Oct 28, 1999
Hi, I have a question to the points of a blade...
What's the difference between a clip point, drop point, spear point, and sheepsfoot??

I know what a tanto is, but when it comes to anything else I'm lost.

Thanks guys


"Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Humpty dumpty had a great fall.
Maybe Humpty should of had a knife."
Humpty, funny, but the Tanto is the one that confuses me (Americanized v. Japanese?)

The CRK Sebenza is a drop point. The William Henry Spearpoint is also a drop point. The point is “dropped” down from the spine.

The CRK Project I is a spear point, with the blade and spine curving more or less evenly to meet at the point. The Project II is a clip point, basically the same blade, with a “clip” taken out of the point, comprende? If you are familiar with the Bowie style knife you will recognize the pattern that traveled west across the nation with the settlers, a strait spine with a clip point.

The Spyderco Rescue is a Sheepsfoot, strait edge with a rounded, blunt point. Not to be confused with a Wharncliffe, which is definitely not blunt.

Don’t forget the strait point and the swept point. These terms also relate to where the point is in relation to the spine, on a line with it (strait) or “swept” up and away.

Thus endeth the lesson.

James Segura
San Francisco, CA

I figure that a picture's worth a thousand words. Here's a quick doodle of some "standard" blade shapes:

I've put the blades into small groups I feel are related.

Drop-point and spearpoint are close because both have a fairly centered point and a convex back edge. Drop-points are usually fully ground (edge to spine). Spearpoints frequently have a full or partial second edge ground on the "spine." they are distinguished from drop-points by their symmetry.

Clip-points are many and varied, but all have a roughly centered point and a back edge that is NOT convex. It may be long or short, straight or concave. Very long, straight back edges are called a "California" clip.

I put the upswept point and "Woodcraft" (after the Marbles pattern) together because both have points higher than the spine.

The sheepsfoot and Whancliffe styles both usually have a totally straight edge and thus a point below the centerline. Sheepsfoot is blunt while Wharncliffe is very pointy.

Tantos... how far we've strayed


"Why else would a bear want a pocket?"

Little Bear Knives
Drew Gleason:

[This message has been edited by Corduroy (edited 22 November 1999).]
Drew, thanks for the image, and for setting me clear about the tanto.

James Segura
San Francisco, CA

Oh cool. Thanks soooo much!! That really clears many things up. That's a pic I'll definitly save


"Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Humpty dumpty had a great fall.
Maybe Humpty should of had a knife."
Wow Drew that pic is good! Almost better than the one I drew a while back. Remember? The one I sent you? I'm surprised you didn't just use my pic instead.

(Inside joke, others disregard this post.)

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Drew, that's really cool! Thanks
I'd like to see a hawksbill added (any others?), and then let's get Spark to add it to the FAQ page...

Carl /\/\/\ AKTI #A000921

Think this through with me ... Let me know your mind
Wo-oah, what I want to know ... is are you kind?
-- Hunter/Garcia, "Uncle John's Band"
Drew, very good post! Say's it all, or almost all. I have always liked pictures! Clears up a lot of miss information.
Thanks for the pictures. You cleared some things up for me as well. Are you going to try and get the pictures added to the FAQ?

Shawn R Sullivan
~San Diego, Ca~
So the 905 Stryker would be a drop-point "american" tanto?

Can you have combinations like that? Thanks


"Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Humpty dumpty had a great fall.
Maybe Humpty should of had a knife."
Sure, combinations are possible, as are variations and totally different ideas. Knifemakers work in shapes and ideas, not definitions, so I don't expect every blade to fall into one of these categories, or even every "drop-point" to match the one I drew.
I was almost afraid to answer this question because there is so much variety and the categories are only verbal tricks we use to try to sort it all out. Imagine if I answered the question "what kinds of cars are there?" I could post a picture of a Camry or a Taurus for "four-door family sedan," but of course that would only be one variation. Or I could try to draw a generic 4-door, but again that's only one example. So please don't feel that my picture is all-inclusive or definitive, it's just my attempt to represent the more common shapes.

Have a look at Ken Onion's Random Task design for Kershaw - what's that? A "Sheepscliffe?" Spyderco's Civilian is a totally novel shape, which I call an "S-curve" (to distinguish it from a reverse curve, which places the belly towards the point and the incurved portion towards the handle). Katz tantos have a very "traditional" shape but incorporate a very untraditional long false edge. There is a world of variation. Words can only begin to encompass it, but often words are all we have.

You might also want to add the spey blade to your list (a blade shape commonly found on traditional stockman pocketknives).

David Rock

AKTI Member # A000846
Stop when you get to bone.