The notch before the blade?

Gary W. Graley

“Imagination is more important than knowledge"
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Mar 2, 1999
Messages
26,343
I've seen that on a lot of knives the makers place a small notch just before the edge starts. When I use a knife like that invariably the notch catches on what I'm trying to cut. I've heard a couple reasons for the notch;
ease for sharpening
a stress relief spot
But is it really necessary? I just had a couple knives made and requested to not have the notch put in. Anybody else have this problem? I've not had any problem sharpening a knife that didn't have the notch.
(definition of the notch is a half circle opening at the edge section just prior to the edge)

Thanks,
G2

------------------
When a fellow says, "it ain't the money but the principle of the thing,"
it's the money.
F. McKinney Hubbard

http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Cabin/7306/blades.html

 
Gary
I believe you are referring to what is called the Spanish notch.I think it was originally designed as a blade catch during knife fighting.
Bob
 
Strider,

Boy, it would be awful close the the hand/guard for that purpose. Stranger things have happened though, thanks!

------------------
When a fellow says, "it ain't the money but the principle of the thing,"
it's the money.
F. McKinney Hubbard

http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Cabin/7306/blades.html

 
That notch certainly isn't necessary. I've seen knives without the notch.

The little notch does seem to ease sharpening. Without it, the area at the notch can get a little messy. I like the little notch for that reason.

I've also heard other explanations which I can't confirm. For example, someone told me that that area tends to get more grinding time and tends to burn. So the makers just grind out the little burned spot. No idea if that's true or not, probably not, but maybe some makers can comment.

Joe
jat@cup.hp.com
 
I'm sure there is a proper name for that notch, but looking through a few books I can't find it. Do most knifemakers use those classic terms these days, anyhow?

I've also put that notch into most of my knives for the purpose of making sharpening simpler and showing where the edge stops. It certainly isn't necessary (look at any Benchmade), but without it the edge will either end abruptly at the shoulders or will thicken out as the bevel tapers off. In either case sharpening will likely mar the area at the base of the edged portion and over time a great deal of sharpening will place the edge above the base of the blade (the typical fillet-knife shape), hindering its use. If you don't want this notch it is your preference, but there are good reasons for it.

A "Spanish notch" is a large, specialized notch like this, sometimes a little ways out on the edge. It can catch blades, though I have also heard it called primarily a decorative feature by folks I consider more realistic.

------------------

-Corduroy
(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
 
The only thing I've heard it called is a chamfered choil.I guess this isn't really a "name" because that is what the process of making the notch is called.Just my .02
wink.gif

Nick
 
Gary: I tried to look up the name for this, but couldn't find it (couldn't find half of my reference books, either, but, that's another story. I'd call it a choil, and, I don't use them on my knives. I like to see the way the grind lines blend back into the full thickness-it's the prettiest part of the knife, to me. Also, as you said, I do find that the choil will catch on things.
A full finger choil is another story-I like those alot, and use them.

RJ martin
 
RJ,

I'd go along with that, the finger choil, and it is almost dangerous when you are trying to cut something and the knife hangs up, it can make you stutter? sort of. The Sebenza has a space after the edge and before the bolster, but it is at an angle and allows for material to slide up onto the edge, if it gets down that far, my Spyderco large Calypso, plain edge, doesn't have the notch and it sharpens very easily and cuts great!

I guess it's an idiosyncrasy of mine, (big word, had to look it up
wink.gif
I just wondered if I was all alone in this?

Thanks,
G2

------------------
When a fellow says, "it ain't the money but the principle of the thing,"
it's the money.
F. McKinney Hubbard

www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Cabin/7306/blades.html



[This message has been edited by Gary W. Graley (edited 29 April 1999).]
 
I believe the notch is called a 'Fuller'. I think these were used on swords as a way to stop blood trickling back to the hilt, in addition to stress relief in the edge.
 
Fullers are similar to "blood grooves." That is, they are grooves running the length of the blade. They were used in swords, I believe, as a way to reduce weight without reducing the stiffness of the blade. The blood groove seen on, for example, the Ka-Bar, I have heard explained as a way to reduce suction when trying to pull the knife out of flesh after stabbing someone, but I honestly can't see that this would be an issue unless you got the tip stuck in bone, and then a groove on the side of the knife wouldn't help.
 
A fuller is a groove running along some of the length of the blade, such as that on a KABAR. The proposed uses of this include:

1) Keeping blood from running down onto the handle.
2) Letting air into a wound as it is made (once thought to be deadly).
3) Letting air into a wound as the knife is withdrawn, to decrease suction.
4) Lightening the blade without compromising strength much.
5) Pure decoration.

I think all of these except 2) have some merit. Some people call fullers "blood grooves." Personally, if it is wide like that on a KABAR I call it a fuller, and if it is narrow like that on an Alley Kat I call it a blood groove.

------------------

-Corduroy
(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
 
In the April issue (2/1999) of Knives Illustrated there's and article about George Tichbourne and his knives (page 91). One of his knives (The "Riverboat Gambler") is picture with a text that says "The handle is of sambar stag and the Spanish notch was hand-filed by Tichbourne". In the ricasso of the blade, there is a notch shaped like the spade symbol and after the ricasso (when moving towards the tip) there's a little half-circle notch. Which one is the Spanish notch?
 
my reckoning is the spade shape cut out, fellow in Maryland also has a trademark cutout in that area as well, can't remember his name, red haired gent, I must be gettin' old...can't remember much, maybe it's the Barge cement...

G2

------------------
When a fellow says, "it ain't the money but the principle of the thing,"
it's the money.
F. McKinney Hubbard

www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Cabin/7306/blades.html



[This message has been edited by Gary W. Graley (edited 28 April 1999).]
 
I believe it would be the Spade-shaped one in the ricasso. A Spanish notch will have only a small opening at the edge and then widen out, so that the edge of a blade enters it and can then be twisted and "locked" against one side of the notch. The simplest form would look like the letter "C" - that is, a circular hole that just barely intersects the blade edge. If it is a semicircle or even less of an indentation, it would not function as a blade-catcher. Putting it in the ricasso makes it stronger and shouldn't affect its function.

------------------

-Corduroy
(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
 
Back
Top