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Anatomy of a Fixed Blade Knife

If you are at all like me, you take your knife out of its sheath, pocket or drawer and you cut something with it. You are already well aware of the different parts of a knife - the handle and the blade. There, that was easy! However, Grasshopper, if you plan to progress on the path to enlightenment, you need to learn about the tool. It will be helpful to learn what to call all the different parts that make up the whole, whether you want to be a maker, collector - or just want to know your knife. Below is a drawing that I will use to describe the different knife parts of your basic fixed blade knife.

(A.) Bolster or Guard - The term for the cross member attached to the end of the handle, next to the blade itself. This prevents the hand from sliding up onto the blade.

(B.) Finger grips - Grooves that are cut into the handle so that it will fit the hand.

(C.) Pins or Rivet - The hardware that is used to join scale handles to the tang.

(D.) Butt Plate or Pommel - A metal piece(can also be made of other material) applied at the end or the back of the handle. The pommel is the butt area of the knife.

(E.) Scale or Slab - Slabs of handle material that make up the knife handle. These can be manmade, or a natural material such as bone, wood or ivory(where permitted). They are pinned or riveted to the tang in a full tang knife.

(F.) Tang - The piece of the blade that extends into the handle for strength.

(G.) Spacers - Material layered between the handle material and the hilt or guard of the knife. Generally of contrasting color.

(H.) Back - back edge of the blade also called "top."

(I.) Tip or Point - Sharp end of the blade.

(J.) Cutting Edge - Cutting portion of the blade.

(K.) Blade - Cutting portion of the knife - usually made from steel.

(L.) Hollow Grind - The particular grind of the blade where the side of the knife is actually hollowed out. It cuts more easily but is not as strong. Also known as the concave bevel.

(M.) Ricasso - A flat area before the guard that is not included in the main bevel grinds.

(N.) Shank - tang plus blade, the continuous body of the knife.

Note- Different sources have some different terms for the names of the various knife parts. There are also some very detailed terms describing more involved processes on the knife that I have not included here. Below are two links to some online knife encyclopedias that you may find useful.

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