Pocket Knife Blade Types
One of the reasons that choosing the best pocket knife can be a challenge is that there are so many different blade types available. Each blade type has it’s own strong points and uses that it is good for. When choosing a pocket knife, it’s very helpful to understand the differences between the types of blades to help you choose the ones that will best suit your needs.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular blade types found on pocket knives nowadays.
Pocket Knife Blade Types
A straight back blade is the simplest of pocket knife blade shapes. The sharpened edge starts at bottom of the tang, follows a straight line for a little bit, then curves up to meet the point of the blade, where the back side extends in a straight line to the top side of the tang.
Benefits & uses of a straight back blade – Having a straight back on your knife blade makes the blade strong. It also makes it ideal for adding thumb pressure when slicing and chopping, and the straight dull back won’t hurt your thumb when adding a lot of pressure.
What’s the most common type of blade found on pocket knives these days? The clip point of course. A clip point blade has a back that extends out straight from the top of the tang, and then somewhere about halfway to 2/3 down the back it has a concave curve that extends out to the tip.
Benefits & uses of a clip point blade – The way that the back of the clip point blade curves in towards the tip, makes the blade a lot narrower at the end, which is great for more detailed knife work. For that reason, you’ll often see clip point blades on hunting and fishing knives, two activities that can require detailed knife work.
This is another very common style of pocket knife blade today. The shape of the back of the blade extends straight from the tang, and then curves down towards the tip where it meets the sharpened edge that curves up to meet it. The cutting edge commonly has a longer drawn out curve than the back does.
Benefits & Uses of a drop point blade – The tip of this blade, which is wider than a clip point blade, makes this style great for heavier tasks where you wouldn’t want the narrower clip point. Often times many hunting and survivakl knives have a drop point blade because it provides excellent cutting control yet is wide enough to be strong.
Spear point blades are symmetrical and are sharpened on just one side or on both sides, with both sides curving up at the same degree and meeting at the tip in the middle. The width of spear point blades can vary, with the narrower ones being weaker and the wider blades being stronger.
Benefits and uses of a spear point blade – Spear point blades are perfect for uses that require penetration, especially the double edged blades. Both edges being sharpened and curving in to the middle allow the blade to enter a substance smoothly.
A sheepsfoot blade is quite different than the styles above, as it has a straight sharpened edge, and a straight back that curves down drastically right at the end of the blade.
Benefits & uses of a sheepsfoot blade – Sheepsfoot blades are great for slicing and cutting because of the wideness of the blade and the straight cutting edge. There are also great for those who are clumsy because of the duller point. Often times emergency responders will use a sheepsfoot blade to cut off seat belts in auto accidents because the not-so-sharp pint is less likely to cut or pierce the individual that is being rescued. If you need to penetrate something, this is not the blade for you. If you want a nice safe blade for slicing, it would be a great choice.
A pen blade is similar to a spear point or drop point blade but is much smaller. Often times pen blades are found in pocket knives that have more than one blade. These blades were designed to sharpen quills, hence the name “pen blade”. The blades are small and narrow so they are not very strong.
Benefits & uses of a pen blade – Pen blades are great for small detailed uses, especially for every day uses such as opening envelopes and boxes. You’re not going to be whittling and statues with a pen blade but they sure can come in handy.
Spey blades have a straight back, and then angle down towards the curved tip. This causes the tip to not be very sharp due to the sharpened back side that angles down.
Benefits & uses of a spey blade – Spey blades are commonly used for slicing and skinning animals. Spey blades are not well suited for uses that require penetration
Learn More About Pocket Knives
I hope this gives you a better understanding of the types of blades commonly found on pocket knives today. Knowing the different types of blades isn’t all you need to know though to make an educated pocket knife purchase. Check out my pocket knife buying guide to learn everything you need to know.
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