Monday, December 8, 2008

Basic Guide to Knives

Knives come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, types and functions. Knowing the basic types and styles of knives available will allow you to determine which knives will best suit your own needs. The following is a very basic description of several different types and styles of knives that are available.

Fixed Blade Knives

A fixed-blade knife is a solid piece of steel anchored to the handle. This is a type of blade that is usually the most trusted for the tougher jobs and more rugged use. For most hunting and camping activities, a fixed blade knife will be the best choice. Fixed blades are durable and hold up to the elements well because of their straight, simple construction without any of the various folding-type mechanisms. In fixed blade knives, the knife blade is one piece of metal that runs the length of the knife. When the knife blade reaches the beginning of the handle, it can either taper into a “rat tail” that is surrounded by the handle or continue as a tang that is covered on either side by handle pieces or what is commonly referred to as “slabs”.

Folding Knives

Folding blade knives are generally not quite as durable as fixed blade knives, but provide safety and the convenience of compact size. Folding blade knives come in a variety of configurations, some of which may even lock into place. Locking folders allow much of the same confidence of a fixed blade while letting you close the knife blade into the handle for safety.

Pocket Knives

Old fashioned pocket knives are still high on the list as everyone’s favorite. These can be great to carry in your pocket for all the times you might need a knife. Not all models lock in an open position. This does not affect their main use as a basic knife for a variety of uses. Some pocket knives offer multiple knife blades for different uses.

Lock Back Knives

A lock back knife is a type of folding knife that locks in an open position. Locking folders provide much of the confidence of a fixed blade knife when open; yet they enable you to fold the blade for your safety and carrying convenience. A lock back gets its name from a rocking lock plate visible on the back of the handle. Opening the knife blade causes the “rocker” to lock against the blade so that it locks open. Pushing down on the “rocker” at the back of the handle releases it. This enables you to close the blade. Lock back knives generally require two hands in order to close them.

Single Hand Operation Knives

Many knife users are looking for the convenience of a knife that opens and closes with one hand and that also provides additional safety by being locked when open. For climbing and activities where one hand is occupied, a knife that can be operated with a single hand is considered essential by many people. For other types of activities, a single hand knife may be simply a personal preference. There are many types of knives that allow single hand operation. It is important to choose one that fits your activities. This type of knife is often referred to as a “one hander”.

Liner Lock Knives

A liner lock knife is a folding knife that locks open by means of a tensioned metal liner inside the handle. This is similar to a lock back knife. Opening the blade will activate the lock. Unlocking is achieved by placing your thumb on the front part of the liner and pushing to the left. This releases the blade. A liner lock enables you to close the blade with one hand. A thumb hole or thumb stud in the knife blade is typically used to allow single hand operation.

Frame Lock Knives

A Frame Lock knife operates similar to a liner lock. The main difference is the lock is a tensioned part of the handle frame with an open channel. When the knife blade opens, the frame lock moves into the handle opening and locks against the blade. Pushing to the left releases it from its “locked” position so you can close the blade.

Assisted Opening Knives

Assisted Opening knives are the ultimate in knives offering the convenience of single hand operation. They also use a liner lock for locking the blade open. To open, release the safety, and then push the blade release ridge. After the knife blade starts opening, the assisted opening mechanism completes the knife blade opening, which releases the liner to lock the blade open. To close, push left on the front of the liner lock to unlock it, close the knife blade and engage the safety on top of the handle.

Special Note: These knives are illegal in many areas. Check the applicable laws in your area.

Due to the complex and changing nature of knife laws, it is your responsibility to investigate and comply with all federal, state and local laws relating to the possession, use, or transport of knives.

Staying above the water line!



Bitmap said...

A few other knives:

1. Multi-tool, especially one like the Leatherman Wave which has knife blades you can open with one hand without having to open the tool. They also lock back.

2. Guthook, for splitting open or gutting animals. Guthooks can be found on fixed and folding knives.

3. Utility knife, especially one with a retractable blade and internal storage for spare blades. They aren't perfect but they are great for when you need a sharp knife without taking the time to sharpen it, as long as you have spare blades.

scoutinlife said...

Great post I always keep a Case traper pocket knive in my pocket. The spey blade is great from skinning game to opening boxes!

As far as a fixed blade I use either a Mora or a Nessmuk knife I had made which is what I carry 0n my belt when in the outdoors!

I have two Gerber Multi tool same model one in the truck one stays in a Bob bag!

Another great tool is a mini hatchet I use often. I've skinned game and made shelters with this little gem!

What set up's in knives do you use most often River?

riverwalker said...

To: Bitmap

Thanks. I'm planning to do a separate post of some of these other type of what I usually call "specialty" knives. This post was pretty basic and I didn't feel I could do justice to some of the different types without a separate article for each.



riverwalker said...

To: scoutinlife

I've got a bunch of knives. I carry a mini-style lock back blade on my key chain, a S&W 5 1/4 inch folder locking blade with pocket clip as well as a small Leatherman. I also have a Browning Model 043 5 1/4 inch folder with a locking blade as a back-up along with a second small Leather man.
I keep big Leathermans im my BOB's as well. I have an older(like me) Gerber multi-tool for my shotgun vest. This is just part of my stuff. i plan to post more info later.


BTW, I also carry a 5 1/2 inch fixed blade on my sun visor in the truck wher it's really "handy".

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