Ideal knife thickness discussion

Discussion in 'Knives, Gear, Guns And Other Tools' started by Se7eN, Jul 19, 2019.

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  1. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    That was a very well put answer Reno.
     
  2. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    define heavy tho? ;)

    to me an Esee 5 or my Tops OP7 is a small edc knife. its not heavy at all to me. Yet some of my friends pick up my Izula2 and they freak out "so heavy, so big".
     
  3. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    Nobody in their right mind should freak out about an Izzy 2 being heavy or big.

    As far as defining "heavy" when it comes to knives, I'll say again, when you start getting up to or exceeding the weight of a hatchet, they shouldn't be directly compared to smaller knives. They become a class of their own, and should be compared to an equally capable tool (i.e a hatchet, or even a machete/golok/bolo).

    Whether or not you think a Tops OP7 is a small EDC knife, doesn't change the fact that it's 19oz without the sheath. That's a heavy knife, and can be directly compared to a hatchet, or even a smaller knife and folding saw combo.

    If thick, heavy knives is your thing, all the more power to ya, but it doesn't change the fact that it's a heavy knife. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just a fact.

    And I say that having used big, heavy knives for a good number of years. Busse, Swamp Rat, BRKT, Becker, ESEE, Randall, Finnish Leukus etc etc, and continue to use big knives whenever the fancy strikes me.

    Start getting heavier than 1.5lb for a knife, and you bypass hatchets and start to get into small axe/tomahawk territory.
     
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  4. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    I think the benchmark for Canadians is a small, thinner knife, a mid sized axe and a folding saw of some sort.

    For me, I almost always have the following items on me when out in the wild.

    1. Leatherman surge
    2. Andaltool CFK, F1 Pro or ESEE 3
    3. Thick, large knife - ESEE 5, OP7, TGLB or NMSFNO
    4. Large folding saw.

    In winter, I ADD a full sized axe.

    If I am going in light, I still always carry my leatherman, and always one big thick knife, such as one of the battle mistresses, TGLB, or NMSFNO.
     
  5. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Moderator of the Century Staff Member

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    I will take this over a hatchet etc every time....

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ManOfSteel

    ManOfSteel Member

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    1/4” thick boy. CPK Behemoth Chopper.

    055DBB54-8788-416F-B1AD-28B3B18DBAE1.jpeg
     
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  7. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    non knife people. A sak is scary to them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  8. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    That’s a really nice piece!!!
     
  9. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    To me, spine thickness is highly relative to blade height & profile. I couldn't say I like "X" spine thickness without several other design factors being part of the equation. Thickness alone isn't that indicative of performance, imo.

    I have no real reason to carry a knife larger or thicker than an ESEE 6, and even one that big/thick I rarely carry. If I'm doing bigger jobs, I much prefer doing them with an axe, machete and/or saw all of which I think are more suited to large wood processing, clearing, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  10. daizee

    daizee Member

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    Totally depends what you're cutting and how!

    For me, there's a cut-off (haha) between knives that I would swing for chopping, and knives I would not.

    Kitchen: 1/16"-1/8"MAX. Hoo-boy, 1/8" is usually too thick in the kitchen.
    For non-swingers, 3/32"-5/32". I'll go up to 0.165" if that's how the stock arrives...
    For swingers, 1/8"-3/16". I don't see a need for a 1/4" knife unless it's a hatchet-knife (ESEE-5, BK-2).

    If you want to cut THROUGH material in a controlled fashion, thinner geometry is always better as long as the blade is rigid enough for the material and the technique. Cutting efficiency is more than just the edge geometry - it's the whole beast. On the other hand, if you're only shaving stick surfaces or batonning kindling, you don't care if your knife can cut through a melon in a controlled manner.

    Thin knives will flex more before they break. The thicker the material, the further the outside-bend side has to stretch to keep up with the compression on the inside of the bend, risking cracking. Strain forces are greatest at the surface, not the core. Of course if a knife is too thick for you to be able to exert enough force to bend it, you're safe (at the cost of cutting efficiency and weight).

    I started with the BK-2 and have move toward thinner and thinner knives over time, both in my purchases and what I make.
     
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  11. matthew

    matthew Member

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    1/8" for full flat small/medium belt knives

    3/32" for scandi knives

    5/32" flat or convex for large knives
     
  12. OutdoorsFamilyMan

    OutdoorsFamilyMan Member

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    I love blades of all length and thicknesses. I dont buy into the "one tool option" or even the Nessmuk trio. I dont go anywhere without being tool heavy, especially dirt time. I like to have multiple options and the right tool for each job. A good mechanic may be able to fix anything with just a few tools (and duct tape), but he knows the right tool, designed to do a specific task will make the job go much smoother and faster. As far as range of thickness, Ive only ever used blades between ⅛" and ¼". Knives thinner than that dont appeal to me, i dont like the flex. I havent had the chance to handle anything thicker, though I would really like to get my hands on one of those Tops Op7s.

    This was some of the tools I had on a dayhike outing with the kids earlier this year. It pretty much sums up my tool heavy philosophy. (Not pictured is the Benchmade clipped in my pocket, the esee3 on my belt and the leatherman wave in my bag....also thats a CRKT Hawk behind the pot and stove) 20181230_162600.jpg
     
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  13. Ballenxj

    Ballenxj Member

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    Why limit yourself? Use the knife designed for the job. Not that a big thick blade wont do fine work, but there are blades that will make specific jobs easier. A thin filet knife for things like fish. A bush crafting style blade is usually thin as well, but sometimes a chopper will do a much better job.
     
  14. Bozho

    Bozho Member

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    I generally like knives that are around 5 mm at the spine for general use - like Esee 6/4/LionSteel M5 and thinner knives for more precise cutting - like a 3 or a Mora.
    For me it is all up to the geometry as the Cold Steel Trailmaster in O1 is 8 mm thick but cuts like a much thinner knife.
    Lately I prefer using a hatchet or axe, as there is lots of nasty wood here, literally hard as stone and I do not see a reason to beat an expensive knife through it (US knives are quite expensive here with the delivery, taxes and currency). Using the hatchet saves the knife's edge and I find it much more efficient.
    I have battoned all kind of Fallknivens,Beckers,Esee,Cold Steels,Ontarios and other nice knives back in the day, but now prefer to do it only for kindling for the stove and leave the rest to the axes.

    So 3-5 mm would be perfect for me, but I will like a thicker blade if it cuts good.
     
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  15. koolaidnd

    koolaidnd Member

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    I have no butt and heavy knives tend to pull my pants down. I also have medium sized hands and big knives tend to not fit me well.


    I briefly had an Esee 5. Man it was sharp but it just wasn’t something I needed in my lineup. My Junglas-2 and Esee 6 handle all my big knife needs.
     
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  16. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

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    Context is everything, and as a rule, blades should be made as thin as is consistent with requisite strength. For most knives I find 1/8" with a full flat grind to be plenty thick.
     
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  17. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Member

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    Well said 42. Geographic concerns often means a certain tool works best and is therefore the most used/liked/familiar. I'm not picking on Andy I just wanted the picture. ;) as an example of a fantastically made tool that would absolutely wear your arm out trying to use it here....heck the pictured Condor will wear you out. Just too heavy to swing against the dense type of woody growth we have. On the other end of the spectrum a really long whippy 22-24" won't work either. This isn't soft lush elephant ear stuff. When we say "I like this". it usually means "This is what works best where I am."

    image.jpeg
     
  18. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    Everyone here has good points.


    I honestly don’t believe that people who prefer thinner knives are proving that they are better than thick knives. That simply isn’t true.

    It’s easier to pick the side that has the most support. On this forum, thinner knives are the mainstay of everyone’s lineup or collection.

    I’m here to tell you though, that in places like the PNW or interior of BC, I will NEVER trust a knife thinner than .25 as my only blade.

    Why limit yourself? Good question, but people limit themselves all the time. Light packs, less gear, minimalist mentalities...that doesn’t pay off.

    My 3/16’s thick large knives don’t come with me, anywhere. Not in BC.

    A lot of folks here referenced axes. I know axes. I carry a full sized felling axe in the winter. Sometimes I use my wetterlings axe that has a 2 lb head when I want to go light.

    I see no use for the Gränsfors SFA or FA. Profile is too thin. Doesn’t split frozen wood worth a damn and it requires a lot more swing speed to accomplish what heavier axes will do with ease. A nice de limbing tool, but that’s it.

    My opinion. Truthfully, if you took two people, gave them each 6” knives, one thin, one thick, both people would have no issues with their knives to the point of making a difference until they both had to undoubtedly rely on the knife beyond what a knife will do. I like that kind of reassurance.

    I’ll take care of all the thin knife work with my leatherman and continue to carry my big iron.

    There is no replacement for displacement.
     
  19. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    hence why the 1/2" THICK spine Ghurka knife has two smaller companion knives..... ;)
     
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  20. Bozho

    Bozho Member

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    For an one knife option or a knife + multitool - thicker is definitely better, when the knife is used more for wood processing.

    I currently carry small Husqvarna hatchet for chopping/splitting wood (which outchopped an O1 Trailmaster, RTAK, Ontario SP-5 and SP-53), ESEE 6 for general use , LM Surge for the tools and some smaller fixed blade mostly for carving and food prep. With this type of set up for camping, for my needs anything larger than the 6 doesn't fit very well. If needed I would bring a machete for clearing vegetation or a larger axe for wood splitting. Of course this is only for car camping where I can have all the stuff, each fitting a particular role at which it excels, without being bothered by their weight.

    For hiking, covering large distance by foot and having one tool that would be used for anything from making a fire to cleaning a fish - then a larger fixed blade with a thick spine would certainly be excellent choice, especially combined with a folding saw. Something like the Tops O7 - thick and heavy and still not too large on the belt, so you can carry it all day long.

    I am starting to like the O7 more and more, most probably would end up buying it until the end of the year :D
     
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