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Thread: Hawkbill bladed knives

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    Hawkbill bladed knives


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    In my recent obsessive searching of knives I have come to appreciate the looks and function of hawkbill blades, such as found on Spyderco Harpys and Merlins. Do these style blades have any place in the combat/tactical/self-defence realm? Are there fighting techniques that utilize the blade's distinct properties? Does their use as such require specific training (eg, are there instructors who specialize in hawkbill techniques?) Or are these strictly utility knives, for cutting netting and rope, as they're advertised?

    Lastly, how does one sharpen them? It seems they're be pretty tough to do with "normal" sharpening equipment.

    -- PG

    P.S. As an aside, how does one sharpen serrated blades? Do they require special equipment?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
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    Amherst, MA 01002
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    Hawkbills: I like hawkbills; they work great for a wide variety of utility cutting.

    Self-defense with hawkbills: Well, they're obviously good slashers. Depending on the point curvature, some can be quite effective stabbers (Emerson's version of Fred Perrin's La Griffe comes to mind, as does their P-SARK). If you want more detail on using these blades in combat, you might want to try posting in "Practical Tactical."


    Sharpening hawksbills: They're difficult to sharpen with a bench-stone; not too hard with most of the "crock-stick" type sharpeners. Depends a lot on the amount of curve in the blade, and how dull the blade is.

    Sharpening Serrations: Depends on the serrations, and on what you're using now. Most serrations are best sharpened with some sort of round or semi-round stick, like a Spyderco Profile. Cold Steel serrations are pretty much impossible to sharpen (though Lansky (I think) is now making a special tool designed to fit them). I have seen some serrations that are sharpenable in the same manner as a straight blade (stroking the blade along a stone). I think this is the style of Mad Dog's serrations, and I'm pretty sure I remember seeing this type on a higher-end United Cutlery Seal Team knife in ATS-34.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    California
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    I have a Parker Hawkbill that I bought a few years ago. I don't use
    it just keep it safe. Who knows, maybe it might be worth something
    someday.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    Glens Falls, NY, USA
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    Paraglock:

    Great question. I would advise you to check out James Keating's Civilian Video, which contains techniques applicable to all hawksbill blades. If you do a search in practical tactical you will find a few reviews of this video.
    When you fight with a hawksbill blade, you lose some stabing ability, but you gain slashing ability, trapping ability, and some intimidation value. The legal question is an interesting one. If you defend your life, with say, a spyderco civilian (allthough not technically a hawksbill, a popular example), the prosecuter can say "look at this scarry looking weapon," but your lawyer can say, "My client carried this knife that was incapable of stabbing to preserve the life of his assailant." So that aspect balances out. There have been threads on this before in practical tactical.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    Oregon, USA
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    Thanks for the pointers. I used them and created a topic over in Practical/Tactical.

    I'm liking these knives more the more I think about them, but I'm also thinking that I may end up getting something else first. While a Merlin looks like a pretty good defensive knife, I think I need something less aggressive for everyday carry.

    As for litigation and all that, well... I do carry a gun on occassion, so of course I've given this a lot of thought. There are just too many "what ifs", and too many lawyers to worry about. And luckily I'm in Oregon, where even auto knives are legal, so pretty much "anything goes", blade wise.

    -- PG

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