Blade Shapes

Knife Blade Shapes


For over two million years, knives have been used as tools for survival and sport. The modern knife, while retaining the same basic elements is very different from ancient implements. The shape of the blade wasn’t as important to our ancestors. Since they made their stone or flint blades by hitting them with rocks, they had to take what they got.

Eventually, man figured out how to shape flint to make different types of blades, like a scythe for cutting grain. But we’ve gone well beyond rock and flint. Modern methods were developed to use bronze, copper and iron. We can now shape the blade so it’s uniform and have designed blades in shapes that work best for each job. A variety of features defines each knife. The materials used to make it, like carbon or stainless steel, the shape, the grind and the thickness all combine to make knives that are designed for each application.

Each area of the world has its own special knife. Bolo knives were used in the Philippines for cutting sugar cane. Machetes cut through thick vegetation. Indian ghurkas were used for fighting, like the American bowie knife. When selecting a knife, consider the job you want it to do. Then decide which shape, size, material and grind will work best.

The table below will help you to understand the types of blades and knives available, and the jobs they’re best suited for. Don’t be afraid to consult with experts before making a decision. You can contact our customer service department for more information about the knives we carry.


Bowie Knife Varies in size, shape and construction. Generally, a long, fixed blade with a clip point that is stored in a sheath. It was made famous by Jim Bowie during the Sandbar Fight because of its size and shape. They’re now used for camping or trail knives, although their primary use was as a fighting knife.
Caping Blade Similar to a drop point blade with a convex arc forming the point. The spine is straight and slopes down to meet the point. The small knives have very fine blades for removing the hide from game animals in preparation for taxidermy. Used for field dressing game.
Chisel Grind Only one side of the blade is ground. Sharper than typical double-edged blades. They’re available in left- or right-handed grinds to accommodate the user. Used for culinary knives.
Clip Point Blade One of the most popular types of blades. The back, or spine, of the blade is angled down. The underside, or edge, is angled upward. The concave cutout on the spine forms a sharp, upswept point. The tip is not as strong as other blade designs. Used for piercing, slicing and general use.
Combination Edge A combination edge blade has a serrated section and a plain section of blade.
Convex GroundAxe Grind A curved taper, opposite of the hollow grind. It provides a stronger edge. These blades are thicker than other types, and are typically used for axes.
Coping Blade The spine and blade are straight and parallel with each other. The spine angles sharply at the tip to form the point. The blades are thin and can be used in tight spaces. They’re best suited for box cutters or detail work.
Double-edged Blade or Dagger A double-edge blade has been sharpened on both the back and the edge. The point is aligned with the spine, which runs through the middle of the blade. These are usually fixed blades because both sides are sharp. Daggers and swords use this type of blade.
Double Flat Grind The steel is ground flat on both sides of the blade. It tapers to a straight edge.
Double or Compound Bevel The blade behind the edge bevel is flat ground. As a result, the section behind the edge bevel is thinner, allowing finer cuts. This type of blade is less prone to damage than single bevel blades. A saber is an example of this type of blade.
Drop Point Blade This is the second most common type of blade. The spine has a gentle downward curve, making it look like a hump. The tip can be a variety of styles, from blunt to a sharp point. The tip is strong and offers good control. The downward, or convex, curve makes it good for cutting and slicing. This is a good utility knife for hunting and general-purpose use. WPS carries these Drop Point Blade Knives.
Fillet Blade This long, thin, narrow blade was designed to scale and clean fish, and cut fillets. The flexible blade is pointed, with a slightly upswept tip. A flat grind is typically used. Working Person’s Store carries these Filleting Knives.
Flat Saber Grind A grind that goes from the edge of the blade to the median portion of the blade, like a saber.
Full Flat Grind The blade is ground from the straight cutting edge to the spine, resulting in a flat blade. The edge is less durable than other types, but it is sharper. Kitchen knives are good examples of flat ground knives.
Game Hook or Gut Hook Hunters use a skinner blade with a sharpened hook on the spine. This combination provides a useful tool to hunters when field dressing game. The large belly of the blade works well for slicing or skinning.
Hawksbill Blade Shaped like a hawk’s bill with a severe hook, the pointed tip is very sharp. Used for commercial fishing to cut lines or netting. Carpet, pruning and fighting knives may also use this blade.
Hollow Grind Produces a blade with two concave sides leading to the edge. The edge is extremely sharp but weak. It needs to be sharpened often. Razor blades use a hollow grind.
Needle Point Blade A tapered, double-edged blade with a narrow point. The point’s fragile but offers good penetration. This blade is used for stabbing or slashing. It can also be called a stiletto or dagger blade.
Pen Blade The pen blade is a short drop point blade used in pocketknives. The back and edge slope evenly to the point, like a spear. It was originally designed to sharpen quills for writing. It’s useful for detailed work that the larger blade on the pocketknife can’t perform.
Pruner Blade Blades with a concave-curved edge. The spine has a convex curve. Pruners are sometimes referred to as Hawksbill blades. In addition to pruning small trees and shrubs, they’re used for cutting carpet and sheetrock.
Rescue Hook Blade This rescue hook blade is similar to the gut blade but is used by emergency personnel to cut through seat belts. They’re also used to cut clothing to expose wounds for treatment.
Reverse “S” Blade As the name suggests, the blade looks like a backward S with the point curving downward. The deep belly curves in the same direction as the point.
Reverse Tanto Blade The reverse tanto blade takes its cue from the tanto blade and like the tanto, excels in tip strength and penetration ability. In the reverse tanto, the spine of the blade will angle sharply downward as it nears the tip creating a point that is usually quite sharp.
Saber Blade A thick-edged blade with an upward sweep along the cutting edge from back to front. The spine slopes down near the tip with a false edge on the foremost part of the blade. Used for a drawing cut or slash.
Saber Grind A grind similar to the flat ground blade, but the bevel starts at about the middle of the blade, not the spine. The edge lasts longer but the cutting ability is reduced.
Santuko The spine curves down to meet the edge. There is a slight curve in the belly. Used as a chef’s knife.
Scimitar The spine is curved upward and the blade ends in a needle-sharp point. It’s similar to the hook blade, but the sharpened edge is on the outside curve of the blade. Used for detailed work in a tight space.
Serrated Edge The notches on a blade that helps the blade grip. They can be on the back or edge of the blade. Here are some Serrated Edge Knives
Sheepsfoot Blade The blade has a flat back and edge with a blunt tip. It’s similar to the coping blade. The blade becomes thinner near the tip for fine work, but the point isn’t sharp. This type of blade is found on traditional pocketknives. It offers safety when working around animals or in emergency situations. Used for detailed tasks, whittling and working around animals. You can count on Working Person’s Store to carry a selection of Sheepsfoot Blade Knives for your review.
Single-Edged Blade It’s sharpened on only one side. The back of the blade is blunt.
Skinning Blade The most important part of this blade is the ample curved belly. The tip isn’t sharp, because it could damage the pelt. The design of the blade makes it an excellent tool to field dress game. It can also be used as a scraper.
Spatula Blade A specialty blade that isn’t sharpened and has a rounded tip. It’s used by doctors and pharmacists to measure medication.
Spear Point Blade The spine and cutting edge taper to meet at the midpoint, forming the tip of the blade. There are different styles that may include a false edge on the spine or different point profiles. The spear blade is typically used in penknives or pocketknives. They’re an all-purpose blade. And you can find these Spear Point Knives at Working Person’s Store, Gerber is a great brand to check out for this.
Spey Blade Originally used for spaying or castrating animals, this blade has a single edge with a sharp curve. As it meets the back, it forms a short, dull point. They’re used for skinning because they’re less likely to damage the skin.
Stiletto A dagger with a thin blade that’s similar to a spike. Stilettos are used for stabbing.
Straight Back or Normal Blade A strong, heavy blade with a curving edge and a flat back. The flat back allows the use of additional force by pushing on it. This blade performs well when chopping and slicing.
Tanto Blade This strong, thick blade has a point that’s in line with the spine. The Westernized Tanto blade has a strong chisel point, similar to Japanese swords like katana and wakizashi blades. It’s used for piercing hard materials. WPS carries a variety of Tanto Blade Knives.
Trailing Point or Upswept Blade The point is higher than the spine, giving the edge a big belly. It’s lightweight, but the point is weak and easy to damage. Uses include slicing, slashing and skinning.
Ulu or Head Knife The blade is shaped like a half circle and has no point. The handle is in the middle of the blade. It’s used for scraping, chopping and to make rolling cuts. In the leather industry, it’s used to scrape hides to reduce their thickness. It was first used with Alaskan Inuit tribes and is still used by them.
Wharncliffe Blade This is the traditional pocketknife blade. It has a flat cutting edge. The spine drops in a curved slope to create a sharp point. It’s similar to the sheepsfoot blade. Uses include scoring, fine work and slicing.