Ideal knife thickness discussion

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

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  1. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

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    Spine thickness vs. geometry thickness are two totally different things. The closer to the edge you get the greater the order of magnitude of influence the geometry has on cutting performance, so the thickness of the apex has the greatest influence by far, but...immediately behind it is also extremely important. Meanwhile, rigidity increases cubically with an increase in thickness but only linearly with an increase in width, so generally you'll want to increase the thickness rather than the width if you're trying to maximize rigidity while maintaining a thin cutting geometry, and so full flat grinds tend to do that best, allowing you to often have a knife that's thicker at the spine and thinner at the edge than many saber-ground knives. The main drawback that this can have is on the tang thickness and how that thickness and weight are managed.

    In general 1/4" thick knives tend to be not merely overkill, but a pretty absurd levels of overkill, and just amount to carrying more weight than needed, and often have a geometry that's thicker than needed as well. There are very few contexts where it's considered advantageous from an engineering standpoint, so while it's impossible to say that one configuration is inherently better than others in a universal sense due to a lack of context, it can be said that 1/4" thick knives are optimized choices only for a very narrow range of contexts of use, most of which involve using it in very non-knife-like ways, while those 3/32" to 5/32" at the spine are more likely to be an appropriate option for a much wider range of tasks and settings. But if your context of use really does call for 1/4" thick knives, then you're making the right choice for your context--it's just not a particularly common context.
     
  2. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    e

    Outstanding reply.
     
  3. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    Honestly, this reply is one of the best. Good points made.

    A knife is a knife. Meant to cut, dice and slice. Thinner geometry is far better for this.

    I guess I’m just on the side of the fence where I prefer to use a knife as a tool more map than just a cutting implement.

    Maybe folks think I’m insane for this, but so be it. Personal preference and even personalities weigh into this too.

    I’m not a minimalist. Everything I own and run is over built and over powered.

    Just the way I am.
     
  4. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    In fairness, I don't see anyone in this thread trying to prove that thinner knives are "better" than thick knives. Instead, they are stating what they use knives for, and thus why they prefer the thickness that they do. Different needs dictate different tools, and by your own admission, you want a knife to do a lot more than just cut things.

    As has been pointed out, "thickness" alone isn't all that indicative of the performance of a knife, though it may dictate how it will perform at things other than typical knife tasks, such as prying a manhole cover up. There is no "ideal knife thickness' any more than there is an "ideal Torx screw size."

    That's great. If you want to carry a thick, sharpened pry bar, then that's awesome and by all means you should. And of course, carrying gear for the "what ifs" in the backcountry is a smart thing to do. But recognize it's largely a preference, and that's it's easy to convince ourselves that our preferences are necessities. I've spent lots of extended periods of time in the backcountry in places just as remote if not more, than BC, and somehow survived just fine without a 12" knife that is thicker than my wallet. Believe it or not, it's possible...
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  5. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    @Hammer

    Can you expand on this a bit more for me? I’m not sure I understand what you are trying to say buddy.

    Your last statement seems as if it were constructed with the intent to make me look stupid in some way. I’m sure that isn’t what you meant though. I clearly must be misunderstanding you.

    As I said before, we all have different preferences and opinions to what works.

    I tend to always have my sharpened pry bar and my Small, thin Andaltool CFK on me at all times. Best of both worlds. I feel that I fully understand the merits and limitations both.

    I’m glad you have spent some time in places just as, if not more, remote than BC. Very cool.

    I must have made my geographical location seem like it added credibility to my comments, which it definitely should not. If I gave that perception, I do apologize.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  6. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    if i carried nothing but thin knives....i'd have a lot of broken thin knives. < which would hurt my wallet pretty good and leave me with no money to spend on top tier load bearing rigs.

    Big heavy thick knife 10 - 20" x 1/4" or thicker, complimented with 2 to 3 thinner 7" blades for smaller tasks and 2 to 3 3" or so thin blades for smaller tasks like peeling grapes, seems to work best for me.

    If you can't handle a big thick chopper, probably best to work on your fitness level.

    Guess I'm just used to swinging a 10 lb short hammer all day while trucking (checking tires, busting loose bin door pins, and doors, etc. To be honest when your used to swinging a 10lb hammer all day, a 5/16" thick knife feels flimsy and light like a feather
     
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  7. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    Yeah man, I’ve never found the weight to be an issue at all.

    I love thick knives. You never know how good your gear is until you are in a tough, unexpected situation that requires harder than normal use of your equipment.

    I was referencing my location to give a snapshot of the environment I’m in, not to add credibility to my statement. @Hammer must have misunderstood what I said. BUT! He has been in places as remote if not more than B.C., and managed to survive without a sharpened pry bar.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  8. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    A soldier in Afghanistan uses his knife to chip thru cinder or mud walls to make a hole to shoot out of. No thin knife will stand up to that. <<<often spotted is the Cold Steel GI Knife or recon Scout.

    you and I pry apart massive stumps to get to huge fatwood logs so we can build a 500 deg C fatwood fire to rapidly warm up and dry off. No thin knife is going to stand up to that. I exert LESS force with my wrecking bar prying apart buildings during demos (when I work with our demo crews)

    I ventilate (pierce) /pry open drum lids at work with a thick knife prior to disposal of contents. No thin knife is going to handle that.

    the Nepalese Ghurka have the right idea.....one big THICK 3/8" to 1/2"+ thick khukuri, plus two smaller thinner companion knives.

    I have no idea what Bro Hammer has been thru with his knives....i can only comment on you and me knife usage experience.

    One can often see a thinner , long 6- 9" blade) military fighting knife on my load bearing rig shoulder straps....thats there for slicy tasks and defense (2 and 4 legged) as well its a very visual threat image to 2 legged types. But often unseen on my rig is the 1/4" + thick knife tucked away in the lower back roll pouch, ready for the heavy duty tasks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  9. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    SO GO USE THEM.

    Why are you on the internet complaining about some fictitious person(s) seemingly belittling you about your knives? Is somebody out there telling you not to use your thick heavy knives or something? GO USE THEM!

    Why would you belittle other people (arguably the majority) for using thin knives? What purpose does this serve?

    Just why?
     
  10. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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  11. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    I use my sharpened pry bars all the time. :eek::D
     
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  12. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    Good points made here.

    Especially about the Gurkha kukri combo.
     
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  13. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    if someone made me a kydex sheath that could hold a 3/8" ghurka chopper with 18" blade, a Junglas, and a Esee 6.....I'd use the heck out of that trifecta. Big chopper for big tasks, Junglas for smaller tasks and esee 6 for fine tasks .
     
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  14. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    The Junglas is a wicked tool. Could you imagine if ESEE made a kukri !?
     
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  15. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    RMJ Tactical makes a wicked one....its on my list.....

    wouldn't take much for Esee to laser cut 3/8" blanks out of their steel and get er done.......
     
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  16. CWB

    CWB Member

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    Knives are made to cut and slice If prying is needed, there's not a knife made that outwork a prybar
     
  17. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    Like those old school blue ones! I used to rip apart pallets with those all the timed hen I was younger.
     
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  18. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    :D so explain how the Tops Operator 7 , at 8mm (5/16" ) thick, cuts so well and slices like a scalpel? ;)

    I call ballyhoo on the notion that thick knives cannot slice or cut..........

    I think a lot of people who have tried thick blades, have not had them sharpened enough and as a result have passed them off as prybars. They have not experienced the joy of wielding a well built unbreakable tool that chops, slices, cuts, and digs.

    a recent conflict where a Ghurka Soldier was involved, resulted in the complete separation of enemy heads from bodies, with ONE (1) movement of the Ghurka Soldiers arm and 3/8" thick knife.

    One swing for complete separation. MASS in motion......

    I might mention that those heads were placed on the chests of the sleeping soldiers NEXT to the victims, so that they would see their unit soldiers faces when they woke up. Lots of bone and muscle and tissue in the neck...............certain organizations delight in a sawing motion that takes a while with thin knives to achieve the same thing.

    I get that a knife is a slicing, cutting tool. But thick knives cut/slice JUST AS WELL. <<<and this is coming from someone that can't sharpen a blade worth crap....yet i get cutting slicing action just fine from my thick knives.......hmmmm.....imagine the performance if I actually cared enough to sharpen them.....

    why so many trappers and first nations use AXES (much thicker than what you all call thick knives) to skin their animals in their traps.?

    an axe. Hmmmm.

    this isn't a circle jerk or pissing contest........I just find it funny that my 8mm thick Tops OP7 performs like my craft scalpel set . < and those blades are less than 1 mm thick.

    anyways. I love big knives, i love knives, i love small knives, i like thin knives. Hell I carry like 6 knives me daily EDC. In the wood sits like 10 + knives.

    ALL BASES COVERED

    :cool:
     
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  19. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    Awesome reply.

    Geometry is king.

    The OP7 has great geometry for its size and thickness, making it what it is! It’s sharp as hell and can do a ton of hard use tasks, yet handle most all cutting tasks with ease.

    The kukri design is one of the best choppers/survival knives ever made.

    I think geographical locations have a lot to do with what works best too.
     
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  20. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    going to go out on a limb here and present two scenarios:

    scene 1:

    guy/girl/wombat/zi/etc has wrecking bar as his only tool, and is stuck on an island.

    cut? NO

    slice? NO

    bash? YES

    Pry? YES

    stab? YES


    scene 2

    guy/girl/wombat/zi/etc has 18" long x 3/8" thick chopper as his only tool, and is stuck on an island.

    cut? YES

    slice? YES

    bash? YES

    pry? YES

    stab? YES

    its an ALL ROUNDER implement. (thick knife)
     
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