Different Types of Knives

According to Wikipedia the origin of the word “Knife” probably came from the Norwegian word “Knifr” which meant “Blade“. I’ve always wondered what the origin of the word Blade was then… ūüėČ Never mind. Lets talk about different types of knives.

Types of Knives

There are many many types of knives. In fact, there are so many types of knives that it will be difficult to pay equal attention to them. But lets give it a try. We’ll start by listing the different categories. You’ll be able to find lots of information on each of these knife categories on this website. Below are a number of categories we’ll cover:

  • Kitchen Knives
  • Hobby Knives
  • Survival Knives
  • Military Knives
  • Throwing Knives
  • Hunting Knives
  • Handy Pocket Knives

If you think that there is a types of knives (category) missing, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can do so here.

Dissecting Your Knife

Different types of knives will look different. What does your knife look like and what are the individual parts called? Of course different types of knives have different parts and some knives have parts that other knives don’t have. But lets General Knifekeep it general and start with the basics.

  1. This is the Blade. Probably the most important part of the knife. The part that makes a knife a knife.
  2. The next part is the Handle. Arguably the second most important part of the knife. A good handle gives a good grip and promises good manageability.
  3. The¬†Tip. The sharp point that’s used for piercing stuff.
  4. The¬†Edge.¬†This is the part of the knife that is actually used for cutting. The sharp part. This “edge” can be sharpened in different ways thereby changing what kind of cut you can make. We’ll explain how right below this section.
  5. The Grind. The flat sides of the knife
  6. The Spine. Or the top of the blade. The thicker the spine the stronger your knife will be. Knives that have a spine that runs all the way to the butt of the knife are usually considered more durable and generally more expensive.
  7. The Fuller. This is a sort of groove in the blade of the knife. Usually done to make the knife a bit lighter, but also for decorative purposes.
  8. The Ricasso. Not so clear to see in the picture. The ricasso is/was used more often in swords than in knives. It is the unsharpened part of the blade close to the handle. In old times when a sword was tossed from one person to the other, it was often easier to catch at the ricasso than the blade (because of the balance of the sword).
  9. The Guard. Pretty much explains what it does: it safeguards your hand when you’re using force to either cut or drive the knife into a hard object.¬†Not so often used in pocket knives and hobby knives. More so in survival knives, military knives and hunting knives.
  10. The Butt. This is the end of the handle of the knife. Depending on the type of knife it is used for different purposes. Survival knives will typically have a screw-on cap whereby the handle contains some survival tools, pills, or fishing hooks. Pocket knives usually don’t have any purpose for the butt.
  11. The Lanyard. The strap or cord. The word lanyard is an old word that was mainly used for swords. Not many modern knives have a strap. Most people actually take it off.

The Edge Further Explainedknife edge

As the saying goes “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space”. So the¬†edge is the sharp part of your knife. Nothing new there. But what might be new is that this knife’s edge can have different shapes (the way it is sharpened). And this determines the strength of the edge and some of its functionality. So different types of knives will have different blade profiles. Lets take a closer look.

  1. The first edge profile is called Planar Concave. Basically these are fancy words for saying that one side of the edge/blade is flat (planar) and the other side is curved (you guessed it, concave). This type of edge is used for fine cutting purposes. As you can imagine, this is also the most vulnerable type of edge of the three.
  2. Most of the knives that we use in pretty much all circumstances will have a wedge type of edge. Strong, durable and multi-purpose.
  3. The last type is not often seen in knives, but more in chisels (obviously) and axes. It is designed to make a small incision which, when going deeper in the material, will make it chip off.

How to Buy the Right Knife

Different strokes for different folks I guess; the same is true for different types of knives. In other words it very much depends on the purpose of the knife on one hand and on the other hand what your personal preferences and desires are. When I bought my Rambo Survival knife (read about it here), I just wanted the best knife. So at that moment money was not an issue (to a certain extent of course). But we can give you a couple of general guidelines that we use when selecting a knife.

  1. What is the purpose of your knife? Kitchen knife or Survival knife or throwing knife. Either way we’ve got you covered here.
  2. What’s your budget. Of course this is important. My personal stance on this is to spend a little more than a little less. I usually don’t buy the most expensive knife, but the second most expensive.
  3. Knives with blades that run all the way to the butt of the knife tend to be stronger and more durable than one’s that have the blade only run partially in the handle.
  4. Is your knife dishwasher safe? All kitchen knives will be, but how about pocket knives (read our section on knife maintenance too).
  5. Check out the different knife categories on this site. They will certainly put you in the right direction.

Choosing the Right Steel

As you probably know iron becomes steel when there is carbon added to it. And steel becomes stainless when there is chromium added to it. It makes sense to consider the type of steel that is being used for the knife you’re considering to buy. Depending on the purpose you have in mind you can do with a steel of a lesser quality, or you might want to opt for a steel type that is of premium quality. If you want to understand more on the different types of steel, click here to find out more.

Safety and Knives

All types of knives are sharp things. Which means you have to observe a certain amount of safety when using them. And this depends for a large part on what you’re using your knives for. With kitchen knives you use different safety measures than with a survival knife, simply because the use is completely different. The occasional cut when cooking or when you’re outdoors is not so bad. But you want to be particularly careful when it comes to kids. Most of my knife cuts I got when I was a little boy doing too cool stuff with my knives.

Different Types of Knives

Kitchen Knives

At some point or another, almost all of us will end up using a kitchen knife. ¬†And there are so many types of knives that fall in this category. These include those wide array of knives that are used in food preparation. ¬†Generally, with a just a few different knives (mainly the chef’s knife, a paring knife and a cleaver) you could handle almost any kitchen task. ¬†But what fun would that be? ¬†Fortunately for us, their is a huge variety of knives that specialize in very specific functions. The vast majority of these knives are made from either carbon steel, stainless steel (including a high carbon version), titanium, plastic, ceramic and laminated materials. ¬†Within this site, you will find several articles that explain the different varieties and types of kitchen knives in great detail.

Hobby Knives

Do you enjoy working on various hobbies by hand.  Maybe building small models or working with various paper crafts?  If so, the hobby knife would be your weapon of choice. The big name in this field is X-acto.  These knives tend to come in kits and may have handles that take a wide variety of blade inserts.  This is pretty standard, as these blades wear out over time, but the handles generally last for years.  Fortunately, the blades for these knives are relatively inexpensive and they can be sharpened a few times.

Survival Knives

Have you ever been in a natural disaster or maybe stranded in the woods? ¬†For most of us, the answer is no. ¬†But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared. ¬†Survival knives tend to be ruggedly built and can be used for a variety of purposes. ¬†From being able to cut vines and ropes, to slicing food, to digging, to defending yourself, the list goes on and on. ¬†Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality knife that can last for many years. ¬†Look for our other articles on this site for a better explanation and details of survival knives, along with reviews of various models.

Military Knives

Some people may initially think that these types of knives would be the same as survival knifes, but they aren’t. ¬†These knives specialize in being used for defense. ¬†From the military, to police, to special forces and private security, these knives are prevalent all over the world. ¬†They come in a wide array of sizes, blade types and include both fixed and folding blades. ¬†The blades tend to be very high quality and are made to be carried or packed away easily.

Throwing Knives

To the surprise of many, the throwing of knives is a sport that is enjoyed by many. ¬†These knives tend to be well balanced, lightweight, and built with a sharp, strong point. Many times these knives are sold in groups of 3 or more. ¬†The people who use these knives tend to be those who have a steady eye and good aim. ¬†The big players in this field include companies like Cold Steel and Perfect Point. ¬†These knives also tend to be inexpensive. ¬†Those who become very proficient in this sport eventually turn to custom built options. Interested to learn more? Click here…

Hunting Knives

Do you enjoy hunting in the wild outdoors? ¬†If the answer is yes, their is a good chance you carry a hunting knife. ¬†Many of the best hunting knives fold up, to allow them to easily be carried on your body or with a belt clip. ¬†They tend to be cut in either a clip point or drop point. ¬†These can be used for a variety of things. ¬†From skinning animals, to cutting things like rope, to light self defense, you never know what you are going to run into out in the wild.¬†Click here to read more…

Handy Pocket Knives

A popular gift choice for many men, the pocket knife is a staple in many men’s pockets. ¬†These come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes, designs and additional functions. ¬†Almost all pocket knives fold up. ¬†Many of these have two different blades. ¬†Many of these also have several other functions, including being able to serve as a screwdriver, a pair of smaller scissors or a cork screw. ¬†These tend to vary in price, but many can be had for less than $50. A full overview with perfect pocket knife suggestions can be found here.

Tactical Knives

The name “tactical knife” often leads to confusion. Or people right out don’t know what they are. Is a tactical knife the same as a so called combat knife? It makes sense to understand those differences and the typical characteristics of each, and more specifically the tactical type. When you want to buy this kind of knife you might want to consider its purpose, size, design and other important factors. Click here to learn more…

Hand Forged Knives

What is so special about a hand forged knife? There are several ways to look at this. One is that you can argue that the one you have is the only one and unique in the world. The other special aspect could be that, if made by a good craftsman, these knives can be of a real high quality, with a high quality blade made from the best steel. Then there is the decorative uniqueness of course. If you’re interested in these kind of knives, how they’re made and what to look for before buying one, then click here to read more…

Benchmark Knives

The Benchmade Knife Company has a longstanding reputation when it comes to making high end quality knives. A knife maker that grew really fast in the 90’s of the last century. You might also know this company for the making of the so called “Butterfly” knife, which is their registered trademark. In terms of quality they follow the same 3M quality standards as the company that goes by the same name. If you want to know the details, click here.

Bushcraft Knives

What exactly is a Bushcraft knife. In actual fact this is a knife that is still very popular these days. Although its origins date back several hundred years. Bush is originally a Dutch word (Bos) meaning, you guessed it “Bush“. This is a multi-purpose knife that is not only meant for cutting meat or game, but also to literally craft nice things with. No surprise that these knives are of a very high quality. Read all about them here.

Buckmaster Knives

The Buck family has been able to do what not many families have been able to do. Change their name into a brand. A knife typically well known in North America. Top quality knives that have been around for more than a hundred years, but only became popular in the last half of the previous century. These knives come in all forms and shapes, with different blade lengths and handles. Find out more about the history and the background by going here.

Sushi Knives

Every one loves sushi. Well, that’s not 100% true. But a lot of people do, and its popularity is on the rise for sure. So is the home cook sushi maker (like myself). Besides the trick of “folding” a good sushi or sushi roll, there are the necessary tools that will make your home made sushi a great homemade sushi. For one there is the knife to cut your fish and your rolls. In this article we will exactly tell you what all the fuss is when it comes to buying a good sushi knife (spoiler: there is no fuss really). Click here to get the truth about sushi knives.

Oyster Knives

Although for some this is not really a knife, as much as a can opener isn’t a knife either. Still there is a huge variety when it comes to oyster knives, and hence we’re covering the in’s and out’s of the oyster knife in great detail. In addition there are a number of suggestions made if you’re looking to buy one. Click here to read the full article.

Diamond Blade Knives

We all know that diamonds are forever, and that diamond is the toughest material on our planet. When it comes to knives, there are sharp knives and then there are diamond blade knives. These are the sharpest in the world. And they are not only available for industrial use. Find out more by clicking here.

Maintaining Your Knife

As mentioned before in the section¬†How to buy the right knife, one thing you can do is put your knife in the dishwasher. For most kitchen knives this will be ok. However there are exceptions. Typically when the handle of the (kitchen) knife is made from wood or plastic and the blade does not cover the total length of the knife. There will eventually be so much water and wear and tear that the blade will become wobbly causing a safety issue. For most knives a damp cloth will be sufficient to clean it. However for pocket knives and survival knives more intense cleaning might be necessary at times. I’ve put my Swiss pocket knife in the dishwasher several times and it came out very clean (you need to open up every blade and utensil it has of course). After letting it dry for another 24 to 48 hours I then would add some lubrication. Not based on oil, but rather on silicon. Silicon is much stronger and durable, while oil has the tendency to attract dirt.

Sharpening Your Knife

After your knife is all clean, lubricated, and functioning well you might want to sharpen it. There is nothing more annoying than cutting anything using a blunt knife. Most people will use a sharpening steel. This is made of a hard type of steel and is made rough all around. Generally sliding your knife twice on both sides will do the trick. Another way to sharpen your knife is to use a diamond stone. But sharpening your knife is considerably more difficult using this method than using a sharpening steel. Professionals tend to use an electric grind stone. But if you’re not a professional I recommend you not to even try. There is a good chance you’re ruin your expensive knife by make it more blunt than it was. Be extra careful when sharpening a knife that has a planar concave edge. Since this edge is so thin it could wear easily.

When it comes to Serrated Knives there are a couple of Do’s and Don’ts to consider. Want to know which one’s? Click here to get all the info.