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Glossary of Knife Terminology

In order to choose the right high-end knife, it's best to know the terminology surrounding them. We've put together this glossary of knife terms to help you understand what the different sections of a knife are called, and what materials they are made from.

Back – The unsharpened back portion of the metal blade. Also known as the spine.

Bail – A metal half-loop for clipping or tying the knife for easier carrying.

Belly – The curved edge of the blade.

Blade – The metal portion of the knife used for cutting.

Blade lock – A mechanical lock that holds a folding knife's blade in place.

Bolster – A piece of metal added to the handle for extra strength and/or decoration. Located above the guard.

Carbon – A common material for making knife blades. Carbon is easier to sharpen into an edge than steel, but more susceptible to corrosion without proper care.

Damascus steel – Created by two types of steel being folded repeatedly during forging, making it more durable than the two parent steels.

Edge – The sharpened side of the blade.

Epoxy – The bonding agent used to combine the different parts of the knife together. Made from polymide or amino resin, and combined with a hardening agent.

Guard – The portion of the knife that separates the handle from the blade to protect the hand; also known as the hilt.

Inlays – Material inlaid into a knife's handle.

Liner – An interior part of the handle, usually made from soft metal and used to protect a blade from damage when closed.

Micarta – A material used in handles. Made from wood laminates, linen, or paper combined with phenolic resin.

Pins- Small pieces of brass or copper used to join scales, tangs, and other knife parts together.

Pommel – A knob or extension located at the end of a knife's handle.

Retention – How well a blade holds an edge.

Ricasso – The unsharpened portion of the blade located directly below the hilt.

Rockwell Hardness Test – The standard test for determining the hardness of a blade's steel, where a diamond point is forced into a finish blade and the level of penetration is then measured.

Scales – Thin pieces of wood, horn, or synthetic material that are pinned or riveted to the tang.

Scrimshaw – An art form in which knife handles made from bone or other softer material have small holes made in them, which are then filled with ink to create a patterned design.

Shield – A metal inlay, located on the handle.

Spine – Another name for the back.

Stainless steel – Steel with a higher amount of chromium and less carbon than standard steel.

Tang – The portion of the knife extending into the handle.

Tempering – A process for reheating steel to increase its toughness.

 

Summary

Understanding knife terminology helps shoppers better understand the knife they are considering buying, and which material best fits their personal needs.

Company Bio

William Henry is the maker of fine designer jewelry, knives, and accessories for men. Made from only the finest materials and created with expert craftsmanship, William Henry's accessories can add a touch of class to any man's wardrobe. Learn more at www.williamhenry.com

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