One of the most important things, before you buy a knife, is to know what are the different types of blades that exist. Every blade design has its advantages and disadvantages and having this information helps you to select the knife that is best suited for your requirements.
Now, to identify the blade type of a knife – the first thing you need to do is to examine the back edge or the unsharpened edge. Its shape and curvature mostly determine the type of blade. With this small info out of the way let’s begin with our first blade type which is the normal blade.
As already stated let’s examine the back edge – In a normal blade the back edge is straight and the sharpened front edge curves to meet it at the endpoint. Many people consider this design to be the best for thrusting since after the initial thrust the entire width of the blade is created.
Second in our list and one of the popular blade types is the clip point blade type which is characterized by a back edge that runs straight from its origin (near the handle) to the mid of the blade. Thereafter it curves until it reaches the point of the knife. Now, to make this curvature in the back edge some part of the blade is clipped off and this is what gives a Clip point blade its name.
Clip Point Blade Type
The main advantage of a clip point is that it has a very sharp edge point and hence clip points make a very good piercing tool. Additionally, the curvature of the back enables the front sharpened edge to be long enough making it also good for slicing. Finally, since the edge point is generally very narrow, clip points are very good for use in tight spots. However, generally the edge points are weak.
Next comes the drop point blade type – which is characterized by a back that originates near the handle and reaches the edge point in a single curved shape. There are no midpoints or changes in curvature. The single curved design of the back gives the drop points a highly controllable endpoint. Again the drop point has a sharp edge point making it good for piercing. Additionally, plenty of sharp bottom edge makes it a good slicing tool as well.
Drop Point Blade
Next on our list is again a popular type which is the tanto blade type. The tanto blade has a high point with a flat grind, leading to an extremely strong point. The front edge of the tanto knife meets the back (unsharpened) edge at an angle, rather than a curve. The tanto blade does not have a belly, which is sacrificed in exchange for a stronger tip, so it is not useful as a general utility knife. However, its extremely strong point allows it to be used in tough situations where piercing hard materials are needed.
Tanto Point Blade Type
Fifth on our list is the dagger blade type which is also commonly referred to as the needle blade. This type of blade is characterized by the fact that there is no back edge. The edge point is right at the center of the blade making this type of blade the best thing for piercing. However, generally, the blade is thin – the edge points are weak and only intended to pierce softer materials. Another disadvantage of a needle point is that since it is designed for piercing – these are not good for slicing works. This type of blade has been developed mostly as a piercing weapon in close combat situations.
Dagger Blade Type
Next is the spear point blade type. Just as in the needlepoint – the edge point is right at the central axis of the blade. They can have both one or two sharpened edges. As opposed to the needlepoint, however – the blade being thicker provides a tip that is both sharp and strong.
Spear Point Blade Type
Seventh in line comes the trailing point blade type. This type is characterized by the back edge that curves upwards after its origin point. The major advantage of this design is that the upward curvature further elongates the front sharpened edge and hence these are very good for slicing. Because of this they are a natural choice for skinning or filleting knives.
Trailing Point Blade Type
Finally the gut hook blade type. These have a sharpened semi-circle on the back edge of the knife. These are specially designed for field dressing operations while hunting. For this purpose a small cut is made in the skin – the sharp semi-circle edge placed in it and the knife is then pulled back like a zipper ripping open the skin without cutting the internal organs. This said – gut hooks are a natural choice for field dressing because of their hook and also of the large sharpened under edge for slicing or skinning. However one of the biggest disadvantages of gut hooks is the fact that it is very difficult to sharpen the hook once it becomes dull.
Gut Hook Type Blade
The hawkbill blade type is a hook-shaped blade that has a concave belly or a sharpened edge.
This blade design is good for cutting textiles, ropes, and other such things. Since this design is one of the best for cutting nylon ropes a lot of marine knives use this blade design. One of the best examples of a hawksbill blade is the karambit knife which originated in the Indonesian region. However, that said these cannot be used for piercing or push cuts as the blade’s curvature disallows this.