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Knife Patterns for Plant People

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Snow Walker, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. Snow Walker

    Snow Walker

    Jul 3, 2014
    Yesterday, I read a post on another website about the purposes for knife patterns. Stockman for livestock people, trappers for hunters, etc. What about traditional patterns for people who work primarily with plants? I'm an "apple tree/grape vine/berry shrub who dabbles occasionally in vegetables" person.

    I know the hawkbill is out there...I already own a Case hawkbill. It's great for some applications, but lousy for others. Victorinox also makes a florist knife, but I don't have one of those. The best cutting tool I have is a Felco pruner, but that's not a knife. I'm not interested in saw blades like on a Vic Farmer...I already have dedicated saw blades.

    Is the sodbuster a plant person pattern? What other possibilities am I missing?

    Thanks for the input!
    neal70 and sitflyer like this.
  2. JTB_5

    JTB_5 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    What plant-y-like tasks does your hawkbill not serve, which another knife might? I've used a large sodbuster for pruning tasks and it works well and doesn't create any fatigue or hot spots.
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  3. solphilos


    Oct 17, 2009
    I've always used whatever I had at hand for gardening purposes, usually a Sodbuster or Opinel. I especially like the Opinel for grafting purposes due to the phenomenal slicing ability of that thin blade.
    Otherwise I prefer dedicated saws and shears more than any slipjoint; I'm not a fan of getting that much grit into any mechanical knife.
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  4. JTB_5

    JTB_5 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    I also use a mora fixed blade for a lot of yardwork chores.
    neal70 likes this.
  5. Wurrwulf

    Wurrwulf Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 3, 2015
    Opinel makes a mushroom knife, if you're a fungi hunter.

  6. Ernie1980

    Ernie1980 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2012
    ^^That is a neat knife, I have never seen that one before!

    For me, I have a variety of yard knives but a sodbuster is a good general pattern for garden tasks:thumbsup:
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  7. mrknife

    mrknife Gold Member Gold Member

    May 9, 2010
    there are farmer's jacks, which is right up lyle's territory. @wlfryjr is a knowledgeable fella there. the budding blade!
    neal70 likes this.
  8. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Budding and grafting knife :thumbsup:

    IXL The Curtis Budding-Grafting Knife 2-2.jpg
  9. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    What about a Corn Knife? :confused: :eek: ;)

    IXL Corn Knife 1.JPG

    IXL Corn Knife 3.JPG
  10. WhittlinAway

    WhittlinAway Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    +1 for Opinel. I often use a No. 6 for harvesting produce from our garden.


    This one has a modified blade, but I expect the standard blade shape would be fine, too.
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  11. YellowSwiss


    Sep 28, 2015
    Victorinox makes Gardener and Grafting knives. Pruner model is available too. Then...the Farmer!
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  12. afishhunter


    Oct 21, 2014
    Sheepsfoot and/or Lambsfoot.
    Cotton Sampling knife.
    And, as mentioned above by Mr. @Jack Black, the Budding and Grafting knife.
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  13. sitflyer

    sitflyer Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 10, 2011
    There are some really nice knives made specifically for budding and grafting, Tina comes to mind, there was a thread here a ways back, where the nub on the back of this blade was talked about, but I am currently unable to find it,

    I believe the above pic is a bud graft knife, there are other types of grafting knives as well, a quick google search for Tina Knives will bring you to many examples of these task specific work knives.

    like the above example.

    You might want to look into the Ettrick pattern: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/what-is-the-definition-of-ettrick.1119303/ check out that thread for tons of info.

    Japanese floral knives can be interesting, they range from utilitarian to fancy,

    I have a couple of those Melita TAK knives, they have a nice thin grind and can take a wicked edge, great for cutting of a couple rose blooms :)
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  14. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Other than the hawksbill pruner, the budding/ grafting knife, and the florist's knife, I can't think of a knife specifically intended for plant people. Except I think Opinel has a garden knife.
    If you're going to be grubbing with the knife, a stainless-and-plastic Opinel might be a good choice. Or a sodbuster. Or a zytel-handled Case stockman or trapper. A sheepsfoot might be a good blade shape, kind of like a less extreme hawksbill. As a guardian of the lambsfoot, I must recommend that blade shape also.
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  15. jc57

    jc57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    Pruners. Budders/grafters. Machetes. Scythes. Cotton samplers. Melon knives / fruit testers. A wide range of kitchen knives: usuba, nakiri, paring, curved paring, serrated bread knives-bread is made from a plant, plus they are used for cutting hard-skinned melons and squashes. Almost anything with a straight edge - the sheepsfoot on a stockman was used widely for cutting off chews of tobacco (a plant). Whittlers, draw-knives and wood-carving tools are used for shaping wood (another plant product).

    Most general purpose knife blade shapes cut fruits as well as they cut meat. From the earliest times going back to stone tools, the primary purpose of bladed items has been the harvesting, processing, and preparing of plants and animals for use as food, clothing, shelter. There are tons of specialized cutting tools for pretty much any task associated with those needs.
  16. sitflyer

    sitflyer Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 10, 2011



    Grape harvesting knives...
  17. AndreLinoge


    Nov 20, 2014
    What plant task can you not accomplish with a stockman? Or a barlow, even? There isnt any propagation I havent been able to do with whatever knife I have on me, come to think of it. My favorites are sharp medium trappers. I like the long 'spey' blade for taking soft cuttings and trimming back unwanted shoots. It doesnt poke thru leaves and into stems when I reach into tight spots to do cutting. I like that. The point on the clip is a great tool to cut slots in cubes for stems, plus its suitable for any small hose and tubing work that might need done as well. For specific jobs like suckering and other work close to the dirt, a small fixed blade is best for me. No pivot to grit up, easier to sharpen, easier to hold with a wet or dirty hand usually than a folder too.
    Aside from a few specifically designed knife-tools like grafting knives, hawksbill pruner blades, and the 'mushroom' knife (I recieved an Opinel version as a gift once, first I had ever heard of such a thing. Neat!), I don't think there are any other 'plant people' knives. Unless you wish to include Japanese traditional garden tools, many of those are knife-like in some way.

    I think any stainless folder with blades you like to use for the tasks you like to do would make a fine 'plant-knife'. Also, that keeps you from paying some crazy 'niche-market' distorted price for a specially-named tool.
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  18. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I don't think a Sodbuster pattern is a good plant knife. I prefer a clip point for such and especially for detail work that I might not use a pruner/clipper. The point comes in handy for me. I carried a sodbuster (GEC) for a couple months and came to the conclusion that they weren't for me and likely never will be.

    For splitting root balls or potted plants, something a little more robust is needed. I use a Condor Bushlore for this. Sharpens up easy enough.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
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  19. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Yeah, I'd say the Lambsfoot is the most popular knife with gardeners here :thumbsup:

    This pattern is popular with agricultural workers on Crete :thumbsup:

    Friction Folder 1S.JPG
  20. JB in SC

    JB in SC Gold Member Gold Member

    May 19, 2001
    I'd agree with @WhittlinAway an Opinel No 6 would be a good choice. Cheap and sharp, tough.
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