want to protect your balisong. One option is removing the latch. Another option is using an “O” ring around the base of the latch. You can find them at home depot or a hardware store, pack of ten for a buck. The “O” ring keeps the latch stationary and away from the blade and handles. It also looks cleaner and there is no residue to clean.For the blade you can use the plastic dip or what I prefer is the spray.This will keep the blade from getting scratched or marked up if dropped. It will not protect the tip of the blade.Like the tape, you need to peel off and clean once in awhile to keep from blade damage.
In my experience taping the blade allowed me to learn the more difficult combos at a quicker pace. I pushed myself more without thinking I was going to end up with stitches.
Taping the balisong will change the balance point but doesn’t feel that much different when removed. How I see it, whatever keeps you practicing, whatever keeps you flipping do that! Hopefully, this gave you some options you can use and like I said Tape is cheaper than band-aids so you decide.