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Thread: What's the deal with recurve blades?

  1. #1

    Question What's the deal with recurve blades?


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    Hi,

    Can anyone give me a clear and compelling explanation about the advantages of a recurve blade design? Blades like The Boker reality based folders and the Benchmade Gaucho sport them, but it seems like with a recurve blade the edge is moved away from the cutting plane making it less useful for cutting. What am I missing here?

    Thanks,

    -C

  2. #2
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    The thought process behind the recurve blade is simple; it is much like a less pronounced version of the famous kuhkri-style machete. When a cutting medium, such as rope, comes into contact with the lower, narrower portion of the blade, the cutting stroke will force the medium across more cutting edge because of the widening of the blade towards the tip. It allows the knife to pack more cutting edge in a shorter blade length, and helps power the cutting medium along the edge.

    Essentially, the widening of the blade towards the tip allows for the medium to come into contact with more edge during the cutting stroke.

    It's sort of a murky explanation, but it's hard to render completely without being in person or having photographic examples of the cutting stroke.

    I hope I helped---have a merry Christmas!

  3. #3
    Unless your chopping this type of design justs makes it harder too sharpen.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the insight. I see what you're saying about the Kuhkri, but I always thought the main point of the kuhkri machette's shape was to move the blade mass further away from the handle therefore making it better for large swinging cuts (for clearing brush, severing limbs, etc). This rationale would obviously be less useful on a pocket folder, right.

    Still, I think I see what you mean about drawing whatever you are cutting across more blade with the recurve shape.

    -C

  5. #5
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    I like Steelscout30's explanation. I've also found that when I wanted to apply increased pressure on a shorter length of edge, the "belly" of the recurve blade enabled that with my hand pushing on the spine. To be honest, however, the most compelling advantage of the recurve blade for me is . . . it just looks way cool .

  6. #6
    The recurve blade maximizes the cutting area of any given blade length. The Kukri has been mentioned, the ancient Persian Jambiya is another good example....a more modern take on this would be the Buck Kalinga (especially the older ones from 30 years ago), a clear copy of the Jambiya pattern.

  7. #7
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    Many good points already out there. The primary point, in my use, is to make cutting things like rope very easy by putting it into the grove and pulling. Recurve are very effective slicing instruments in these situations.

    The increased surface area of the cutting edge can also enhance blade longevity between sharpening, which is nice, since recurves are stupidly hard to sharpen well (for me).

    And of course, we can't forget that they look awesome.


  8. #8
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    Well, since cutting is simply applying an overwhelming force to a small surface area, a recurve as well as a any curve should simply result in more force per unit area, thus better cutting.

    Recurves, as well as common serrations (a bunch of recurves), simply work better due to the way many people cut things- essentially a down and draw movement. I noticed most people don't have much cutting force when cutting away from their bodies.

  9. #9
    I greatly dislike a recurve on a small knife, and it's the one thing that irks me about the otherwise excellent 710. If only it had a blade like the Military...

    A khukuri is a whole 'nother story. The recurve area is handy when you use it as a draw knife, though of course for chopping the sweet (and appropriately hardened) spot is the belly.

  10. #10
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    On a folder, a recurve is - to me - rather pointless. Except that it makes it more difficult to sharpen.

  11. #11
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    Why Does it make it any Harder to sharpen? It's as easy to sharpen as any knife, Just obviously NOT on a 99 cent hardware store stone. You need a rod, or a steel, or a ceramic, and it's just like any other blade. If you ever used one to cut rope for example, You'd see the difference. It kind of sucks what your cutting into the knife. It does what the "Belly" does on the front of a drop point, but before hitting that, so it's double. I can only say you'd have to see and try it.
    OK, Imagine putting a Big recurve, like a super commander, or a CS Vequero Grande on you fore arm, right in the dip at the front. your arm will fit right in there, Imagine then pulling, How DEEP the cut would be compared to a regular drop point. Then it's the same for rope or anything. And Most recurves have a Nice big front belly too, so you can skin and slash with them also. Just try it with one. Genius Knife makers didn't come up with it for no reason.
    I also think IMHO, The Recurve on the 710 is one of the things that makes it so excelent. And Plus it's another reason to have More Knives,lol(I Need a Recurve for this.... I need a Tanto for that..... I need a Drop for this... I need dagger for that...I need a big chopper for this.... ect...ect...) LOL
    Last edited by stolas223; 12-25-2008 at 07:15 AM.

  12. #12
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    well, since cutting is simply applying an overwhelming force to a small surface area, a recurve as well as a any curve should simply result in more force per unit area, thus better cutting.

    Recurves, as well as common serrations (a bunch of recurves), simply work better due to the way many people cut things- essentially a down and draw movement. I noticed most people don't have much cutting force when cutting away from their bodies.
    Reply with quote
    exactly!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by stolas223 View Post
    Why Does it make it any Harder to sharpen?
    Maybe I'm stupid. Did that ever cross your mind?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Artfully Martial View Post

    And of course, we can't forget that they look awesome.
    The main advantage of a recurve seems to be that it it allows the belly to cut more eficiently on a "pull" stroke - can be a bit intimidating as it appears ideal to be used edge up to stab and then withdraw while ripping upwards. Some Ken Onion designs (like his Seagal signature knife) seem to emphasise this with their exagerrated recurve.

  15. #15
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    It's important to remember that there is far more than one kind of recurve too. I think Ken Onion's Bump line is a great example of the diversity that can be attributed to the recurve design. Furthermore, recurve is less a "kind" of blade than a feature of some blades, and can be mixed and matched with other design choices.



    Ah, my beloved and missed Blue Bump (not my actual one, this is from custom tacticals.com). The end of the blade is almost a self-contained other blade, doing what more conventional blade shapes do, where the recurve is pushed way back for recurve jobs.

    Here's a more conventional recurve. The crucial difference between the two, in my opinion, is the lack of a straight cutting surface in the skirmish that the Bump line does possess.


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    The degree and length of the recurve can vary greatly; I am not a huge fan of recurves, but I do not wholly avoid them---I very much like the 710D2 as an everyday carry companion.

    On the subject of sharpening recurves, I do not find it problematic as long as you don't significantly dull them---the Spyderco Sharpmaker makes the sharpening drastically easier.

  17. #17
    I have had a couple of recurve blades and I don't see anything more to that design then a selling point.

    I did a lot of cutting with the few that I had and the only reason I could find for the recurve was to concentrate the cutting power in the curve itself. But it only works when the material being cut fits within the curve.

    Beyond that it doesn't cut any better than any other style of knife.

    The big problem is (as has already been mentioned) that it's a bitch to sharpen.

    Dump the recurve and go with a blade that has a bit more of a belly.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by stolas223 View Post
    It's as easy to sharpen as any knife, Just obviously NOT on a 99 cent hardware store stone.
    or a 99 dollar waterstone, quality arkansas, or alumina ceramic. I do not like recurves, and I do not like sharpening them. I have a few because they are limited production models and a couple have uncommon steels. I find them pointless in use.

  19. #19
    Question, would the spyderco captain be a recurve edge?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Masteroffajitas View Post
    Question, would the spyderco captain be a recurve edge?
    Sure is.

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