When shopping for a knife, the biggest question to consider is, “What will I be using the knife for?” Once you figure out the main purpose for the knife, it’s much easier to narrow down the specifics such as blade type and style. We’ll go over some knife basics and help you choose the right knife for the job.
- Drop-Point. This is a good all around blade suitable for many uses. Similar to a clip-point but with a more convex curve on the spine where it meets the tip of the blade. Stronger tip but not really good for piercing.
- Tanto. This blade has sharp straight angles and a strong tip. Good for piercing.
- Clip-Point. This blade is similar to a drop-point, but with a concave curve on the spine of the blade. One of the most popular styles for a reason, very versatile. Sharper tip makes for cutting in tight places or piercing.
- Normal. A straight back and curving edge. Good for thrusting, chopping and cutting.
Blade steels are usually different blends of stainless steel. Different alloys give benefits over plain stainless steel. Vanadium added to stainless steel improves strength and ease of sharpening. Carbon steel is stronger and tougher than stainless steel and easier to sharpen, however without the chromium of stainless steel it is more apt to rusting. Manufacturers like to use their own custom blends of steel, so it’s advisable to check the blade material on a knife you are considering to make sure it will hold up to the job. Remember, no matter the material, a blade will dull with use.
Fixed or Folder?
Should you choose a fixed blade knife or a folding blade? It again depends on the use. A fixed blade knife will be stronger due to the fact that the blade is one piece and there are no joints or moving pieces. A folding knife may be more convenient since the blade folds into the handle making it smaller and easier to carry.
Serrated or Plain Edge?
Whether you want a plain edge or serrated blade depends on the type of cutting you are going to be doing. A plain edge is great for smooth cuts, slicing and piercing. A serrated edge is good for rough cutting and sawing. An all around compromise is a partially serrated blade, which gives more versatility.
What kind of material the handle is made out of depends on preference. If you are going to be using your knife in damp environments, you might not want a stainless steel handle that is smooth. Handles are made in different types of plastic, metal, even bone or wood. The handle may be textured or smooth. Once again, it would depend on what you are using the knife for. If you are working around a lot of chemicals or blood borne pathogens, you would need something non-absorbent like metal, not wood. Metal handles can get colder than other materials, so if you are outdoors in the cold, a metal handle might not be the best option.
Harry’s Army Surplus has a huge selection of knives and tools fit for any job imaginable. Stop in or give us a call and speak with our highly knowledgeable staff, we’ll make sure you get the right knife for the task at hand.