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Know Your Knife – Grinds and Bevels and Jimping, Oh My

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Just like guns and pretty much any other tool, knives have an anatomy. There are parts of varying significance (some utilitarian, some only aesthetic), there is a specific nomenclature and design geometry, and of course a classification of attributes most often dictated by intended use.

Some of us hear or read those terms and wonder just what the hell the author is talking about.

First, there's anatomy, from (just the) tip all the way to the butt, which may or may not be shapely and may or may not have a rear quillon.


This is aptly demonstrated in this infographic from a recent article:


What does each of those terms mean? Here is a sampling of definitions:

12. Primary Bevel or Primary Grind – The first grind applied to the knife edge. Many knives only have a single bevel that forms the blade edge.

13. Secondary Bevel or Secondary Grind – The second grind applied to the knife, which alters the primary bevel to a new angle. Knives with two bevels (like this TOPS knife) are considered “compound” or “double” beveled.

14. Plunge Line – The abrupt ending of the bevel, where it meets the flat near the handle.

15. Choil – A curved indentation or notch at the end of the blade edge. Sometimes this can be large enough to fit a finger into, but on the knife above, it’s quite small.


There are other significant terms as well.

Pivot – Only found on folding knives, this is where the blade attaches to the handle. Some knives feature caged ball bearing pivots for smoother opening.

Liner – Flat metal plates inside the handle of a folding knife. These provide structure for the pivot and handle scales, and may also serve as part of the locking mechanism (called a “liner lock”).

If you want the full rundown, go read Patrick McCarthy's Knife Anatomy 101 right here.


If you're wondering about grind, which is how the cutting edge of a knife is formed, we can help you with that too.

Flat Ground Blade A flat-ground or “V” ground blade is one of the most basic edge styles in existence. In a flat-ground blade, both sides taper toward each other at a consistent angle from the spine of the blade to the edge, where they meet. The flat grind is most commonly found in kitchen knives, as well as many blades manufactured by Spyderco and Strider Knives. Flat-ground knives had a distinct advantage in that they are possibly among theeasiest to maintain.

Hollow Ground Blade. Hollow grinds emerged in the 1800s for use on straight razors, quickly gaining popularity in the hunting and sporting communities. They have a distinct, concave grind to the edge, so that both sides of the knife have a bevel that bows inward until they meet in a thin, sharp edge.

Eager for more? Want to know about Scandinavian, Chisel, and other grinds? Wondering about the difference between Drop Points and Sheepsfoot blades? Read Mike Searson's Grinds and Profiles right here.

Oh, and the swedge? It doesn't have anything to do with fetishism or personal lubricants. A swedge is a tapered or beveled false edge (not always fully sharpened) along the spine of the knife. It reduces the point thickness for improved piercing ability.

dylan-farnham-custom-the-45artistic-knives-Tops Knives Cut 4.0 4

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