Cutting to the Quick, a Guide to Knives
Sharpen your knowledge before choosing the right one
Edged tools go back many millennia and were created with necessity in mind. When you choose a knife, you should have the same thing in mind, necessity.
The earliest examples were made of stone, flint, and bone. Then came bronze and iron. Now manufacturers favor lightweight and strong metals such as titanium alloys and spring steel. Some have serrated edges while others are fine.
Some things have remained the same. First off, the right knife can mean the difference between life and death, give you the ability to create a shelter where there was none before, and allow you to skin and eat that which you have caught from fish to game. The second thing that has remained the same is that a skilled knife maker treats his craft like an art, taking to it with a goal of perfection, knowing all too well how serious of a business it can be.
So let us help you with this brief guide to the types of knives out there, what they are used for, and what to ultimately look for when selecting one.
The Fixed Blade
The fixed blade knife, although less practical for mixed environments is ready for just about any task you ask of it. They are ultimately stronger than folding knives because of their full tang design; that is to say, that the blade extends past the sharpened business end and remains a one-piece structure under the materials that make the outside handle. They can be relatively short bladed all the way up to just under a small machete. Again the best manufacturers follow strict methods to create a nearly perfect knife. As with folding knives, they should be able to be used to make a shelter, cut just about anything, and be capable as hunting tools.
The Pocket Knife
The pocket knife is usually smaller than a modern folding knife, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in utility. The best pocket knives are like a one stop tool kit, with multiple blades for different tasks and other tools that fold out such as screwdrivers, corkscrews, eating utensils, scissors, pliers, and can openers to name a few. When buying one you should choose a reputable brand known for its blades being sharp and its tools being sturdy. They should be equally good for dire situations as they are for enjoying a picnic.
The Fishing Knife
The fishing knife is a fixed blade specialty knife that is designed to have a longer thin blade and a non-slip handle. Built for the purpose of filleting your catch with ease, standing up to the elements, and working perfectly for you, because catching fish is fun, but eating them is delicious.
The Hunting Knife
The hunting knife is usually a large, strong, and lethally sharp knife designed to assist the hunter with any task needed including butchering his kill. Many come with ornate bone handles, and some are as big as the famed Bowie knife.
The Dive Knife
The dive knife is another specialty fixed blade knife, designed for edge retention and to be corrosion free. They must be able to cut a diver free of an ensnaring net or tangled cord. In a life or death situation with an attacking shark, they might just mean the difference between a great story and being a meal for a Great White.
Machetes are longer, sturdier, and heavier than a fixed blade or hunting knife and are used to clear vegetation from your path. Like their shorter cousins the Nepalese kukri and the Malay parang they are a necessity on jungle and deep bush expeditions. Besides clearing the way, they are perfect for felling small trees for making a shelter.
So now that you have an idea what the differences are, we hope that you can make a razor-sharp decision as to what you need for your next adventure.