11 Best Knife Blades for Every Job


The shape of a knife blade determines how well that blade will perform specific tasks. It’s a world of trade-offs: Drilling ability, tip strength, slicing efficiency, and how much abuse a blade can take are all factors in deciding which knife blade profile is best for the task at hand. There’s a lot more to it than looks when it comes to the shape of things waiting. Here’s everything you need to know about 11 different blade styles to help you find the right knife for the task at hand.

1) Straight back blade

straight back knife
A strong knife with a straight back will handle the tough tasks of bookcrafting. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

A straight spine with an upward curved lip that rises on the spine to form a semi-sharp point.

Best for

  • Bushcrafting
  • Kitchen duties
  • Learning sharpening techniques

Pros

  • Too strong
  • Easily weaves through wood
  • Easy to apply force to the spine with fingers or palm

ANTI-

  • Not ideal for drilling tasks
  • Not enough belly for skin

2) Drop Point Blade

point knife
The do-it-all quality of a point blade makes it perfect for everyday carry. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

A favorite of hunters, the drop point features a slight downward bend in the spine to form a lowered or “dropped” point.

Best for

Pros

  • The hard point retains some belly for the skin
  • Best for extracting animals, as the point is away from the organs

ANTI-

  • With a less sharp tip than those of other profiles, it is not a great piercing blade

3) Next point

Follow-up knife
The long belly on a creep-point blade extends the cutting surface. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

The spine of this blade curves upwards and a drag point provides a long, curved cutting edge.

Best for

  • Animal skin and capture
  • Filleted fish

Pros

  • Very sharp point
  • Too much belly
  • The design gives lightweight knives extra length at the cutting edge

ANTI-

  • Weak point
  • Hard to get in and out of a holster

4) Clip point

Knife with a clip blade
The clip points shine and the skin of the game animals. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

Classic bowie knife profile. A straight spine falls at a slight angle or concave curve to meet the tip, as if the spine had been cut.

Best for

  • Animal skin and capture
  • Filleted fish

Pros

  • Very controllable sharp point
  • Decent belly
  • It shines in piercings

ANTI-

  • If the clip starts too far from the tip, the point of the blade may be weak

5) Spear point

spear tipped knife
Spear knives have two cutting edges. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

A symmetrical profile with a spine forming the center line of the blade. It can be sharpened on one or both sides.

Best for

  • Piercing
  • Pushing
  • dumping

Pros

  • Very sharp tip
  • It can have a double cutting surface

ANTI-

  • Not useful for non-combat duties

6) Spey Point

spey tipped knife
The spey point was designed to castrate farm animals. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

A defined, abrupt downward turn to the spine that meets a curved, uphill edge. Commonly found in trapper style pocket knives.

Best for

  • It is traditionally used to castrate farm animals.

Pros

  • easily sharpened
  • Safe to use when a sharp point is not needed

ANTI-

  • The lack of a sharp point limits the ability to drill
  • Often a short blade

7) Leaf

knife with a leaf blade
Leaf-bladed knives are common for self-defense. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

This hybrid between a drop point and a spear point has a less aggressive downward slope towards the spine with a sharper point.

Best for

  • Fine cutting that requires a sharp tip
  • EDC
  • self defense

Pros

  • Easy to carry, as most bladed point blades are short

ANTI-

  • The fine point may be weaker than that of other grinds
mutton leg knife
Sheep’s foot blades are easily sharpened. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

A straight spine bends down to meet a perfectly straight edge with no sharp piercing tip.

Best for

  • Rescue work
  • Used in inflatable boats
  • Hoof trimming of small cattle

Pros

  • The open top can be very thick and hard
  • Very controllable edge
  • Easy to sharpen

ANTI-

  • No sharp tip, not useful for drilling tasks

9) Wharncliffe

aharncliffe blade knife
A blade of sheep’s foot as a razor-sharp point. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

Similar to a leg of sheep, with a downward curve or angle in the spine that begins closer to the handle of the knife.

Best for

  • Rescue work
  • self defense
  • Service tasks

Pros

  • Sharp drill tip
  • Strong and strong blade often built with a thick blade

ANTI-

  • No stomach for skin duties

10) Hawkbill

Hawk blade knife
This knife pattern makes it easy to see how the tail blade got its name. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

Shaped like a claw or claw – or like a falcon – the profile of the falcon has a sharp concave back and cutting edges that meet at a point below.

Best for

  • Utility work, such as cutting carpet and linoleum
  • self defense

Pros

  • Belt cut, heavy cord and stripes
  • The sharp, inwardly curved tip is great for making long cuts

ANTI-

  • No piercing ability
  • Little use for hunting and fishing

11) so much

Knife with tanto blade
Tanto blades are tough for EDC. Courtesy of Weldon Owen

Characteristics

Thick, with a straight edge that takes an abrupt upward, blunt angle near the tip of the blade to meet the spine at a right or slightly convex angle.

Best for

  • self defense
  • EDC
  • General duties of services

Pros

  • Extremely strong and sharp tip
  • Strong blade

cone

  • Hard to sharpen
  • No belly for skin

This article is adapted from Field & Stream’s Total Camping Handbook.

Total Camping Manual Book Cover





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