Review: FHM Balicomb

For whatever reason, I ended up looking for some sort of folding comb a long time ago and stumbled across this Taiwanese one by VOODIST. Alas, a Taiwanese made (no shots) balisong with no other reviews on it wouldn’t justify the retail price plus proxy fees. With my hair getting longer and those autumn winds starting to pick up I found myself needing a comb too often. A stroke of luck on the bay led me to Jay’s shop, (now operating as Pinoy Steel here on tumblr, waddup Jay) where I found the last of two Filipino Hand Made (FHM) balicombs with these materials straight from Taal, Batangas. Because this particular model is relatively rare, I wanted to share it with my readers in a bit more depth than just pictures!

The fit and finish on this is excellent, a reflection of authentic Batanguenyo craftsmanship. Everything is solid and substantial. While this weight may be uncomfortable for pocket carry in something like slacks or chinos, at just over 4” it should be tolerable living your jeans’ coin pocket. The heft is welcome, though, as it gives a feeling of quality. The insides of the handles are a little dirty, and after some cotton swabs and isopropanol I couldn’t get the grime completely out. Luckily that doesn’t dirty the comb itself.

The materials on the balicomb are especially nice… Traditional brass bolsters (although I think I would have liked stainless bolsters a little better), pin construction and Kamagong wood inserts. This exceptionally strong wood appears almost black in the photos, but in reality it’s just a beautifully rich, dark shade of ebony… It’s hard to describe, but it looks very classy.

The comb itself is made of 303 stainless steel. Because it might need some washing, I wouldn’t say it’s ideal for initial styling (especially with product like pomade) but it is more than adequate for touching up on the go. The teeth are not super fine but they get the job done, and I’d rather have indestructible teeth than fine, flimsy ones. Upon arrival, there were some sort of carbon deposits (read: black stuff) between the teeth that I had to clean out with a toothpick. As this is a solid steel comb, exercise caution when running this across your scalp…!

The comb boasts an impressive 3/16” thickness. It’s so sturdy I’m sure that in the right hands this thing could do some damage. However, because it’s a comb, this bali is perfectly legal for EDC anywhere! Without a live blade, it should make for a decent trainer. The teeth still bite, so you do learn to be more cautious when manipulating the bite handle, but it’s not sharp enough to cut. Out of the box it doesn’t flip well. In fact, it’s quite stiff, but I suppose that’s how balisongs are made in the Philippines to ensure the product is new. IIRC, balis are commonly opened with both hands and not always flipped (#metaracistpun). With some manipulation and food grade mineral oil, the pivots are smoothening up nicely and it’s now capable of flipping open. The latch side is still stiff, so no videos of my lack of skills just yet!

Two other things I noticed when trying to flip is that the tang pin wiggles in and out a little bit, but I don’t think it’s a problem. Lastly, the latch can’t close and lock from a fully open configuration, as it makes insurmountable contact with the end of the comb. Other than that, everything is great.

I plan on EDCing this and learning to flip it a little bit, but I haven’t had to use it in public yet to actually comb my hair. We’ll see how comfortable I feel deploying what looks like a balisong in public…

Until then, thanks for reading and carry on.