Knife Blade Types Guide [What They Are For]

Knives have come a long way. From man having made blades from flints and bones in the prehistoric age to presently versatile steel blades.

Initially, knives were mainly for hunting and self-defense. Still, humans got into more versatile materials like iron and copper, shaped for specialized cutting needs. Today, there is a knife blade type for every cutting need, from stabbing to trimming animal hooves.

Almost all of us at some time knew knives were for basic cutting, and we jumped to whatever had pleasing aesthetics and could last. If you’re still there, I am about to make you a master of blades. You will understand why and for what a blade has a specific shape. Stick around to know why a carpenter and paratrooper will never wield the same knife blade type.

Blade types

1. Standard/Normal Blade (Straight Back)

This blade type is famous for its strength and versatility. It has a straight spine and a curving edge that meet at the tip of the knife. The straight spine allows for use with both hands for more pressure. A famous standard blade knife is the Opinel.

A normal blade is sturdy and has a large cutting surface. Fewer curves and swoops allow it to handle chopping and other ordinary cutting duties easily. Many kitchen knives feature this blade type. An adaptation for wood chopping and thicket clearing would feature a thick and heavy blade.

2. Drop-Point Blade

Drop-point blades are easy to direct when using, thanks to their convex curved spine. The blade gets its name from the arc shape of its back. The spine starts to “drop” as it approaches the tip, where it meets the curve of the belly. The profile gives the blade strength and robustness.

This blade fits everyday life’s simple chores, making it very popular in the pocket and fixed blade knives. Many chef’s knives feature this profile as it offers more control while piercing or cutting. The unsharpened spine allows for a better grip for precise and detailed work.

3. Sheepsfoot Blade

This blade has an utterly straight edge and a convex-shaped spine, meeting at a non-piercing tip. The design is safe for use as penetration is highly minimized. The blade is easy to maneuver and agile, and more pressure applicable by putting a finger on the blunt back.

Initially made for trimming hooves on sheep, the Sheepsfoot blades find use in heavy-duty works with zero penetration needs. It’s the favorite blade type for knives used in rescue operations, woodcarving, and electrical works. This blade’s safe and close usability makes it an ideal edge for teaching newbies and children knife skills.

Read also: The 4 Different Types of Pocket Knives

4. Wharncliffe Blade

The Wharncliffe blade features a similar shape to that of a Sheepsfoot, but the spine curve extends gradually from the grip to the tip. The figure is ideal for cutting works with minimal piercing needs.

The Wharncliffe blades find application in close use knives for warehouses and offices. The tip is almost useless, and you’ll need a lot of effort to hurt yourself with one.

5. Clip-Point Blade

This blade gets its name from the seemingly ‘clipped’ section of the spine as it meets the tip. The shape of the clipped area may be straight or concave, with a sharpenable false edge. The end is needle-like and excellent for piercing and is either parallel to the blade’s center or spine.

The profile of clip-point blades makes them ideal for self-defense knives. The big belly is suitable for slashing and trimming works. Clip point blades are popular in hunting and fighting blades.

6. Tanto Blade

The tanto-style blade features a straight spine and a straight edge that angles upwards to meet the spine at the tip. The angle of the border as it approaches the end may be linear or convex, producing a solid tip. The thickness of the tip increases durability but reduces the piercing effectiveness.

This blade is very popular in tactical knives. Despite its sharpening difficulty, the blade has found a home in the western world for self-defense and heavy-duty work with lots of pushing and piercing.

7. Gut Hook Blade

These blades feature a slight sharp hook-like curve on the spine between the tip and grip. This blade type is a favorite for hunters and anglers, thanks to the gut hook ability in field dressing and cutting fishing lines.

Technically, the gut hook feature can be adapted in other blade types, as it is more of a part than a blade type. A downside of the gut hook blade is the inability to press down with the other hand: a slight mistake and the hook slices your finger.

8. Hawkbill/Talon Blade

As the name suggests, this blade type has a talon-like concave shape. The shape is adapted to grab materials quickly and slice through while keeping you safe. The profile doesn’t have an essential tip but very ideal for cutting and carving.

The blade has wide application in knives used while installing carpets. Hawkbill blades have a long history in combat and are very popular in fighting swords. A downside of talon blades is the difficulty in usage. It may take years before you can comfortably use them in combat.

You may read also: Common Knife Steel Types

9. Needlepoint Blade

The needlepoint blade features two symmetrical edges that taper sharply from grip to tip. The tip is needle-like, while the blade is long and slender. The design is exclusive to stabbing and piercing and hence mainly used for fighting. Though technically smaller than daggers, the needlepoint falls under weapons and maybe illegal to carry around.

The double sharpened edges make this blade tough to handle for everyday cutting. Besides, the spine is not thick enough to give the knife tensile strength.

10. Trailing-Point Blade

This blade derives the name from the tip’s ‘trailing point’ shape. The blade has ample cutting space given its length, thanks to the ‘trailing.’ The spine curves upward, meeting the edge at the tip.

The tip is very frail for stabbing, but the blade is ideal for slicing and slashing long even cuts. The long cutability of this blade finds wide application in hunting and general-purpose use blades. A downside is the low piercing ability of the tip.

11. Spear-Point Blade

The spear-point is similar to needlepoint but more symmetrical. The grind and bevel align on the centerline, making the tip lower than the axis. The blade may be single or double-edged—the design results in a more robust and more durable blade than a needlepoint.

Double-edged spear-point blades are mainly for combat, while a single-edge finds application in everyday cutting. A downside of the spear-point is the reduced cutting surface in favor of a slim lethal tip.

12. Kukri Blade

The Kukri blade originated in Asia as a militia weapon. Its versatility made it popular among farmers as it can till, harvest, and clear thickets. The Kukri blade features a re-curve in the middle of the belly, while the spine curves downwards towards the tip at the same spot.

The Kukri blade has wide application in farming and hunting blades. Its popularity in combat is also intact. The Kukri blade, though, is hefty and may require practice to handle easily.

Conclusion

Every knife blade type is specialized for a specific type of cutting. Choosing the best style for your needs may not be easy. Just like selecting your significant other, take your time because getting the right one is crucial. Reread our guide if necessary until you’re an informed blades’ shopper.

Are you still confused about knife blade types? That’s okay; no one gets it right the first time anyway. Go ahead and buy a few, try them, feel how they perform, and go with what you like. The right blade type makes your life easier and a lot stabbier.

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