Many knives have bevels not just along the bottom
edge of the knife, but along the top as well. When
present, bevels on the top edge are referred to as
a "false edge". The false edge can be either
sharpened or not. Whether or not the false edge is
sharp, it serves to take metal away from the point,
and thus enhance penetration. But taking away metal
at the point also weakens the point, so this is a
compromise between penetration ability and strength.
The belly is the curving part of the edge. Bellies
enhance slicing ability, and you'll often find yourself
doing much of your cutting on the belly. When the
belly gets larger, design considerations often dictate
that the point become less sharp, so in looking at
knife designs you'll often see a trade-off of belly
or point depending on how important slicing vs. penetration
Imagine the knife when it's just a rectangular stock.
The knifemaker puts the bar on the grinder at an angle
and starts grinding in an edge. This is a bevel --
any plane taken out of the rectangular bar, along
either side. Creating the primary grind, the edge
itself, and the false edge are all often done with
The guard is a barrier between your hand and the sharp
edge. It will project out of the handle, to stop forward
motion of your hand. The guard can be a separate component
that is soldered or pinned on the blade, or an "integral"
guard can be formed by including a project on the
blade blank itself. On some fighters, the guards are
meant not just to protect your hand from sliding up
on the blade, but also to provide protection from
the opponent's blade sliding down your blade and onto
The choil is an unsharpened section of the blade.
If a guard is present, the choil will be in front
of the guard on the blade itself. The choil is often
used as a way to choke up on the blade for close-in
work. The index finger is placed in the choil, and
this close proximity to the edge allows for greater
control. In addition, the choil is just in front of
where the blade itself becomes part of the handle,
an area often prone to breakage due to the blade-handle
juncture. The choil leaves this area at full thickness
and thus stronger.
Tang (Full Vs Hidden etc.)
The tang is the part of the knife where the blade
stops and the handle starts. There are many different
terms used to describe what kind of tang a knife has,
because the strength and other characteristics of
the knife depend on the tang format. A full tang knife
has a tang that goes the length of the handle at full
width, and you can see the tang spine itself because
the handle slabs are affixed to each side. This is
the strongest tang format. To save weight, the maker
can taper the tang so it gets thinner as it goes back
into the handle; this is appropriately enough called
a tapered tang. If the tang disappears into the handle
itself, it's called a hidden tang. If the tang thins
out considerably once it goes into the handle, it's
called a stick tang.
The pommel refers to the end of the handle of a knife.
Many knives have a metal cap over the pommel, called
a butt cap. Often the pommel is interesting because
of a decoration; however, there are different forms
of working pommels. The classic kabar features a flat
metal pommel, useful for hammering jobs such as pounding
in tent pegs. Other knives have pointed metal pommels
known as "bonecrusher pommels", ostensibly
to hit someone during combat usage. Some of these
working pommels can be uncomfortable when carried,
so evaluate your needs here wisely.
The blade spine typically refers to the full thickness
portion of the blade. On a single-edge flat-ground
knife, blade spine always refers to the outermost
back of the blade. On a classic dagger, the spine
refers to the fullest-thickness part of the blade
running straight down the middle. On knives with false
edges, the term "spine" is used inconsistently.
Technically, the spine would be the fullest thickness
part of the blade where the main bevel meets the false
edge bevel; however, blade spine is often used to
describe the back of the blade instead, right over
the false edge.
The escutcheon is a medallion, often seen on the classic-style
pocketknife handles to identify the brand or model
of the knife, or to distinguish between model years.
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