Blade Types

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Blade Types

Postby xRapidDavex » Sun 05 Apr 2009 3:17 am

I'm looking for an EDC knife that will be used as a utility blade to cut rope, boxes, tape, etc. BUT will fulfill the purpose of emergency defensive deployment.

I need all of these questions answered, please quote my post and put your thoughts after each question:


1) What is the hype with a partially serrated knife? Wouldn't this be more helpful for food preparation/cutting bone?

2) What is a good blade shape? Reverse tanto, spear point, etc for my aforementioned uses?

3) Does anyone know of a good steel chart so I know what ones to avoid? Mainly curious about holding an edge and rust resistance.

4) What is the difference between types of edge cuts? Specifically, hollow cut vs. flat ground.

I'm looking for something with assisted opening (not auto open). So far I'm considering:
SOG Flash II http://www.amazon.com/SOG-Specialty-Knives-FSA-8-Flash/dp/B000IXC7IW/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1238925314&sr=8-1

SOG Aegis http://www.thebladeshop.com/SOG_Aegis_Zytel_Handle_Plain_SOGAE_01_p/sogae-01.htm

Kershaw Blur http://www.thebladeshop.com/Kershaw_K_O_Blur_K1670RD_p/k1670rd.htm

Ontario Rat 1 http://www.amazon.com/Ontario-Folder-Black-Blade-Plain/dp/B001E8EM2E/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1238927604&sr=8-1

I'm leaning towards the Flash II, but the Kershaw seems like it would be a more durable handle than either SOG. The Flash II looks like a more reasonable sized blade for EDC use, but the Blur means business for self defense.

One of my biggest concerns is weather to go with a plain edge or partially serrated. I will carry this with the pocket clip on my weak side, so clip adjustment for that type of deployment is a must.

Preferred expense would be $60 or under with tax included.
It's not so much that the gun does or doesn't do what it's supposed to, it's simply not running anymore. So if it doesn't run, what I do is sort of wang on it until it does.

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Re: Blade Types

Postby MarshallDodge » Sun 05 Apr 2009 8:55 am

Here is an excellent link that will answer ALL of your questions: http://www.google.com :D

Benchmade's site is another source of good info: Blade styles and materials

Here is my personal experience:

I have been carrying a Benchmade Mini-Griptilian for the last five years and it has served me very well. The blade is made of 440C which keeps a good edge and sharpens easily with a kitchen steel. Benchmade upgraded to 154CM in 2006. The axis lock is a wonderful invention that makes opening and closing a breeze and is very strong. They are a little more than what you want to spend but they are made in USA and are an excellent value for the price.

I don't care for serrations. There are many schools of thought as to why you should have them on your knife. One of them is rescue personnel who have to slash through a seat belt, etc. to quickly get a person out of a vehicle. For food preparation I find an un-serrated blade easier to use.

The tanto blade is strong and great for piercing through material. The knife that I carry everyday has a modified drop point and I like it better than my knife with the tanto blade. Tanto blades tend to be thick and have sharper angles which makes it a little more difficult to cut through material.

I also don't care for assisted knifes. I can open the Griptilian with one hand easier than an assisted knife. The assisted knife has a strong spring that you have to overcome before it starts to open. Some of them have a "safety" which have become engaged while in my pocket. When I pulled out the knife it would not operate. This may be something to thing about if your are going to trust your life to your knife.

As far as your choice of knives, I only have experience with the SOG when I carried a Flash I. It worked well but was a little small so I gave it to Mrs. Dodge. I like the way they place the clip at the top of the knife but there is a drawback. Having the clip at the top makes the knife handle nearly disappear in your pocket but having it in that location puts a lot of stress on the clip and can bend it.

I would recommend doing a little research on knife fighting. All of the experts say that no matter how much experience you have with knife fighting, you will get cut. It's the guy that inflicts the bigger wounds that will win.
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Re: Blade Types

Postby xRapidDavex » Sun 05 Apr 2009 10:16 am

MarshallDodge wrote:Here is an excellent link that will answer ALL of your questions: http://www.google.com :D

Believe it or not, google is NOT my friend in this case. Everyone that talks about knives can't do so without cutting through the bull [auto-filtered], and makes the description of the blade as convoluted as possible.

Benchmade's site is another source of good info: Blade styles and materials

Thanks for this link.

I would recommend doing a little research on knife fighting. All of the experts say that no matter how much experience you have with knife fighting, you will get cut. It's the guy that inflicts the bigger wounds that will win.

Let me clear this up: I don't plan on getting in a knife fight by any means. I plan on deploying this in an emergency situation if I'm on the ground with the guy on top of me and perhaps I've lost my gun or can't get to it. I'm just trying to get some more options and it seems that the Flash II is the most discreet.
It's not so much that the gun does or doesn't do what it's supposed to, it's simply not running anymore. So if it doesn't run, what I do is sort of wang on it until it does.

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Re: Blade Types

Postby riowood » Sun 05 Apr 2009 4:04 pm

You may want to go to youtube and check out some of this guy's videos. He seems to know a lot about knives and it might be helpful.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_t ... fancy&aq=f

Just another thought to help you with your decision. Good luck.
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Re: Blade Types

Postby xRapidDavex » Sun 05 Apr 2009 5:20 pm

riowood wrote:You may want to go to youtube and check out some of this guy's videos. He seems to know a lot about knives and it might be helpful.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_t ... fancy&aq=f

Just another thought to help you with your decision. Good luck.


He's the guy I have been watching. He knows a lot about blades but he doesn't go into specific examples about his "every day cutting tasks".
It's not so much that the gun does or doesn't do what it's supposed to, it's simply not running anymore. So if it doesn't run, what I do is sort of wang on it until it does.

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Re: Blade Types

Postby dons » Sun 05 Apr 2009 10:20 pm

nutnfancy is a Lt. Colonel and has also been a LEO, or may still currently be. He lives here in Utah and has a number of great videos, I highly respect his input into many of the reviews he has done.
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Re: Blade Types

Postby xRapidDavex » Sun 05 Apr 2009 10:58 pm

He does live here?? I thought he was just visiting. Man, I would LOVE to go shooting with him.
It's not so much that the gun does or doesn't do what it's supposed to, it's simply not running anymore. So if it doesn't run, what I do is sort of wang on it until it does.

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Re: Blade Types

Postby xRapidDavex » Tue 07 Apr 2009 9:19 pm

I'm not getting the responses I thought I would on this thread. You knife nuts, please chime in.
It's not so much that the gun does or doesn't do what it's supposed to, it's simply not running anymore. So if it doesn't run, what I do is sort of wang on it until it does.

-Clint Smith [on malfunction clearances]
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Re: Blade Types

Postby Cinhil » Tue 07 Apr 2009 9:37 pm

Go to this link:
http://www.ebladestore.com/articles/steel-alloys.shtml

To make things simpler, here is what is included there which should answer your questions, or at least help you further refine your selection:

One thing to keep in mind is that there's more to knife performance than the steel. The blade profile is also important (a tanto format isn't the best choice to skin a deer, for example). But perhaps most important is the heat treatment. A good solid heat treatment on a lesser steel will often result in a blade that outperforms a better steel with inferior heat treatment. Bad heat treatment can cause a stainless steel to lose some of its stainless properties, or cause a tough steel to become brittle, etc. Unfortunately, of the three most important properties (blade profile, steel type, heat treatment), heat treatment is the one that is impossible to assess by eye, and as a result excessive attention is sometimes paid to the other two.

Remember also to keep your particular application in mind. 440A is often scoffed at, but I'd rather have my salt water dive knife made of 440A than L-6. Properly heat treated 5160 is wonderfully tough, but if my application is skinning deer, I'm probably more interested in edge holding ala 52100. And on and on.

Steel Alloys: At its most simple, steel is iron with carbon in it. Other alloys are added to make the steel perform differently. Here are the important steel alloys in alphabetical order, and some sample steels that contain those alloys:

Carbon: Present in all steels, it is the most important hardening element. Also increases the strength of the steel. We usually want knife-grade steel to have >.5% carbon, which makes it "high-carbon" steel. Chromium: Added for wear resistance, hardenability, and (most importantly) for corrosion resistance. A steel with at least 13% chromium is deemed "stainless" steel. Despite the name, all steel can rust if not maintained properly. Manganese: An important element, manganese aids the grain structure, and contributes to hardenability. Also strength & wear resistance. Improves the steel (e.g., deoxidizes) during the steel's manufacturing (hot working and rolling). Present in most cutlery steel except for A-2, L-6, and CPM 420V. Molybdenum: A carbide former, prevents brittleness & maintains the steel's strength at high temperatures. Present in many steels, and air-hardening steels (e.g., A-2, ATS-34) always have 1% or more molybdenum -- molybdenum is what gives those steels the ability to harden in air. Nickel: Used for strength, corrosion resistance, and toughness. Present in L-6 and AUS-6 and AUS-8. Silicon: Contributes to strength. Like manganese, it makes the steel more sound while it's being manufactured. Tungsten: Increases wear resistance. When combined properly with chromium or molybdenum, tungsten will make the steel to be a high-speed steel. The high-speed steel M-2 has a high amount of tungsten. Vanadium: Contributes to wear resistance and hardenability. A carbide former that helps produce fine-grained steel. A number of steels have vanadium, but M-2, Vascowear, and CPM T440V and 420V (in order of increasing amounts) have high amounts of vanadium. BG-42's biggest difference with ATS-34 is the addition of vanadium.
Carbon and Alloy Steels (Non-Stainless Steels)

These steels are the steels most often forged. Stainless steels can be forged (guys like Sean McWilliams do forge stainless), but it is very difficult. In addition, carbon steels can be differentially tempered, to give a hard edge-holding edge and a tough springy back. Stainless steels are not differentially tempered. Of course, carbon steels will rust faster than stainless steels, to varying degrees. Carbon steels are also often a little bit less of a crap shoot than stainless steels -- I believe all the steels named below are fine performers when heat treated properly.

In the AISI steel designation system, 10xx is carbon steel, any other steels are alloy steels. For example, the 50xx series are chromium steels.

In the SAE designation system, steels with letter designations (e.g., W-2, A-2) are tool steels.

There is an ASM classification system as well, but it isn't seen often in the discussion of cutlery steels, so I'll ignore it for now.

Often, the last numbers in the name of a steel are fairly close to the steel's carbon content. So 1095 is ~.95% carbon. 52100 is ~1.0% carbon. 5160 is ~.60% carbon.

O-1: This is a steel very popular with forgers, as it has the reputation for being "forgiving". It is an excellent steel, that takes and holds an edge superbly, and is very tough. It rusts easily, however. Randall Knives uses O-1, so does Mad Dog.

W-2: Reasonably tough and holds an edge well, due to its .2% vanadium content. Most files are made from W-1, which is the same as W-2 except for the vanadium content (W-1 has no vanadium).

The 10-series -- 1095 (and 1084, 1070, 1060, 1050, etc.): Many of the 10-series steels for cutlery, though 1095 is the most popular for knives. When you go in order from 1095-1050, you generally go from more carbon to less, from better edge holding to less edge holding, and tough to tougher to toughest. As such, you'll see 1060 and 1050, used often for swords. For knives, 1095 is sort of the "standard" carbon steel, not too expensive and performs well. It is reasonably tough and holds an edge very well. It rusts easily. This is a simple steel, which contains only two alloying elements: @.95% carbon and .4% manganese. The various kabars are usually 1095 with a black coating.

Carbon V: Carbon V is a trademarked term by Cold Steel, and as such is not necessarily one particular kind of steel; rather, it describes whatever steel Cold Steel happens to be using, and there is an indication they do change steels from time to time. Carbon V performs roughly between 1095-ish and O-1-ish, in my opinion, and rusts like O-1 as well. I've heard rumors that Carbon V is O-1 (which I now think is unlikely) or 1095. Numerous industry insiders insist it is 0170-6. Some spark tests done by a rec.knives reader seem to point the finger at 50100-B. Since 50100-B and 0170-6 are the same steel (see below), this is likely the current Carbon V.

0170-6 - 50100-B: These are different designations for the same steel: 0170-6 is the steel makers classification, 50100-B is the AISI designation. A good chrome-vanadium steel that is somewhat similar to O-1, but much less expensive. The now-defunct Blackjack made several knives from O170-6, and Carbon V may be 0170-6. 50100 is basically 52100 with about 1/3 the chromium of 52100, and the B in 50100-B indicates that the steel has been modified with vanadium, making this a chrome-vanadium steel.

A-2: An excellent air-hardening tool steel, it is known for its great toughness and good edge holding. As an air-hardening steel, so don't expect it to be differentially tempered. Its outstanding toughness makes it a frequent choice for combat knives. Chris Reeve and Phil Hartsfield both use A-2, and Blackjack made a few models from A-2.

L-6: A band saw steel that is very tough and holds an edge well, but rusts easily. It is, like O-1, a forgiving steel for the forger. If you're willing to put up with the maintenance, this may be one of the very best steels available for cutlery, especially where toughness is desired.

M-2: A "high-speed steel", it can hold its temper even at very high temperatures, and as such is used in industry for high-heat cutting jobs. It is an excellent edge holder. It is tough but not as tough as some of the toughest steels in this section; however, it will still be tougher than the stainless steels and hold an edge better. It rusts easily. Benchmade has started using M-2 in one of their AFCK variations.

5160: A steel popular with forgers, it is extremely popular now and a very high-end steel. It is essentially a simple spring steel with chromium added for hardenability. It has good edge holding, but is known especially for its outstanding toughness (like L-6). Often used for swords (hardened in the low 50s Rc) because of its toughness, and is also used for hard use knives (hardened up near the 60s Rc).

52100: A ball-bearing steel, and as such is only used by forgers. It is similar to 5160 (though it has around 1% carbon vs. 5160 ~.60%), but holds an edge better. It is less tough than 5160 however. It is used often for hunting knives and other knives where the user is willing to trade off a little of 5160's toughness for better edge holding.

D-2: D-2 is sometimes called a "semi-stainless". It has a fairly high chrome content (12%), but not high enough to classify it as stainless. It is more stain resistant than the carbon steels mentioned above, however. It has excellent edge holding, but may be a little less tough than some of the steels mentioned above. And it does not take a beautiful finish. Bob Dozier uses D-2.

Vascowear: A very hard-to-find steel, with a high vanadium content. It is extremely difficult to work and very wear-resistant. It is out of production.
Stainless Steels

Remember that all steels can rust. But the following steels, by virtue of their > 13% chromium, have much more rust resistance than the above steels. I should point out that there doesn't appear to be consensus on what percent of chromium is needed for a steel to be considered stainless. In the cutlery industry, the de-facto standard is 13%, but the ASM Metals Handbooks says "greater than 10%", and other books cite other numbers. In addition, the alloying elements have a strong influence on the amount of chromium needed; lower chromium with the right alloying elements can still have "stainless" performance.

420: Lower carbon content (Less than.5%) than the 440 series makes this steel extremely soft, and it doesn't hold an edge well. It is used often for diving knives, as it is extremely stain resistant. Also used often for very inexpensive knives. Outside salt water use, it is too soft to be a good choice for a utility knife.

440 A - 440 B - 440C: The carbon content (and hardenability) of this stainless steel goes up in order from A (.75%) to B (.9%) to C (1.2%). 440C is an excellent, high-end stainless steel, usually hardened to around 56-58 Rc. All three resist rust well, with 440A being the most rust resistant, and 440C the least. The SOG Seal 2000 is 440A, and Randall uses 440B for their stainless knives. 440C is fairly ubiquitous, and is generally considered the penultimate general-use stainless (with ATS-34 being the ultimate). If your knife is marked with just "440", it is probably the less expensive 440A; if a manufacturer had used the more expensive 440C, he'd want to advertise that. The general feeling is that 440A (and similar steels, see below) is just good enough for everyday use, especially with a good heat treat (we've heard good reports on the heat treat of SOG's 440A blades, don't know who does the work for them). 440-B is a very solid performer and 440-C is excellent.

425M - 12C27: Both are very similar to 440A. 425M (.5% carbon) is used by Buck knives. 12C27 (.6% carbon) is a Scandanavian steel used often in Finish puukkos and Norwegian knives.

AUS-6 - AUS-8 - AUS-10 (aka 6A 8A 10A): Japanese stainless steels, roughly comparable to 440A (AUS-6, .65% carbon) and 440B (AUS-8, .75% carbon) and 440C (AUS-10, 1.1% carbon). AUS-6 is used by Al Mar. Cold Steel's use of AUS-8 has made it pretty popular, as heat treated by CS it won't hold an edge like ATS-34, but is a bit softer and may be a bit tougher. AUS-10 has roughly the same carbon content as 440C but with slightly less chromium, so it should be a bit less rust resistant but perhaps a bit tougher than 440C. All 3 steels have some vanadium added (which the 440 series lacks), which will improve wear resistance.

GIN-1 aka G-2 A: steel with slightly less carbon, slightly more chromium, and much less moly than ATS-34, it is used often by Spyderco. A very good stainless steel.

ATS-34 - 154-CM: The hottest high-end stainless right now. 154-CM is the original American version, but for a long time was not manufactured to the high quality standards knifemakers expect, and so is not used often anymore. Late-breaking news is that high-quality 154-CM may again be available. ATS-34 is a Hitachi product that is very, very similar to 154-CM, and is the premier high quality stainless. Normally hardened to around 60 Rc, it holds an edge very well and is tough enough even at that high hardness. Not quite as rust resistant as the 400 series above. Many custom makers use ATS-34, and Spyderco (in their high-end knives) and Benchmade are among the production companies that use it.

ATS-55: Similar to ATS-34, but with the moly removed and some other elements added. Not much is known about this steel yet, but it looks like the intent was to get ATS-34 edge-holding with increased toughness. Since moly is an expensive element useful for high-speed steels, and knife blades do not need to be high speed, removing the moly hopefully drastically decreases the price of the steel while at least retaining ATS-34's performance. Spyderco is using this steel.

BG-42: Bob Loveless announced recently that he's switching from ATS-34 to this steel. Keep an eye out for it, it's bound to catch on. BG-42 is somewhat similar to ATS-34, with two major differences: It has twice as much manganese as ATS-34, and has 1.2% vanadium (ATS-34 has no vanadium), so look for even better edge-holding than ATS-34. Chris Reeves has switched from ATS-34 to BG-42 in his Sebenzas.

CPM T440V - CPM T420V: Two steels that hold an edge superbly (better than ATS-34), but it's difficult to get the edge there in the first place. These steels are both high in vanadium. Spyderco offers at least one model in CPM T440V. Custom maker Sean McWilliams is a big fan of 440V, which he forges. Depending on heat treatment, expect to have to work a bit harder to sharpen these steels -- also, don't expect ATS-34 type toughness. 420V is CPM's follow-on to 440V, and with less chromium and almost double the vanadium, is more wear-resistant and may be tougher than 440V.

400 Series Stainless: Before Cold Steel switched to AUS-8, many of their stainless products were marketed as being of "400 Series Stainless". Other knife companies are beginning to use the same term. What exactly *is* 400 Series Stainless? I always imagined it was 440-A, but there's nothing to keep a company from using any 4xx steel, like 420 or 425M, and calling it 400 Series Stainless.
Non-Steels Used by Knifemakers

Cobalt - Stellite 6K: A flexible material with very good wear resistance, it is practically corrosion resistant. Stellite 6K, sometimes seen in knives, is a cobalt alloy. David Boye uses cobalt for his dive knives.

Titanium: Newer titanium alloys can be hardened near 50 Rc, and at that hardness seem to take something approaching a useful edge. It is extremely rust-resistant, and is non-magnetic. Popular as expensive dive knives these days, because the SEALs use it as their knife when working around magnetic-detonated mines. Mission knives uses titanium. Tygrys makes a knife with a steel edge sandwiched by titanium.

Ceramics: Numerous knives have been offered with ceramic blades. Usually, those blades are very very brittle, and cannot be sharpened by the user; however, they hold an edge well. Boker and Kyocera make knives from this type of ceramic. Kevin McClung recently came out with a ceramic composite knife blade that much tougher than the previous ceramics, tough enough to actually be useful as a knife blade for most jobs. It is also user-sharpenable, and holds an edge incredibly well.

I hope this helps. If you need assistance in getting a good deal when you are ready to purchase, pm me and I could get a good deal for you.
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Re: Blade Types

Postby xRapidDavex » Tue 07 Apr 2009 9:54 pm

Holy cow, we have a winner. Thanks for the post. What every day tasks can be tackled by certain blade shapes but not others?

Again, what is the big deal with serrations?
It's not so much that the gun does or doesn't do what it's supposed to, it's simply not running anymore. So if it doesn't run, what I do is sort of wang on it until it does.

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Re: Blade Types

Postby Cinhil » Tue 07 Apr 2009 10:26 pm

The deal with serrations, or partial serrations is more to do with personal choice/preference. Some like them if they know they will be using them rgularly, or if it isn't going to interfere with specific tasks and will be easy to use for what they desire it for. Others don't care for them because they prefer a more straight edged blade and oftentimes feel they get as much use of it than they would if it were serrated. So it really comes down to utilitarian reasons and personal preference. Me, I don't care, but if I were skinning a deer I would want a good skinning knife, if stripping wire I would want the serrated one and as a folder that would be ok. I keep a CRKT Lake 111 as a regular tool with me, it is versatile and accomplishes most jobs I need use of it for in the course of a day. A good tool to be had. Anyhow, that's my thoughts. As for specific knives that perform one function and no other can, it is a bit late for me, perhaps tomorrow I can research that, or someone could do so before I can get to it, that is fine too.
What part of "Shall not be infringed" is not being abused today!

Even Knights had "Modern" weapons!

'Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes' ("Who watches the watchmen?”)."
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Re: Blade Types

Postby xRapidDavex » Tue 07 Apr 2009 10:39 pm

I won't be skinning deers. Is it just as easy to strip wire with a plain edge? Those are the kinds of utilitarian examples I want.
It's not so much that the gun does or doesn't do what it's supposed to, it's simply not running anymore. So if it doesn't run, what I do is sort of wang on it until it does.

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Re: Blade Types

Postby Cinhil » Tue 07 Apr 2009 11:04 pm

Stripping wire with a straight edge is no big deal, it takes just a few seconds with either a straight edge or serrated edge. with a straight edge you just incise around the circumfrence of the wire, set the knife opposite your thumb on the wire & pull, a little easier with the serrated because of the natural "indentions" created by the serrated edge, but it works relatively the same.
What part of "Shall not be infringed" is not being abused today!

Even Knights had "Modern" weapons!

'Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes' ("Who watches the watchmen?”)."
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Re: Blade Types

Postby SwordRapier » Tue 05 May 2009 3:31 pm

What is the big deal about serrations? I also think that it is a matter of personal choice. Serrations because the cutting edge is protected points and scallops of the edge have a reputation for holding their edge longer. I have my doubts. I have had both kinds of blades (serrated and non- serrated) In my experience both blades need sharpening. Yes you can sharpen serrated blades it requires specialized tools (triangular shaped ceramic sharpening stones.) Spyderco and Lansky sharpeners manufacture them. I sure there are others but these are the ones that come to mind.

Serrated knives have reputation of being able to cut though fibrous materials like rope. They seem to work well for that purpose. But, so does a well-sharpened regular blade.

As far as blade shapes are concerned. Find one you like. That suits the job. For general cutting just most any shape will do. You keep mentioning the Tanto point. I like tanto They or of Japanese origin it supposed to be of use to penetrate armor. They are kind of a pain to sharpen, at least for me.

It you plan on carrying a knife as a defensive backup. You will need a knife with some sort of guard or you run the risk of your hand sliding along your blade during a thrust. (ouch) :ack: . If you have a folder it will need a very good locking mechanism or you run the risk of the blade closing on your fingers while in a fight. (also ouch) :emt: Personally I recommend a fixed blade.

Kershaw makes a nice military boot knife. Also Cold Steel makes some nice stuff expensive but nice in both fixed and folding. Spyderco makes good blades. Kershaw makes nice stuff. Columbia river makes good stuff. there is a knife company with Alaska in the name I can't remember the whole name (might be something like knives of Alaska) but they make good stuff.
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Re: Blade Types

Postby Cinhil » Tue 05 May 2009 4:45 pm

Knives of Alaska is the name you wanted. They do manufacture some very nice knives. Another would be Hen & Rooster which produces excellent utilitarian pocket knives out of Salignen, Germany, but no lock backs. Again, most comes down to personal choice and usage.
What part of "Shall not be infringed" is not being abused today!

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