Picking out a knife for your EDC is harder than one would expect. There are so many different models in a surprising number of styles and materials and the price range dramatically varies from a model to the other. Most of the times, one will choose a blade only if it looks cool, without knowing that looks can be deceiving and the knife he buys might not be the right one for him. You should at least know why the blade is shaped in a particular style and what it is good for.
The blade is the part of the knife that slices, chops or pierces as measured from the furthest tip to the beginning of the handle. The blade does all the work and it’s important to know how its shape will work in your favor based on the tasks it has to complete.
Here are the types of blade you will encounter during your hunt for the best knife:
The Clip Point blade type
The spine continues straight past the handle and partway across the spine near the tip of the blade angles downward. It looks as if part of the blade has been cut out, but the purpose of this design is to make the tip sharper while also lowering it to provide a little more control. It is one of the most popular knives.
Advantages of the Clip Point blade type:
- Sharp, controllable tip
- Good for piercing and stabbing
- Lots of belly for slicing
Disadvantages of the Clip Point blade type:
- A narrow tip without much strength
The Drop Point blade type
The spine gradually drops in a convex angle to the tip where to meet with the bottom in a sharp point. This gives the knife lots of control while retaining more strength. The belly of the knife has a large surface area for slicing. The point isn’t as sharp as the clip point design, but they do really well as a skinning knife.
Advantages of the Drop Point blade type:
- Strong wide tip, less prone to breaking
- Great all-purpose blade
- Large cutting area on the belly for slicing
- Popular for hunting and survival knives
Disadvantages of the Drop Point blade type:
- Broad tip, not a good piercer
- Not as sharp as the Clip Point
The Tanto Point blade type
This is the Americanized blade of a famous Japanese style. It is a knife designed for fighting, thrusting, stabbing and slicing. It features a blade with two distinct edge angles and these two angles meet toward the tip at an obtuse angle. The design creates an extremely strong tip that can pierce through heavy materials. It’s not an everyday carry type of blade for most of the people, although, in most situations, it cuts just fine.
Advantages of the Tanto Point blade type:
- Good blade for precision work
- Solid point
- Great for piercing or stabbing through hard materials
Disadvantages of the Tanto Point blade type:
- Not easy to sharp
- Very little belly for slicing
The Dagger blade type
Or also known as the needlepoint, this blade features two cutting edges and is primarily used in close combat situations. It has a specific purpose, and that is stabbing and piercing soft targets. It is not a very strong blade and can break against hard surfaces reasonably easily.
Advantages of the Dagger blade type:
- Sharp point and thin blade makes it ideal for piercing
Disadvantages of the Dagger blade type:
- A fragile tip and generally weak blade that can break easily
- No belly for slicing
The Sheepsfoot Point blade type
A blade designed for slicing and chopping, with the spine that curves down to the end of the blade and forms a blunt tip. The cutting edge of the blade is straight to provide a broad cutting area. The solid back of the knife offers a stable surface for applying additional pressure when chopping or cutting. It’s a favorite blade for rescue, rafting, and sailing knives.
Advantages of the Sheepsfoot blade type:
- Provides lots of control
- Easy to sharpen
- Effective at slicing with a clean cut
- Tip is strong and durable
Disadvantages of the Sheepsfoot blade type:
- No sharp point, not suitable for stabbing
The Spear Point blade type
This blade has a similar design with the drop point but the difference is that the point is located in the middle of the blade. The spine and edge curve symmetrically to the tip. In many cases, both sides of the blade will be sharpened, while other blades will have a swedge or false edge. It is a design used in throwing knives.
Advantages of the Spear Point blade type:
- Strong point
- Good for thrusting
Disadvantages of the Spear Point blade type:
- Small cutting edge for slicing
The Trailing Point blade type
The Trailing point blade has a spine that curves upward with the tip higher than the spine and the blade edge sweeps upward to the tip. This blade is used for skinning and it is also found on filet knives. The curve of the blade provides a larger belly for slicing.
Advantages of the Trailing Point blade type:
- Good for skinning
- Great for slicing and slashing action
- The high tip is out of the way
Disadvantages of the Trailing Point blade type:
- The tip is fairly weak
The Hawkbill blade type
The Hawkbill is a style of knife blade with a concave cutting edge and claw-like shape. This blade type is designed primarily to cut by a pulling or raking motion and has both utilitarian and martial applications. Utility knives of this type are used to make long, continuous cuts in surfaces, with the idea to reduce the wasted effort of simultaneously pressing the blade into the item as one would with a straight blade
The Advantages of the Hawkbill blade type:
- An ideal knife for fishermen (to cut line, webbing and netting)
- Good for self-defense
- Good use of the tip
The Disadvantages of the Hawkbill blade type:
- Not a very strong tip, it will dull quicker
The Leaf-shaped blade type
It is similar to a spear point, but not entirely symmetrical, and has a more acute point and typically no swedge. It is a blade used for self-defense due to its fine point and excellent maneuverability.
Advantages of the leaf-shaped blade type:
- Fine point is good for piecing and detail work
- It has a long belly that makes it a good EDC
Disadvantages of the leaf-shaped blade type:
- The blade is usually small and it’s not recommended for stabbing
The Wharncliffe blade type
The Wharncliffe is a blade shape in which the point of the knife tapers downward from the spine to meet a straight cutting edge at the tip. It is similar in profile to a sheep’s foot, but the curve of the back edge starts closer to the handle and is more gradual. Its blade is much thicker than a knife of comparable size. Wharncliffe was used by sailors, as the shape of the tip prevented accidental penetration of the work or the user’s hand with the sudden motion of a ship.
Advantages of the Wharncliffe blade type:
- Good for whittling
- Can get into small holes
- Easy to sharpen
Disadvantages of the Wharncliffe blade type:
- It has a fragile tip
The Kukri blade type
The Kukri is a blade design of Nepalese origins with an inwardly curved blade, similar to a machete. It is the utility knife of the Nepalese people but it is also used as a weapon, being used by the Nepalese Army. It is a blade designed primarily for chopping. The Kukri blades usually have a notch at the base of the blade and various reasons are given for this, both practical and ceremonial: that it makes blood and sap drop off the blade rather than running onto the handle; that it delineates the end of the blade while sharpening.
Advantages of the Kukri blade type:
- Good for chopping action
- Robust blade
- Good fighting weapon that provides a penetrative force disproportional to its length
Disadvantages of the Kukri blade type:
- Impractical for delicate tasks
The knife I own is a Gerber Survival Knife with a drop point blade. It’s sturdy, it has a pull through sharpener and a fire starter incorporated into sheath, but most importantly I like it because it was a gift from my wife.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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