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5 Best Flipper Knife for the Money: Complete Buying Guide

Best Flipper Knife

For those looking for an EDC knife that’s quick and easy to open, a flipper knife is a perfect option in this situation. Flipper knives are made with a small part of the blade that you need to push with the index finger to snap the knife open.

By doing this, you do not have to use both hands to open it. Thus, you will save time and improve safety when using.

Having a great flipper knife will come in handy in a lot of situations, and can make things run smoother when the situation arises. In this article, we listed down 5 of the best flipper knife options on the market.

Once you take into account your needs and preferences, going through this list should be easy, and hopefully, you’ll be able to pick the best product for you at the end of the day.

Best Versatility
Benchmade AXIS Flipper 300 Knife
Benchmade – AXIS Flipper 300
Best Overall
Spyderco Southard Folder G-10 Plain Edge Knife
Spyderco Southard Folder G-10
Best Budget Pick
Columbia River Knife and Tool M21 – 12SFG

Our Picks for the Best Flipper Knife

1.  Spyderco Southard Folder G-10

BEST OVERALL

Spyderco Southard Folder G-10 Plain Edge Knife

BUYING OPTIONS:
» DISCONTINUED BY MANUFACTURER «

A quick overview of the Spyderco Southard Folder G -10:

  • The blade length: 3.46 inches
  • The overall length: 7.96 inches
  • The overall weight: 4.1 ounces

The Spyderco Southard Folder G-10 is a flipper knife that’s manufactured by a famous knife brand. It is rated one of the best flipper knives out there.

This knife is made from high-quality materials like G-10 stainless steel and titanium. This knife has an opening device to reveal the flipper blade and it comes with an essential locking platform too.

With a hollow-ground steel blade, this product can grip targets quite well and is still safe enough to prevent potential accidents when closed.

The G-10 stainless steel blade material is enclosed with an earth-brown handle that provides great grip and comfort. The knife also has a pocket clip which makes it easier to access and deploy during emergency situations.

Pros
  • Ideal size for pockets
  • Lightweight
  • Razor-sharp and great for self-defense purposes
  • Ergonomic design
  • Comfortable handle
Cons
  • Beginners might find it difficult to get used to the lock structure
  • Some buyers complained that the blade is not easy to open
  • The full tang could be more grinding than other knives

2. Benchmade – AXIS Flipper 300

BEST VERSATILITY

Benchmade AXIS Flipper 300 Knife

BUYING OPTIONS:
» DISCONTINUED BY MANUFACTURER «

A quick overview of the Benchmade AXIS Flipper:

  • The overall weight: 4.85 ounces (= 137.50g)
  • The blade length: 3.18 inches (= 8.08cm)

This knife is made from American-made 154CM steel material. This is a high-quality, durable material for industrial applications and has attributes such as corrosion resistance, sturdiness, and can hold an edge well. Thus, the Benchmade is rated as one of the best flipper knives on the market.

The handle is made from G-10 stainless steel, which is recognized as one of the best durable materials in the automotive industry. It’s lightweight and strong enough to support any user, and it still performs well even in wet environments.

The knife also has a deep-carry capricious platform which can help you perform tasks more effectively. It also has an ambidextrous design, making it comfortable for any user, and each liner catches the knife tang smoothly.

Pros
  • Sturdy and ideal for a flipper knife
  • The pocket clip is low in the pocket and is suitable for left pocket carry
  • Razor-sharp and can cut targets easily
  • Has a sharp edge
Cons
  • The flipper mechanism is not the best
  • The blade is not fixed in one place when closed
  • The axis lock of the flipper can cling and the flipper tab is not easy to control

3. Columbia River Knife and Tool M21 – 12SFG

BEST BUDGET PICK

CRKT M21-14SFG EDC Folding Pocket Knife

BUYING OPTIONS:
» Best Price on Cabelas «
» Check Price on Amazon «

A quick overview of the Columbia River Knife and Tool M21:

  • The overall weight: 5.7 ounces
  • The overall length: 25 inches
  • The length of the blade: 3.75 inches
  • The open length: 9.25 inches
  • The closed length: 5.375 inches
  • The blade length: 3.99 inches

The Columbia River Knife and Tool M21 has a LAWKS structure, which helps make it safe and reliable for users to carry every day comfortably.

With the Columbia River Knife and Tool M2, you can easily open and fold the steel blade as the platform has a well-built locking safety feature.

The blade is an alternation drop-point model with high flat travails and ideal edges. It also has a sharp tip that can make strong tractions to cutting targets. Furthermore, the belly of the steel blade is suitable for performing tasks in general.

The handle is made from aluminum material with deep-bellied and triple-point serrations at the end. This handle gives a great grip and supports users to handle it well and efficiently.

Pros
  • Affordable price range
  • Well-balanced and lightweight to carry
  • The steel blade is sharp and strong right out of the box
  • It's easy to open the blade
Cons
  • Doesn't come with an extra pocket clip
  • Size might be too big and can't fit some pockets
  • Some find the handle not easy to grip

4. Zero Tolerance ZT0560 Hinderer

BUYING OPTIONS:
» DISCONTINUED BY MANUFACTURER «

A quick overview of the Zero Tolerance ZT0560:

  • The blade length: 75 inches
  • The overall weight: 5.8 ounces
  • The overall length: 8.8 inches

The Zero Tolerance ZT0560 is made from aluminum material with the blade made from ELMAX, a kind of strong steel often used in constructions. The edge of the steel blade material is sharp, sturdy, and tough.

The steel blade also rolls in and out easily, making it easy to deploy and close almost instantly.

The handle has a 3D design and combines G -10 and titanium material in the front and back of the handle respectively.

Because of the locking mechanism, this knife can automatically lock the blade when closed and prevent possible accidents.

Pros
  • The steel blade material has a great edge
  • The blade is sharp and can easily cut targets
  • Comfortable size for most pockets
  • Fast shipping
  • The new locking mechanism doesn't malfunction often
Cons
  • The knife is a little heavy
  • Can be hard to fold and control for some people
  • The blade tip is not recessed when closed

5. SOG Twitch II Assisted Folding Knife

BUYING OPTIONS:
» Best Price on OpticsPlanet «
» Check Price on Cabelas «
» Check Price on Amazon «

A quick overview of the SOG Twitch II:

  • The blade length: 2.65 inches
  • The overall weight: 2.4 ounces
  • The overall dimensions: 2 x 1.1 x 0.6 inches

The steel blade material of the SOG Twitch II is made from AUS -8 steel, which is strong, durable, and flexible. Furthermore, it has a straight edge with a drop point form and has a folding appearance.

The handle has a well–balanced contour due to the graphite and aluminum materials, giving a great fit for most hands and will be comfortable to hold for hours.

The SOG Twitch II also has an opening blade, which you can control by hand, making it safer to operate.

You can also easily open the knife using its thumb stud instead of using the kick.

It’s not surprising to see how the SOG Twitch II is one of the best flipper knives on the market due to its great features.

Pros
  • Limited lifetime guarantee
  • Acceptable price for most users
  • The blade material is sharp and durable
  • The blade is covered in oil
  • The belt clip is easily removable
Cons
  • The spring does not have a great design

Choosing the Best Flipper Knife: Factors to Consider

Man slicing wood with a flipper knife

Whether you want to own a fixed blade, a folding knife, a flipper knife, or a standard one, you should always think of the features of the knife before making a hole in your wallet. Thus, you should spend a few hours doing your own research to find out the best flipper knives if you want to have the flipper model for you.

To help you out, here are a couple of factors you might want to consider before making a purchase.

Cutting Intentions

Slicing a piece of food, cutting packages, and trimming wood, are all totally different kinds of tasks that knives are useful for. Each of these tasks refers to dissimilar requirements on a blade.

When looking at a blade, you should keep your eye on the shape, the heat treatment, and the steel because these three main factors could describe the quality of a blade material quite well. The shape of the blade will give a better picture of how the knife is intended to be used.

Experienced hunters and users often draw attention to the drop points, clip points, and leaf-shaped blades when checking the blade’s sharpening ability.

How You’ll Be Using a Flipper Knife

Each knife can be used in several different ways. Before buying a flipper knife, make sure to take into account how you’ll be using it.

If it’s for self-defense, you might want to go for something bigger and more powerful.

If it’s for EDC, then a smaller and more convenient knife that you can clip for easy access might be best for you.

If it’s for hunting, a flipper knife would be convenient to bring and pack on your hunting trips.

These are some of the things you have to remember before buying any of the knives we listed above.

The Material of a Flipper Knife

The kind of material on a flipper knife also affects its quality due to the amount of metal and other materials present in the knife.

Are they strong, sharp, and strong enough? Can they perform and last long in wet environments? Don’t take the material of the blade and handle lightly, as they also decide the quality and effectiveness of a flipper knife.

You should study the benefits and drawbacks of different materials before deciding on which flipper knife to go for.

In our opinion, the perfect blade is one that is resistant to corrosion, is waterproof, and is durable yet lightweight.

When it comes to these features, there are two main material types for blades that come to mind: Stainless steel and carbon steel.

Stainless Steel

  • The 420HC: resistant to corrosion and exceptionally sharp
  • The 154CM: a solid and durable stainless steel due to increased levels of carbon in its formula
  • The S30V: luxurious stainless steel material that uses vanadium to keep an edge strong, effective, and durable

High-Carbon Steel

High-carbon steel is a lot more solid and durable compared to stainless steel, but it’s not resistant to corrosion. This is something to keep in mind before buying any type of knife including the best flipper knives.

The Design of a Flipper Knife

As there are various models of knives on the market today, you should try to figure out what kind of design suits you best.

Are you a conventional person or a modern one? Do you prefer thick and chunky blades or sharp and sleek-looking ones?

Both of these can perform well in their own ways, but you might have a preference that expresses who you are better as a hunter or tactician.

The Price Tag

For any product, the price is often the deciding factor. Consider your budget wisely before taking a good look at different kinds of these knives.

The Warranty

Many patrons ignore a flipper knife’s warranty as they think that this product will always be perfect right out of the box.

The warranty of a knife refers to the quality that knife manufacturers aim to deliver to their customers. Having a reliable warranty policy creates a better reputation in customers’ minds, and this will also ensure that you’re going to get the product and performance that you expect from these knives.

Interesting Facts About Flipper Knives

Man holding two small flipper knives with one hand

The Rise of Flipper Knives

Even though no one knows exactly who invented the first flipper knife, these tools have managed to attract many users over the years.

Compared to other mechanisms found on pocket knives, flipper pocket knives permit a rapid, one-hand deployment, which comes in handy in a wide variety of situations.

Simple to use and easy to maintain, a flipper knife provides people with a sharp cutting tool and a versatile self-defense weapon.

Generally speaking, pretty much every knife brand on the market nowadays offers several different models which utilize the flipping arrangement. That speaks a lot about the popularity of a flipper knife.

Working Principles 0f a Flipper Knife

The majority of flipper knives employ more or less the same construction: The blade is held in place by a ball bearing, which is connected to a protrusion or tab.

Simply by applying enough pressure on the exterior protrusion or tab, you would be able to overcome the ball bearing, and the knife is released.

As a result, users of a flipper knife could deploy the blade in a blink of an eye without much difficulty. In most cases, you should be able to deploy a flipper knife blade with one hand.

However, as time goes by, the knife’s ball bearing might wear out, and you need to use both hands to operate the blade.  

Proper Storage of a Flipper Knife

Although there are many fancy storage methods in circulation nowadays, it often takes little time and effort to store a flipper knife properly.

Several manufacturers claim that it’s best to store a standard flipper knife in its open position to extend the detent ball lifetime.

However, experienced knife users conclude that it’s fine to store a flipper knife in their closed position, especially when space and safety are major concerns.

Most of the time, the primary threat when it comes to knife storage is corrosion, which causes rusty blades. Therefore, you should store your flipper knife in a dry and cool place with minimum moisture present in the vicinity.

Cleaning and Maintaining a Flipper Knife

Having the best flipper knives around is meaningless if you don’t know how to keep them in good condition. Therefore, if you are relatively new to knives, you must know a couple of things regarding knife maintenance and associated issues.

Follow the guide down below, and you could preserve the quality of your flipper knife.  

Frequent Cleaning Is Absolutely Essential

Most of the time, one of the easiest ways to keep an ordinary flipper knife in shape is regular cleaning. That is often sufficient to eliminate any foreign elements that accumulate on certain components of your pocket knife.

Overall, lukewarm soapy waters work fairly well but remember to consider the flipper knife’s material.

Wood, abalone, and so on, might be damaged if you leave them submerged in water for too long by mistake. Once you are done, make sure you give the knife around 15 minutes to dry properly before doing anything else.

Corrosion is a constant danger that all knife users definitely need to keep in mind and avoid.

Provide the Knife With Lubricants

Flipper knives consist of various moving parts, so naturally, lubrication is an important maintenance task.

You should prioritize petroleum-based wet lubricants like Sentry Solutions Tuff Glide, Benchmade Blue Lube, and alike, for maximum effect.

That being said, cooking oils would also be sufficient if you’re in a hurry.

In addition to that, the way you use the knife greatly influences the choice of lubricant. If you use the knife to process food, you must use food-safe lubricants.

In any case, apply an appropriate amount of lubricant on the components and wipe up any excess at a moment’s notice. For safety reasons, you don’t want the knife to get slippery while cleaning it.

Sharpen the Knife Blade Periodically

“A dulled blade is a dangerous blade” is an important rule of thumb that flipper knife owners need to memorize.

Attempting to cut with a dulled blade generates a lot of frustration and could even lead to accidental injury.

Once you start to notice that you are unable to get a clean cut with your knife, it’s time for a re-sharpen session.

Nowadays, there are multiple sharpening kits that you could buy, and they often require basic knowledge and skill.

In case you are highly skilled at sharpening and want to give your blade a custom fit, you could try out unguided sharpening stones.  

Rusted Knife Blades: Solution for Flipper Knife Users

So, you’ve been neglecting the maintenance of your flipper knife, and one day, you suddenly realize that there are rusts on the knife blade?

Rusted blades are useless and outright ugly, so is there a way to return the blades to their original form? Here are a couple of tips and tricks to get rid of rust on your flipper knife.  

The Nature of Blade Rust

To put it plainly, rust is the direct consequence of corrosion when water and oxygen come in contact. In many cases, rust can still form without actual water because moisture in the air can still be sufficient.

That is why you need to keep your flipper knife dry and ensure that it’s not exposed to moisture while in storage.

Depending on the situation, the removal of rust can be fairly easy or extremely difficult. So it’s widely advised that you prevent blade rust from forming on your flipper knife in the first place.

All Knives Can Get Rusty

“But the blade of my flipper knife is made from stainless steel. It won’t rust, right?”

Well, it’s true that stainless steel (10.5% Chromium) indeed possesses excellent resistance against corrosion compared to standard steel in general.

Usually, the higher the chromium content, the stronger the rust resistance of the steel gets.

Nonetheless, stainless steel is far from perfect, and under certain conditions, pretty much every knife in circulation could get rusty.

Getting Rid of the Rust

Baking Soda

There are multiple ways to remove blade rust, and baking soda is often considered the most convenient one.

You don’t need to get advanced stuff. Just gather some baking soda, cleaning solutions, wools, and pieces of cloth.

  1. First, create a soda paste by mixing baking soda with water and stir everything up
  2. After that, spread the soda paste across the rusty surface of your flipper knife and start rubbing with the wools. Needless to say, don’t scrub too hard, or you may damage the blade finish.
  3. Finally, rinse the clothes with a cleaning solution and gently rub them all over the knife blade.

With luck, the blade rust should disappear after you finish.

Vinegar

In case baking soda is not readily available, vinegar is usually an excellent alternative. Ensure that you only use white vinegar as other vinegar types could leave stains on the blade surface.

  1. Just pour vinegar into a cup and proceed to immerse the rusty blade of your flipper knife inside it.
  2. Use paper towels if you don’t want to soak the knife blade completely, but in any case, the immersion time should not exceed 5 minutes.
  3. Once it’s done, wipe the blade thoroughly and throw in some high-quality mineral oil for additional rust protection.

WD-40

As you probably already know, WD-40 is an oil-based product that people often use to give lubrication and moisture protection to certain materials/tools.

Want to remove rust on your knife in a rush? Then WD-40 is exactly what you need for the task.

Remember that WD-40 is very harmful if digested, so remember to only use it for flipper knives that you’ll only use for non-food purposes.

Aside from that, just spray WD-40 on the blade’s rusty parts and sand them down using very fine sandpapers (roughly 400-grit or so).

While sanding, stay away from the edge, or you are might damage the tip or accidentally injure yourself.

Important Note: If you don’t have any of the materials above, you can try out traditional rust removal methods.

Just head to the fridge and grab a couple of potatoes or onions. Now, stick your knife right into the potatoes and wait an hour for the oxalic acid to do its job.

That acid works extremely well at removing rust, and potatoes have lots of it. For the onions, use the blade of your flipper knife to slice back and forth into them for a bit. Similar to potatoes, onions contain sulfenic acid, which can also remove blade rust.

What Not to Do When Handling a Flipper Knife

Two Unfolded flipper knives

At this point, you should have a firm grip on the maintenance of flipper knives and how to remove rust from their blade.

Nonetheless, it’s of utmost importance that you know the proper way to use your knife without causing unintended damages. Flipper knives are tough but remain far from indestructible.

Prying With the Blade Tip

Considering flipper knives’ handiness in general, some novices think it’s fine to use the blade tip as a prying tool. In reality, most flipper knives available for purchase are not designed to endure the excessive force associated with prying actions.

That means you would risk breaking the tip of the blade if you keep prying stubbornly with your flipper knife.

If you want to pry with a knife, then we strongly recommend you acquire dedicated, purpose-design models instead of using a flipper knife for such tasks.

The knife market has a couple of solid examples that are specifically made for prying, so don’t force your flipper knife to do this kind of work.

Tighten and Loosen Some Screws

Given that people mostly use screws like cross and slot drives, the flipper knife’s tip seems to be a convenient alternative for screwdrivers.

However, if you value your knife and wish to preserve its quality, you must never use the blade’s tip to tighten/loosen screws.

The shape of the blade would sustain damages as you continue to drive/remove screws. Not to mention that your flipper knife is essentially a cutting tool.

There is a chance that you can slip the blade and injure yourself. That is why if you want to manipulate screws and cut at the same time, just use a multi-tool.   

Strike the Blade With Hammers

It sounds odd, but certain people think that since striking steel with hammers can start a fire, then it’s possible to do that with flipper knives too.

Unfortunately, when you actually hit the blade of your knife with hammers, the result should be a broken knife.

Therefore, don’t copy survival shows and proceed to push your flipper over its limit as that would end well.

If you want to start a fire on an outdoor adventure, bring along lighters or fire starters and reserve your flipper knife for cutting tasks.   

Reputable Brands on the Market

Technically, you get your flipper knife from pretty much any manufacturer as long as you are certain that the knife suits your needs and requirements.

That being said, it’s a good idea to prioritize models from well-known names.

Competition in the knife market is fierce, so if a brand cannot provide quality products and reasonable customer support, it will not survive.

If a manufacturer is held in high regard by many knife users, the brand must have done something right. Here are some names you should keep an eye out for when looking for a reliable knife.

Spyderco

Pioneering various features found on modern-day folding knives, Spyderco is widely thought of as one of the most reputable manufacturers in the knife industry. Founded in 1978, Spyderco managed to attract a huge number of loyal customers over the rears.

Products that come from Spyderco often receive many praises for their robustness, ergonomics, and simplicity. By using up to 20 different blade materials and numerous technological innovations, Spyderco is fully capable of meeting most knife users’ demands. As a result, make sure to take a good look at Spyderco flipper knives that you come across.

Benchmade

Based in Oregon, United States, Benchmade is a rather familiar name on the knife market. Its knives see worldwide service in the hand of military personnel along with law enforcement. Benchmade knives are designed to withstand many waves of abuse and less than ideal operating conditions, making them ideal choices for challenging tasks.

Furthermore, Benchmade happens to be among the few manufacturers that offer high-speed steel for knives, and that is why people look to it when they need sharp cutting tools. So if you want a solid, US-made flipper knife, Benchmade has what you need.

SOG

Famous for its reproduction of Vietnam-era special operation knives, SOG provides the markets with several high-quality flipper knives. Most of the brand’s examples emphasize mobility and compactness, meaning if you want an EDC knife, SOG has a lot to offer.

Moreover, SOG folding knives are manufactured and assembled in the US, so users of SOG knives can rest assured that they made good investments. The brand post-purchase supports are excellent too, and if you experience any difficulty, you can always count on the customer service to offer timely assistance.  

Kershaw

Shopping on a limited budget? Then Kershaw has a couple of quality and affordable flipper knives for you to choose from. Specialized in making highly affordable knives, Kershaw is exactly the name to look for if you cannot go after high-end flipper knives.

The brand assisted-opening mechanism (known as SpeedSafe) ensures that Kershaw customers can quickly and safely deploy their knives. Considering the price, some users are surprised to see that Kershaw’s examples are quite competitive. When it comes to the matter of cost-effectiveness, no knife brand can outperform Kershaw.

Zero Tolerance

Highly lauded for their designs’ dependability and reliability, Zero Tolerance is a well-known flipper knife manufacturer. People that have money to spare enjoy Zero Tolerance products due to the presence of premium steel, expert craftsmanship, and top-notch attention to detail.

Coupled with the fantastic warranty policies and terms, Zero Tolerance easily proves itself to be among the most notable brands on the flipper knives market. If you appreciate quality over everything else and can actually afford it, Zero Tolerance flipper knives will not disappoint you.

Frequently Asked Question About Flipper Knives and Associated Issues

Is It Legal to Carry Around a Concealed Flipper Knife?

Regarding flipper knives and pocket knives in general, lawns and rules often vary substantially from place to place.

That means in certain cases, it’s illegal for you to bear any type of knife, let alone flipper knives.

As a result, it’s a good idea to have a firm grip on the local regulations and follow them.

In most cases, you should acquire everything you must know about knife carry in your place through the Internet and alike. The last thing you want to do is get into trouble with the authority and get a hefty fine or end up in jail.

Should I Bring Along a Couple of Different Flipper Knives?

Because flipper knives have rather modest profiles, some novice users like to carry several ones at the same time “just in case.”

Well, your pockets have limited space, so carrying a bunch of flippers knives is impractical. Not to mention the added weight, having too many flipper knives in your pocket would definitely attract unwanted attention due to the bulge they create.

Therefore, choose the knife that you like the most and then leave the rest at home once you head out. In case you really want to put all of your flipper knives to use, carry them alternately instead of stuffing everything into the pockets.

Should I Have My Flipper Knife on the Outside of My Pockets for Easy Deployment?

Various modern-day flipper knives come with belt clips, and a lot of inexperienced knife users casually leave their knives hanging outside of their pockets.

Sure, it looks kind of cool and lets you deploy the knife reasonably fast, but it wouldn’t be best to do so.

By clipping flipper knives like that, you risk dropping them after you lean against something. In the worst scenarios, you may even end up with a very nasty scratch.    

What Is HRC and Why Is It Important While Shopping for Knives?

Generally speaking, HRC (or Rockwell scale) is simply a measurement system used to determine a particular material’s hardness.

The higher the rating, the harder the material, but that doesn’t mean high HRC is always good, especially for flipper knives.

Namely, knives that use high HRC steels tend to experience certain chipping issues if misused. Aside from that, it often takes a long time to restore these knives’ sharpness if they get dulled.

On the other hand, most high HRC knives could retain their blade’s overall sharpness for quite some time.

Can I Wash My Flipper Knives in a Standard Dishwasher?

So, you’ve been using your flipper knife to process food and wondered if your dishwasher can do the cleaning

In reality, it’s very unwise to use your household dishwasher to clean flipper knives or any type of knife for that matter.

There is always a chance that the blade can be damaged because it can get knocked around during the washing cycle.

Aside from that, the dishwasher’s deterrents could contain corrosive chemicals, which lead to problems like corrosion and pitting on the blade steel.

It’s best to play it safe and wash your flipper knives by hand.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, selecting the best flipper knives for you is not a daunting task once you understand their features and consider your own situation beforehand.

You can ask an experienced user’s advice, but the products we listed above are also some of the best ones on the market that a lot of people can vouch for.

 

CHANGELOG:

October 5, 2021 - Added new product link options
September 17, 2021 - Marked 3 products as discontinued/unavailable
September 10, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links, updated article title

About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.