Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Basics of Knives and Knife Points

I’m not a knife guy, I’m a gun guy. But the more knives I get, the more I’m becoming a gun/knife guy. If you’re not a knife guy (or person) you should know that all knives are not created equal. One blade may not be good for one job but is good for a different job.
Here are a few ideas.
Survival Knife
A survival knife is commonly regarded as the most important tool when you’re out in the wilderness. While choosing a survival knife is a personal task (what’s right for one person may not be right for another), there are a few things everyone should look for.
Full tang – A full tang design means the steel of the blade continues all the way to the end of the handle in one piece. This creates a stronger knife that can handle more stress.
Fixed Blade – A fixed blade knife is more durable. Folding knives tend to have shorter and thinner blades, which limits the ways in which they can be used. A fixed blade is your best bet in survival situations.
Length of Blade – For the most versatile survival knife, choose one with a blade between four to six inches. Also, the thicker the blade, the better it will stand up to hard use. A good general rule is about 3/16 -4/16 of an inch thick.
Pocket Knife
A pocket knife is exactly what its name implies, a knife that can be carried in your pocket. It’s a general purpose tool that comes in various designs and sizes. There are, however, a few common traits you’ll want to look for when considering a new pocket knife.
Every Day Carry (EDC) – An Every Day Carry knife is one that you regularly carry. For most knife enthusiasts, an EDC knife truly is carried every day.
Blade Length – Generally, a blade between 3 to 4 inches is best. A longer blade will make the knife more difficult to carry, and a blade that’s too short won’t be able to accomplish many of the tasks you’re likely to take on.
Durability – You won’t always be able to tell at first glance if a knife is going to be durable but look for things like coated blades or nylon handles, as these point to a stronger overall knife.
Hunting Knife
A good hunting knife will be versatile enough to do everything the hunter needs. But it’s not as simple as that. For instance, a large game hunter will want a much bigger knife than a rabbit hunter. Before purchasing your hunting knife, take the following into consideration.
Fixed Blade or Folders – Folders are easier to carry but fixed blades are generally better at getting the job done. They’re stronger and more reliable.
Full tang – Much like your survival knife, you’ll want a full tang design for your hunting knife too. Partial tang designs won’t work very well in this capacity.
Handles – Look for non-slip handles that are comfortable in the hand. You’ll be using your hunting knife a lot so you’ll want to make sure it’s comfortable.
As always, don’t forget to keep your knives sharp. Regular maintenance improves the longevity of your knives.
Here is also a comparison of knife blade points.

Clip Point

The clip point is one of the most popular blades in circulation today. The back (unsharpened) edge of a clip point has a concave shape, designed to make the tip sharper. This creates a "cut out" area that can be straight or curved.
Ideal Use: Clip-point blades are great for everyday needs, but can also be used for hunting. Since clip points have a narrow point, it's better for piercing and the deep belly makes it optimal for slicing.
Drop Point

The drop point is another great all-purpose blade. The dull section of the drop-point blade runs straight from the handle, eventually sloping down gently to meet the sharpened edge and forming the point.
Drop-point blades are usually found on hunting or survival knives, but they can also be found on some larger models of Swiss Army knives.
Ideal Use: Drop points are ideal for skinning and piercing, because they have a large belly and a controllable point that makes it easier to avoid nicking internal organs.
Straight-Back Blade

The straight-back blade is also referred to as a normal blade because it's a very traditional blade shape. The front of the knife has a curved edge while the back has a straight, dull back that allows for additional pressure.
Ideal Use: The normal blade is an all-purpose knife great for chopping and slicing, which is why it's a design you often find on kitchen knives.
Needle Point

A needle-point blade is symmetrical and sharply tapers into a point. The thin point is great for piercing objects, but it's very vulnerable and can break pretty easily. Needle-point blades have two sharp edges, but the lack of belly makes it difficult to use for slicing. Needle points are much less common on folding knives, but they can be found on certain knives like stilettos.
Ideal Use: The specialty of the needle point is piercing, so it's not good for much but it can be a great asset for self-defense.
Spear Point

On a spear-point blade, both edges rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up perfectly with the center of the blade. Spear-point blades have an extremely sharp point that is good for piercing, though only if both edges are sharpened.
Spear-point blades can be single or double-edged. They do have a small belly, but aren't nearly as well suited for slicing as drop-point or clip-point blades.
Ideal Use: The spear point is best with piercing, but unlike the needle point, it has a belly that allows for some slicing.
Tanto Point

The tanto point, which is also sometimes called the chisel point because of its resemblance to a chisel, is a well-liked point because of its unique look and strength. A tanto has a high point with a flat grind but no belly.
Ideal Use: The tanto point is not an all-purpose blade but its design does make it great for push cuts and piercing tougher materials.
Sheepsfoot Blade

If you're clumsy with a knife, do yourself a favor and get a sheepsfoot blade. Though ideal for cutting and slicing because of its flat cutting edge, a sheepsfoot blade has a dull point that makes it difficult—though not impossible—to injure yourself.
Ideal Use: Sheepsfoot knives are popular among emergency responders, as they allow them to slice away at seatbelts and other restraints without stabbing the victim by accident. They were originally made to trim a sheep's foot, which also makes them good for whittling.
Trailing Point

A trailing-point blade has a back that curves upward to make a deep belly perfect for slicing. This design is fairly lightweight, but the point is very weak.
Ideal Use: The large cutting area makes the trailing point ideal for skinning and slicing.
Pen Blade

This tiny blade is often found on Swiss Army knives. The dull and sharp sides of the blade slope at the same degree, making it appear similar to a spear point.
Ideal Use: These knives were previously used for sharpening a quill in order to make writing instruments. Though not exceptionally sharp, a pen blade is a great tool to have in your pocket and is perfect for small tasks.
Wharncliffe Blade

The wharncliffe is nearly identical to the sheepsfoot except for a few minor differences. First, the back of the blade starts to curve closer to the handle for a gradual curve. These blades are also significantly thicker than you'd normally see on a blade this size.
Ideal Use: Perfect for things like carving wood and cutting ability, the wharncliffe is a great all-around blade.
Spey-Point Blade

The spey-point blade gets its name from having the dubious honor of once being used to spey livestock. The blade has a mostly straight edge that curves upward and a straight back with a short flat edge that runs to the tip.
Ideal Use: Spey-point blades are often found on knives with multiple blades and are great for skinning fur-bearing animals.
Hawkbill Blade

The hawkbill is a very distinctive blade type that resembles the curved shape of a hawk’s bill. It has a concave cutting edge and the spine of the blade is typically dull.
Ideal Use: The shape of the blade is limiting so it isn’t great for everyday carry, but it excels at the jobs it’s good at, such as opening boxes, stripping wires, cutting cord and more.
Other Blade Shapes
The previous blade shapes are the most common ones that you'll see, but there are also an array of modified versions and completely original designs found in only a few knives. For example, Spyderco has several unique shapes like the leaf-shaped blade not found in this guide. By using the outline of the shapes above, you can figure out what the ideal use of any blade type would be.

There is a lot to consider when buying a knife. Do your homework and get the knife that is going to work best for you.

Semper Paratus
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