Common Knife Blade Grind
Why one Blade Grind over another?
Each grind has it’s advantages and disadvantages.
Scandinavian or Scandi Grind: Arguably, the most traditional bushcraft knife blade grind. A true Scandi Grind doesn’t have a secondary bevel. The primary bevel continues to become the cutting edge, with no deviation or angle change. Depending on the primary bevel’s angle, the cutting edge of a Scandi Grind could be thin and weak or relatively broad and strong.
- Very easy to sharpen, as the primary and only bevel is large and easy to lay flat on the stone. Can take a very fine sharp cutting edge.
- Excels at woodworking and carving.
- Cutting edge can be weak if the bevel angle is to small.
- Because the majority of the width of the knife blade is untouched and remains as thick as its spine, a Scandi Grind can causes knife to feel awkward and clumsy at jobs like food prep, especially pairing.
Flat Grind: This grind typically starts its primary bevel up by the spine, which tapers down to the start of its secondary bevel. The blade and its point are drastically thinned. This makes for an agile and nimble knife. Its secondary bevel is necessary to increases the angle from the extremely small angle of the primary bevel to a stronger, larger angle for its cutting edge. Pros:
- The thinned blade and point make for a nimble, agile knife.
- Despite the relatively thin blade, its cutting edge is unaffected thanks to its secondary bevel.
- The thinned blade makes it weaker to lateral force, making the blade more easily snapped. Not good for prying.
- Because a secondary bevel is usually considerably small, it is sometimes difficult to sharpen. Its size makes it difficult to lay flat against a sharpening stone and consequently difficult to hold the necessary angle steady. This is true with any secondary bevel.
Convex Grind: Commonly known as an Axe Grind, this is a strong grind. I see it as a bit of a hybrid between having as much material behind the edge as possible to increase strength and removing any unnecessary corners or material in order to make it more refined and “slippery;” cutting, slicing, and chopping more efficiently. A good Convex Grind doesn’t have a secondary bevel. Even though the primary bevel changes angle, the whole grind is still considered the primary bevel.
- Its particularly strong without compromising sharpness.
- It’s graded transition into the blade allows less friction making it good for slicing and great for chopping, thanks to its inherent strength.
- Can be very difficult to sharpen. There is no flat bevel to lay against your sharpening stone. as a result many people only sharpen the cutting edge, which rounds the blade over time. Instead the entire grind must be evenly sharpened (warn down) to maintain the original convex and cutting edge angle.
Hollow Grind: This grind takes it a step further than Flat Grind, maximizing agility and slicing ability. In an attempt to create an even thinner blade than the flat grind, the sides of the primary bevel of a hollow grind are exactly that, hollow. The Primary bevel is concaved, drastically thinning the blade. A secondary bevel is necessary to give a strong enough cutting edge to be usable.
- The very thin blade makes an amazing slicer, excelling in things like skinning and butchering.
- Because of the exaggerated thinning of the blade, there is not a lot of material left to give the blade strength. As a result, Hollow Ground blades do not handle batoning, chopping or lateral force well.
Chisel Grind: This is another single bevel grind, but its bevel is ground into only one side of the blade. This grind mimics the profile of the flat bench chisels in your garage.
- Very easy to sharpen as this grind consists of only 1/2 of one large bevel. Because the this one bevel spans the thickness of the blade, it is typically larger than other single bevels, making it that much easier to lay flat on a sharpening stone. The non-beveled side needs only to be honed and/or stropped to eliminate any burr that might have developed.
- Can be as strong and broad an edge or as thin and sharp an edge as you like.
- Because the cutting edge is flush with the outside of the blade, things like hewing branches from and smoothing out tree limbs is a cinch.
- Not very common, leaving you with minimal choices.
- Many find it is awkward to use, because the cutting angles are so different than what they are used to. The cutting angles are also different between push and pull cuts, as the one sided bevel creates a different cutting angle for each side of the blade.