Knives


Terms

BLADE STEELS
1) AUS-8 (also referred to as 8A) (some text courtesy of Boker Knife Company) - Commonly found in a Kitchen Knife Set, the words "stainless steel" are misleading, because, in fact all steel will stain or show discoloration if left in adverse conditions for a sufficient time. Steel is made "stainless" by adding Chromium and reducing its Carbon content during the smelting process. Some authorities claim that there is a serious performance trade off with stainless steel: As the Chrome increases and the Carbon decreases, the steel becomes more "stainless". But it also becomes more and more difficult to sharpen and, some claim, the edge-holding potential is seriously impaired. We have found that most stainless steel blades are as sharp as other material blades and hold the edge longer. AUS 8A is a high carbon, low chromium stainless steel that has proven, over time, to be a very good compromise between toughness, strength, edge holding and resistance to corrosion.

2) ATS-34 - premium grade of stainless steel used by most custom knife makers and upper echelon factory knives. Also common with the making of quality tactical folding knives or production collectible pocket knives. It is Japanese steel, owned by Hitachi Steels. The American made equivalent of ATS-34 is 154CM, a steel popularized by renowned maker Bob Loveless. Boker pocket knives are usually made of ATS-34.

3) GIN-1 (formerly known as G2) - another low cost steel, but slightly softer than AUS-8.

4) CPM-T440V - currently touted as the "super steel", it outlasts all stainless steels on the market today. It is, however, harder to resharpen (due to its unprecedented edge retention). But the tradeoff is that you do not have to sharpen as frequently. CPM-T440V is widely used by custom knife makers and is slowly finding its way into high-end or gentlemen's folding knives.

5) SAN MAI III - (text courtesy of Boker Knife Company) An expensive, traditional style Japanese laminate. Hard, high carbon stainless forms the core and edge of the blade, while two layers of tough, spring tempered stainless support and strengthen it. The resulting blade possesses the best qualities of both types of steel. This laminate is 25% stronger than the incredibly tough AUS 8A stainless . The telltale sign of genuine San Mai III is a thin line near the edge that runs the entire length of the blade. This line is created in the grinding process as the layers of steel in the blade are exposed. The distance the line is from the edge varies from knife to knife because every piece of San Mai III steel is unique. Like AUS 8A stainless, San Mai III is treated in modern, precise conveyor furnaces and subjected to a sub zero post hardening process. This improves the microstructure of the steel by eliminating retained austenite. The resulting blades are more elastic and have better edge holding characteristics than standard stainless steels.

6) 420J2 - (text courtesy of Boker Knife Company) Due to its low carbon high chromium content this steel is an excellent choice for making tough (bends instead of breaking), shock absorbing knife blades with excel lent resistance to corrosion and moderate edge holding ability. It is an ideal candidate for knife blades that will be subject to a wide variety of environmental conditions including high temperature, humidity, and airborne corrosives such as salt in a marine environment. This extreme resistance to corrosion via its high chrome content also makes it a perfect choice for knife blades which are carried close to the body or in a pocket and blades which will receive little or no care or maintenance.

Carbon V (From Cold Steel) - An exclusive carbon alloy steel, formulated and extensively treated to achieve exceptional properties. Carbon V was developed and refined by using both metallurgical and performance testing. Blades were subjected to the "Cold Steel Challenge" as a practical test, and then they were sectioned, so that their microstructure could be examined. In this way we arrived at the optimum steel AND the optimum heat treatment sequence to bring out the best in the steel. Cold Steel buys large quantities of premium high carbon cutlery steel with small amounts of elemental alloys added in the smelting stage. These elements enhance the blade's performance in edge holding and elasticity. The steel is then rolled to their exact specifications to establish optimum grain refinement and blades are blanked to take full advantage of the grain direction in the steel.

The blanks are heated in molten salt, quenched in premium oil and tempered in controlled ovens. Then they are ground. The new blades are then subjected to expert heat treatment, involving rigidly controlled austenizing temperatures, precisely defined soak times, proper selection of quenching medium and carefully monitored tempering times and temperatures. This heat treatment sequence results in blades which duplicate and often exceed the properties of the most expensive custom forgings.

Premium U.S. High Carbon (from Cold Steel)- Cold Steel's Premium Carbon Steel is used in a variety of our low cost highly functional knives. Chemical content and microstructure from the mill is specified by Cold Steel and each lot is subjected to the same metallurgical examination before being used in production as our world famous Carbon V. The Steel is a very clean,fine grained material with a high carbon content for toughness and response to heat treatment. Cold Steel has designed a special heat treatment for this material which maximizes toughness in combination with more than acceptable edge holding ability, resulting in a blade which will satisfy even the most discriminating user. [Top]

S30V - Revolutionary S30V steel blades are harder, more wear resistant and far less brittle than any standard 440C series stainless steel blade. Tests also show 45% better edge retention than 440C stainless. [Top]

Titanium - Unlike stainless steel knives, titanium knives are almost completely rustproof and corrosion resistant because they contain no carbon. The result is a knife that will hold an edge for a very long time. Titanium steel knives require almost no sharpening or maintenance. [Top]


Blade Shapes

Clip Point – A clip point blade has a concave or straight cut-out at the tip (The "clip"). This brings the blade point lower for extra control and enhances the sharpness of the tip. You will often find a false edge with the clip point. These types of blades also often have an abundant belly for better slicing capabilities.

Dagger/Double Edge - A double edge blade is sharpened on both sides ending with the point aligned with the spine, in the middle of the blade.

Drop Point – The drop-point blade has lowered tip via a convex arc. This lowers the point for extra control and also leaves the strength. This type of blade also has a good-sized belly for better slicing.

Hook Blade – The edge of a hook blade curves in a concave manner.

Santuko – Is a Japanese chef’s knife. The spine curves downward to meet the edge and the belly curves slightly.

Scimitar – This is a curved blade with the edge on the convex side.

Sheepsfoot – The spine of this blade curves downward to meet the edge. This leaves virtually no point. This type of blade typically has little or virtually no belly and is used mainly for slicing applications.

Spear Point – The point of this blade is exactly in the center of the blade and both edges are sharpened. The point drops all the way down the center of the blade.

Tanto – The point to this style blade is in line with the spine of the blade. This leaves the point thick and strong. There are quite a few different variations of how tanto blades are designed. The way the front edge meets the bottom edge, whether at an obtuse angle or a curve is one difference. You will also find differences in the point being clipped or not and whether there is a chisel grind.

Trailing Point – The trailing point blade’s point is higher than the spine. This is typically engineered with an extended belly for slicing, with the point up and out of the way.

LOCKING MECHANISMS AND TYPES

Axis Lock - The features of the AXIS lock are significant and greatly enhance the function of knives. First and foremost is the strength. This lock is definitely more than adequate for the demands of normal knife use. A close second to strength is the inherent AXIS advantage of being totally ambidextrous without user compromise. The blade can be readily actuated open or closed with either hand- without ever having to place flesh in the blade path. Lastly, and certainly not any less impressive, is the indescribable "smoothness" with which the mechanism and blade function. By design there are no traditional "friction" parts to the AXIS mechanism, making the action the much smoother. And it's all reasonably exposed so you can easily clean away any unwarranted debris. Basically, AXIS gets its function from a spring-loaded bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife; spanning the space between the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped notch cut into the tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang, and as a result the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself. It's a lot of words in an attempt to describe simplicity, but the very best way to truly appreciate the AXIS lock is to experience it for yourself firsthand. There are several models to choose from with more on the way.

Balisong - Also known as Butterfly Knives. The handle to this style knife is in two separate pieces and pinned to the tang. A third pin fixes between both sides to lock the blade into an open position. eBladeStore.com offers a wide selection of Butterfly Knives for sale.

Block Lock - This folder lock has a spring loaded block located on the center pin. The block extends into a hole in the tang to lock the blade open.

Clasp - This style folding knife has no lock or backspring.

Lockback - This style of lock has a spring-loaded locking bar with a tooth at the end. The tooth falls into the notch cut into the blade tang and is held there under the spring tension. A cut out in the handle spine houses the release for the lock. These locks generally require 2 hands to unlock and close.

Locking Liner - (a.k.a. linerlocks) This particular locking system was refined by knife maker Michael Walker. The actual locking mechanism is incorporated in the liner of the handle, hence the name. If there is a metal sheet inside the handle material, it is called a liner. With a locking liner, opening the blade will allow this metal to flex over and butt against the base of the blade inside the handle, locking it open. Moving this liner aside will release this lock allowing the blade to close. Disengagement of the lock is performed with the thumb, allowing for one handed, hassle free action. Locking liners are commonly found on tactical folding knives, both production and custom.

Ringlock - This design has been around since the 1890's. The Ringlock is similar to the Slipjoint, but it has a rotating slipring instead of a backspring.

Rolling Lock - This design uses a sort of bearing that rolls into the locked position.

Sebenza Lock - The concept of this lock is comparable to the Liner Lock. A hollowed out section of the scale is fixed into the handle cavity to lock the blade open.

Slipjoint - The slipjoint is one of the more common designs for folding and pocket knives. Instead of a lock, the slipjoint utilizes a backspring to create resistance to hold the blade open.

Swinglock - There is one pivot pin and one locking pin used to design this style lock.

Wood Lock - This lock was designed by Barry Wood. The handles and blade are attached to a central pin and pivot independently. A second pin is fixed into the inside of one scale and extends into slot in the tang to lock the blade open.

BLADE GRINDS

1) HOLLOW GRIND
The most common grind, found on the majority of custom and production pieces. Hollow ground blades have a thin edge that continues upwards, and is the grind is produced on both sides of the blade. Since the cutting edge is relatively thin, there is very little drag when cutting. Examples of knives with hollow ground blades: Spyderco Howard Viele C42 and Kershaw Ti-ATS-34.

2) FLAT GRIND
Flat grinds are characterized by the tapering of the blade from the spine down to the cutting edge. This style of grind is also referred to as a "V" grind, since the cross section of this grind resembles that letter. The chisel grind, a popular style for tactical blades, is a variation of the flat grind. On a chisel round blade, it is ground on one side, and on the other it is not. These blades are easier to sharpen, because you sharpen one side only. Example of a knife with a chisel ground blade would be the Benchmade 970 Ernest Emerson CQC7. Examples of knives with a flat grind are the Benchmade Mel Pardue 850 and Spyderco's C36 Military model.

3) CONCAVE GRIND
Similar to the flat grind in that the blade tapers from the spine to the cutting edge, except the taper lines are arcs instead of straight lines.

4) CONVEX GRIND
Similar to the flat grind in that the blade tapers from the spine to the cutting edge, except the taper lines are arcs extending outward instead of inward as in the convex grind above or straight lines. If you picture a pumpkin seed, you will get a good idea of what the cross sectional view of this grind is like. Noted custom knife maker Bill Moran is credited for bringing the convex grind into the focus of knife making.

Chisel
The chisel grind is ground on only one side of the blade. It’s easy to produce and easy to sharpen. It is often ground at around 30 degrees which contributes to a thin and sharp edge.

Sabre
The sabre grind has flat edge bevels that typically begin about the middle part of the blade and runs flatly to the edge. The edge is often left thick and thickens quickly past the edge. This is a great grind for chopping and other hard uses.

Scandinavian Single-Bevel
the Scandinavian single-bevel grind looks similar to a sabre grind. The difference between the two grinds is that the Scandinavian single-bevel grind has no secondary edge bevels. This grind has an extremely thin and incredibly sharp edge.

 


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