good/bad knives - create a guidline for knife users

Oct 11, 1998
With all the knowledge at Bladeforum there would be an easy task to put together a guideline for knives thats supposted to be used.

If you exklude all marketing issues there is design and the final product. Some of them work excellent and some dont.

Im looking for two classes.
1. recommend
2. doesnt work (dangerous, will fall apart..)
There is nothing as "the best knife"

Example :


Demands; security - will not cut your fingers, easy to operate...

In pricerange up to xx US$
Recommend : xx knife, yy knife
Doesnt work : ss knife, ww knife
In pricerange between xx - yy US$

Fixed blade.

2.a everyday knife
demands; maintenance versus throw it away when worn, cost versus quality...
pricerange up to xx US$
doesnt work
pricerange between .....

2.b hunting knife
demand; keep a sharp edge, ....

2.c camping
demand; a strong blade, easy to sharpen ..

2.d self protection - fighter, sheath system
demand; concealment, balance, ...

Is this a stupid
or a good idea?

My purpose is just to have a guideline and not to flame any knifemakers. This could also be a good help for knifemakers to increase some issues in there production if needed..

If you think a knife is ugly, you dont like the dealer etc thats not for this guideline. This is purely for the design and final product and how it works when in real life.



For a general bad list:

Tanto's. For most uses they are terrible. Example, BM 975/970 series. Fixed blade maybe but, most people are better served with a flat grind.

Chisel ground edges. Just compare a BM 975 and 910. The Stryker is ground on both sides is a much better cutter for "normal" uses.

Good things:

Full flat grinds. Carbon Steels with modern rust protecting coatings.

High performance blade steels like BG-42 and CPM M2.

Best of all:
Joe's FAQ's! Those things are great! Keep up the good work!

Sid-Why do you dislike tantos so? I use one alot and can't think of a better blade shape for many uses. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head that I don't use mine for is skinning.
Gawd, where do you start?

Fighters: regardless of any type, it's got to be able to stab without a "slip-up" type accident. That means at least some lower guard, on a folder it means non-slip grip materials and/or a thumbramp area and/or a good cutout for forefinger. Folding fighters need a slick action (or altered/tuned) and a STRONG LOCK, understand and perform "rap tests" or the more extreme "push like hell on the spine" test:

Grab handle in a forward grip, edge up, lay the spine on a tabletop, put a metal pan over your hand with the blade poking out from under and your hand covered, see if that sucker will pop open against full force pressure. Grab the handle of the pan with your off-hand and make sure it's guarding the hand on the grip at all times, in case of a pop...and wear a welding glove if possible. WARNING: THIS IS NOT SAFE, OK? It's not totally sane...but the alternative may be to have it close up on you in mid-fight and that's WORSE.

My main fighting folder, the Cold Steel Vaquero Grande has passed this test with BOTH my hands on grip, full body weight trying to force the lock to part. I didn't use the pan, but I had my motorcycle gloves on and a towel wrapped around them both. Safe? No. But if I have to pull it on the street, I know going in it won't fail; the confidence gained from that is worth a belt level or two going in.

My $.02, YMMV, this is hardcore stuff so watch out.

Note: I also own one type of fighting folder that passes *neither* test, and I know it. But it's light, agile and VERY fast access, so I view it as a "pure quick slash" weapon, and that's fine. That is the AlMar 5.5" QuicksilverV, so far as I know the world's biggest production linerlock.

Jim March