Understand Knife Blade Types. Your Ultimate Guide.

Knife blades come in a variety of shapes and styles. There are so many of them …camping knives, survival knives, hunting knives—you name it!

The idiom goes, "There are many ways to skin a cat." However peculiar it may appear, there are a variety of knives suited for the job. Even those who aren't particularly familiar with pocket knives blades will have noticed that blades come in a variety of forms and sizes.

That isn't just a coincidence, and it isn't the work of creative bladesmiths. Knife blade profiles are shaped differently for a reason. When you look for a blade to purchase, there are many factors to take into consideration: what type of knife is best suited for your needs? What size blade do you need?

To make an informed decision about what knife will work best for your needs, we’ve put together this blog post with everything that you need to know about knife blade types.


Sheepsfoot Blade

sheepsfoot knife blade

This blade has a flat edge and a curving spine that reaches down to meet it at the tip.

Sheepsfoot blades are intended for cutting while minimizing the risk of accidental puncture with the point. It was originally utilized to trim sheep's hooves, but it is now used as an emergency tool. This blade type is also sometimes called a de-curving blade because it does not have an acute tip.


The Sheepsfoot blades have many uses around the home and on camping trips. It can be used as a tool for cutting away bushes, opening boxes or packages, general food preparation (such as slicing bread), whittling sticks, or even self-defence.


Drop-Point Blade

drop-point knife blade

The drop-point blade is one of the most popular blade types, characterized by a convex spine that extends from the handle to the point.

This gives for an easier-to-manage tip and a bigger belly for cutting. The drop point is excellent for all-around use and would make great hunters' knives. They make excellent pocket knife blades.


They are used for skinning and dressing game. Drop points are also used as survival knives and utility tools.

Drop-point blades are often found on general hunting, outdoor, and kitchen knives. They excel at the skinning game because the tip doesn't stick in the body cavity like a clip point does when you're cutting towards yourself.


Clip-Point Blade

Clip-Point knife Blade

The clip point blade is a common blade shape among the blade types, characterized by a spine with a front section that appears to be clipped off. This cut-out area can either be straight or concave and results in a fine point that’s ideal for precision tasks. The clip-point blade shape is found on countless knives including work, hunting, and tactical blades.


Clip-point blades are used in many different applications. The back edge (the unsharpened side) of this type of knife blade can be used to apply pressure, making it ideal for tasks like cutting through rope or nylon strapping tightly rolled magazines and newspapers

Clip-point blades are one of the most common knife shapes you will find on pocket knives, kitchen cutlery, and work knives.


Wharncliffe Blade

Wharncliffe knife Blade

This type, like a sheepsfoot blade, has a straight edge and a curved spine, but the curve gradually extends from the handle to the tip. The form is similarly suited for slicing while minimizing the danger of receiving an accidental puncture with the tip.

Wharncliffe blades have a similar profile to the Sheepsfoot blade but for one key difference: they do not have an extended "false edge" next to where you grip your knife. Knives that are Wharncliffe can be recognized by their lack of this feature which is present in a Sheepsfoot blade.


The Wharncliffe makes an excellent utility knife. These blades are useful in many circumstances like whittling, carpentry, and opening boxes.


Tanto Blade

Tanto knife Blade

The tanto blade is a popular design in modern Japanese cutlery. The Tanto name means sword in Japanese so it's not surprising that the tip on this blade looks like an actual samurai sword!

The blade on this Japanese knife is based on a short sword that was worn by samurai in feudal Japan. It has strong point with a straight edge which makes piercing very easy.

The curve of the belly is replaced with an angular edge transition, making for a considerably stronger and more prominent tip. It's ideal for piercing hard things, but it isn't as good at cutting.


Tanto blade is used in tactical knives, rescue knives, and other hard use folding pocket knives.


Normal Blade/Straight Back Blade

Normal Blade/Straight Back knife Blade

Straight Back Blade is a type of blade with no curve on the spine or belly, but instead has a straight edge that runs from hilt to tip. It's different than the normal knife which also has an up-curved edge making it ideal for chopping and slicing.

A straight spine and an up-curved edge meet at the tip.


The lengthy spine makes the knife heavy and robust for chopping and slicing, while pressure can be applied to the long unsharpened section using a hand. Among the blade types, this knife blade is particularly good for precise cutting.


Hawkbill Blade/Talon

Hawkbill Blade/Talon knife blade

A Hawkbill knife has a spine and edge that curve down in the same direction to form a downward-facing point. This form allows the blade to cut efficiently when pulled back in the handle's direction, so they're mostly used for utilitarian activities like cutting carpet and linoleum and pruning plants.

A talon blade is very similar to a hawkbill, but its edge has an upward curve instead of downward.


Talons are used for tasks that require more precision than materials that can be easily cut with the hawkbill, like removing splinters. They're also commonly found on ratcheting pruners and shears because they give a more precise cut.


Gut Hook

Gut Hook knife blade

Gut Hook is blades that have a very small "hook" on the backside, sometimes called the "spine." The hook is sharpened so it will cut an animal's skin when drawn through while gutting. 

The hooked design enables hunters to cut through an animal's skin without harming underlying tissues. Gut hooks can also be used for cutting open all types of packaging.

The small hook on the backside of a gut knife is sharpened so it can cut through an animal's skin while making a clean incision to remove its entrails.


Hunters use these to field dress larger game such as deer, moose, elk, and bear.


Spear-Point Blade

Spear-Point knife Blade

The style was originally used in spears. The tip of the spear point blades is aligned with the centre of the knife. This form is more robust than a needle-point and just as capable of thrusting. A spear point can have either one or two cutting edges.

A knife with a spear-point blade is typically shorter than other types of blades — the length of an average person's palm to the tip of their middle finger (about three inches or 75 mm). The classic skinning and filleting knife has a spear-point blade.


Spear-point blades are used when piercing or detail work is necessary. They are used in pocket knives because they have a point that can be used for detail work and piercing, making them ideal for light tasks such as sharpening pencils.

Also, spear-point knives are most often found on daggers and throwing knives, which are illegal in several countries.


Needle-Point Blade

Needle-Point knife Blade

The needle tip has two edges that taper strongly from the handle to the point. This shape improves the knife's piercing and penetration abilities, hence most needle tips are utilized for fighting and stabbing. Because of their tiny form, many needle-point knives are daggers and classified as weapons, which makes them unlawful in many countries.


The needle-point is used for making holes in thin materials. This blade type can also be utilized to pick slivers or splinters, apply paint and even sew leather. It is mostly employed as a weapon because of its sharpness which makes it suitable for stabbing motions.


Trailing-Point Blade

Trailing-Point knife Blade

Trailing Point Blade is a knife blade style where the spine curves up to form an elevated tip. This form produces a cavernous belly that makes it ideal for slicing, skinning, and filleting things like fish and meat.


Trailing point blades are often used by hunters on their hunting knives because of how well they handle cutting through different types of sinew and flesh.



Blunt tip blade

Blunt tip knife blade

A blunt tip has an asymmetrically folded blade with equally sloped edges. Unlike a spearpoint, the blade is curved as a security precaution. It is a highly-specialized knife design that is often ignored due to its unusual design.


They are used mainly by kayakers boaters and divers when cutting and distributing lines and rope.



Spey-Point Blade

Spey-Point knife Blade

Spey point blades have a mostly flat edge until near the tip when it curves up to the point. The spine is also mostly flat, although it slopes down near to the knife's tip. As a consequence, this knife has a short belly and broad tip that prevents stabbing by accident.

These blades were originally utilized on farms to neutral animals. However, the spey-point blade is also popular for fishermen who want a knife that can gut their catch.


It's used in commercial fishing and industrial meat processing because of its ability to easily cut through skin or membrane without damaging internal organs.


Which blade is used in pocket knives?

The sort of pocket knife blade you choose is determined by the kind of work you do and the purpose for which you want to use it. Pocket knife blade shapes vary depending on their intended application. A pocket knife with a spay point blade or trailing point blade is ideal for hunting. A drop point blade or clip point blade is preferable for piercing tiny holes or puncturing.


What knife blade is right for you? The type of knife that will work best depends on what it’s being used for.

All knives come with different types of blades, whether they are fixed blade knives or folding knives meant to perform specific tasks, so understanding the variety available can help you make an informed decision about which one might be a good fit for your needs.

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