Blade Care

Modern knife steel is very high quality material, but all metal will corrode through time. Occasionally oil the joints and springs of a pocket knife with a drop or two of oil. This will assure easier opening and closing and will prevent rust and lessen wear. Wipe the blades now and then with an oil-moistened cloth to prevent rust- especially if you live in a damp climate or close to the ocean. If your blade should get wet, dry it thoroughly. If your knife comes into contact with salt water or any substance you are not certain about, you should rinse it immediately with tap water, dry it and apply a light coat of oil.

Do not store knives in their sheaths. The leather collects moisture and creates pits on the blade.

Check the locking notch of lockbacks regularly to ensure that it will work properly. Keep all sand and grit out of the knife. Keep the mechanisms clean. Remember to never rely on a folding knife to be permanently locked in position

Avoid harsh detergents that contain Chlorine (mostly powders, including some for washing dishes and clothes), which can accelerate corrosion of the blade steel Do not use the cutting blade as a can opener, chisel, pry bar, screwdriver or for any heavy work for which your knife was not designed. Also, don’t use the back of your knife as a hammer. It may break the springs, handles or pin.

Handles made of wood can be occasionally rubbed with furniture polish or oil. Brass can be polished with household brass polish

Before using your knife on food items, wipe clean with alcohol, or wash with hot soapy water and rinse clean. Remember to re-clean and lubricate your knife after the food job is done

After using your knife, it is a good practice to clean and dry your knife (the entire knife, not just the blade). Even for blades that are made with corrosion-resistant stainless steel, prolonged exposure to the elements can cause the steel’s surface to oxidize. Folding knives should be kept clean of debris, particularly the locking device on lockblade knives.

Remember to keep your knife sharpened -- a dull blade can be more dangerous than a properly maintained one

Blade Finish And Coating

A stonewashed finish refers to tumbling the blade in an abrasive material. This finish easily hides scratches, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin finished blade. A very positive benefit of stonewashed blades/handles is that they are low maintenance and preserve their original look overtime.
Sometimes known as TiNite, is an extremely hard ceramic material, often used as a coating on steel. It's used to harden and protect cutting and sliding surfaces, for decorative purposes (due to its gold appearance), and as a non-toxic exterior.
Semi-shiny finish with a luster falling between bead blasted (matte) and mirror polish (high gloss). The most popular finish on production knife blades.
Or blackening, is a conversion coating for ferrous materials that is used to add mild corrosion resistance and for an appealing black appearance.
Done by hand, polishing the metal into a highly reflective surface. While it provides a great look and offers better corrosion resistance due to the smoothness of the blade, this finish type involves a lot of polishing to maintain its look. The amount of skill used to create this finish often results in an expensive blade.
A relatively expensive blade material, easily distinguished by the lines created by the multiple layers of steel fused together with heat. Excellent toughness and edge holding capabilities.
Electroplating is a process that uses electric current to reduce dissolved metal cations so that they form a coherent metal coating on an electrode. This allows a variety of colors use to bond to stainless steel
Bead blasting is the process of removing surface deposits by applying fine glass beads at a high pressure without damaging the surface. Commonly found on tactical folders and fixed blades, for it provides a 100% subdued, non-glare finish.
A combination of two different blade finishes on a single blade, for example, satin finish on the blade upper and stonewash on the lower part of the blade.

Blade Shape

One of the three most common knife blade shapes used (the others being the drop point and the spear point). Clip point blades have the appearance of having the forward third of the blade "clipped" off. The clip itself can be straight or concave. If the false edge is sharpened it increases the knife's effectiveness in piercing. It is also very popular used on most Bowie knives.
A drop point blade is another great all-purposes blade and is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today amount the hunting knife because of the controllable point. The back (unsharpened) edge of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner.
A symmetrical blade with an equal amount of curve on the spine and the cutting edge. The grind line of the primary bevel and the point both lie on the blade’'' centerline. Spear point blades often feature swedges or false edges on the back of the blade. It provides a very strong tip and is often used in throwing knives.
A lightweight knife that has a back edge that curves upward. Trailing point blades provide a large curved cutting area (“belly”) and are optimized for slicing or skinning. They are most common on skinning and fillet knives
Has a curving edge, and flat back. This lets a lightweight knife have a larger curve on its edge. Such a knife is optimized for slicing or slashing. Trailing point blades provide a larger cutting area, or belly, and are common on skinning knives
The tanto blade has a high point with a flat grind, leading to an extremely strong point. It is also a heavy duty blade perfectly suited for tactical knives. This blade shape is excellent for prying, scraping, and piercing through various materials.
Consisting of a tough blade, wire, or chain with a hard toothed edge. It is used to cut through material, most often wood. The cut is made by placing the toothed edge against the material and moving it forcefully forth and less forcefully back or continuously forward.
A sharply-tapered acuminated point. It is frequently found on daggers such as the stiletto. Its long, narrow point reduces friction and increases the blade's penetrative capabilities.
A sharply curved blade sharpened on the concave side. Designed for cutting with a pulling stroke, it is commonly used by commercial fishermen for cutting line, webbing and netting.
A special type of blade in which the spine has a sharpened semi-circle ground into it. Often used by hunters for field dressing, the “hook” in the spine is placed in a small cut in the underside of the animal and pulled like a zipper. The small hook opens the abdomen of the animal without slicing into the muscle, possibly affecting the quality of the meat. Red more about gut hook blades.
A kitchen knife used for filleting. ... It is very flexible boning knives that are used to fillet and prepare fish. They have blades about 15 cm to 28 cm (6 to 11 inches) long, allowing them to move easily along the backbone and under the skin of fish.
Originally used for trimming quills also known as 'dressing'. With the invent of the drip pen in 1820, the use of pen knives changed to stationary openers and general use knives but the name stuck. The larger sibling of the Pen is called the Spear blade.

Handle Material

Aluminum is very durable and provides a solid feel without the extra weight to steel. It can be formed to provide a very comfortable and secure grip. The most common finishing process for aluminum is anodization which adds color and protection.
Provides excellent durability and resistance to corrosion but is not particularly lightweight. In addition, stainless steel handles can be rather slippery so manufacturers have to incorporate etching or ridges to provide the required friction. Quite often, you'll see stainless steel used in combination with plastic or rubber, to improve the grip.
Sometimes known as TiNite, is an extremely hard ceramic material, often used as a coating on steel. It’s used to harden and protect cutting and sliding surfaces, for decorative purposes (due to its gold appearance), and as a non-toxic exterior.
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 excellent material for tactical folders because of its ruggedness and lightweight.
Similar construction as G10. The layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phenolic resin. The end product is a material that is lightweight, strong, as well as having a touch of class (thus dressier than G10). 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.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a common thermoplastic polymer. It combines strength and rigidity with the toughness of rubber. Inlaid in steel handles, it also offers non-slip grip characteristics.
A nylon material reinforced with glass fiber are well known for being strong, tough, zero maintenance and inexpensive.
Double Injection molding is a manufacturing process for producing parts by injecting 2 different material into a mold.
Often used as an inlay to other materials which allows for vibration absorption. Also improved grip on any weather condition.
Leather handles are seen on some hunting and military knives. Leather handles are typically produced by stacking leather washers, or less commonly, as a sleeve surrounding another handle material. Leather knife handles are attractive but not as durable as synthetic materials.
Bone used for knife handles is taken from naturally deceased animals. Bone is a very good and common material for knife handles as it is durable, fairly easy to shape and can be very attractive.
Stag is another material that is extremely popular. The charm of stag comes from the attractive looks and rough texture of the surface that gives a nice grip for the user. Stag is derived from naturally shed deer antlers. When exposed to open flame, stag takes on that slightly burnt look.
Wood knife handles vary from the more common wood species to the most exotic and the price ranges accordingly. Fancy and exotic wood handled knives are especially popular with collectors. A good quality wood handle will be durable and can be attractive as well.
A hard wooden laminate that is resistant to heat and is usually used to make handles for cutlery and cooking utensils.
Wood material from the burl part of a maple tree.
Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timbers, often brownish with darker veining but found in many different hues.
Its most popular use is for gentleman's pocket knives where it would not be exposed to the rough and tumble of heavy duty outdoor use. There is also an imitation abalone made from a type of plastic which is used mainly for pocket knife handles.
AKA Polyoxymethylene(POM) is a crystalline plastic ideal for high strength and stiffness properties. Used most frequently (on account of its resistance to corrosion) on industrial wear and gears.
A highly prized knife handle material! White Mother of Pearl comes from the silver lip shell. It is also very similar to abalone from the standpoint of durability and uses.
Samekawa (Samegawa) or Ray Skin is the fish skin taken from a stingray or shark. It is often used on the tsuka of a Katana, Wakizashi or Tanto.

Locking Mechanism

Rapid Lock is a 100% Ambidextrous knife design. The rapid lock gets its function from a small hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. This bar engages a ramped portion of the knife blade when it is pulled towards the user releasing the blade. Two sets of ball bearings allow this knife to easily open and close with minimal wrist action. When the knife is open the tang is solidly wedged between the stop pin and Rapid Lock itself making it a safe and easy to use locking mechanism.
The A.C.S. lock uses a spring-loaded plunger to hold the knife open essentially locking the blade in place. Depressing the button lines up a notch in the plunger and allows the blade to pivot on the ball bearing system. The A.C.S. lock is a strong lock that doesn’t require the user to put a finger in the blade’s path when closing the knife. The lock is both fast, safe and easy to use.
The mechanism is essentially made of a "spine" on a spring. When the knife is opened, the spine locks into a notch on the back of the blade. To close the knife, push down on the exposed part of the spine (usually found in the middle or rear of the handle) to lift up the part of the spine in contact with the blade. This disengages the lock, allowing you to swing the blade to a closed position.
A locking mechanism for folding pocket knives. A Liner lock is a folding knife with a side-spring lock that can be opened and closed with one hand without repositioning the knife in the hand. The lock is selfadjusting for wear.
The main difference between a liner lock and a frame lock is that a frame lock uses the handle to form the frame and therefore the lock. The handle, which has two sides, is often cut from a steel that is much thicker than the liner of most locks.

Opening Mechanism

A manual folding knife has no spring or mechanical assistance and requires you to physically open the blade, using a thumb stud, a cut out, or groove.
An assisted-opening knife is a type of folding knife which uses an internal mechanism to finish the opening of the blade once the user has partially opened it using a flipper or thumb stud attached to the blade.
Assembly of small balls designed to roll in between the surfaces materials of the blade. It is added into a pocket knife to greatly reduce friction when opening and closing the blade.

Other Features & Info

Chinese stainless alloy, similar to AISI 440C stainless steel. Most notable difference being the absence of Molybdenum from its composition. Obviously, that is detrimental to its performance as a knife steel, Mo is a strong carbide former.
A Chinese stainless steel with a high performance-to-cost ratio, often compared to AUS-8. Tempered around the Rc56 to Rc58 range.
A Chinese stainless steel with a high performance-to-cost ratio, often compared to 440A.
The high quality and low cost of this steel make it an easy choice among custom knife makers and manufactures. 440 stainless steel has higher carbon content than 420 and maintain a high level of corrosion resistance. Knives made from 440 stainless steel are easy to sharpen and have good edge retention.
Better edge retention and increased tensile strength. The higher carbon content also improves resistance to wear and abrasion. Found commonly in handmade samurai sword.
An electrochemical process which adds color to aluminum, which is especially conducive to this coloring process. Depending on the voltage used, colors can vary (high voltage = dark color, low voltage = light color).
Contains between 55% and 95% Copper, is among the best known alloys. The use of Brass dates back 2500 years and was widely used by the Romans and is commonly used today for strong corrosion resistant.
AKA CNC, adds dimension to a knife blade or handle to enhances performance. CNC machines can be programmed to execute a complex precise cuts to create geometries pattern.
A medium weave nylon suitable for sheaths due to its durability and water resistance.
Heavy weave nylon fabric which is stronger, tougher and heavier than the 600D.
Type of blade used on saws and on some knives or scissors. It is also known as a dentated, sawtooth, or toothed blade. Usually occupy half to a quarter of the plain blade space. It cuts faster but never a clean cut like a plain edge blade.
Notches on the spine of a knife blade, or other places on a knife, designed to help prevent your hand from slipping during use.
The part of the blade that connects to the handle. Also serves as the foundation of the handle.
A hole in the butt end of the knife to enable to user to attach a cord or lanyard.
Glass breaker tip made by tungsten carbide steel.
AKA, seat-belt cutter. A single or crossed blade assembly built in the handle, usually toward the back end.
A convenient spring loaded metal loop that allows attachment of knives, gears or other components for easy carry.
The addition of paracord to a handle as a substitute for traditional material, adds grip and aesthetic ap peal to the knife. The paracord can also be removed from the knife and use in emergencies.

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