I have also thought that swedges performed these functions:
- smooth out the sharp corners of the exposed blade backs so that when the blades are closed the corners don't dig into the hand or wear out the pocket. The stockman in use with one blade open and two blades closed will feel more rounded in the hand due to the swedges on the two blades that are closed when one blade is in use.
- provide a sharper point to the blade than is possible without a swedge.
Also, regarding the fitting of blades into a frame like the stockman example, the center liner helps, crinking helps, but is not another factor the asymmetrical grind of the sheepfoot and spey blades? It appears that GEC and Queen do this on stockman patterns.
I definately agree with that! One of my favorite patterns for a great swedge is the baby sunfish. If they were easier to come by, I would collect them.IMHO, swedges are one thing that set the Schatt and Morgan product line above others. S&M seems to be one company that uses them on many patterns. For me it gives their knives a lot of curb appeal
Your other two points are valid and speak to the reduction of blade thickness that is important in making all that steel fit into the handle of a multi-bladed pocket knife. Whew!..that was a mouthfull
I absolutely agree they add aesthetic appeal to the blades. The other reasons cited, however, seem after-the-fact rationalizations. Making the blade thinner at the spine is a good goal, but probably better served by using thinner stock. It seems a bit like a hack if they are intended to make room for opening and closing. And, really, I'd hate to rely on a swedge to allow access to a nail pull. The average Victorinox multi layer knife excels in points 2, 3, and 4 without a swedge in sight, and would unlikely be enhanced with the addition, except possibly in looks.
Swedges were used on Sheffield pocket knives long before Jim Bowies mother powdered his ass. Look at the knife SK posted , it's a visual on what they were for.Much obliged for the swedge functionality tutorial Kerry via Tony, and knifeaholic brought up good case in points for them as well. I knew several of the obvious reasons for swedge designs on pocket knives already and was pleased to see this thread and receive the balance of that knowledge. Thanks!.
Also, I have a question about swedges--false-edges--top-edges?..
.. Kerry, Tony, or anyone else, a very long time ago I was to understand that the swedge design was originally born out of the top-edge and/or false-edge. In fact, they are all used interchangeably in many circles here still today with the historical minded and knife enthusiasts alike.
Now bear with me here a little.. The way I understand it is the original false edge or swedge design came from the early Bowie knives. Many of the early Bowie type knives in fact actually had sharpened edges or top edges or swedges, located at the tip of the Bowie blade and continued several inches up the top of the spine. The purpose of this was to enable its user to inflict the deadly back-cut and cleave his foe during battle via this top-edge in a sort of whipping motion when the blade was employed with the hand gripped in the forward position.. And also by striking ones opponent from the back swing of a forward striking motion when the hand was gripped in reverse.. Later Bowies evolved without the top edge or swedge sharpened but retained the design and seemed to also be known as the false edge or swedge.
Now my question, is it known if pocket knife cutlers in Sheffield and later in the US eventually borrowed these swedge designs for all the reasons Kerry pointed out at the beginning of the thread with Tony's assistance?. My assumption would be yes from the vintage 19th century catalogue reprints I have seen in many references, but I'd like to hear others take on this and see what they think.
So if I understand correctly, SAKs are ugly and are better than all other knives because they "excel" at points 2, 3, and 4 without swedges.
And if you think about it too, swedges waste steel!