8 Different Types of Knife Blades and Their Uses


By James Neste

Need a hunting knife but don't know which one is right for you? Buying a new blade can seem difficult with all of the different knife variations on the market. The decision process involves answering questions such as: "what type of knife should I buy? What are the different applications of all of the different blade designs, etc?" In this article, I hope to make the purchasing process simpler by describing some of the most common blade designs and their practical uses, for hunting knives on today's market.

Simple/Normal Blades

Characterized by the curving edge running parallel along a straight spine, a normal blade's two edges merge to form the tip of the knife.

With its curved design, force can be focused on a smaller area; which makes cutting easier and increases the effectiveness of the blade's edge. In terms of practical use, the simple blade can be used to chop as well as pick and slice; such as batoning wood or cutting rope. The single-edged blade design is best used for thrusting, this is due to a straight spine that does not catch material while penetrating. All in all, normal blades are ideal for heavier work, as the blade design provides a very strong and durable blade.

Trailing Point Blades

A trailing point blade has a large curved edge that curves upwards to end up above the spine.

The blade design provides a greater surface area along the edge of the blade (also referred to as the 'belly') due to the long blade curve. Consequently, this makes a trailing point blade ideal for slicing, slashing and making long, even cuts; which, is better suited for processing small game like fish. Because of its tip design, these blades are commonly found on fillet and skinning knives.

Drop Point Blades

Similar to a normal blade, a drop point blade has a convex curve that approaches the spine as the two edges merge to form the tip.

The blade's spine decreases towards the tip of the knife as it nears the end of the blade as the belly of the blade curves upwards to form the tip. The blade design is popular amongst a range of pocket and fixed blade knives; such as, the well- known Swiss Army Knife and many Chefs' knives. Drop point blades make completing simple tasks and chores a breeze; which, is why they are perfect for everyday carry (EDC).

Clip Point Blades

Similar to a simple/normal design, the clip point has a "mostly" straight spine.

The difference lies towards the tip of a clip point because the top half of the tip is "clipped off." This gives the back edge of the clip a false, concave edge; which, a majority of the time, can be sharpened to form a second edge. These types of knives are ideal for piercing or cutting in tight spots, as this blade design forms a much finer, needle-like tip. A classic example of a clip point blade is the iconic Bowie knife.

Spear Point Blades

A spear point design features a symmetrically shaped blade with its tip aligned along the centerline of blade axis.

Spear point blades are double-edged like a dagger or spear with the tip in the center. Due to its "spear tip" design, the point of the blade provides the greatest penetration capabilities. Playing on its strengths, the spear point design is used primarily as a thrusting weapon and is mainly used on tactical or fighting knives. These are not generally consider practical for everyday carry/use.

Spey Point Blades

Spey point blades have a straight spine that has a sharp, downward curve at the end of the blade and merges with the curved belly to form the point.

As a result, a slightly obtuse angle forms where the two edges meet at the tip; which makes the tip less likely to pierce accidentally when performing delicate work. The spey point design was originally used for spaying animals, where its name originates, but has become popular among today's hunters for skinning and dressing game.

Sheepsfoot Blades

A sheepsfoot blade is discernible by its completely straight edge.

Its spine is mostly straight until it slopes downwards to merge with the edge at the tip of the blade. As a result of this design, the blade itself does not actually have a "tip" and is primarily used for fine work such as woodcarving and electrical work. Historically, these blades were used for trimming hooves and found on ships for cutting rope, because the "no tip" design made it less likely to stab yourself while the ship was rocked by stormy seas. Sheepsfoot blades are not ideal for everyday use; however, they do make great instruments for teaching woodcarving and knife sharpening skills for those with less experienced hands.

Tanto Blades

Often times referred to as a chisel point blade, the tanto blade designs have both straight spine and belly edges that run parallel along the blade.

The belly nears the end of the blade and curves upwards at a sharp angle to merge with the spine to form the blade's tip. The tanto design is the Westerner's interpretation of the Japanese Kamasu Kissaki (Japanese Samuarai sword design). As a result of its design, the tanto blade produces a strong and durable tip while slightly decreasing its piercing effectiveness. The tanto blade is popular with tactical folding/fixed blade knives.

There are multiple blade variations in today's market, these are just eight of the most common blade designs you will find while trying to find your next hunting knife. With the many different application and uses, the type of blade depends on the user. I personally prefer to use a simple/normal blade design as my everyday carry; but I much rather take a trailing point blade with me when I go hunting or am out hiking. There are so many random scenarios you could run into in the outdoors, which is why it is wise to be prepared for any possibility. I recommend experimenting with different blade designs until you find what types work best for your specific needs.
For more information about knives and hunting in general check us out at http://www.YourHuntingKnifeSupply.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_Neste

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Types of Knives (from Wikipedia):

Knives as weapons:

As a weapon, the knife is universally adopted as an essential tool. It is the essential element of a knife fight. For example:

Ballistic knife: A specialized combat knife with a detachable gas or spring-propelled blade that can be fired to a distance of several feet or meters by pressing a trigger or switch on the handle.

Bayonet: A knife-shaped close-quarters fighting weapon designed to attach to the muzzle of a rifle or similar weapon.

Combat knife: Any knife intended to be used by soldiers in the field, as a general-use tool, but also for fighting.

Dagger: A double-edged combat knife with a central spine and edges sharpened their full length, used primarily for stabbing. Variations include the Stiletto and Push dagger.

Fighting knife: A knife with a blade designed to inflict a lethal injury in a physical confrontation between two or more individuals at very short range (grappling distance). Well known examples include the Bowie knife and the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife.

Rampuri: An Indian gravity knife of formidable reputation having a single edged blade roughly 9 to 12 inches long.

Shiv: A crudely made homemade knife out of everyday materials, especially prevalent in prisons among inmates. An alternate name in some prisons is Shank.

Trench knife: Purpose-made or improvised knives, intended for close-quarter fighting, particularly in trench warfare, some having a d-shaped integral hand guard.

Butterfly knife: A folding pocket knife also known as a "balisong" or "batangas" with two counter-rotating handles where the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles.

Knives as sports equipment:

Throwing knife: A knife designed and weighted for throwing

Knives as utensils:

A primary aspect of the knife as a tool includes dining, used either in food preparation or as cutlery. Examples of this include:

Bread knife: A knife with a serrated blade for cutting bread.

Boning knife: A knife used for removing the bones of poultry, meat, and fish.

Carving knife: A knife for carving large cooked meats such as poultry, roasts, hams, etc.

Chef's knife: Also known as a French knife, a cutting tool used in preparing food.

Cleaver: A large knife that varies in its shape but usually resembles a rectangular-bladed hatchet. It is used mostly for hacking through bones as a kitchen knife or butcher knife, and can also be used for crushing via its broad side, typically garlic.

Butcher's Knife: A knife designed and used primarily for the butchering and/or dressing of animals.

Electric knife: An electrical device consisting of two serrated blades that are clipped together, providing a sawing action when powered on.

Kitchen knife: Any knife, including the chef's knife, that is intended to be used in food preparation.

Oyster knife: Has a short, thick blade for prying open oyster shells.

Paring or Coring Knife: A knife with a small but sharp blade used for cutting out the cores from fruit.

Rocker knife: A knife that cuts with a rocking motion, which is primarily used by people whose disabilities prevent them from using a fork and knife simultaneously.

Table knife or Case knife: A piece of cutlery, either a butter knife, steak knife, or both, that is part of a table setting, accompanying the fork and spoon.

Ulu: An Inuit woman's all-purpose knife.

Knives as tools:

As a utility tool the knife can take many forms, including:

Balisong: A folding knife also known as a "butterfly knife" or "batangas", with two handles counter-rotating around the tang such that, when closed, the blade is hidden within the handles.

Bowie knife: Commonly, any large sheath knife, or a specific style of large knife popularized by Jim Bowie.

Crooked knife: Sometimes referred to as a "curved knife", "carving knife" or in the Algonquian language the "mocotaugan" is a utilitarian knife used for carving.

Diver's knife: A knife adapted for use in diving and water sports and a necessary part of standard diving dress.

Electrician's knife: A short-bladed knife used to cut electrical insulation.

Hunting knife: A knife used to dress large game.

Kiridashi: A small Japanese knife having a chisel grind and a sharp point, used as a general-purpose utility knife.

Linoleum knife: is a small knife that has a short, stiff blade with a curved point and a handle and is used to cut linoleum or other sheet materials.

Machete: A large heavy knife used to cut through thick vegetation such as sugar cane or jungle undergrowth; it may be used as an offensive weapon.

Palette knife: A knife, or frosting spatula, lacking a cutting edge, used by artists for tasks such as mixing and applying paint and in cooking for spreading icing.

Paper knife: Or a "letter opener" it is a knife made of metal or plastic, used for opening mail.

Pocket knife: a folding knife designed to be carried in a pants pocket. Subtypes include:

-Lockback knife: a folding knife with a mechanism that locks the blade into the open position, preventing accidental closure while in use.

-Multi-tool and Swiss Army knife, which combine a folding knife blade with other tools and implements, such as pliers, scissors, or screwdrivers.

Produce knife: A knife with a rectangular profile and a blunt front edge used by grocers to cut produce.

Rigging knife: A knife used to cut rigging in sailing vessels.

Scalpel: A medical knife, used to perform surgery.

Straight razor: A reusable knife blade used for shaving hair.

Survival knife: A sturdy knife, sometimes with a hollow handle filled with survival equipment.

Switchblade: A knife with a folding blade that springs out of the grip when a button or lever on the grip is pressed.

Utility knife: A short knife with a replaceable triangular blade, used for cutting sheet materials including card stock, paperboard, and corrugated fiberboard.

Wood carving knife and whittling knives: Knives used to shape wood in the arts of wood carving and whittling, often with short, thin replaceable blades for better control.

X-Acto knife: A scalpel-like knife with a long handle and a replaceable pointed blade, used for precise, clean cutting in arts and crafts.

Knives as a traditional or religious implement:

Athame: A typically black-handled and double-edged ritual knife used in Wicca and other derivative forms of Neopagan witchcraft.

Kirpan: A ceremonial knife that all baptised Sikhs must wear as one of the five visible symbols of the Sikh faith (Kakars).

Kilaya: A dagger used in Tibetan Buddhism.

Kris: A dagger used in Indo-Malay cultures, often by royalty and sometimes in religious rituals.

Kukri: A Nepalese knife used as both tool and weapon.

Puukko: A traditional Finnish or Scandinavian style woodcraft belt-knife used as a tool rather than a weapon.

Seax: A Germanic single-edged knife, used primarily as a tool, but may have been a weapon.

Sgian Dubh: A small dagger traditionally worn with highland dress.