Gerber Mini Paraframe Clip Folding Knife
By Chuck Hawks
The Gerber Mini Paraframe is a small, lightweight, single lock blade, all stainless steel folder with an inside the waistband (IWB) clip. The knife's overall satin finish is a natural silver color. It is part of the Gerber Essentials line.
Gerber blades are legendary for their quality and ability to hold an edge. Gerber (www.gerbergear.com) is located in Portland, Oregon, USA and both manufactures and imports knives. The Mini Paraframe falls into the imported category, being made in Red China. This is an inexpensive folder that can be purchased for a 2013 discount retail price of around $10. The Mini Paraframe comes with a lifetime warranty in North America and a 25 year warranty outside of North America.
This little knife is easily carried in a pocket or clipped inside the waistband of trousers. The clip is secured by a pair of tiny screws and can be removed if you don't want it. The stainless steel handle is skeletonized to reduce weight and there is no liner. Consequently, it is a slender knife that doesn't take up much room. The frame is held together by what appears to be little Torx screws, not pins or rivets, and this should allow the knife to be disassembled, although I did not attempt to do so. Anyway, I don't have a Torx driver small enough to fit the Mini's screws.
The blade is tight in the frame, without any side play. It is commendably sharpened to within about 1/16" of the handle to maximize the useful cutting edge. A fine cutting edge (as tested here) or a half fine / half serrated cutting edge is available in Mini Paraframe knives. I am inclined to prefer fine cutting edges, particularly on small blades where you need all the cutting length available.
Right out of its blister pack, the cutting edge of my test knife was rather rough. The application of a fine sharpening stone smoothed the edge and left me with the impression that the steel used in this blade is rather hard. I suggest touching-up the edge after use. If you let it get dull, it will probably be a chore to sharpen.
The clip point, slightly hollow ground blade has a 2-1/16" cutting edge, the last 5/8" of which curves gently and smoothly toward the tip, forming a sharp point. The blade is nicely shaped for field dressing small game, cleaning small fish (trout, pacific mackerel, etc.) and general pocket knife purposes.
This is not a tactical knife. Two hands are generally required for opening and closing, which is no big deal for a small, utility pocket knife. (You can open and close the mini with one hand, if you really need to, but it's difficult and slow.) There is a nail nick to assist opening, which when using two hands doesn't require much effort, because this is a lock blade knife that doesn't need a heavy spring to keep the blade open. When opening or closing the knife, you will feel the blade pass a detent (or notch) when the blade is almost fully open (about 90% open). I don't understand the reason for this notch, but it is apparent when opening or closing the knife.
The mechanism that locks the blade open is similar to a liner lock. However, since the Mini has no frame liner, one side of the frame itself flexes inward to lock the blade open. To close the blade, press the locking side of the frame outward to free the blade. I found it was easiest to hold the blade securely between the thumb and fingers of my right hand and use my left thumbnail to press the frame lock outward to release the blade. Alternatively, one can hold the knife's frame in the fingers of the right hand and press the frame outward with the right thumb nail, folding the blade with the left hand.
Unlike most liner lock knives, which use a raised, curved tab on the liner for easy operation, the Mini Paraframe frame lock lacks an easy to push raised area. In fact, the "press to release" area is concave (rather than convex) in shape and it is only slightly taller than the fixed side of the frame. This makes closing the blade more difficult than it needs to be and should be corrected by making the locking side of the frame taller in the release area.
Although small, the stainless steel frame/handle is well shaped and comfortable to hold for light duty cutting chores and you wouldn't chose a knife this small for heavy cutting, anyway. The Gerber Mini Paraframe is a convenient, lightweight and inexpensive small folder for IWB or pocket carry. Its solid, all stainless steel construction bodes well for longevity, as does the Gerber name and long warranty.
Copyright 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.