Hunting knives differ from the conventional ones used in the kitchen in so many ways, among them being the design and the purpose they are created for. Hunting knives are smaller but stronger, making use of high-quality blade materials like carbon steel and stainless steel, among many others.
To better understand how they operate, we will be looking at the main parts of a hunting knife and quickly have a look at how they are made in the first place. If you are a hunting knife enthusiast looking to expand their knowledge on the matter, this is for you.
The Components of a Hunting Knife
The hunting knife has many parts, each with its own design and operational style that ensures the entire knife works as designed. The following are the parts of the regular hunting knife.
The blade is the most important part of the knife, it is the knife, and it handles all the work that the entire item is designed for. The blade itself varies from one hunting knife to another. In terms of shape, the hunting knife blade comes in varying forms that include the following.
- Clip Point: This is a common hunting knife blade shape that gives it the appearance of a blade that has been clipped off towards the upper part of the tip. It is easy to maneuver and comes in handy for quick cuts and jabs.
- Drop Point: This is the opposite of the clip point; the part that appears clipped off faces downwards, and the blade features a subtle but noticeable downward curve. The drop point has more strength at the tip, depending on the handler.
- Sheepsfoot: This blade resembles a cleaver and is designed for making clean cuts and chops. The blade is smooth and straight on the upper part while the lower cutting edge curves upwards towards the tip. There’s some space at the upper part of the blade for more control.
- Needle Point: This is a straightforward type of blade that’s designed for stabbing. It has two sharpened sides that taper into a sharp point for a streamlined movement into anything you intend to stab and cut.
- Spear Point: This is similar to the needlepoint blade, but the difference that sets them apart is that the spear point has a much smaller belly that allows it to slice much faster and, at the same time, gives the blade extra strength to deal with harder materials.
- Gut Hook: This is a drop point blade that features an upward-facing hook that’s designed for gutting animals after a hunt. The hook is sharp enough to get under the skin quickly, and it can tear into the muscles really fast.
The handle is the second most important part of the knife. Without a handle what you have is just a piece of blade that cannot be used properly without incurring serious cuts if your hand were to slide over it. Handles are made using different types of materials ranging from rubber, plastic, metal, and wood.
The handle requires to have grooves that ensure the grip on the handle is strong no matter the environment you are in. The grip has to be maintained even when the hand is wet. Much of the weight of a hunting knife is due to the handle, and this is deliberate, a move that gives the knife some strength behind it. Always feel the handle of the knife in your hands every time you are buying one.
Also called the point, this is the part of the blade that does the most damage to an animal. It is a crucial part as it determines how efficiently that blade works. Whether you are cutting into the hide of an animal, burrowing into the wood, or digging the ground for setting up a tent. The tip has to be strong and sharp enough to handle all these kinds of tasks without breaking. Once the tip breaks, then that can never be considered a knife any longer.
This is the part that connects the blade to the handle. It is that raised part that stops your hand from breaching that transition point to avoid getting cut. It also adds some extra weight to the knife to increase its efficiency and strength as you cut into materials of all kinds, giving you the balance and control needed to get things done.
The spine is the opposite edge of the blade. In some knives it comes smooth, and in others, it comes serrated with all kinds of shapes. Some spines also come sharpened near the tip to further make the blade more efficient. Unsharpened spines make it easier for the hand to be placed upon for extra support when cutting materials.
How Hunting Knives are Made
The process of making hunting knives is just as unique as the knives themselves. The raw materials used in the crafting of the modern hunting knife are usually stainless steel. Some are infused with some carbon to make them last longer and to be strong enough to deal with tough materials without losing their edge. Some other substances that are also gaining momentum include molybdenum which is used to create varying levels of sharpness and toughness while increasing corrosion resistance.
The Manufacturing Process
The process of manufacturing a hunting knife undergoes five distinct phases that include the following.
This is the first stage of making a blade. It begins by cutting blanks pieces of metal from a bigger sheet of metal. These blank pieces are cut out in the shape of the intended blade, and they are stamped in a punch press to create that blade outline. Sometimes a saw or a laser cutting machine is used, but that technology is a bit expensive for some people.
Once the blank cuts are made, holes are punched or drilled into the stocks and the tang. This is followed by rough shaping using a grinding machine to form varying degrees of thickness at different points of the blade. This will act as the guiding blueprint for the sharpening part later on.
The blank blade is then sent to the hardening process, where some heat transfer methods are employed to increase the tensile strength of the blade. The blades are placed inside a ceramic tray and laced into an oven where the temperatures are raised to 871°C and are heated for about 2hrs. Once they are removed from the oven, they are all submerged in oil or water. This rapidly cools the blades in a process called quenching which locks the metal crystals into intricate patterns. This makes the blades brittle.
The blades are then reheated again to 260°C then allowed to cool down, but this time in a gradual process called tempering. This reduces the brittleness, retaining just enough of it to make sharpening possible.
Once the blades have cooled down completely, they are taken to the next phase that is Polishing and sharpening. The polishing can be done by machine or hand, and it is done using a flat belt sander. The purpose of polishing is to get rid of all the marks from the previous processes. Afterward, the blades are put through grinding machines that are set to remove a certain amount of metal—leaving behind a uniformly sharpened knife.
That distinct edge you see on the sharpened blades is a result of a process called honing. It is produced when the cutting edge is put through some rough grinding machines that give the blade edge a 17 to 30-degree angle. This is what helps the knife to maintain its cutting edge sharpness for as long as possible.
The assembly part is where every other part of the knife is put together for a complete item. The stocks are riveted into the blade to make everything hold. Then the entire blade is fixed into the handle, and the bolster is also fixed to make everything complete. Any other additions like artwork are also added at this point, and once all that’s done, you have a complete hunting knife waiting to get some action.
Wrapping It Up
The process described here is a general one that is used to make the regular hunting knife. There are some special types of hunting knives that are made using other highly advanced processes and high-quality materials. Some are even customized by hand; the rare luxurious hunting knives that cost a fortune.
If you are a hunter, you may have learned something new today on how that knife in your hands was made. For more information on knives, feel free to check out our website, and you may find something that may fit what you are looking for.
Ultimately though, as an enthusiast, you will be best advised to learn how to maintain a hunting knife to keep it in good working condition. A hunting knife is as good as you treat it!