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Knife Dictionary

Glossary of Automatic Knife Terms


              A black amorphous thermoplastic terpolymer with high impact strength.

Alloying Element
Any of the metallic elements that are added during the melting of  steel or  aluminum in order to increase corrosion resistance, hardness, or strength.
Chromium and nickel are two of the more common ones used.

A nonferrous metal, commonly used as handles, that gives the knife a solid feel, without the extra weight.
The most common finishing process for aluminum is anodization.
The most common form of aluminum is heat treatable T6-6061.

An electrochemical process that is used to add color to aluminum and titanium
Depending on the voltage used, colors can vary.
High voltage creates dark colors.
Low voltage creates light colors.

Anodized Aluminum
Subjecting aluminum to electrolytic action in order to coat it with a protective and decorative film.

AUS 8 Steel
A high carbon, low chromium stainless steel that is an excellent compromise of toughness, strength, edge retention, and resistance to corrosion.

Automatic Knives
Also known as Switchblade Knives or just Switchblades.
The type of knife characterized by the fact that the blade is deployed by pushing a button or sliding a switch, instead of having to pull it out using your fingers.
Automatic Knives can be either "side opening" or they can be "front opening".

Back (of the blade)
The opposite side of the belly.
The unsharpened side of a single-edged blade.

Balisong / Butterfly Knife
A knife that has two separate handle sections that rotate around the blade's pivots in order to create a handle, that then rotate back in order to cover and protect the blade while it's closed.
Believed to have originated in the UK and brought to the Philippines by English sailors. It was adopted and popularized in the Philippines, and is often used in Filipino martial arts.

Bead Blasting
A process by which steel, aluminum, and titanium are finished, providing a 100% subdued, non-glare finish.

Belly (of the blade)
The curved/ fattest part of the blade's edge.
The belly enhances slicing and may be plain or serrated.
The larger the belly is, the blunter the point of the knife becomes.

Benchmade Black Class Knives
Only the best knives for the job. Time honored designs and field proven performance. To serve and protect the professional in their world- no matter the circumstance.

Benchmade Blue Class Knives
Knives for the individual who appreciates more in a knife. The heart of everything Benchmade through exclusive innovation and quality of materials.

Benchmade Gold Class Knives
It's a matter of satisfying the ultimate desire. These knives of true custom collectible quality are not for everyone. Only for those individuals who aspire for life's great treasures and know how to get it.

Benchmade Product Classes
Benchmade has separated it's brand into four different product classes: Red, Black, Blue, and Gold.
Benchmade created these classes for easier distinction of their knives throughout their entire line.
No matter the classification within the Benchmade knives line, realize you're getting an uncompromising, value added cutting tool, specially designed and built for premium performance.

Benchmade Red Class Knives
These knives offer the same reputable Benchmade signature innovation, and performance driven mindset- geared for the casual knife buyer.

The sloping area that falls from the spine towards the edge and false edge of the blade.

A piece of metal, generally nickel silver or stainless steel, that is located at one or both ends of a folding knife handle.

Brushed Finish
See "satin Finish"

Carbon Fiber
A lightweight material made of small, hair-sized graphite fibers, that have been woven together and fused in an epoxy resin. This creates a three-dimensional appearance and is an excellent, yet expensive, handle material.

The unsharpened part where the blade becomes part of the handle.
It is left at full thickness, like the blade's spine.
Sometimes the choil will be shaped to accept the index finger.

A hard, steel-gray metallic alloying element that is resistant to tarnish and corrosion.
It is used in the hardening of steel alloys and the production of stainless steel.

Clip-Point Blade
A blade that has a concave or straight cut-out at the tip (which is known as the "clip"). This brings the blade point lower for extra control and enhances the sharpness of the tip.
They usually have a false edge and a larger belly to allow for easier slicing.

Cocobolo Wood
A hardwood from the Cocobolo tree, with an appealing grain and fine texture, that ranges in color from bright orange to deep red and dark purple.

Combination Edge (Partially Serrated)
A blade that has a partially serrated, partially plain edge.

Cordura® is a long lasting, certified fabric from INVISTA that is used in many products.
It is resistant to abrasions, tears and scuffs.

The deterioration of a metal, caused by the metal's encironment and it's reaction to that environment

Damascus Steel
Created when two types of steel are folded repeatedly during the forging process.
This new durable steel retains the properties of the two parent steels, and is very attractive, yet expensive.

Double-edged Blade
A blade that has been sharpened on both sides, with the point aligned with the spine, going up the middle of the blade.

Double Flat-ground
A blade that is ground flat on both sides of the blade, tapering to an edge that is straight, not rounded.

Drop Point Blade
A blade with a lowered tip due to a convex arc, which provides extra control and leaves the blade's strength intact.
This blade style also has a larger belly, which is better for slicing.

The sharpened side of the blade.
Blades will either be single or double-edge.

Knife designs that work with the structure of the human hand, making for a more useful and comfortable grip.

False Edge
An additional bevel on the back of the blade that enhances the blade's point.
This also removes weight from the blade, which may change the blade's balance, and makes penetration easier.

Flat-Grind (Full)
A blade that is ground flat from the cutting edge all the way to the blade's spine, tapering to an edge that is straight, not rounded.

Flat-Saber Grind
A blade that is ground flat from the cutting edge to a grind line running down the center of the blade.
It is flat ground just to the grind line, unlike a full flat grind, which tapers from the edge all the way to the blade's spine

Front Opening Automatic Knives (a.k.a. Frontal Opening or Out the Front Automatics)
A switchblade knife with a blade that deploys straight out the front of the handle, rather than swinging around a pivot and deploying from the side (like a Side Opening automatic knife).
out the Front Automatic Knives can be either Single-Action or Double-Action.

Full Flat-ground
A blade that is ground flat from the cutting edge all the way to the spine,on one side of the blade, tapering to an edge that is straight, not rounded.

Gut Hook
A sharpened "hook" which lies on the blade's spine.
This was designed to allow a hunter to field dress his catch without puncturing it's intestine.

Handguard (or Guard)
A protrusion or expansion between the blade and the top of the handle that protects hands from the edge during cutting.

Hawkbill Blade
A blade that is in the shape of a violently curved hook, much like the talon of a bird of prey.

The entire handle, including the pommel and the guard.

Edge that is ground with a radius leaving a concave shape above the cutting surface.

Hook Blade
A blade who's edge curves in a concave manner.

Inlays (or Inserts)
Objects of metal or other material inlaid into the handles of a knife.

Jigged Bone
Bone taken from deceased animals, usually the chin bone of a cow, that is textured by having grooves cut into it.
It is usually dyed in a wide variety of colors.

The unsharpened part of the underside of the knife blade, on the front edge of the tang.
The blade rests here while in the closed position, which keeps the sharpened part of the edge from hitting the spring.

A rubbery thermoplastic polymer that is used as a flexible inlay for knife handles that make for an better grip.

A cord or strap that is sometimes used to attach a knife to clothing or a belt.
Originally used by sailors to keep their knives from falling overboard.

Lanyard Hole
A hole placed in the end of a knife handle, on the opposite side from the blade, in order to attach a lanyard.

The thin sheets of metal that lie between the blade and the handle material of folding knives.

Liner Lock
A knife that's blade is locked open by a leaf-like spring that butts up against the tang of the blade.

Matte Finish
A brushed or satin finish.
Not a mirror finish.

The most common form is linen micarta, where layers of linen cloth are soaked in a phoenolic resin, producing a material that is lightweight, yet strong.
It has no surface texture, making it is extremely smooth to the touch.
It is fairly soft and can be scratched if not treated properly.

Mirror Finish
A highly reflective finish obtained by polishing with successively finer abrasives and then buffing extensively until free of grit lines.

An alloying element used in certain types of stainless steel, providing an increased ability to change shape without fracturing, as well as an increased resistance to cottosion.

Nickel Silver
A copper based alloy that contain 10-45% Zinc and 5-30% Nickel.
Commonly used to make bolsters for real Italian knives.

A metal that does not contain any amount of iron (such as aluminum or titanium).

The front side of a knife.
With the point of the knife to the left and the edge down, you are looking at the obverse (front) side of the knife.

Pinky Shelf
An angled protrusion at the distal-end of the knife handle, where the pinky sits.
This portion of the handle provides a leveraging spot for additional control and coordination over the knife while in the hand.

Plain Edge
A sharpened knife blade with no serrations, or teeth.

Pocket Clip
A clip used to keep a knife at the top of the pocket, providing easy access.

The extreme end of the blade where the line of the back and the line of the edge meet.

The knob or expansion found at the of end a sword or knife.

Powder Coating
The process of applying a dry powder to a metal and then placing it in an oven, where the powder particles melt and fuse together to form a hard, abrasin-resistant coating that is much tougher than common paint.
It is available in just about any color imaginable, though the color is added during the powder's manufacturing process.
First used in Australia around 1967

The area of the guard that extends past the section surrounding the tang
The most protective part of the guard.

Reverse "S" Blade
A blade shape resembling a backward "S", with the point curving downward.
The deep belly curves in the same direction as the point.

The flat section of the blade that lies between the guard and the start of the bevel.
This is where you will most often find the tang stamp.

A product of corrosion, consisting of hydrated oxides of iron, and happening only to ferrous alloys.

Satin Finish
A distinctive finish, where the metal has been "brushed", usually with sand paper of a fine grade, creating a pattern of extremely fine, parallel lines, while still allowing the metal to keep a small amount of it's original reflective brilliance.
Not a mirror finish.

Pieces that are attached to a full tang in order to form a handle.

Serrated Edge
"Teeth" or notches on the back or front of the blade that aid in cutting.

Sheepfoot Blade
A blade with a round, blunt tip that has no point.

Side Opening Automatic Knives (or Side Opening Automatics)
A switchblade knife with a blade that swings around a pivot and deploys from the side, rather than deploying straight out the front of the handle (like a Front Opening automatic knife).

Single-edged Blade
A blade that is sharpened on only one side.

Spear Point Blade
A blade shape that has an equal amount of curve on the spine and the cutting edge. The two curves meet at the point.
Designed for general-purpose cutting.

Spine (of the blade)
The thickest part of a blade.
On a single edged,flat-ground, blade, the spine is at the back of the blade.
For double-edged blades, the spine goes right down the middle of the blade.

Stag Horn
Derived from naturally shed deer antlers.
When exposed to an open flame, stag takes on a slightly burnt look.

Stainless Steel
Steel that contains at least 10% chromium, and sometimes containing other elements, making it resistant to corrosion.
The chromium oxide (CrO) creates a barrier, providing protection from oxygen and moisture, therefore preventing rust formation.
Developed for commercial use by Englishman, Harry Brearley.

A dagger with a slim blade intended for stabbing.

The portion of the blade where it connects to the handle.

An imprint indicating anything from style number, collector's number, or the manufacturer's name that is normally located on the ricasso.

Tanto Blade
A blade style where the point is in line with the spine of the blade, making for a strong, thick point.
There are quite a few variations of tanto blade, such as whether the front edge meets the bottom edge at an obtuse angle or a curve.

A deformable, plastic material that, when heated, melts into a liquid and hardens when cooled.
Thermoplastic polymers are different from thermosetting polymers, like Bakelite or vulcanized rubber, which once formed and cooled, can never be remelted and remolded.

See "Point"

Refers to the direction that the point, or tip, of a knife's blade is pointing, as when closed and clipped in a pocket, positioned by it's pocket clip.
When the tip is pointing down.

Refers to the direction that the point, or tip, of a knife's blade is pointing, as when closed and clipped in a pocket, positioned by it's .pocket clip. 
When the tip is pointing up.

A nonferrous metal with high tensile strength that is light-weight and resistant to corrosion.
Often used for knife liners or handle material.
Unlike stainless steel knives, titanium knives are almost completely rust proof and corrosion resistant because they contain no carbon.
Titanium steel knives require almost no sharpening or maintenance, because they will hold an edge for a very long time.

Trailing Point (Upswept) Blade
A blade style where the point is higher than the spine.
They usually have a bigger belly, which is better for slicing, due to the point being up and out of the way.



Wharncliffe Blade
A blade style where the point is dropped to a straight cutting edge.



An virtually unbreakable thermoplastic material, developed by Du Pont, that resists impact and abrasions.
Knife companies usually add additional, more aggressive surface texture to augment it's naturally slight texture.
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