Blade styles

Feb 25, 2001
This ought to spice things up here a bit. I'm sitting with a handful of slip joints (formerly known as pocket knives before the tactical craze) in front of me. There are a virtual myriad of different blade styles amongst them. I’ve got clip blades, spay blades, sheep’s-foot blades, Wharncliffe blades, drop point blades, the list goes on. Who can tell me what blade styles are best for what type of cutting? I’m assuming of course, that there is a reason for having three different blades in a stockman, and four in a congress. I have to admit that that tiny spay blade looks utterly useless to me at the moment. :rolleyes:

Why am I asking this?…………Well, I’m kind of tired of tactical folders. Slip joints just have so much character to them that it’s hard not to carry one. I want to read people’s thoughts on them, even if they’re just mine. Okay, I’ll say it. I carry a boring old slip joint, and I’m proud of it!!!!! Have I come full circle, and ended back where I started with all this knife stuff? Did I get lost somewhere along the way? :confused:

And while I’m on a rant, what’s up with the sharpening systems out there? The Lansky won’t take a small slip joint, and the SharpMaker…….. Most modern slip joints ship with a noticeable absence of any edge whatsoever, and the SharpMaker takes forever to profile an entirely new edge. Somebody give me the very best and easiest way to sharpen up your average skip joint!!!!! :D

Now I’m on a roll here. If you are man enough to admit to carrying a slip joint, what kind do you carry? I’ve got a small Buck Cadet in my pocket, ready to handle small cutting and whittling tasks. I have to admit though that the Kershaw Double Cross I have on order; will probably give it some serious competition. :)

Now I’m losing it, competing with all of the whiner and toughest lock threads. Skilled knife users don’t whine about there knives, and they sure don’t need a lock for 99% of their cutting. Who wants to see a separate slip joint forum, dedicated to people who aren’t in any hurry to whip out their knife? I want a forum for the average guy who sits on the porch at night, just whittling away the worries of the day. Doesn’t anybody relax around here? Has the pocketknife-carrying individual died away like the dinosaur? :(

Do yourselves a favor. Go grab an old stick out of the not so perfectly manicured section of your back yard, and pull out your pocketknife. Just whittle for an hour or so, and see what it feels like to actually use a knife for a change. Heck, I’ll even let you pull off your ties and suit coats while doing this little exercise. Go crazy and actually rub the wood sap off onto your old faded blue jeans!!! :eek:

This is the elixir of life my friends. This is why my father didn’t go gray until his sixties. He took the time to unload the burden of the day on an old piece of pine… or maple…. or (ghasp)……. Cherry!!! He actually found a way to relax with a knife. And don’t give me that “I live in an apartment, and it’ll scare the neighbors away” kind of line. You must have a town park with a shady tree to sit under. :barf:

I’m I going crazy? Nope. I’m just to breathe a little life into an otherwise “Didn’t I read a thread just like this one this morning?” kind of place. Try something different. Do what your dad did, and your granddad did, and your great-granddad did. Relax and cut. Keep the strokes smooth and controlled. Don’t do anything stupid like cut towards the thumb. Long strokes pointed away from you are the way to go. Send the worries of the day away from you my boy. The world will look a whole lot better when you’ve carved that toothpick. :cool:

So share a little of what you know about slip joints. I'm betting that plenty of people will find the tiniest bit of info about them to be intriguing enough to possibly even try an honest-to-goodness pocketknife!!!!!
Buzzbait-- Great topic. My only slip joint knife is a SAK, but I think I will take it out on the deck tonight and do a bit of whittling. I've actually been using it quite a bit in the kitchen lately--no locking mechanism definitely makes you think about your cutting technique.
Gee, why waste all this on one post, you have enough material here for 4 or 5 anyway :D The only slipjoints I currently own are a SAK and a 40 yr. old Case 2 blade Jack. I admit to perusing the net lately in search of a couple Schatt & Morgan folders. A sway back trapper with stag and a really nice MOP penknife. I have been really feeling the need lately to step back into a traditional carry to accompany my tactical (UGH!) primary carry.

As far as sharpening goes, the only way to sharpen a traditional pattern knife is the old way, benchstones. Perhaps the most relaxing thing one can do with a knife. Come to think of it, it is a gorgeous night to take the old case and an Arkansas stone and sit on the deck. Thanks for bringing it up.
I've had slipjoints on my mind for a while now. I just need to find a sharp one with good steel.
Although I often carry more up to date patterns, I still have quite a fondness for the old slip joint. My favorite coon skinning knife was always a stockman or trapper. If you know what you're doing, you can skin a coon with either of the blades on the above mentioned patterns, and multiple blades allows you to skin several coons in one night's hunting without re-sharpening.
Ah, it does a heart good to see replies like this. :)

bigbore.45 - I had the chance to try out some Laguioles at a B&M store. Boy are those things tough to open and close!!! Do they loosen up over time? I have to admit that the Languioles are a gorgeous knife.

callahwj - If you want a traditional slip joint that's sharp out of the box, try a Buck. They put a wicked edge on their pocketknives, and their stainless steel is better than you usually see on slip joints. Shrade Old Timers (not Uncle Henrys) need an edge put on them, but the carbon steel is positively vicious!!! :D Best of all, you can find both of these knives right at Wal-Mart. Whan you get right down to it, pocketknives are their own animal and take a little different thought process to select. More exotic steels just aren't needed on a slip joint, IMHO. I've whittled wood with a Buck Cadet for a total of about 10 hours lately, and haven't needed to sharpen it yet.

Seeing as I feel like ranting a little more....... I just tried to actually sharpen one of those little spay blades. What a pain in the @$$!!!!! That rounded tip makes the spay the nightmare shape from you know where!!! Some sadistic blacksmith, bent on confounding mankind, must have invented the spay. :barf:
No, I think spey blades were invented by stock people who just didn't have the stomach to bite off the scrotums.
Buzzbait, my kindred spirit friend. I thought I was alone. I don't have any tacticals, only slip joints. I love them, give me carbon steel over stainless too. I am a whittler, it is tough to whittle with a tactical. A tanto just doesn't work good for that kind of thing. More than one blade style on the knife is essential for fine whittling, not just turning sticks into piles of shavings but actually making something from it. The clip blades are good for general and heavy roughing out. The sheepfoot is good for chip carving and is my favorite for general work, just my preference. The spey blade is good for hollowing out and smoothing rounded surfaces. The pen blade is good for detail and peircing, essential for chains and ball-in-cage designs. Anyone with an interest in whittling ought to check out any books they can find by E.J. Tangerman.
Arghhh……Darn that Microsoft spell checker…… Now Bill Gates has me neutering my pocketknives!!!! :mad: - Thanks for the book info. I'll definitely try to scare up a book or two on whittling. If I may ask, what slip joints do you prefer for whittling? There are so many different brands, sizes and styles to choose from, it's quite mind boggling!!!
I have a couple I use regularly. I have a couple of Old Timer stockmans, large and medium with carbon steel; an old Boker whittler pattern and a small congress pattern too, both carbon steel; a Case peanut with CV steel, I just lost my favorite Case stockman that was also CV; an Opinel and some Frosts of Sweden fixed blades for big work, great steel in both kinds of knife. I have a few odd others that I use infrequently, a Queen and a couple of Bucks, Camillus and other Cases. When they get old and the blades start getting thin, they work even better, so my knives range from brand new to some that have less than half of the original blade. I have all different sizes and shapes now, for getting into different areas. You can shape worn blades to suit special needs with small files and stones. I am looking into trying a Mooremaker, I have heard good things. Tangerman's books are the only books I found that talk about whittling and woodcarving as a whole and not the "How to Carve a Santa/Waterfowl/cowboy figurine/animal" kind.
I have a few slipjoints that I carry and love. Primarily, I tote a Buck 709 two-blader. That little sucker is deceptive - it's built like a penknife but performs like a tank. There's also a three-inch, two-blade Case XX that I got in a trade here on the forum. There's an Old Timer jack that was my grandfather's. And the requisite few SAKs. Love 'em all. And they've got plenty enough lock strength for me.
Here is a couple of last years CAMILLUS CELLLULOID SERIES....with abalone celluloid and polished 1095 carbon blades.....
Buzzbait, the spey blade is originally a type of scalpel blade. Used not only for neutering calves but for minor surgeries and sometimes for skinning tasks too. Look at the modern disposable scalpel blades: the larger ones are very similar to the spey blade. You have plenty of belly and a minor point. These blades were designed not for whittling, that's why they are so thin. However you can use them as you like.
I am also fond of slipjoints. I like the clasp knives, the stockman, the jack knives and my EDC is a Victorinox SAK. Last year bought some Case knives but got very disappointed. Have an Old Timer and couple of other brands too. Traditional
European slip joints, especially the clasp knives (like the Laguiole) usually have stronger backsprings and shorter kicks. That's why it is not a good idea to snap-close them: it may cause dents ond the edge. There was a thread about this a few years ago, you can search the Forums.
My favorite slipjoint is a tiny penknife I purchased at a garage sale years ago as a child. As I recall, it cost me $1.00 USD. It's symmetrical, made of a gray-colored metal, with some sort of synthetic multi-colored handle insets. It has two small blades -- one longer than the other, both spear point -- and is one of my treasured early purchases.
Hi, I'm Danbo and I'm a slipjointaholic. :)

I have Eye Brands, Hen and Roosters, Bokers, Case, Buck and others I cant remember right now. I use all of them, but the Eye Brands and the Hen and Roosters are my favorites. The Case knives with the CV blades are pretty good cutters also, but not the stainless.
Funny you should start this thread. I just bought a Schrade Old Timer at K-Mart the other day. It was duller than my brother-in-law's wit. I think someone earlier said a Lansky won't work on a slip joint, but I used mine to good effect and now the three blades are shaving sharp. However, I don't whittle so it went into my collection box. I've had slip joints close on my fingers before (SAK)and so I will continue to carry a lock blade folder when I don't have a much preferred fixed blade with me. I like slip joints, I just prefer a good locked blade. :)
Why wouldn't a Lansky work on a slipjoint? I see no reason what difference the locking mechanism should make.
Razor - I have a number of small stockmans that don't fit properly on a Lansky. The long thin blades, like Turkish style blades, can also be a killer. If you put them on a Lansky, you sometimes have to live with a 25-degree angle setting, which just plain stinks for whittling. What happens is that the twist knob screw gets in the way of the hone.

Steelhed – You like locks, huh? I’ll let you know how I make out with the Kershaw Double Cross. It looks like it might fit your bill quite nicely.

Littleknife – Awesome info on the spey blade!!! I was also pretty disappointed with Case, given the high price tag. The stainless blades are about as sharp as butter knives, even after an edge is put on them. The CV ones are much better. I’m not blown away by them, but they’re much better than their stainless counterparts.

Will – Wow!!! I’m really just a stag and jigged bone fan, but that celluloid is gorgeous!!! When is Camillus going to give us some carbon steel slip joints in real bone? I’d be all over that in a heartbeat. - Thanks for pointing out your whittling knives. I may just have to track down a Boker or two. I’ll check out Ebay.
When I was just a little knife knut my grandfather would occasionally give me one of his lower quality slipjoints. I remember this neat Kabar stockman that I always wanted. Many years ago he moved on into the new life and left me the Kabar. I also got a Buck stockman and my Great grandfathers Jackknife, brand unknown. Slip joints were my first love as they were all there was. I still enjoy my Grandfathers knives and whittle with them on occasion. I am afraid to carry them because of possible loss as they are not replaceable. I may get a slipjoint to carry someday, the double cross has caught my eye. I however will still carry a tactical (LCC DA). Grandpa got by fine with just the old slipjoints. They work for what they are. Grandpa very rarely was ever harrased by gangbangers at 7 eleven though. :eek: So sometimes you need a tactical. These days are not the same as back then. I find tactical folders a neccesity. City life can suck. I do also have Grandpas WWII Kabar though. It has been used against living threats before, but it makes such a big lump in my pocket.....:D