Guide To Blade Types
It’s time to get nerdy about knives. Even if you’re not a knife enthusiast, you have probably noticed that the blades come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This isn’t just so you can brag like Crocodile Dundee – they’re all designed for different uses. If you’re in the market for a new knife, you need to consider what you’re going to be using it for. Some knives have very specific designs and some are multi-purpose. Find out which style of knife you need in our ultimate guide to blade types.
Simple Blade (Normal)
The simple (or normal) blade does what it says on the tin. It has a straight back and a curving edge that meets the tip of the knife. This simple design makes it perfect for both accurate and heavy-duty cutting, which is why it’s one of the most common blade styles.
Clip Point (Bowie)
A clip point blade is similar to a simple blade, in that most of the spine is straight. However, it has a small section cut out (or clipped) at the end, which makes it effective for piercing and cutting in tight spots. A bowie knife is a larger fixed-blade knife made famous by Jim Bowie in the 19th Century. He used his knife in the famous sandbar fight.
The drop point is one of the most common knife blades. The stainless steel spine starts to drop towards the tip, which gives it a very strong tip that is easy to direct and a bigger belly when slicing down. Most chefs’ knives are drop point, as well as the famous Swiss Army Knife.
One of the more graphically named blade styles, the gut hook is designed specifically for hunters. It has a hook on the end of the spine that allows you to cut through an animal’s skin, without damaging what’s underneath the skin.
Hawkbill (or talon) knives are claw-shaped. They aren’t very useful for piercing objects but are an essential tool for people that work with soft materials. The shape makes it easy to grab the material, without the risk of slipping and cutting your hands. They are also sometimes used as a defensive, slashing weapon.
A Karambit is an Indonesian blade that’s similar to the hawksbill in shape. It was originally designed as a farming tool but has become more commonly known as a fighting blade. Karambit knives are curved to maximize the overall length of the cutting area. And, it has a small hole on the end of the handle to put your finger through for grip.
Needle point blades are typically only used for stabbing and fighting. The thin, symmetrical blade makes them effective at piercing, but they are not much use for anything else. They are also one of the weakest blades, because of the thin design.
The dagger is one of the best-known blade types there is. It has two sharp edges and an extremely sharp point, which makes it the perfect fighting knife. It has a long history of being used in conflicts and the distinctive shape has made it a symbol for special forces like the SAS.
This blade type is designed specifically for slicing. It has a curved spine that extends gradually from the handle to the tip. This reduces the risk of accidental piercing with the tip of the blade. Because of this design, the shape is commonly used in folding pocket knives and utility knives.
A spear point blade has two sharp edges that curve at the end to form the tip. Because of this shape, they are used for thrusting and stabbing. They are not designed to have many practical uses and are primarily carried as fighting knives. Daggers are technically spear point knives, but the term dagger is used for a lot of different blade styles.
Sheepsfoot blades are very similar to Wharncliffe blades, in that they are single-edged knives that have a curved spine. They were originally designed to trim the hooves of sheep, but are now used in many different knife designs.
The machete is one of the most recognizable blade styles. Some experts debate that it should be categories as a short sword or ax, but we think it deserves a mention anyway. Machetes are used all over the world for agricultural purposes, but they have also developed a reputation as a popular weapon in political uprisings.
Spey point blades have a straight edge with a sudden, straight dip toward the tip. This makes them ideal for skinning and dressing animals because they are less likely to pierce accidentally when performing accurate cuts. They were originally designed for neutering farm animals, but are now more commonly used as hunting knives.
Inspired by Japanese short swords, the tanto blade is one of the most commonly used in tactical knives. This is because it has an angular-edged designed (instead of a curved belly), which makes it much stronger at the tip. The only problem with them is that they’re more difficult to sharpen than other blade styles.
Trailing point blades have a large curved spine that curves upwards at the end. This shape gives it a large belly and a similar hooking ability to the hawksbill. They have been known to be used as slashing knives but are more commonly used for preparing fish and meat.
A blade with serrations (sharp teeth) along one side is called serrated knives. These are used for cutting bread, hunting, and many other applications. Some knife experts dispute their effectiveness as tactical knives, but they are essential in the kitchen. The sharp teeth give them a saw-like action that can cut through tough materials.
A paring knife is a thin blade that is designed for peeling fruit and performing other controlled tasks. The thin blade and sharp point make it perfect for detailed cutting, which is why it’s often used by expert chefs.