The grind is a part of the knife making process. It takes place after the blank is forged and is what gives the knife its final shape. Grinding is crucial because a bad grind can ruin all of the hard work of forging a blank. Induce too much heat and you ruin the temper; the knife becomes weak and will not retain an edge. Remove too much material and again the knife is weakened making it easier to chip or break. If you get it right though…the knife takes a beautiful shape and functions as intended.
The shape, that’s where things get interesting. When grinding a knife you are giving shape to the blade profile and the cutting edge. There are as many shapes as there are uses for knives. Shapes can be traditional and vary geographically. Shapes can be functional or purely aesthetic.
Profile Shapes (Blade Style):
o Clip Point: A clip point is a blade shape that appears to have the top third of the blade clipped off whether straight or concave. A bowie knife is a great example of a clip point blade.
o Spear Point: A spear point blade is symmetrically pointed. The bottom edge is sharp as in most other blade shapes. The top edge however, may or may not be sharpened. It is common for the top edge to be a false edge and not a cutting edge.
o Drop Point: A drop point blade is similar to a spear point blade except that it is not necessarily symmetrical. In a drop point blade, the spine slopes towards the tip of the knife.
o Tanto: A tanto is a Japanese short sword with a blade measuring less than 12”. The most common interpretation of a tanto point blade was popularized by Cold Steel Knife Company. The blade is made shape is a combination of two straight edges that intersect. The spine is also straight and has a dull edge.
o Straight back: This is also known as the normal blade shape. The spine remains straight and has a dull edge. The blade then has a gradual curve towards the straight cutting edge.
o Straight Edge (Wharncliffe): A thick blade design with a curved spine and a straight cutting edge. The tip is in line with the cutting edge.
o Trailing point: A trailing point knife has the tip of the blade that is higher than the spine. The spine is slightly curved upwards.
o Hawkbill: A hawkbill blade has the tip lower than the cutting edge. The spine slopes down towards the tip. The lower cutting edge does the same, sloping towards the tip.
o Recurve: In a recurve blade the cutting edge has a convex curve towards the tip and a concave curve closer to the handle. These two opposite curves create a mild S shape.
o Kukri: Also known as a Gurkha Blade, this is a large knife shape that comes from Nepal. The three (3) part blade has a pointed, a wide midsection and a narrow area near the handle.
o Full Flat Grind: two symmetrical flat grinds that meet at the edge
o Sabre Grind: the top third of the blade is left flat while the bottom two thirds are ground to the edge.
o Hollow Grind:
- Full: a full hollow grind is a symmetrical concave grind down to the edge.
- Semi: a semi hollow grind is similar to the full hollow grind except that the concave grinds stop short of the edge. The edge is made by secondary grinds that are typically V-grinds.
o V Grind: A V grind in its purest sense is identical to a full flat grind. The term is used mostly to describe secondary grinds used to make an edge such as in the semi-hollow grind.
o Chisel Grind: A chisel grind is exactly like the name suggests, a copy of a chisel. In this grind only one side of the blade is ground. The other side of the blade remains flat.
o Convex: A convex grind is a symmetrical grind that is slightly rounded to the point.