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Oso Grande's Glossary of knife terms and definitions

Oso Grande's Glossary of knife terms and definitions

We've devoted a considerable amount of time to provide you with this extensive glossary of knife terminology.  We hope this helps you in your understanding as you browse through all the knives, accessories and gift items on OsoGrandeKnives.com. If there is a particular word, terminology or anything you don't understand or cannot find here, please feel free to e-mail us and we'll try to explain as best we can.

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A

A-2 Steel. An excellent air hardening tool steel used by handmade knife makers and by speciality makers like Bark River as well. Performs best at about 60-61 Rc (see hardness). It contains about 1% Carbon, 1% Molybdenum, and 5% Chromium.

Abalone. A type of sea shell used to decorate knife scales, noted for its iridescent color.

ABS. A black amorphous thermoplastic polymer with high impact strength.

African Blackwood.  An African Blackwood, also called Mozambique Ebony, it is a rich black with dark brown graining. Used to make fine clarinets, this is one of the very best woods for knife handles.

Alligator Clip.  A clip often used on the back of ID badges, it is sometimes used for fastening small knives to the clothing.

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, nickel and vanadium are three of the more common ones used.

Almite.  A coating used on aluminum handles similar to anodizing. Resistant to scratching and marring, it can also be tinted to any color for visual appeal.

Alumina Ceramic.  A compound used for ceramic sharpening stones. It is a ceramic-bonding agent mixed with alumina particles (synthetic sapphires), shaped, then kiln fired at temperatures in excess of 3000 degrees F.  First used in this fashion by Crock Stick inventor Louis Graves.

Aluminum.  Just like titanium, aluminum is also a nonferrous metal. Commonly used as handles, aluminum gives the knife a solid feel, without the extra weight. The most common form of aluminum is T6-6061, a heat treatable grade. The most common finishing process for aluminum is anodizing.

Amber.  Fossilized pitch from pre-historic evergreens, much used in jewelry; now used by some makers of handmade knives; best known of these is D'Alton Holder.

Amboina Wood (also spelled Amboyna).  Sometimes referred to as padouk, this is a rare, exotic hardwood with a fragrant aroma which varies in color from yellow to golden brown to red. It is used in cabinet making and is an excellent wood for both turning and finishing. From the Pterocarput indicus tree of the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Ambidextrous.  Using both hands with equal ease. Pertaining to knives, it is a knife that is not solely designed for a left-or right-handed person but can be used with equal ease by both hands.

Annealing.  Annealing is the process of softening steel, usually done in preparation for working and grinding the steel. Annealing is done by heating up the steel past the critical temperature (the austenizing temperature) and then letting it cool slowly.

Anodized Aluminum.  Subjecting aluminum to electrolytic action which coats the aluminum with a protective and decorative film.

Anodization.  An electrochemical process which adds color to titanium, which is especially conducive to this coloring process. Depending on the voltage used, colors can vary (high voltage = dark color, low voltage = light color).

Appleseed Grind.  (Also called Hamaguri Grind or Moran Grind): is a convex grind.

Arkansas Stone (Novaculite).  Discovered by Europeans about 1816, these deposits had already been a source of tools for thousands of years. Until the development of modern Alumina, the Arkansas stones were the undisputed leader in knife sharpening. The black hard will still put on a polished edge that can be obtained no other way by hand. The Washita and Soft Arkansas have largely been replaced by ceramic.

Arkansas Toothpick. Early name for Bowie knives, as the first was believed to have been made in Arkansas and the natives of that state were thought to be so tough that they picked their teeth with knives of that size. After the movie, The Iron Mistress, about 1955, it began to mean a large dagger with a needle pointed blade, very unrealistic. Some modern Arkansas makers apply the name to more sensible sized knives.

Arm Knife.  Small knives carried near the shoulder on the left arm by many tribes of the Sudanese. Double edge blade about six inches long.

Armotex.  Type of Polyester pack cloth that is flame retardant.

Assegai.  Portuguese word for spear, often applied to the Zulu stabbing spear. The word was never used by the natives.

ATS-55.  Not a widely known Japanese alloy, ATS-55 is similar to ATS-34, but with the Molybdenum content reduced and new elements added. It appears the intent was to get ATS-34 edge holding with increased toughness and decreased cost. Carbon-1.00%, Manganese-0.50%, Chromium-14.00%, Molybdenum-0.60%, Cobalt-0.40%.

ATS34.  A high-carbon, high-alloy, stainless steel, a Japanese copy of 154-CM, preferred because it is vacuum melted, and 154 is not. Carbon 1.05%, Manganese 0.4%, Chromium 14.0%, Molybdenum 4.0%.

AUS-10.  0.95-1.1% Carbon, 0.5% Magnesium, 13-14.5% Chromium, 0.49% Nickel, 0.1-0.27% Vanadium and 0.1-0.31% Molybdenum.

AUS-4.  Also designated 4A, a Japanese stainless steel, roughly comparable to 440A (AUS-6, .65% carbon), 440B (AUS-8, .75% carbon) and 440C (AUS-10, 1.1% carbon). Used by CRKT in several of their knives. Carbon-0.40-0.45%, Manganese-1.00%, Chromium-13.00-14.50%, Nickel-0.49%. Rockwell 55-57

AUS-6.  Another Japanese stainless, fits between 420 and 440A. Carbon 0.55 - 0.65%, Manganese 1.0%, Chromium 13.0 -14.5%, Nickel 0.49%, Vandium 0.1 - 0.25%.

AUS-8.  Widely used by top Specialty knife makers. The addition of vanadium fits this steel between 440A and ATS-34 in performance. Carbon 0.7 - 0.8%, Manganese 1.0%, Chromium 13.0 - 14.5%, Nickel 0.5%, Vandium 0.1 - 0.25%, Molybdenum 0.1 - 0.3%.

Automatic Knife.  A type of knife with a covered blade that springs out of the grip when a button or lever on the grip is pressed. There are two basic types: side-opening and out-the-front. A side-opening knife's blade pivots out of the side of the handle (in the same manner as an ordinary folding knife). An out-the-front knife's blade slides directly forward, out of the front of the handle.

Awl.  A very old tool, the old fashioned leather punch is a form of awl. The awl is sort of a hand held drill.

Axis Deer (India Stag).  The smaller of the two Indian and SE Asian deer that furnish antler for the knife industry; these are all shed horn harvested in the jungle by natives.

Axis Lock.  Developed by Benchmade Knives.  The features of the AXIS lock are significant and greatly enhance the function of knives. First and foremost is the strength. This lock is definitely more than adequate for the demands of normal knife use. A close second to strength is the inherent AXIS advantage of being totally ambidextrous without user compromise. The blade can be readily actuated open or closed with either hand- without ever having to place flesh in the blade path. Lastly, and certainly not any less impressive, is the indescribable "smoothness" with which the mechanism and blade function. By design there are no traditional "friction" parts to the AXIS mechanism, making the action the much smoother. And it's all reasonably exposed so you can easily clean away any unwarranted debris. Basically, AXIS gets its function from a spring-loaded bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife; spanning the space between the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped notch cut into the tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang, and as a result the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself.

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B

Back. The back of the blade is the opposite side of the belly, for single edged pocket or bowie knives this would be the unsharpened side. The back can contain lashing grommets, jimping, it's own edge or false edge, and serrations.  Also known as the spine.

Back Lock.  Locking system positioned on the spine of the handle that uses a rocker arm, which pivots in the center. A notch on one end of the arm connects with a notch on the blades tang, locking the blade open.

Badelaire.  Heavy 16th Century sabre.

Bail.  A half loop at the end of some knives; enables the user to clip or tie something on for carry and to ensure it does not get dropped.

Baldric.  A shoulder belt or sling for carrying a sword.

Balisong/Butterfly Knife.  A knife design believed to have originated in the UK, brought to the Philippines by English sailors, and was adopted and popularized in the Philippines. Often used in Filipino martial arts. The knife has two separate handle sections that rotate round the blades pivots to create a handle and then rotate back covering and protecting the blade when closed.

Ball Bearing Lock.  A compressive lock wedging a stainless steel ball bearing between a fixed anvil and the blade tang. The ball is also utilized to detent the blade into the closed position.

Ballistic Nylon Cloth.  A heavy nylon material used for gun cases and knife sheaths.

Barlow Knife.  A design that is not less than 150 years old. This was an inexpensive knife usually made with iron bolster and liners, always a one or two blade jack knife with longer than normal bolsters; today barlow knives are usually made in keeping with each firms standard quality and are much sought after by collectors.

Barong.  The combined tool and weapon of the Moros of the southern Philippines. The Barong has a leaf shaped blade of about 15 inches by three inches wide that curves to the point and to the handle on both the edge and the back.

Basket Hilt.  A sword hilt that entirely covers the hand with connecting bars from guard to pommel, best known of these is the Scot's Broadsword, less well known is the Venetian Schiavonia.

Batch.  Refers to a knife model that is made in small numbers. Depending on the manufacturer, if the model is received well another batch or more may be produced.

Bayonet.  A knife, sword or spike intended to be fastened to the end of the barrel of a rifle or musket. The first bayonets were called plug bayonets because the handle was plugged into the barrel. Bayonets were very important when the firearm was single shot, much less important with fully automatic weapons. The earliest bayonet was the so-called Plug Bayonette which was a large dagger with a small pommel that "Plugged into the barrel of the musket changing it into a spike.

Bead Blasting.  A process by which steel, aluminum, and titanium are finished. Bead blasting is commonly found on tactical folding knives and fixed or bowie knife blades, because it provides a 100% subdued, non-glare finish.

Bearded Ax.  An axe with the lower part of the edge hanging below the principle part of the head as does a goose wing ax. Many of the northern Germanic peoples used axes of this type both for felling trees and for fighting.

Belly. The belly is the curving part of the blade edge. Bellies enhance slicing and may be plain or serrated. One note, the point of the knife becomes less sharp the larger the belly is. When choosing a knife you should decide whether penetration or slicing is the most important, and keep the design of this part of the knife in mind.

Bevel. The bevel is the sloping area(s) that fall from the spine towards the edge and false edge of the blade.

BG-42.  Superior knife steel. 1.15 Carbon, 0.50 Manganese, 14.5 Chromium, 1.20 Vanadium, 4.0 Molybedenum.

Bi-Directional Texturing.  A texture molded into an FRN handle, which is a series of graduating, sized forward and backward steps that radiate outward from the center of the handle. This texture provides resistance to slipping and sliding when gripped in the hand.

Black Oxide.  A flat black, anti-reflective coating put on tactical knife blades. Black oxide can be applied on steel, copper, and most stainless steel.

Black Pearl.  The correct term is "Black Lip Mother of Pearl". This is very rare and probably the most expensive of all mother of pearls.

Blade Bevel. The ground-away portion of the knife blade that tapers from the spine to the edge. Note that the blade bevel does not include the cutting edge called the edge bevel.

Blade lock. The mechanical part of a knife that  engages or disengages the blade of a folding knife. A back Lock is the most common, others have a liner lock or some other mechanism. 

Blade Smith. One who forges a blade to shape.

Blade Spine. This is the thickest part of a blade. On a single-edge, flat-ground bowie knife, the blade spine would be at the back of the blade. For double-edged blades, the blade spine would be found right down the middle.

Block Lock. This folder lock has a spring loaded block located on the center pin. The block extends into a hole in the tang to lock the blade open.

Blood Groove.  Although the term is frequently used (too sell more knives) there really is no such thing as a blood groove and there is no sucking action that will hang up a knife in a victims body. The correct term is "Fuller".  A fuller is a groove that both lightens and stiffens the blade.

Bolo.  The word is Spanish but has come to mean a large jungle knife used in the Philippines.

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

Boltaron.  A recycled ABS/acrylic PVS extruded alloy sheet material used for making sheaths. It has excellent impact strength and abrasion, chemical, and fire resistance properties.

Boning Knife.  A Boning Knife features a slender blade that curves inward to give maximum control when cutting around and separating meat and poultry from the bone.

Boot Knife.  A knife small enough to be concealed in a boot, generally considered a defensive knife.

Bowie Knife.  A blade with an upswept, curving tip that is double-edged near the point. It is named for Colonel James Bowie who made this shape famous in the 19th century American west. Any large, fixed blade knife with a blade ranging from 6 to 14 inches. The original namesake knife had a blade that was probably 9 inches long, with a sturdy guard projecting from both the top and bottom of the knife between blade and handle. Invented by Rezin Bowie and made famous by his brother, Jim, who died at the Alamo.

Bread Knife.  The serrated edge on a Bread Knife is ideal for slicing crusty loaves of bread as well as tomatoes, angel food cake and other foods with durable exteriors and soft, delicate interiors.

Brushed Finish.  See "Satin Finish".

Butcher Knife.  Butcher knives are standard parts of any knife collection.  As the name would imply, butchering knives are thick-bladed and are used for effectively cutting large cuts of meat. Getting a clean cut through any piece of meat is a technique to master because if it takes too much effort to cut into your meats, they will bruise. A sharp butcher knife helps improve the quality of your meals by preserving the integrity of the meat. Your meat dishes will have more uniform texture than before, because you don't need to apply significant force along the cutting edge. In the end, a well-made butcher knife will help you prepare dishes of steak, pork, chicken, lamb, and more.

Butt/Pommel. The butt, or the pommel is the very end of the bowie knife. The butt/pommel will be found in different shapes, depending on what features it was designed to implement. Some flat metal butts/pommels are good for hammering. There are pointed metal butts/pommels, known as bonecrusher pommels used on combat fighting knives, combat tactical knives, combat survival knives and large bowie knives. They can be decorative, or contain a lanyard hole. Some butt/pommels are designed to be removed to be able to store items in the handle or may contain an additional smaller blade or tool.

Butt Cap.  A metal, stag or plastic cap fitted over the pommel is referred to as a butt cap.

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C

Caper.  A knife designed to do the delicate work of skinning around the eyes and lips of trophy animals. This work is called caping because you remove the cape of the animal.

Caping.  A term to describe the careful and detailed cutting and removing of the hide from a game animal for the purpose of taxidermy. More precisely it refers to removing the skin from the head, shoulders and neck.

Carbide.  A hard, sharp carbon/iron material used where a very hard material is needed such as in machining or drilling steel. Carbide is commonly used to make the glass breaking tips found on various rescue knives.  It is also used for various knife sharpeners.

Carbide Tip.  A hard, sharp carbon/iron material used where a very hard material is needed such as in machining or drilling steel. Carbide is commonly used to make the glass breaking tips found on various rescue knives.  It is also used for various knife sharpeners.

Carbon. Often found in knife blades; it takes an edge easier than most other steels, but is highly susceptible to corrosion if not properly maintained.

Carbon Fiber.  Graphite fibers (the size of a human hair) are woven together and fused in epoxy resin. It's lightweight, three-dimensional in appearance and is a superior (and expensive) handle material.  It is a highly futuristic looking material with a definite "ahhhh" factor. Of all the lightweight synthetic handle materials, carbon fiber is perhaps the strongest. The main visual attraction of this material is the ability of the carbon strands to reflect light, making the weave pattern highly visible. Carbon fiber is also a labor-intensive material that results in a rather pricey knife.

Carving Knife (Kitchen). A carving knife is a large knife (between 20 cm and 38 cm (8 and 15 inches)) that is used to slice thin cuts of meat, including poultry, roasts, hams, and other large cooked meats. A carving knife is much thinner than a chef's knife (particularly at the spine), enabling it to carve thinner, more precise slices. They are generally shorter and wider than slicing knives.

Cattlemans Knife. A knife with a clip or spear master blade, a spey blade and a leather punch. Made with many handle shapes.

Ceramic. See Alumina Ceramic, and Zirconia.

Ceramic Knives. Ceramic knives have many advantages over traditional steel cutlery. Sharper than most steel knives, these ultra-hard, ultra-sharp knives hold their edge longer than steel, and they can last for years without sharpening. Ceramic knife blades have no metallic taste or smell, and they are stain-proof and rustproof. Their nonstick ceramic surface makes them easy to clean, and their light weight and perfect balance make them a pleasure to use.

Chamfered.  Grinding a secondary flat surface on a corner, creating a beveled edge. Commonly done to the edges of a knifes handle or the inside radius of a hole making a smoother contact spot for hand/fingers.

Cheese Knife (Kitchen). A cheese knife is a type of kitchen knife specialized for the cutting of cheese. Different cheeses require different knives, according primarily to hardness; most often "cheese knife" refers to a knife designed for soft cheese. Soft cheeses require a sharp knife. As these cheeses are often sticky, a cheese knife will be serrated and often have holes to prevent sticking.  Hard cheese knives are specially designed for slicing hard cheese. They are sharp, so they can cut exact slices, and often have a forked tip, allowing them to be used as a serving utensil as well. Cheese slicers are also used. Parmesan cheese knives are specially designed for portioning very hard cheeses. They have very short, thick blades that are forced into the cheese and then used as a lever to break off smaller portions. (Slicing hard cheese is considered improper by connoisseurs, since the cheese - when broken apart - has more surface area, and thus more air contact, which strengthens the apparent scent and taste of the cheese.)  There are also cheese knife sets which are designed specifically for slicing and serving hard, soft and parmesan cheeses.

Chef's Knife. Also known as a cook's knife or French knife even though the knife style originates as the German cook's knife, the chef's knife is an all-purpose knife that is curved to allow the cook to rock the knife on the cutting board for a more precise cut. The broad and heavy blade also serves for chopping bone instead of the cleaver making this knife the all purpose heavy knife for food preparation. Chef's knives are most commonly available between 15 cm and 30 cm (6 and 12 inches), though 20 cm (8 inches) is the most common size.  A Chef's Knife is the true workhorse of any cutlery set. This essential knife is ideal for chopping, mincing, dicing and julienning fresh fruits and vegetables. Oso Grande offers a broad selection of Chef's Knives in variety lengths as well as some with granton blades, which help reduce friction while cutting, allowing food to fall away easily.

Chipped Flint.  The first knives were probably broken pieces of flint or some other form or chert (jasper, agate, novaculite, quartz or other stone with a conchoidal fracture) exposing sharp edges. Many people are knapping flint in the old ways and some are fastening these blades into stag or wood handles.

Chisel Grind.  The chisel grind is ground on only one side of the blade. It's easy to produce and easy to sharpen. It is often ground at around 30 degrees which contributes to a thin and sharp edge.  The majority of Emerson Knives have the chisel grind.

Chital (See Axis - India Stag).  The smaller of the two Indian and SE Asian deer that furnish antler for the knife industry; these are all shed horn harvested in the jungle by natives.

Choil.  The choil is the unsharpened part of the blade. It is left at full thickness like the blade spine and is found where the blade becomes part of the handle. Sometimes the choil will be shaped (An indentation) to accept the index finger. It also allows the full edge of the blade to be sharpened. If a guard is present, the choil will be in front of the guard on the blade itself. The choil is often used as a way to choke up on the blade for close-in work. The index finger is placed in the choil, and this close proximity to the edge allows for greater control. In addition, the choil is just in front of where the blade itself becomes part of the handle, an area often prone to breakage due to the blade-handle juncture. The choil leaves this area at full thickness and thus stronger.

Chris Reeve Style Integral Liner Lock.  Custom knifemaker Chris Reeve developed upon, then popularized the Walker Liner Lock in an integral form. An integral liner lock functions as a traditional liner lock with the exception that the liner is actually comprised of part of the handle scale.

Chromium.   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 steels.

Cinquedea. A 15th Century Italian dagger, very wide at the hilt; usually used as a left hand dagger. Name means five fingers wide.

Circa. This is a term that you may hear mentioned when someone is describing the date of a knife. It simply means around or approximately. For instance, circa 1810 means approximately 1810.

Clasp. This style folding knife has no lock or backspring.  Also a style of jack knife that curves upward at the end.

Claymore. The two handed sword of the Scots.

Cleaver. A meat cleaver is a large, most-often rectangular knife that is used for splitting or "cleaving" meat and bone. A cleaver may be distinguished from a kitchen knife of similar shape by the fact that it has a heavy blade that is thick from the spine to quite near the edge. The edge is sharply-beveled and the bevel is typically convex. The knife is designed to cut with a swift stroke without cracking, splintering or bending the blade. Many cleavers have a hole in the end to allow them to be easily hung on a rack. Cleavers are an essential tool for any restaurant that prepares its own meat. The cleaver most often found in a home knife set is a light-duty cleaver about 6 in (15 cm) long. Heavy cleavers with much thicker blades are often found in the trade.  A "lobster splitter" is a light-duty cleaver used mainly for shellfish and fowl which has the profile of a chef's knife. The Chinese chef's knife is sometimes called a "Chinese cleaver", due to the rectangular blade, but it is unsuitable for cleaving, its thin blade instead designed for slicing; actual Chinese cleavers are heavier and similar to Western cleavers.

Clip.  An accessory on some knives used to attach a knife to clothing or a belt.

Clip Blade.  The clip blade is generally the most common blade found on American folding knives.  A blade, ground on the top (spine) in an angled or sweeping line downward. The underside (where the sharpened edge is) is ground upward. The two angles meet at the tip and where the angles meet determines the depth of the blades belly.  A clip point blade has a concave or straight cut-out at the tip (The "clip"). This brings the blade point lower for extra control and enhances the sharpness of the tip. You will often find a false edge with the clip point. These types of blades also often have an abundant belly for better slicing capabilities.  The narrow clips are often called California clips, muskrat clips, or Turkish clips.

Clip Blade, California Clip.  The clip is even longer than the Turkish clip, it starts just in front of the tang.

Clip Blade, Long.  Main blade in large folding hunters and other large knives.

Clip Blade, Sabre.  The Sabre grind is one half to three quarters from the edge with a deep cut swedge.

Clip Blade, Texas Tickler.  The Texas Tickler, also called Fish Knife (with hook disgorger) or Jack Knife, in it's full size has a 5-1/2" handle.

Clip Blade, Turkish.  The Turkish Clip or Yatagan Clip has a very long clip and a deeply swayed edge.

CLIPIT.  Spydercos trademarked term for their line of folding knives which feature a pocket clip. A CLIPIT fan is often called a CLIPITEER.

CNC Machined Aluminum.  The letters stand for Computer Numerical Control, which is the most proficient way to machine aluminum parts.

Cobalt.  Increases strength and hardness, and permits quenching in higher temperatures. Intensifies the individual effects of other elements in more complex steels. Expressed as CO.

Cobra Hood.  A registered trademark of Spyderco for a machined flange of steel positioned over the Spyderco round opening hole on the spine of the blade which directs/positions your thumb over the hole for quickly opening the knife blade. See Spyderco C71 Salsa.

Cocobolo Wood.  Hardwood from the Cocobolo tree, ranging in color from bright orange to deep red and dark purple. It's grain and fine texture are relatively easy to work, polishes to a high sheen and is popular as an inlay or embellishment on knife handles.

Combat Knife.  It opens cans of food, it digs foxholes, and it's used in hand-to-hand combat.

CombinationEdge.  Blade that is partially serrated, partially plain edge.

ComboEdge.  Blade that is partially serrated, partially PlainEdge.

Common Mark.  The short crescent shaped groove commonly seen on pocketknife blades.

Compression Lock.  A Compression Lock uses a small piece of metal that is inserted, from the side, in between the blade tang and the stop pin (or anvil pin).

Concave Grind.  Similar to the flat grind in that the blade tapers from the spine to the cutting edge, except the taper lines are arcs instead of straight lines.  It is the easiest grind to keep sharp, but has a weak edge that will chip easier than most other grinds.

Congress Pattern.  An old pen and pocket knife shape, made with two or four blades.  Generally a pen blade and a larger sheepfoot blade or two of each. The ends are lower than the center of the back of the handle.

Convex Grind.  Similar to the flat grind in that the blade tapers from the spine to the cutting edge, except the taper lines are arcs extending outward instead of inward as in the concave grind above or straight lines. If you picture a pumpkin seed, you will get a good idea of what the cross sectional view of this grind is like. Noted custom knife maker Bill Moran is credited for bringing the convex grind into the focus of knife making.

Coping Blade.  These are narrow blades that have a sharp point.  The edge is flat like a sheepsfoot, but the back angles sharply from the spine.  They are ideal for cutting patterns on a flat surface.  Also, their thin size makes them handy when cutting in tight spaces. Also known as a Carpenter's blade, used to work close to outlines. Always a second or third blade.

Copper.  Increases corrosion resistance. Expressed as CU.

Cordia Wood.  Cordia wood is very similar to Teak and is occasionally used as a substitute for Teak in shipbuilding.

Cordura.  Cordura is a certified fabric from INVISTA. It is used in a wide range of products from luggage and backpacks to boots, to military wear and performance apparel. It is long lasting, resistant to abrasions, tears and scuffs.

Corn Blade. When shoes seldom fit well, a person often had corns on the feet that needed to be trimmed. This was the blade used. This blade has not been made in many years.  It has widely been replaced by the much more effective "corn razor".

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

Cottons Sampler Blade. No longer made for the trade, now only for collectors. Usually a main or single blade in a larger jack knife handle.  Now Ontario Knife Company is the only major manufacturer to make a cotton sampling knife.

Cover. The material covering the liner between the bolsters.

Covert Non-Detectible Knives. Most covert non-detectible knives represent the newest trends in high-tech, covert construction. Made from Grivory, Carbon Fiber, G10 and the latest in fiberglass reinforced plastic, and stronger than even the super tough Zytel which was used in earlier models. They are UV and heat stabilized, making them impervious to the elements. They never rust, warp, crack or split even in the most extreme environments and they are light enough to be tied, tucked, or taped just about anywhere on ones person. And, since they are impervious to heat, cold, moisture and extreme weather they are a natural to hide both inside and outside your house. They can be hidden virtually everywhere from the hedges and flowerpots in your yard, to the refrigerator, bookshelves, and closets in your house. Keep one in every room of the house, from the laundry room to the bathroom shower!

CPM 10V.  CPM 10V was the first in the family of high vanadium tool steels made by the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. Crucible engineers optimized the vanadium content to provide superior wear resistance while maintaining toughness and fabrication characteristics comparable to D2 and M2. Since its introduction in 1978, CPM 10V has become recognized worldwide and sets the standard for highly wear resistant industrial tooling. Carbon-2.45%, Manganese-0.50%, Chromium-5.25%, Vanadium-9.75%, Molybdenum-1.30% Rockwell 58-62.

CPM 15V.  CPM 15V is intended for applications requiring exceptional wear resistance. It has more vanadium carbides in its microstructure than CPM 10V and provides more wear resistance and longer tool life in those applications where 10V has proven to be successful. CPM 15V also offers an alternative to solid carbide where carbide fails by fracture or where intricate tool design makes carbide difficult or risky to fabricate.Carbon-3.4%, Manganese-0.5%, Chromium-5.25%, Vanadium-14.5%, Molybdenum-1.3% Rockwell-59-62.

CPM 1V.  CPM (Crucible Particle Metallurgy) 1V is a medium carbon, high alloy tool steel which exhibits high toughness combined with high heat resistance. It is suited for hot or cold applications demanding high impact toughness that also requires moderate wear resistance. Carbon-0.55%, Chromium-4.5%, Vanadium-1.0%, Molybdenum-2.75%, Tungsten-2.15%, Rockwell 56-59,

CPM 3V.  CPM 3V is a high toughness, wear-resistant tool steel made by the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. It is designed to provide maximum resistance to breakage and chipping in high wear-resistance steel. CPM 3V is intended to be used at 58/60 HRC in applications where chronic breakage and chipping are encountered in other tool steels, but where the wear properties of high alloy steel are required. Carbon-0.80%, Chromium-7.50%, Vanadium-2.75%, Molybdenum-1.30%, Rockwell 58-60.

CPM 9V.  CPM 9V is designed for use in tooling that encounters severe wear. It's toughness, or cracking resistance, is higher than other high-wear resistant cold work tool steels permitting it to be used in some applications where CPM 10V, D2 or high-speed steels do not have sufficient resistance to cracking. It is usually limited in hardness to about 56 HRC or lower, and is therefore not intended for applications requiring high compressive strength. Carbon-1.8%, Manganese-0.50%, Chromium-5.25%, Vanadium-9.0%, Molybdenum-1.3%, Rockwell 53-56.

CPM M4.  CPM M4 has excellent wear resistance and toughness. Has about 1.42% carbon.

CPM-S30V. CPM S30V (commonly referred to as S30V) was introduced by Crucible in 2002 in response to knife industry demand for a steel with more wear, corrosion resistance and toughness. It has added Vanadium for higher wear resistance and Molybdenum for better pitting resistance. It has superb edge retention because it resists edge chipping. Contents: Carbon 1.45%, Chromium 14%, Molybdenum 2%, Vanadium 4%.

CPM-S60V (New Name for CPM440V).  With 2.15 Carbon, 0.40 Manganese, 17.0 Chromium, 5.50 Vanadium and 0.4% Molybdenum this is a steel that would be impressive but when you know that it is a Powder Metal steel with the resulting extreme purity, you know that it has to be a great knife steel. Very expensive and not at all easy to work.

CPM-S90V.  Has superior edge retention. However, it can be almost impossible to sharpen. Currently custom makers are the only ones using this type of steel.  2.3% Carbon, 14% Chromium, 9% Vanadium and 1% Molybdenum.

CPM440V.  With 2.15 Carbon, 0.40 Manganese, 17.0 Chromium, 5.50 Vanadium and 0.4% Molybdenum this is a steel that would be impressive but when you know that it is a Powder Metal steel with the resulting extreme purity, you know that it has to be a great knife steel. Very expensive and not at all easy to work.

Cryogenic Treatment.  The technique of immersing materials in liquid nitrogen (at -196 degrees C or -320 degrees F) in order to strengthen them. The cold temperatures cause the molecules to shift into alignments that are less subject to wear. This process works very well to produce high quality knife blades with superior edge retention.

Crink.  A crink is a bend at the beginning of the tang that keeps multi-bladed pocket knives from rubbing against each other.

Cutlass.  A curved blade sword sharp on one edge with a strong cover for the hand used on naval vessels in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Cutlery Steel.  Any steel with enough alloying materials that enable it to make good knives; for wide acceptance today that means it must also be stainless. To make good knife blades it must be able to take and hold an edge. Can range from 1070 or 420 to CPM-S60V.

Cutting Edge. &  The sharpened edge of the blade.

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D

D-2 Steel.  An outstanding knife steel, a high-carbon, high chrome tool steel which is often used for the steel cutting dies in every tool and die shop in the U.S.; with 1.5% Carbon, 1% Molybdenum, 12% Chromium and 1% Vanadium, D-2 can be hardened far beyond the favored 60-61 Rc. The first heavy user was Jimmy Lile; the strongest convert has been Bob Dozier. This air hardening steel takes a really good edge, and holds it. This steel has been recently made popular by the great results in the performance of D-2 heat-treated by Dozier.

Dagger.  A grind down the center of a blade equally dividing it into halves. In most cases both edges are sharpened but in some cases the top edge has a false (unsharpened) edge.  Daggers are usually fixed blade knives.

Damascus Steel.  Two types of steel that are folded repeatedly during the forging process to produce very attractive and expensive steel. This new steel retains the properties of the two parent steels.

Damasteel.  In the 1970s Era Steel in Sweden and Crucible Metals in U.S.A. patented a process of making steel by blowing finely divided powdered iron, carbon, and other materials into a billet and then applying heat and pressure until a steel is achieved with finer grain, finer carbides, therefore greater strength and better wear resistance. This process is what we know as Powder Metal. The Swedes went on to invent a method of blowing the particles into patterns; the result is "Damasteel". It has the look of pattern welded Damascus yet is actually a superior, powder metal stainless tool steel.

David Boye Dent.  Custom knifemaker David Boye removed a small arc or dent of metal from the lock bar lever of his knives. This removed piece lessened the possibility of gripping the handle hard enough to depress the lock and accidentally unlock the blade while using the knife.

Desert Ironwood.  Native to the Sonoran desert (Northern Sonora Mexico and southern Arizona) it is a very dense tight grained wood, takes a very high polish, tends to darken with use and age.

Detent.  A minute divot or dimple machined into the blade tang. A ball bearing drops into the detent hole when the knife is in the closed position, holding the knife blade closed inside the handle.

Diamond Coating.  The mechanical entrapment of diamond crystals into a metal substrate. This process operates by depositing metal, layer by layer, from a plating solution until enough metal is built up around the diamond crystals to hold them in place.

Diamond Cross Section Blade.  Most often found in a stiletto or rapier blade.

Dirk.  The Scottish Dirk is single edged and is a descendent of the Kidney Dagger and was basically used as a left hand knife while fighting with the broadsword. There were also the Dirks carried by midshipmen in the early years of the United States Navy, those usually had slim, curved, single edged blades. This was more a badge of office than a tool. Today the term dirk is obsolete, these are made only for people who want to dress up in antique clothing for plays and reenactments.

Distal Taper.  Distal taper refers to the change in thickness from the base of the blade to the tip, usually in reference to a sword blade. Greatly affects the handling characteristics and performance of the blade.

DLC (Diamond Like Carbon Coating).   A combination of diamond and graphite used for coating blades.

Double-Edged Blade.  A double-edged or spey blade has two edges. The blade cuts in either direction, with a strong sharp point. This shape is primarily used for fighting knives.

Double Flat-ground.  A blade that is ground flat on both sides of the blade, tapering to an edge with no radius.

Drop Forged.  Also called closed die forging, the form of the finished item is built into the die, the steel is heated and the hammer forms the plastic steel into the recesses of the die.

Drop Point Blade.  A blade design made popular in hunting knives originally by Bob Loveless and Bo Randall. Simply, the tip of the blade is lowered through a convex arc from the spine.  This lowers the point for extra control and also leaves the strength. This type of blade also has a good-sized belly for better slicing.  The wider tip is not as handy for penetrating through an object as the spear and clip blade.

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E

Easy Opener. This is a style of knife handle that has a curve shaped cut out that exposes enough of the blade for the operator to grasp the blades between two fingers for easy opening.

EDC.  An acronym for Everyday Carry meaning a knife that is carried and used daily.

Edge. This is the sharpened side of the blade. Blades will have a single or double edge (or dagger style) depending on the design.

Edge Bevel. The honed part of the blade that starts after the blade bevel and continues to the cutting edge.

ELU.  Acronym for end-line user.

Embellishment.  Term used to describe personalized engraving or additional ornamentation added to a knife after it is manufactured.

EMT.  Acronym for Emergency Medical Technician.

Ergonomics.  The applied science of equipment design intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue, safety and discomfort. Knives which are designed to be comfortable and less fatiguing to use are labeled ergonomic.

Escutcheon. This is a small pin or piece of metal attached to the handle for engraving, branding, or just decoration.

European Stag.  Antler from the Red Deer, a large elk like animal found throughout Europe. Has been used for knife handles for at least as long as there have been knives of metal, and probably long before that. This stag has never been a substitute for the antler of the axis and sambar deer of India and Southeast Asia. The European Red Deer has a very coarse and open center, much like the American elk. Because of the large amount of pith in the center, it mostly has to be used as handle scales. The antler of the Red Deer is a limited substitute for the antler of both the Axis and the Sambar, that have both been embargoed by the Indian government.

EZ Opener. See Easy Opener.

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F

False Edge.  Also called a swedge (non-sharpened), it is a ground edge on the back of the blades spine, that is chamfered, or non-sharpened. It removes weight from the blade and can change the blades balance and penetration performance and appearance.  Widely used on military and combat fighting knives, a false edge blade is an additional bevel on the back of the blade enhancing the blade's point. This edge can be sharpened or not. The false edge can also be used for heavier cutting that might be damaging to the cutting edge.

Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN).  A nylon polymer mixed with glass fiber that is then injected into a mold for making lightweight knife handles.

Fighting Knife.  A knife that is intended for killing sentries, for hand-to-hand fighting and little else.

File Work.  Just as it sounds, file work is a decorative pattern usually filed into the metal of a knife by the maker. Typical places for filework are on the blade spine, and perhaps on the locking bar of a lockback folder.

Fillet Knife.  Fillet knives are like very flexible boning knives that are used to fillet and prepare fish. They have blades about 15 cm to 28 cm (6 to 11 inches) long, allowing them to move easily along the backbone and under the skin of fish.

Finger Choil.  A purposeful and specific area/curve cut out between the blade and handle. It creates a grip position point closer to the cutting edge for better control while cutting.

Fixed Blade Knife.  A knife that is solid between the handle and the blade.

Flat-Grind (Full).  A knifes edge that tapers from the cutting edge all the way to the blades spine that is ground completely flat without a radius.

Flat-Saber Grind.  A knifes edge, ground completely flat without a radius that tapers from the cutting edge to a grind line down the center of the blade. Unlike a Full Flat Grind, which tapers from the cutting edge all the way to the blades spine the Flat Saber only is flat ground just to the grind line.

Folding Knife.  Any knife that allows the blade to be folded into the handle. Pocket knives, Folding hunters etc.

Forprene.  Forprene is a high resistant material, an elastopolymer with very high thermal proprierties from -40° C to +150° C, it has very high grip power. The material is also very resistant to salt and acid corrosion and can be used in all wet situations.

Framelock.  The framelock is a variant of the linerlock. Instead of using the liner, though, the frame functions as an actual spring. It is usually much more secure than a liner lock.

French Mark.  A Long Mark with short marks pressed into the steel at the bottom of the mark that looks like the top of a castle wall.

FRN.  An acronym for Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon which is a strong and lightweight material commonly used for knife handles.

Front. It is the side of the knife with the company logo or the side that the master blade folds to.

Front Opening Automatic Knife (OTF).  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 flat grind leaves a flat surface, that flat surface if ground from edge to spine is considered a full-flat grind. If that flat surface goes from the edge to somewhere in the middle of the blade it would be considered a flat saber grind.

Full Length Tang.  A tang that runs through the hilt, handle and pommel.

Full Tang.  The tang is the part of the knife where the blade stops and the handle starts. There are many different terms used to describev what kind of tang a knife has, because the strength and other characteristics of the knife depend on the tang format. A full tang knife has a tang that goes the length of the handle at full width, and you can see the tang spine itself because the handle slabs are affixed to each side. This is the strongest tang format. To save weight, the maker can taper the tang so it gets thinner as it goes back into the handle; this is appropriately enough called a tapered tang. If the tang disappears into the handle itself, it's called a hidden tang. If the tang thins out considerably once it goes into the handle, it's called a stick tang or rat-tail tang.

Fuller.  A groove that lightens and stiffens the blade. Also known as a blood groove, though the term is inaccurate.

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G

G-2 Stainless.  When seen on the blade of an older Spyderco knife it means one thing, used today it means a Gingami (Japan) steel of very high quality.

G-10.  Handle material made of epoxy filled with woven glass fiber that is impervious to changes in temperature and can be tinted into many colors.  G-10 is an ideal material for tactical folding knives or fighting knives because of its ruggedness and lightweight.

Game Hook.  Also known as a gut hook, this knife blade shape is best utilized for opening the flesh of game. Many hunting knives come with a gut hook. The guthook is used by making a small incision with the main blade, then by using the hook to cut open the abdomen. The hook prevents the hunter from "paunching" the animal and possibly affecting the quality of the meat. In the event that you do want the added security that the gut hook hunting knife provides, they are very similar in price to non-gut hook hunting knives. One thing to consider before purchasing a hunting knife with a gut hook design is the occasional need to sharpen the hook. The actual cutting part of the gut hook is enclosed in a "hook" machined into the top of the blade. You can't sharpen this area with a regular flat sharpening stone, so you will need a round sharpening file. Please note, that unlike the main blade of your new hunting knife, the gut hook is only sharpened on one side not two. Don't sharpen the flat side, you will ruin the knife!

Another alternative to purchasing a hunting knife with a built in gut hook is to purchase a separate unit. Gerber offers a relatively inexpensive, easily transported unit, which has the added feature of replaceable blades, that negates the need for sharpening. Using standard utility blades, the blade is easily replaced at the beginning of each season and is ready when needed.

Gentleman's Knife.  Any knife that is trim and elegant in form. It can be carried without embarrassment anywhere, because it conveys prestige.

German Silver.  An alloy of copper, zinc and nickel. Also known as Nickel Silver.

Gladius.  The short stabbing sword of the Roman Legions. The blade was 18-24 inches long.

Glass Filled Nylon (GFN).  Many of today's thermoplastic materials are improved by adding chopped glass fibers. Often as much as 40% of a product may be glass. Adds great strength.

Goose Wing Axe.  The most beautiful of the Bearded Axes, most often seen as a Northern European axe sharpened one side only for squaring timbers.

Guard (see Hilt). The guard is a separate piece of metal attached between the blade and the top of the handle to protect hands from the edge during cutting.

Gut Hook.  A sharpened hook which lies on the spine of a hunting knife blade. This design allows the hunter to field dress the animal without puncturing the animals intestine.

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H

H1 Steel.  H1 steel is a stainless steel that is precipitation-hardened and contains nitrogen instead of carbon, which cannot rust. Carbon-0.15%, Chromium-14.00-16.00%, Manganese-2.00%, Molybdenum-0.50-1.50%, Nickel-6.00-8.00%, Nitrogen-0.10%, Phosphorus-0.04%, Silicon-3.00-4.50%, Sulfur-0.03%.

Hafted.  In pocket knife language, to have the handle put on the knife. In general English it means to have put on a handle of a tool, including knives.

Hamaguri Grind.  (Also called Appleseed Grind or Moran Grind): is a convex grind.

Hammer Forged.  Self explanatory, a hammer has beaten (forged) hot steel into shape.

Handguard (or Guard).  Protrusion/expansion on the knifes handle proximal to the blade keeping the hand safely positioned on the handle inhibiting sliding forward.

Handmade Knife.  The blade and handle are shaped by hand, either the blade or handle is held in the hand and applied to the cutting medium, i.e. the grinder, etc. or the knife is fixed in a vise (or otherwise held) and the cutting medium (files, abrasive strips, portable grinder) is held in the hand and applied to the knife.

Hardening.  Hardenizing consists of two steps, austenizing and quenching. First, to austenize, the steel is heated to its critical temperature. To harden, the steel has to cool down more quickly than in the annealing step. So the steel is quenched -- allowed to cool -- in some medium such as oil, water, air, or molten salt, depending on the steel.

Hardness. The compactness of the steel molecules determine the hardness of the steel. Harder steel tends to hold an edge longer, while softer steel is easier to sharpen. A blades hardness is measured by the Rockwell test which is understood and accepted worldwide. A Rockwell hardness above 60 will be difficult to sharpen, but a hardness below 56 will not hold an edge very well.

Hawkbill Blade.  Blade shaped in a sharply curved hook like the talon of a raptor. The inside edge of the blade is sharpened and works particularly well for commercial fishermen who reach out and pull toward them while cutting line, webbing and netting.

High Alloy.  A highly complex alloy, as opposed to a simple one.

High Alumina Ceramic.  The compound often used for sharpening stones. It's a ceramic-bonding agent mixed with alumina particles (synthetic sapphires), shaped then kiln fired at temperatures in excess of 3000 degrees F.

High Carbon Steel. This describes any steel that is made up of .5% carbon or more. Blades made with high carbon steel sharpen more easily and hold an edge better, but are more susceptible to corrosion. The higher the carbon content, the more this is the case.

High Carbon Stainless Steel. Any stainless steel used to make a knife blade must be high carbon to make a decent knife. Any high carbon stainless steel will stain, though less than other steels.

High Speed Steel. Steels designed to machine other steels. These machine tools will hold an edge even when rendered red-hot by friction.

Hilt. The entire handle, including the butt/pommel and the guard. To a sword collector the hilt encompasses the entire handle and guard; to the modern knife world, hilt and quillion mean the same thing: the guard, single or double, between the handle and the blade. Made of brass, nickel silver or stainless steel, sometimes of damascus steel.

Hitachi Super Blue Steel. The term "blue steel" actually refers to the color of the paper wrapper in which the raw bar stock is shipped. This is a high-carbon non-stainless steel in the 1.4% to 1.5% carbon range alloyed with silica (0.1% to 0.2%) and manganese (0.2% to 0.3%), and with chromium (0.2% to 0.5%) and Tungsten (2.0% to 2.5%) added for toughness. This is significantly more carbon than is found in most U.S. steels which tend to have about 1.0% carbon. This added carbon allows the blades to be hardened in the mid-60s Rc. allowing for a thin razor edge.

Hollow-ground.  Edge that is ground with a radius leaving a concave shape above the cutting surface.  The most common grind, found on the majority of custom and production pieces. Hollow ground blades have a thin edge that continues upwards, and the grind is produced on both sides of the blade. Since the cutting edge is relatively thin, there is very little drag when cutting. 

Hone.  Used as a noun, it means a fine stone used to put a finished edge on a knife or razor. Used as a verb, it is the action of finishing the edge of a knife.

Honing Oil.  A light oil used to keep the surface of a sharpening stone free of steel deposits and debris.

Hook Blade. The edge of a hook blade curves in a concave manner.

Hunter.  A style of sheath knife. Used for hunting, camping and skinning.

Hunting Knife.  A knife used for skinning and butchering large and small game. Originally a kitchen knife carried into the field, now very special knives are designed every year. Today it usually means a knife with a blade of 3 to 6 inches with a guard between the blade and the handle. Oso Grande offers a nice selection of fixed blade hunting knives fresh from the factories of the top knife manufacturers. Hunting knives are used for flaying and cutting up game and sometimes for killing it.  A good hunting knife also serves as a survival knife and camp knifeSkinning knives are usually smaller and not as versatle as hunting knives.  Our selection includes over 500 different fixed blade hunting knives.  You can choose by the type of blade and handle you need.  We also have guthook hunting knives, folding hunting knives, skinning knives, taxidermy knives and surgical scalpels like the popular Havalon Baracuta Blaze.  No matter which model you chose, we guarantee that you will be happy with the fit, finish and performance of your new hunting knife.

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I

Indexing.  Locating mark also used for controlled rotation of the open knife while gripped in the palm from one hand-hold to another. e.g. rotating from a forward grip to a reverse grip. rotating from a forward grip to a reverse grip.

Inlays (or inserts).  Any material inlaid into the handles of a pocket knife. 

Integral Hilt.  The hilt and blade are machined or forged from the same piece of metal. The term "full integral" means that the blade, hilt, tang and pommel are all from the same piece of steel. 

Integral Pocket Clip.  Pocket clip that is molded as part of (integral to) the handle rather than a separate component attached with screws.

Interframe.  Ron Lake, another folding knife maker who achieved world prominence about 1972; invented the Interframe method of inlaying handle material in solid metal handle frames.

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J

Jambiya.  The Arab knife, found in every country the Arabs have lived in. Strongly curved blade, double edged with a rib in the middle. Each country has a somewhat different version.

Jeweled Metal or Engine Turned.  Jeweling is often found on the interior frame of folders. Round patterns in the metal reflect light with eye-catching beauty. Lightly abrading the metal creates the jeweling.

Jigged Bone.  Derived from deceased animals, generally the chin bone of a cow. The bone is generally dyed and surface texture is obtained by cutting grooves into the bone.  It was first used to imitate genuine stag scales.

Jimping.   Notches that are designed into the back lower part of the blade for better thumb control.

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K

Karambit.  The Karambit, is a very old and proven design from Indonesia. It was inspired by, resembles and functions in the same manner as the Tiger Claw. This knife is a very capable and easy to use defensive weapon that can be carried with you at all times.

The modern Western interpretation of the karambit is far removed from the original agricultural tool. They may have folding blades and are finished to a very high standard, as opposed to being rudimentary and makeshift. They are made from expensive materials, the Western variation is beyond the financial means of most South East Asian peasants.

The West has recently found the karambit to be useful for self-defense. Most of those produced in the West for use as weapons are based on the small Filipino variety, which features a short blade and index finger ring. Oso Grande carries both fixed blade karambits and folding karambits from a number of makers, including Mantis Knives, Emerson Knives, Spyderco, Cold Steel, United Cutlery, 5.11 Tactical and Fox Cutlery.

Kard.  Persian knife with straight blade and handle and with no guard, often has an armor piercing point.

Katar.  The most common of Hindu India's knives double edge blade ranges from a few inches to sword length. The handle is made up of two bars extending from the back of the blade in line with two or more cross bars that make up the handle at right angle to the blade.

Kevlar.  A material of great strength used to make bullet proof garments and used to reinforce thermoplastic material sometime used in knife handles.

Kevlar Reinforced Zytel (ST-801).  See "Kevlar".

Khanjar.  Arabic for knife, this is generally used for the Persian version, a double edged dagger with a curved or even double curved blade and a handle pistol grip shaped, often of jade or other stone.

Khyber Knife.  The knife of the Afridis and other tribes living in or near the Khyber Pass between Afghanistan and India. With a long straight back that is heavily ribbed on the back and that tapers to a fine point this knife has no guard and the sheath encloses the handle and is worn slid under the sash.

Kick.  The unsharpened portion along the underside of the knife blade where the edge begins. Keeps the blade kicked out so the edge does not hit the back spacer or spring.

Kidney Dagger.  Also called the Ballock Dagger, carried in Northern Europe and England in the 14th and 15th century generally across the back for left hand use. It got it's name from the wooden handle with it's carved guard of two lobes.

Kinetic Opener.  A horn or protuberance on the top portion of a knife blade by which the blade may be opened when leveraged against something solid, i.e. an opponents body. Similar to the opening devices found on straight razors.

Kilij.  Like the Persian Shamshir this Turkish Saber is often included in the category Scimitar. The Turkish Kilij generally has the same curved edge intended for the draw cut but the curve stops for the last 8 or 10 inches of the back to the point. None of this class can be used for thrusting.

Knife.  A cutting instrument consisting of a sharp-edged often pointed blade of metal fitted into a handle or onto a machine.

Kopis.  The forward curved knife or sword of Egypt, carried by Alexander to much of the ancient world.

Kraton.  A rubbery thermoplastic polymer used for knife handles or as a flexible inlay on knife handles for enhanced grip.

Kris.  The knife of the Malay Peninsula, the blade is usually of Damascus with layers of nickel-iron between layers of steel. Offers a unique appearance.

Kukri.  This knife is believed to be descended from the Kopis of Alexander's army. Very heavy point and light handle combined with the forward curve make it very effective in combat or the jungle.

The kukri (originally spelled khukri or khukuri) is a curved Nepalese Knife used as both tool and weapon. It's a traditional weapon for Nepalese people, and also a weapon of choice/side arm for all Nepalese including those serving in different armies around the world. The cutting edge is inwardly curved in shape and is the icon of Nepal.

It was, and in many cases still is, the basic and traditional utility knife of the Nepalese people. Very effective when used as a weapon, it is a symbolic weapon of the Nepalese Army, and of all Gurkha regiments throughout the world, signifying the courage and valor of the bearer in the battlefield. It is a part of the regimental weaponry and heraldry of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, and is used in many traditional rituals among different ethnic groups of Nepal, including one where the groom has to wear it during the wedding ceremony.

It is known to many people as simply the "Gurkha blade" or "Gurkha knife". The pronunciation "Kukri" is of western origin, the Nepalese people to whom this weapon belongs pronounce it as "Khukuri".

Kydex.  A thin thermoplastic commonly used for firearm holsters and knife sheaths. It is flexible, resistant to sweat, chemicals, oils and solvents. It is shaped by heat and retains it's set form.

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L

L-6. A high carbon, band saw steel that is very tough and holds an edge well, but rusts easily. It is, like O-1, forgiving steel for the forger. If you're willing to put up with the maintenance, this may be one of the very best steels available for cutlery, especially where toughness is desired. Typically used in swords.Carbon-0.65-0.75%, Manganese-0.25-0.80%, Chromium-0.60-1.20%,Nickel-1.25-2.00%, Vanadium-0.20-0.30%, Molybdenum-0.50%.

Laminated Handles. Handles that are made from various materials that are layered together and held together by an adhesive.

Laminated Steel. Tool steel with a very hard core, but with outer areas made of softer material that gives great strength. Harry Morseth began the use of this material in the U.S. about 1946. It had been used for centuries in Scandinavia and Japan.

Lanyard. A piece of leather attached to the butt of a knife used for carrying or holding or hanging from the belt, neck, or wrist. Sometimes referred to as a thong.

Lanyard Hole.  A hole placed in the end of a knife handle opposite the blade. Originally used by sailors who would place a cord through such a hole in their knife to keep from losing it overboard.

Left/Right-Hand Carry.  Knife clip that is manufactured to affix to either side the knife positioning the folder for use by left-handed and right-handed people.

Letter Opener.  A paper knife or letter opener is a knife-like object used to open envelopes or to slit uncut pages of books. Electric versions are also available, which work by using motors to slide the envelopes across a blade. These have the advantage of being able to handle a greater volume of envelopes, but the blade can slice into the contents of the envelope and damage them. Letter openers may be composed of wood, metal, plastic, sometimes even ivory, or a combination of materials. Some modern openers have a hidden razor blade inside a plastic handle. Robert Stewart (Viscount Castlereagh) committed suicide with a letter opener in 1822. Patrick Henry is famous for making a speech before the Virginia House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775, stating the famous words "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" After this, he pretended to plunge a letter opener into his chest.

LEO.  Acronym for Law Enforcement Officer.

Liner. An interior part of a knife frame located between the handle and blade edge (when closed) used to prevent damage, usually made of a soft metal that resists corrosion.

LinerLock (a.k.a. Locking Liner).  Locking system developed by custom knifemaker Michael Walker. The actual locking mechanism is incorporated in the liner of the handle, hence the name. If there is a metal sheet inside the handle material, it is called a liner. With a locking liner, opening the blade will allow this metal to flex over and butt against the base of the blade inside the handle, locking it open. Moving this liner aside will release this lock allowing the blade to close. Disengagement of the lock is performed with the thumb, allowing for one handed, hassle free action. Locking liners are commonly found on tactical folding knives, both production and custom.

Little Big Guy Knife.  Term coined by Spyderco to describe a small bladed knife (generally under three inches) that is manufactured using features and materials that allow the knife to be used for strenuous or hard cutting normally done with larger, heavier tools.

Lockback. This style of lock has a spring-loaded locking bar with a tooth at the end. The tooth falls into the notch cut into the blade tang and is held there under the spring tension. A cut out in the handle spine houses the release for the lock. These locks generally require 2 hands to unlock and close.

Locking Liner - (a.k.a. linerlocks) This particular locking system was refined by knife maker Michael Walker. The actual locking mechanism is incorporated in the liner of the handle, hence the name. If there is a metal sheet inside the handle material, it is called a liner. With a locking liner, opening the blade will allow this metal to flex over and butt against the base of the blade inside the handle, locking it open. Moving this liner aside will release this lock allowing the blade to close. Disengagement of the lock is performed with the thumb, allowing for one handed, hassle free action. Locking liners are commonly found on tactical folding knives, both production and custom.

LocTite.  Material used to keep screws from unscrewing.

Long Pull (or Long Mark). This term refers to an extra long nail mark that runs the length of the back of the blade; from the tang to the swedge.

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M

M-2 Steel. High-Speed Steel that works well between 62-66 Rc. First used in American Cutlery in kitchen knives and folders by Gerber Blades in the 1960s ...85 Carbon, 6.35 Tungsten, 5.0 Molybdenum, 4.0 Chromium, and 2.0 Vanadium.

M-390 Steel. A high performance blade steel with superior cutting ability and wear resistance due to its high concentration of vanadium and chromium carbides. This is a popular steel used in surgical cutting instruments and in applications requiring a high finish. It features 1.9% carbon.

M-4 Steel. A high speed steel, very hard to work but makes a great knife blade that is very difficult to sharpen. Very like M-2 except 1.3 Carbon and 4.0% Vanadium.

Main Gauche.  Left hand dagger used with a rapier about 17th Century. Very fancy guard around the hand with long quillions.

Maganese.  Expressed as Mn. Increases toughness and hardenability.

Mammoth Bone (also Molar and Ivory).  Used rarely in custom knives. Found during mining operations in the far north, in areas with lots of glacial activity. The distinctive look is made from erosion.

Mark Side. This is a pocket knife term and is the side of the blade with the nail mark and company logo.

Marlin Spike. A tool for working with rope. Often attached to the handles of sailors knives.

Master Blade (or Main Blade).  This is the largest blade in a multi-blade pocket knife also known as the pocket blade.

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

MBC.  An acronym for Martial Blade Craft.  MBC is the practice of combative arts for self-protection, physical conditioning and control and coordination of the body. MBCs ultimate goal is to train professionals to stop the bad guy from hurting innocents.

Martial Blade Craft (MBC).  MBC is the practice of combative arts for self-protection, physical conditioning and control and coordination of the body. MBCs ultimate goal is to train professionals to stop the bad guy from hurting innocents.

Mediterranean Barlow.  A barlow knife with a Mediterranean shape: the blade at the large end of a tapered serpentine handle. Must have the distinctive long Barlow bolsters.

Micarta.  The most common form is linen micarta. Similar construction as G-10. The layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phoenolic resin. The end product is a material that is lightweight, strong, as well as having a touch of class (thus dressier than G-10). Micarta has no surface texture, it is extremely smooth to the touch. It is a material that requires hand labor, which translates into a higher priced knife. Micarta is a relatively soft material that 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.

Modified Leaf Pattern.  Unlike a traditionally leaf-shaped blades, has the basic leaf blade shape but with variations such a distinctly pointed tips, spine cusps and swedge grinds.

Molybdenum.  Is used to increase hardness in tool steels. Expressed as Mo.

Moran Grind.  (Also called Hamaguri Grind or Appleseed Grind): is a convex grind.

Mortise Tang.  A method of applying scales to a narrow tang. Used by Marble's and the Swedes in the early part of this Century and by D. E. Henry in handmade knives. Half the thickness of the tang is removed from the inner surface of each scale.

Mother of Pearl.  The shell of the pearl oyster from the South Pacific; an expensive and popular knife handle material.

Muskrat.  A pocket knife usually about 4 inches closed and usually of serpentine shape with a blade at each end, most often both California Clip blades.

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N

N690 Steel. Bohler N690, the equivalent of 440F, which is 440C with a bit of Cobalt. It is imported from Austria. 1.07% Carbon, 17% Chromium, 1.5% Cobalt, 1.1% Molybdenum, 0.1% Vanadium.

Nail. A pin that holds the knife together.

Nail Mark or Nail Nick. On a pocket knife blade the nail mark is a groove cut into the blade so that it can be opened using your fingernail. Most Case pocket knives use this method of opening the blade.

Nail Pull. See "Nail Mark".

Neck Knife. A Neck knife is a small fixed-blade knife which is carried by means of a pendant rig, in which the knife is suspended from around one's neck, handle down, by either a length of paracord or, more commonly, a breakaway beaded chain such as those utilized for military dog tags.  The knife stays in place by means of a form-fitting synthetic sheath, which holds it securely in place until yanked sharply. Some manufacturers prefer a looser fitting sheath augmented with magnets. Neck knives are usually single-edged, with blade lengths typically under 4 inches and frequently less than 3 inches. They are primarily intended for utilitarian use, although non-utilitarian versions (i.e., daggers and T-handled push daggers) also exist. Neck knives are most frequently worn around the neck, but may be suspended from under the arm as well. They are sometimes worn under one's shirt for concealment, although this makes a quick draw more difficult, and even simple retrieval for utility purposes can be awkward. They are more frequently worn outside of a T-shirt. Not only does this make drawing the knife far easier, but it also avoids the violation of (US American) concealed weapon statutes.

Nesting.  Hollowing out a section in G-10 or other handle material on the inside of the handle where the lock and or liner is then inset/inlayed and fitted into the hollow section. Nesting increases strength and creates a thinner overall profile to the knife.

New Grind.  This term describes a knife that has an even taper from the back of the blade to the tang. It was used on some Case knives in the mid 80's.

Nickel.  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 corrosion. Adds strength and toughness. Expressed as NI.

Nickel Silver (or German Silver).  A copper based alloy that contain 10-45% Zinc and 5-30% Nickel. Commonly used to make bolsters for pocket knives.

Nitrogen. Used in place of carbon for the steel matrix. The Nitrogen atom will function in a similar manner to the carbon atom but offers unusual advantages in corrosion resistance. Expressed as N.

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

Novaculite.  The Latin name for the stone from which Arkansas Stones are cut. This stone is found in a wide range of density and ranges from very coarse to very very fine.

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O

O-1 Steel. Probably the most popular knife steel of the 20th Century. The first choice of almost all beginning knife makers and still the primary steel for the famous Randall Knives. O-1 is a simple and basic tool steel that can be hardened to well over 60 Rc. With .9% Carbon, 1% Manganese, 5% Chromium and .5% Tungsten. It is a great general purpose tool steel and is very forgiving to the inexperienced knifemaker. This oil-hardening tool steel can be used by both the blacksmith and the stock removal makers.

O-6 Steel. A much tougher metal than O1. This is one of the absolute best edge retention steels.

Obsidian. Volcanic glass: whenever it could be found it was much preferred to the more common forms of chert. Glass was much easier to work and worked cleaner than any of the other materials available to primitives.

Obverse Side. The obverse side is the front or display section of a knife.

Oosic. Walrus, dogs, bears and raccoons and probably whales and seals have a bone in their penis, this bone is called an oosic. The walrus oosic is large enough to make into knife handles and is more popular than pretty.

Orange Peel. Refers to the grain polish of some steels, which gives a slightly rougher finish similar to an orange peel.

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P

Para Cord Sleeve.  The outer nylon sleeve of Para Cord. Often used to cover the ball chain of neck sheaths thus reducing noise during carry as well as possible pinching from the chain.

Parang Malay for Jungle knife, many versions.

Paring Knife The all-purpose Paring Knife is ideal for anything from trimming and peeling vegetables and fruits to small chopping and slicing tasks. The most popular sizes feature 3 to 4-inch blades.

Pearl.  The shell of the pearl oyster from the South Pacific; an expensive and popular knife handle material.

Pen Blade. The pen blade is the smallest blade on a multi-bladed knife.  This blade is very common on knives with two or more blades.  It is popular because of its versatility  in performing smaller tasks.  The back and the edge of the blade generally slope evenly (at the same degree) to the point.   They are much like the spear blade but are smaller.  These blades  were originally designed to sharpen quill pens.

Pewter Originally an alloy of tin and lead, now pewter dishes are made lead free.

Phantom Lock.  A pressure release locking system used on the Spyderco MeerKat, model C64. The lock is released by positioning your thumb on the

 butt end of the handle over the Spyderco bug, and two fingers on the back side of the handle then scissoring the two sides in opposite directions.

Photon II.  Quarter-sized flashlight that uses photon technology, an LED bulb emitting incredibly bright full spectrum light with a Lithium long-life battery.

Pile Side. The reverse side of the blade, opposite of the obverse (front or mark) side.

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

Pins. Metal pieces used to hold a pocket knife's parts together. They are usually made of brass or nickel silver.

PlainEdge.  A sharpened knife blade with no serrations or teeth. Sometimes called a smooth blade.

Pocket Blade. This is the largest blade on a multi-bladed knife (also referred to as the main blade or master blade).

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

Pocket Knife.  A knife that can be comfortably carried in a pocket. May have several blades. Almost always a folding knife.

Point.  The tip of the blade.  The extreme end of the blade where the line of the back and the line of the edge meet.  For more information see Blade Shapes.

Polycarbonate.  A strong synthetic resin used in molded products, such as knife handles, unbreakable windows and optical lenses.

Pommel.  The knob or expansion found on 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.

Powdered Metal.  A process used to make shaped metal pieces. Fine metal particles are molded under pressure and then fused under high heat. Also referred to as sintered metal.

Pruner's Blade.  These blades have an edge that curves in a concave fashion to the point.  The back of the blade curves in a convex type fashion to the point.  These characteristics result in a blade that resembles a hawk's bill.  Because of this, they are often called hawkbill blades.  They were originally used for pruning shrubs and fruit trees, but are now more handy for cutting sheetrock, carpet, roofing paper and other such materials.

Push Knife (Dagger).  A push dagger (alternately known as: push knife, fist knife, push dirk, or T-handled knife) is a short knife with a "T" handle designed to be grasped in the hand so that the blade protrudes from the front of one's fist, typically between the 2nd and 3rd finger. The push dagger has a long history and is believed to have originated from the Indian subcontinent. Edged-weapon manufacture and use of various blades of all shapes and sizes have been traced back thousands of years on the subcontinent. The push dagger carries much similarity to the Indian Katara, known as a punching sword. In America the use of the push dagger was popular among riverboat gamblers primarily within Mississippi, and other surrounding states in the Deep South. In New Orleans it was a common weapon and was usually concealed within the boot. These daggers were also popular amongst men of the law during this time period.  These are a favorite all-around knife and many carry them as a neck knife or in a boot for easy access.

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Q

Qama.  The Georgian national knife, very like the Kindjals of the Cossacks.  The most protective part of the guard.

Quillion.  A handguard protruding from both sides of the handle (where the handle and blade meet), which stops the hand from slipping up onto the blade.  The most protective part of the guard.

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R

Rapier. A long thin sword meant for thrusting, Early versions were double edged and could cut as well as thrust, later models were only for thrusting. The art of fence developed and the rapier followed, it got longer then shorter. It began with the "Broad Sword" of the 15th Century and ended as the "Small Sword" of the 18th Century and then the Epee of today.

Rescue Knives.  Rescue knives are also called firefighter knives and they are intended to be used in emergencies. Some common features include: heavy duty serrated blade that can be used to cut through heavy obstacles, special window punch to break car windows during an emergency, a wrench to open oxygen tanks for victims who need access to O2 and a special seat belt cutter to remove crash victims from seats. All these features are a must have for any firefighter or rescue personal who is working accident scenes. Some models include a window punch, a pry bar, a cutting edge, and a special car battery terminal wrench but these are designed more for the trunk of your car as they can measure in at over 10 inches and are not something you can really carry in your pocket. So if you want a more portable rescue knife, you will want to look at getting a rescue folder or rescue hook. Most of these knives are really intended for firemen, policemen, or other personal who arrive first on the scene of some type of accident.

There are actually many different rescue knives on the market to choose from, so much that it could be too time consuming for the average fireman to test the functionality of each and every one. So ask yourself a few basic questions to help you pick out the best rescue knife for your needs. You should first of all think about what type of situations you will encounter most in your profession. If you just want a basic rescue knife to take on occasional camping trips, then you will want to pick out knives that have features that you may use. If you intend to use the knife in a professional capacity, then you should get a knife that has the features you expect to use often.

Retention. The degree to which a blade holds an edge.

Reverse. The opposite to the side of the blade with the nail slot and company logo.

Reverse S Blade.  Blade shape resembling a backward S with the tip curving downward. The deep belly (thickest part of the blade) curves in the same direction as the tip. See the Spyderco C12 Civilian.

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

Ringlock. This design has been around since the 1890's. The Ringlock is similar to the Slipjoint, but it has a rotating slipring instead of a backspring.

Rockwell Hardness Test (HRC). A standard test used to determine the hardness of steel whereby a diamond point is forced in a finished blade at a set pressure.  The depth of penetration is then measured. Hardness above 60 will be hard to sharpen, while hardness below 56 will not hold an edge well. 

Rolling Lock. This design uses a sort of bearing that rolls into the locked position.

Rondell Dagger. The handle is spool-like with a round disc as hilt and as pommel.

Rubber Training Knife (RTK).  Rubber Training Knives enable you to practice with some of the most popular knife designs, in relative safety. Each RTK is carefully fashioned to look as realistic as possible so they can be effectively used in solo practice, training drills, disarm drills, and demonstrations and any other activity where you want a reasonably close approximation of realism but not the extreme danger and risk associated with an actual knife. The Santoprene rubber blades are soft enough to prevent the likelihood of most bodily injury. They do however, have a level of firmness that might cause injury to the face or the eyes, so it is recommended that appropriate eye protection or a fencing mask is utilized at all times when using a rubber training knife.

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

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S

Sabre.  A sword with a slightly curved blade, single edge with a short back edge, most often a sword for use mounted.

Sabre Grind.  The sabre grind has flat edge bevels that typically begin about the middle part of the blade and runs flatly to the edge. The edge is often left thick and thickens quickly past the edge. This is a great grind for chopping and other hard uses.

Sambar. A very large, elk sized deer in India and S.E. Asia; the antler is used for knife handles and is commonly called stag or India stag.

Sandvik 12C27. Tool steel made in Sweden, Swedish steel has always been a premium steel for tools because the iron ore is very clean, that is to say it has very little Sulphur S or Phosphorus P in it. Carbon 0.6%, Manganese 0.35%, Chromium 14.0%.

Sandvik 12C27MOD. Sandvik 12C27Mod is a martensitic stainless chromium steel developed for the manufacture of kitchen tools with high wear and corrosion resistance properties. After heat treatment the steel grade is characterized by high hardness with very good wear and corrosion resistance. Sandvik 12C27Mod is used mainly for kitchen tools, such as different types of knives and scissors, which need to tolerate dishwashing.Carbon-0.52%, Manganese-0.60%, Chromium-14.50%

Santuko. Is a Japanese chef's knife. The spine curves downward to meet the edge and the belly curves slightly. Much like a Chef's Knife, a Santoku Knife is versatile kitchen blade. This popular Asian-style knife is ideal for chopping, mincing, dicing and julienning fresh fruits and vegetables.

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.

Save and Serve.  Blanket term used to describe knife users who are EMTs, LEOs, Military Personnel -- anyone who saves and serves.

Scales.  A knife handle made of scales or slabs of material that are riveted, screwed or bonded together.  On fixed blade knives the scales are pieces that are attached to a full tang to form the handle.

Scandinavian Single-Bevel Grind.  The Scandinavian single-bevel grind looks similar to a sabre grind. The difference between the two grinds is that the Scandinavian single-bevel grind has no secondary edge bevels. This grind has an extremely thin and incredibly sharp edge.

Scimitar. This is a curved blade with the edge on the convex side.

Scrimshaw. Scrimshaw is the art of etching decorative designs into ivory or simulated ivory handles.

Seax. The knife or sword of the Saxon peoples.

Sebenza Lock. The concept of this lock is comparable to the Liner Lock. A hollowed out section of the scale is fixed into the handle cavity to lock the blade open.

Secure-Ex. Secure-Ex is a heavy-duty polymer sheath material very similar to Kydex.  Proprietary to Cold Steel Knives.

Seme.  The sword of the Masai of East Africa, much wider near the point.

Sermollan.  A rubberized plastic used on kitchen knife handles that offers a secure grip and resistance to bacteria.

Serpentine. Used to describes the shape of a handle.  Serpentine knives have an s curve, much like a snake or serpent (hence the name).

Serrated Edge. Serrations are a set of "teeth" or notches on the back or front of the blade to aid in cutting.  Some blades are fully serrated and others are partially serrated (ComboEdge).  Also referred to as a "Wavy Edge".

Sgain Dubh.  A small single edged knife with no guard that the Scots often carried in the stocking or the armpit.

Shamshir.  The sabre of the Persian, the name probably led to the word Scimitar we use for all of the deeply curved eastern sabers.

Shashqa.  The sword of the Cossacks. Straight or slightly curved without a guard.

Sheath.  A method for carrying a knife, tool, light, etc., on your belt, pack or anywhere a strap is. Sheaths are made of ballistic nylon, leather, kydex and various other materials. Sheaths usually come with a Velcro or snap closure.

Sheepfoot Blade.  A blade with a round, blunt tip that has no point. The design inhibits accidental stabbing while working in emergency situations, around livestock and inflatable boats.  This type of blade typically has little or virtually no belly and is used mainly for slicing applications.

Shield. A metal inlay on the handle of a knife. It is often placed there as a trademark or decoration. Many times, it will have a name on it or a symbol that identifies the maker.

Side Opening Automatic Knife.  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).

Silicon.  The principle element in the new man made rust preventatives.

Single-Bevel Grind.  Also called a chisel grind. The edge is either flat or hollow ground, but only on one side.

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

Sintered Metal.  A procedure used to shape metal pieces. Metal particles are molded under pressure and then fused under high heat. Also known as powdered metal.

Slip Joint.  Non Locking Blade -- a blade having a spring acting against it, which provides some resistance to it's opening and closing as it pivots within the handle.  The slipjoint is one of the more common designs for folding and pocket knives.

Small Sword.  The rapier evolved into the Small Sword and it remained in this form from the end of the 17th century until men no longer wore swords as part of their daily dress. It was still worn as part of diplomatic dress as late as the 1940s.

Smooth Blade.  A sharpened knife blade with no serrations or teeth. Sometimes called a PlainEdge.

Spacer.  Material layered between the handle material and the hilt or guard of the knife; generally a contrasting color.

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

Spey Blade.  This blade has a very blunt point that makes it unsuitable for penetrating objects.  This makes them ideal in skinning.  They are much less likely to be accidentally poked through a surface.  These blades were originally developed for use in castrating animals.

Spine. The unsharpened edge of a blade opposite to the cutting edge, also known as the back.

Spine Cusp.  A point or crest on the blade spine that creates a spot where the thumb is placed and offers leverage while holding the knife and cutting also referred to as a thumb ramp.

Spring.  A flat piece of steel kept under pressure by the rivet assembly that holds the blade in an open position. They can be one end springs or two end springs.  One end springs hold a single blade open, while two end springs hold two blades open; one on each end.

Spring Steel.  Any tool steel that will remain flexible when properly heat-treated.

Sprint Run.  A limited, one time only, production of a knife design/model. Production numbers are less than 1500 pieces.

Spyderco Trademark Round Hole.  Round hole located in the knife blade used for one-hand opening and closing of a knife blade.

SpyderEdge.  Spydercos two-step serration pattern of one large and two small serrations. This pattern increases the cutting edge by 24%.

Stag.  Derived from naturally shed deer antlers. When exposed to open flame, stag takes on that slightly burnt look. Very elegant material for pocket knives and gentlemen's folding knives.

Stainless Steel.  Steel that contains a minimum of 12-1/2-13% chromium, making it resistant (not stain-proof) to corrosion. The chromium oxide CrO creates a barrier to oxygen and moisture preventing rust formation.  There are many different grades of stainless steel, but almost all stainless steel blades contain a large amount of high carbon, so none are completely "stainless". All are subject to corrosion from body acid, humidity, salt, etc. The term has come to mean that the steel has less carbon and more cromium, and thus will stain less than most other steels.

Stiletto.  A dagger with a slim blade intended for stabbing.

Stock Knife.  Three bladed knife with clip main blade, sheepfoot blade and spey blade.

Sub Hilt.  A second hilt behind the index finger on the lower edge of a fighting knife handle; another R. W. Loveless design feature.

Sulfur.  Improves machinability when added in minute quantities. Expressed as S.

Swedge (non-sharpened).  A swedge is a bevel on the back of the blades usually toward the tip.  Also called a false edge, it is a ground edge on the back of the blades spine, that is chamfered, or non-sharpened. It removes weight from the blade and can change the blades balance and penetration performance and appearance.

Swinglock. There is one pivot pin and one locking pin used to design this style lock.

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T

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

Tang-Stamp. This is an imprinting that can show style number, collector's number, manufacturer's name. This is normally located on the ricasso.

Tanto Blade. The point to this style blade is in line with the spine of the blade. This leaves the point thick and strong. There are quite a few different variations of how tanto blades are designed. The way the front edge meets the bottom edge, whether at an obtuse angle or a curve is one difference. You will also find differences in the point being clipped or not and whether there is a chisel grind. Most tantos seen on the American cutlery market are Americanized formats. Like the Japanese tanto, the Americanized tanto has a high point in-line with the pivot. A flat grind is applied to the point, leaving it very thick and extraordinarily strong. This thick area helps absorb the impact from piercing, as the tanto was originally designed for armor piercing. The front edge meets the bottom edge at an obtuse angle rather than curving to meet it as seen in the Japanese tanto. The only negative aspect of the tanto blade shape is the cutting surface area is sacrificed to gain tip strength.

Tapered Tang.  A method of grinding a full tang to taper to the butt of the knife, improving balance as well as appearance. Brought to modern knife making by R. W. Loveless.

Tek-Lok.  Detachable polymer clip mounted onto some sheaths which can be situated to carry the knife in five different carry positions: vertical, inverted, cross-draw, small of back or horizontal position.

Tempering.  Once the blade has been hardened, tempering is done to reduce the hardness and relieve internal stresses in the steel.

Thermoformed.  Plastic that's been shaped using heat and pressure.

Thermoplastic.  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.

Thong Hole.  A hole at the butt of a knife handle intended for a wrist thong or lanyard. (See lanyard hole.)

Throwing Knife.  Knife throwing is an art, sport, combat skill, or variously an entertainment technique, involving an artist skilled in the art of throwing knives, the weapons thrown, and a target. The desirable properties for a throwing knife differ from those of a common pocket knife. Knives used for throwing are almost always one-piece, rather than the traditional knives that have a handle manufactured separately from the blade. The purpose of this design is to create a durable knife with a balanced distribution of weight. Additionally, some throwing knives are double-edged, although the edges of throwing knives are almost always dull (to prevent the knife from cutting the thrower's hands in some grips). The knife sticks by penetration of the sharpened point into the target, hence sharpened edges are unnecessary. As the knife's sharpness and its ability to hold an edge are of little importance, other factors such as weight distribution, overall weight and especially durability become important. Compared to pocket knives, the steel used to manufacture a throwing knife is more malleable and less prone to breakage. At Oso Grande we have a large selection of throwing knives and we're sure you'll find several models you like.

Thumb Ramp.  A point or crest on the blade spine that creates a spot where the thumb is placed and offers leverage while holding the knife and cutting also referred to as a spine cusp.

Tip.  See "Point".

Tip-Down.  Refers to which direction that the point, or tip, of a folding knife is pointed when it is closed and clipped in the pocket.  In this case the tip would be pointing down.

Tip-Up.  Refers to which direction that the point, or tip, of a folding knife is pointed when it is closed and clipped in the pocket.  In this case the tip would be pointing up.

Titanium.  A nonferrous metal alloy, the most common form of titanium is 6AL/4V: 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, and 90% pure titanium. This is a lightweight metal alloy that offers unsurpassed corrosion resistance of any metal.  It has a warm "grip you back" feel and can be finished either by anodizing or bead blasting.  Aside from handles, titanium is also used as liner materials for linerlock knives for it is a rather "springy" metal. Titanium is used usually on collectible pocket knives and chef knives.

Tomahawk.  The fighting ax of the American Indian, began as a club with wooden or stone head became a hatchet with the advent of iron heads from the Europeans.

Top Grain Cowhide.  The term intended to define genuine grain leather, as opposed to split leather which has been pigmented and embossed with a new grain. In reality, top-grain leather usually has had the original grain removed and an imitation grain embossed into the surface.

Trailing Point (Upswept) Blade. The trailing point blade's point is higher than the spine. This is typically engineered with an extended belly for slicing, with the point up and out of the way.

Trainer.  A non-sharpened knife used for training and practice purposes.  Usually visually identified by red-handles.

Trapper.  A two bladed knife, most commonly with both blades at the same end, the blades often a drop point and a long spey blade. The exception to the blades being at the same end is the Muskrat Trapper which always has a blade at each end.

Tungsten.  A hard, lustrous gray metallic chemical element with a very high melting point. It's used in various high-temperature alloys, lamp filaments, and high-speed cutting tools.

Turkish Clip Blade.  A very distinctive blade shape that has a very long clip, even more than a California Clip; also has a curved edge.

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U

Ulu Knife.  An ulu knife is an all-purpose knife traditionally used by Eskimo women, both Yupik and Inuit. It is utilized in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child's hair, cutting food and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo. The ulu is still used for many purposes today.

Upswept (Trailing Point) Blade.  The upswept blade has a point which is higher than the spine. This is typically engineered with an extended belly for slicing, with the point up and out of the way.

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V

Valox.  A handle material made from reinforced resin.

Vanadium.  Expressed as V. Helps to produce fine grain during heat treat.

Vascowear.  A very hard to find steel, with a high vanadium content. It is extremely difficult to work and very wear resistant. Carbon-1.12%, Manganese-0.30%, Chromium-7.75%, Vanadium-2.40%, Molybdenum-2.40%, Tungsten-1.10%

VG-10.  0.95 - 1.05 Carbon, 0.5 Manganese, 14.5 - 15.5 Chromium, 0.10 - 0.30 Vanadium, 0.90 - 1.20 Molybedenum. A serious rival to 154CM and ATS-34. Users report superior performance in edge holding. Presently available only in knives made in Japan.

Volcano Grip.  Spyderco's trademarked name for the waffle texture found in their FRN handled lightweight knives. The continuous pattern of small squares offer better hand grip while cutting.

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W

W-1. W1 is basically simple high carbon steel with no vanadium and is easily hardened by heating and quenching in water, just as with plain carbon steel alloys. W1 is commonly used for hand operated metal cutting tools, cold heading, embossing taps and reamers as well as cutlery. Carbon-0.70-1.50%, Manganese-0.10-0.40%, Chromium-0.15%, Nickel-0.20%, Vanadium-0.10%, Molybdenum-0.10%, Tungsten-0.50%.

W-2. A tool steel that is not stainless. Shallow hardening, rather weak, and makes durable knives only if held below 54 HRC. Rusts very easily due to the lack of chrome and vanadium. Only alloying elements are carbon and manganese. Carbon-0.85-1.50%, Manganese-0.10-0.40%, Chromium-0.15%, Nickel-0.20%, Vanadium-0.15-0.35%, Molybdenum-0.10%, Tungsten-0.15%.

Walk and Talk. This describes the actions of a pocket knife when opened and closed. The walk describes the feel of the tang as it moves along the spring when the blade is opened. The talk refers to the sound of the knife when the blade is closed. A well adjusted knife "walks and talks" (has a nice strong snap and has blades that slide smoothly across the springs).

Wavy Edge. Wavy edge is a term used by Victorinox/Forschner for their kitchen knives that have serrations.

Wharncliffe Blade.   A blade design in which the point of the knife is dropped to a straight cutting edge.  This design results in a needle type point that is ideal for cutting cleanly on flat surfaces and for cutting meticulous designs.

Wharncliffe Handle. A serpentine handle with one end larger than the other, often used in three blade whittler patterns.

Whetstone. A stone for whetting, or sharpening edged tools.

White Steel. "Shirogami" or "White Steel" and "Blue Steel" are terms that have only recently come into use in the U. S. Created by Hatachi, the terms actually refer to the color of the paper wrapper in which the raw bar stock is shipped. The chemical breakdown for White Steel is 1.4% carbon, 0.1% silica, 0.2% manganese, 0.02 phosphorus and 0.004% sulfur. This is significantly more carbon than is found in most U.S. steels which tend to have about 1.0% carbon. This added carbon allows the blades to be hardened in the mid-60s Rc. allowing for a thin razor edge. With no chromium, this steel is definitely not stainless.

Whittler. A blade arrangement, large blade at one end and two smaller blades at the other, with the large blade working on both springs.

Wood Epoxy Laminate.  This is an impregnated wood laminate, which is extremely hard and machines similar to Corian, aluminum and Micarta.

Wood Lock. This lock was designed by Barry Wood. The handles and blade are attached to a central pin and pivot independently. A second pin is fixed into the inside of one scale and extends into slot in the tang to lock the blade open.

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X

X15 Steel. Has .40% carbon. This is a French steel that was developed for the airplane industry. It was developed to resist corrosion in the worst possible conditions. It is the most stain resistant steel on the market, and is a hard material. It is not very tough, but is especially good material for diving knives.

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Y

Yataghan. The most beautiful of all sabers, with it's forward curved blade it would have been as fine to use as to look at. Said to be Turkish in origin made with out guard and always with eared pommel.

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Z

Z60CDV14. A clean high carbon stainless from Sweden. Higher in Nickel and Molybdenum than AUS-8, with a little less Carbon. Chosen for a balance between ease of sharpening and edge retention. Carbon 0.6 to 0.65%, Manganese 0.45%, Chromium 14%, Nickel 0.15%, Vanadium 0.15 to 0.2%, Molybdenum 0.55 to 0.6%.

ZDP-189. One of the new powder metal steels of Japan. 3.0 Carbon and 20.0 Chromium. Rockwell up to 65-67 Rc, great edgeholding and toughness.

Zero Grind. Similar to a full flat grind without the secondary grind for the edge.

Zero Saber Grind. Similar to a flat saber grind without the secondary grind for the edge.

Zirconia. Material of great hardness, (included in ceramic used in making ceramic blades) and used as grain on grinding belts for grinding knives.

Zytel.  Du Pont developed this thermoplastic material. Of all synthetic materials, ZYTEL is the least expensive to produce, which explains the abundance of work or utility knives that have this material. It is unbreakable: resists impact and abrasions. ZYTEL has a slight surface texture, but knife companies using this material will add additional, more aggressive surface texture to augment this slight texture. SOG Specialty Knives is common for using Zytel.

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