10 Most Common Knife Blade Shapes

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on digg
Share on stumbleupon
If you live a lifestyle where you like to be prepared for the unknown, then you should always carry a knife.  This is a quintessential piece of your everyday carry, but what knife blade shape is best?  There are several to choose from, some are general purpose and some have a very specific use, it can be daunting.
 
Here are 10 of the most common knife blade shapes out today.  We can’t tell you which one is right for you, but by the end, you will have more info to choose wisely.  Let us know in the comments what your favorite shape is, I really like tanto knives personally.
Knife Blade Shapes
The first three on the list are probably the most common shapes today.
Drop Point
This design is very traditional, it offers a thicker blade for durability and strength.  The spine is fairly straight but curves convexly down as the edge curves up to meet at the point.  This puts the point aligned with the center axis of the knife, because of this it makes for a good stab and poke tool.
 
The belly of the blade is fairly large and well rounded, so it performs particularly well for cutting, skinning, slicing, and carving.  A good all-around capable knife that would feel at home as EDC, in camp, hunting, or in survival situations.
Clip Point
Clip Point Blade
Another traditional design dating back centuries with several variants.  This blade is similar to the drop point except for the spine curves down in a concave fashion to meet the point.  It is a bit better at stabbing and poking but this comes at the price of durability.  Great general purpose blade for EDC, hunting, camping, and survival
 
The blade as a whole is generally thinner but in particular, the tip is narrower.  This provides faster and deeper penetration, it is ultimately weaker and could break when put up against a harder material.  One variation has the concave portion of the spine sharpened to create a secondary cutting edge.
Spear Point
Spear Point - Knife Blade Shapes
In this classic blade, both the edge and the spine curve down equally to the point, where it lines up with the center axis of the knife.  The blade can easily be single or double-edged by sharpening the spine.  Overall the blade is a good balance between slicing and piercing so it makes for a good general purpose blade.  interestingly, most throwing knives you this blade contour, so you know the balance has to be good.
Bowie Knife
Bowie Knife
Ok, not so much a knife blade shape as it is a complete knife, the Bowie knife is probably one of the most famous and well know knives.  It is a large fixed blade with a clip point designed for fighting.  The knife was designed by James Bowie and improved by bladesmith James Black.
 
Jim Bowie was a 19th-century American pioneer legendary for stories about being a great fighter.  He became famous for one fight, in particular, the Vidalia Sandbar Fight.  This fight broke out after a peaceful duel between two gentlemen ended in a draw.  One group that was present had to settle a “difficulty” with another.
 
The fight only lasted a few minutes but it left two people dead and several wounded.  By all accounts, this would have made an epic movie fight scene.  Jim was one of the wounded, he was lucky to survive since he was in the cross-hairs of many in the crowd.  
 
Fun fact – From Wikipedia, a duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules.  In the early 1900s duels were outlawed because most of the time they involved military officers.  Military officers cost lots of money in training and education, the government wanted to stop wasting this money when they were killed by their own side.
Tanto
Tanto - Knife Blade Shapes
They say it is not a great general use blade, however, this is my favorite one.  Mainly I like the look of it, but it is also the most useful in my everyday life.  The blade is thick all the way to the tip, which makes it very resistant to tip breakage, because of this, it makes for a good piercing blade.
 
The main edge and the edge that angles up to meet the point are flat.  Slicing is not that great because there is no belly, but chiseling and scraping are great.  Tanto’s were originally designed to pierce armor, they closely resemble the style of Japanese long and short swords.
Trailing Point
Trailing Point - Knife Blade Shapes
These are very specialized blades particularly well suited for hunters and fishermen.  Both the edge and the spine of the thin blade curve upwards past the spine, putting the point well above the center axis of the knife.  This creates a huge belly (some of us can relate) which is excellent for delicate work like skinning and filleting.  Be careful though, because the blade is thin, the point is very fragile and will easily break on harder material.
Wharncliffe
wharncliffe - Knife Blade Shapes
Kind of like the blade for a box cutter or craft knife, the Wharncliffe has a flat belly and a fine point, excellent for cutting.  It was originally designed for wood carving like whittling by the first Lord of Wharncliffe, James Archibald in Great Britain with one of his family Archdeacon Corbett over wine one day.  Today is has even made it into the tactical market, with some very nice examples.
 
The spine of the blade comes down to meet the straight edge, putting the point below the center axis of the knife.  There is no belly on the blade so slicing is not very practical.  But the flat edge does provide constant power to the cutting edge, no matter where the edge is on the material, the cutting energy is transferred evenly.
Hawksbill
Hawksbill
Like the trailing point, this blade is very specialized, tailored for cutting materials like rope and fabric, or even carpet, anything where you would use a draw cut.  The blade is vaguely hook-shaped where both the spine and the edge curve down, putting the point below the center axis of the knife.  This shape allows for less slippage of the material from the edge of the blade.
 
Similar to a Karambit, but in a karambit, the curve in the spine of the blade continues on into the handle.  The karambit is kind of like a hawkbill tuned for fighting; it’s thinner, lighter, and sharper.
Gut Hook
Gut Hook
The gut hook is more of an added feature on a knife than a type of blade.  But it looks cool so it is on the list.  This is a sharpened half-circle ground into the spine of the blade usually on a trailing point knife.  It is designed for cutting stringy internal parts of an animal.  Be aware though, it is a great big pain in the butt to sharpen because you can not use a normal stone, however, a round file works well.
Pen Knife
Pen Knife
The last blade on our list is more of a knife than a blade shape, but very important and shouldn’t be left out.  I believe these are what most of us get (or got) as their first knife.  The pen knife is a small folding knife generally synonymous with the term pocket knife like a Swiss Army Knife.  It is a general all-around good knife because the best knife is the one you have on you.  
 
Back when they used to write with quill pens, which are basically just feathers, the writing tip would break regularly, so they would have to cut a new tip.  This happened so often they need to carry a knife in their pocket just for this purpose.  The pen knife was born and since they needed one so often the pocket knife did too.
Conclusion
You can see there are many knife blade shapes to consider when choosing your next knife, we did not even get them all.  The shape is just one of the factors you should consider.  The most important thing is what the knife will be used for and how you will use it.  Once you know this, the choice should be easier.
What are your favorite knives?  What do you currently carry every day?  What kind of knife do you want to get next?

Articles You Might Find Interesting

new gun owner

Welcome, New Gun Owners!

During this time in history, with the coronavirus (COVID-19) lurking around every corner, Americans are seeking ways to protect themselves.  New Gun owners emerge. We buy

Read & Shop
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Please Join the Conversationx
()
x

Want 10% Off?

Get 10% off your next order, just type your name and email below.

Join the Insiders Club

* We will never sell your info EVER… because that sux!

Want 10% Off?

Get 10% off your next order, just type your name and email below.

Join the Insiders Club

* We will never sell your info EVER… because that sux!