- The back of the blade is the opposite side of the belly, for
single edged pocket or bowie knives this would be the unsharpened
side. The back can contain lashing grommets, jimping, it's own
edge or false edge, and serrations.
Belly - The belly is the curving part of the
blade edge. Bellies enhance slicing and may be plain or serrated.
One note, the point of the knife becomes less sharp the larger
the belly is. When choosing a knife you should decide whether
penetration or slicing is the most important, and keep the design
of this part of the knife in mind.
Bevel - The bevel is the sloping area(s) that
fall from the spine towards the edge and false edge of the blade.
Blade - See Blade Steels.
Blade Spine - This is the thickest part of a
blade. On a single-edge, flat-ground bowie knife, the blade spine
would be at the back of the blade. For double-edged blades, the
blade spine would be found right down the middle.
Butt/Pommel - The butt, or the pommel is the
very end of the bowie knife. The butt/pommel will be found in
different shapes, depending on what features it was designed to
implement. Some flat metal butts/pommels are good for hammering.
There are pointed metal butts/pommels, known as bonecrusher pommels
used on combat fighting knives, combat tactical knives, combat
survival knives and large bowie knives. They can be decorative,
or contain a lanyard hole. Some butt/pommels are designed to be
removed to be able to store items in the handle or may contain
an additional smaller blade or tool.
Butt Cap - A metal cap fitted over the pommel
is referred to as a butt cap.
Choil - The choil is the unsharpened part of
the blade. It is left at full thickness like the blade spine and
is found where the blade becomes part of the handle. Sometimes
the choil will be shaped (An indentation) to accept the index
finger. It also allows the full edge of the blade to be sharpened.
Crink - A crink is a bend at the beginning of
the tang that keeps multi-bladed pocket knives from rubbing against
Edge - This is the sharpened side of the blade.
Blades will have a single or double edge (or dagger style) depending
on the design.
Escutcheon - this is a small pin or piece of
metal attached to the handle for engraving, branding, or just
False Edge - Widely used on military and combat
fighting knives, a false edge blade is an additional bevel on
the back of the blade enhancing the blade's point. This edge can
be sharpened or not. The false edge can also be used for heavier
cutting that might be damaging to the cutting edge.
Guard - The guard is a separate piece of metal
attached between the blade and the top of the handle to protect
hands from the edge during cutting.
Hilt - The entire handle, including the butt/pommel
and the guard.
Kick - The kick is found on a pocket knife, usually
Boker pocket knives, and is the projection on the front edge of
the tang, the blade rests here in the closed position and keep
the front part the edge from hitting the spring.
Lanyard Hole - This is a hole to fit a lanyard,
rope or carrying implement through.
Lashing Grommets/Jimping - These terms refer
to notches that are designed into the back lower part of the blade
for better thumb control.
Mark Side - This is another pocket knife term
and is the side of the blade with the nail mark.
Nail Mark/Nail Nick - On a pocket knife blade
the nail mark is a groove cut into the blade so that it can be
opened using your fingernail. Most Case pocket knives use this
method of opening the blade.
Obverse Side - The obverse side is the front
or display section of a knife.
Point - The tip of the blade. For more information
see Blade Shapes.
Pile Side - The reverse side of the blade, opposite
of the obverse side.
Pocket Blade - This is the largest blade on a
Pen Blade - The pen blade is the smallest blade
on a multi-bladed knife.
Quillon - The quillon is the area of the guard
that extends past the section surrounding the tang and is the
most protective part of the guard.
Ricasso - The ricasso is the flat section of
the blade between the guard and the start of the bevel. This is
where you will most often find the tang stamp.
Scales - The scales are pieces that are attached
to a full tang to form the handle.
Scrimshaw - Scrimshaw is the art of etching decorative
designs into ivory or simulated ivory handles.
Serrated Edge - Serrations are a set of "teeth"
or notches on the back or front of the blade to aid in cutting.
Swedge - A swedge is a bevel on the back of the
Tang-Stamp - This is an imprinting that can show
style number, collector's number, manufacturer's name. This is
normally located on the ricasso.
Derived from naturally shed deer antlers. When exposed to open
flame, stag takes on that slightly burnt look. Very elegant material
for pocket knives and gentlemens folding knvies.
Derived from naturally deceased animals. Bone is usually given
a surface texture, most commonly in the forms of pickbone and
jigged bone. Bone can be dyed to achieve bright colors (e.g. green,
blue, and black). This is the most common handle material for
A fiberglass based laminate. Layers of fiberglass cloth are soaked
in resin and are compressed and baked. The resulting material
is very hard, lightweight, and strong. Surface texture is added
in the form of checkering. G-10 is an ideal material for tactical
folding knives or fighting knives because of its ruggedness and
lightweight. It is usually available in black.
The most common form is linen micarta. Similar construction as
G-10. The layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phoenolic resin.
The end product is a material that is lightweight, strong, as
well as having a touch of class (thus dressier than G-10). Micarta
has no surface texture, it is extremely smooth to the touch. It
is a material that requires hand labor, which translates into
a higher priced knife. Micarta is a relatively soft material that
can be scratched if not treated properly.
Composed of thin strands of carbon, tightly woven in a weave pattern,
that are set in resin. It is a highly futuristic looking material
with a definite "ahhhh" factor. Of all the lightweight
synthetic handle materials, carbon fiber is perhaps the strongest.
The main visual attraction of this material is the ability of
the carbon strands to reflect light, making the weave pattern
highly visible. Carbon fiber is also a labor-intensive material
that results in a rather pricey knife such as case collectible
Du Pont developed this thermoplastic material. Of all synthetic
materials, ZYTEL is the least expensive to produce, which explains
the abundance of work or utility knives that have this material.
It is unbreakable: resists impact and abrasions. ZYTEL has a slight
surface texture, but knife companies using this material will
add additional, more aggressive surface texture to augment this
slight texture. Sog Specialty Knives is common for using zytel.
A nonferrous metal alloy, the most common form of titanium is
6AL/4V: 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, and 90% pure titanium. This
is a lightweight metal alloy that offers unsurpassed corrosion
resistance of any metal. It has a warm "grip you back"
feel and can be finished either by anodizing or bead blasting.
Aside from handles, titanium is also used as liner materials for
linerlock knives for it is a rather "springy" metal.
Titanium is used usually on collectible pocket knives and chef
Just like titanium, aluminum is also a nonferrous metal. Commonly
used as handles, aluminum gives the knife a solid feel, without
the extra weight. The most common form of aluminum is T6-6061,
a heat treatable grade. The most common finishing process for
aluminum is anodizing.
An electrochemical process which adds color to titanium, which
is especially conducive to this coloring process. Depending on
the voltage used, colors can vary (high voltage = dark color,
low voltage = light color).
A process by which steel, aluminum, and titanium are finished.
Bead blasting is commonly found on tactical folding knives and
fixed or bowie knife blades, for it provides a 100% subdued, non-glare
Terms about knives