A Brief Study On Swedges

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by KnifeHead, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. KnifeHead

    KnifeHead I'm bad, I'm nationwide Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 5, 2006
    Someone asked a while back, "What is a swedge and what are they used for?" My mentor Tony Bose and I sat down and he explained what was going on with the swedges on the knife in the following images. (Thanks Tony!)

    Swedges have 4 basic purposes:

    1. They improve the eye appeal of a blade.

    2. They make the blade thinner at the spine and therefore improve it's ability to cut.

    Specific to slip joint folding knives they:
    3. Make room for the blades to pass each other when opening and closing.

    4. Provide access to nail pulls

    This 3 blade premium stockman has some good examples of swedge work. From the top you can see that there isn't a lot of extra room for blades. The swedges on each blade play a part in making this knife work well. Imagine what this knife would look like without swedges. Eye appeal is definitely at work here in the lines on these blades.


    There wasn't much worry about blades rubbing on the old knives because they were USED! In today's collector market, blade rubs are a no-no so care is taken to make sure there is plenty of room for the blades to pass. But, you don't want a knife that is too wide so swedges will enable the maker to keep the knife as narrow as possible.

    Now take a look at the position of the blades in the image below.


    The master clip blade has symmetrical cut swedges. It has it's own spring and therefore it's own pocket to house in, but still the sheep's foot blade is very close. The drawn swedge of the sheep's foot and the cut swedge of the clip blade allow plenty of clearance.

    The spey and sheep's foot blades share a spring. Special attention has to be paid to make these two blades play nicely together. A cut center liner(not a full profile liner) is used and the sheep's foot blade is crinked(bent) toward the center. You can see in the image above that the tip of the sheep's foot blade is about centered over the center liner. Crinking one blade doesn't provide enough clearance between blades so cut swedges are employed between the spey and sheep's foot blade.

    There are 2 types of swedges: cut swedge and drawn swedge

    The cut swedge plunges in where it begins on the spine and tapers out towards the tip. A correct swedge will end before it gets to the tip of the blade. Otherwise, blade sharpening over time could potentially involve the swedge resulting in an ugly blade.


    The drawn swedge tapers gradually from where it begins on the spine and tapers out again toward the tip.


    MerryMadMonk, meako, Filoso and 8 others like this.
  2. VCM3

    VCM3 Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Oct 26, 2005
    Kerry,what a great informative thread.Very nicely done !
    That knife is really outrageous.The blades are spectacular!

    T.A.DAVISON Slip Joint Knife Maker

    Oct 24, 2005
    Nice job there Kerry, I think the swedge is here to stay. :D

  4. camo kid

    camo kid

    Sep 3, 2002
    Kerry, thank you for taking time to post that it was really informative. That is one heck of a nice knife too! Joe
  5. KnifeHead

    KnifeHead I'm bad, I'm nationwide Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 5, 2006
    Ya'll R welcome as always. BTW, I also posted some pics of that knife in the Bose sticky.
  6. smiling-knife


    Nov 11, 2006
    Thanks very much for the lesson Kerry.
  7. culpeppj


    Nov 20, 2002

    Thanks for the lesson, great pictures also.

  8. Mike Robuck

    Mike Robuck Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    That was a well-written write up along with the usual great pictures, Kerry.

    So a double-swedge on some of those old single blades you've posted in the past of Tony's are just for looks then? I think one was a Challenge knife?
  9. JatMat

    JatMat Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2006

    Thanks for the lesson, great pictures also.

  10. Tony Bose

    Tony Bose

    Oct 21, 2006
    Mike, double swedges on a single blade makes the back of the blade thinner so it will go through something easier. You may want to cut stuff with it.
    Will Power likes this.
  11. KnifeHead

    KnifeHead I'm bad, I'm nationwide Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 5, 2006
    Thanks for the kudos.:)

    (Tony beat me to the answer to your question :p )
  12. shaldag


    Jun 17, 2004
    Classic example of form following function.

    My backpocket does cut stuff--
    and, in my opinion, the double swedge also adds to the aesthetics.
  13. Mike Robuck

    Mike Robuck Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    I knew that about the swedge on the front of a clip point. Guess I never thought about it working near the end of the blade as well. :eek:
  14. fasteddie

    fasteddie Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 22, 2002
    Kerry, great job. Thanks for all that info.
  15. 2toes


    Jul 11, 2001
    Great information and pictures Kerry. Thank you for posting. I really like the Case bone on that knife.:thumbup::thumbup:
  16. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    Great thread. Well done!
  17. Nukemkb

    Nukemkb Basic Member Basic Member

    Dec 20, 2005
    Much thanks! Now I know EXACTLY what to ask for...
  18. jd_elam

    jd_elam Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    Great information and pictures! Thanks for sharing the information.
  19. malextwo


    Jul 25, 2005
    Thank you, Kerry. Very informative and good to know!

  20. canineforge

    canineforge Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Enjoyed this information! The swedge can definitely add sex appeal to the overall looks, and the functional reasons all make sense.
    Hope you keep up the studies, Kerry! How about one in the future on nail pulls?

    Thanks, Joe

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