This is a list of some of the terms that a reader may not be familiar with. Not all of the words listed here will be found on this site but they should act as an aid to people to understand knife terminology.
Bail: The metal loop fitted to the end of a clasp knife to attach a lanyard to. See also Shackle.
Bakelite: An early plastic most commonly found in Australian Machete 15" grips.
Bexoid: An early plastic used mainly in British clasp knife scales.
Billhook Is a traditional hand held cutting tool that is used for cutting smaller woody material such as shrubs and branches. Its use is similar to that of a machete.
Blade: A cutting tool attached to a handle. When counting the number of blades in a clasp knife, each tool and attachment counts as a blade.
Bolster: Is the band that joins the blade of the knife to its handle on a fixed blade knife. On a clasp knife it is a metal fitting on the forward part of the scales that incorporates the Pivot Pin.
Bush knife: Another name for a machete. Generally used for those sold or traded to the residents of the Pacific Islands.
Butt: Is the end of the handle of the knife. See Pommel..
Can opener: American term for Tin Opener.
Choil: The end of a knife’s cutting edge that’s close to the handle.
Clasp knife: A knife with a hinged blade or blades that can be folded into a slot in the handle. See also Jackknife.
Clip point: A blade with a straight or concave slice cut out of the spine at its tip.
Drop point: A blade whose back follows a gradual convex slope toward the tip.
Edge: The cutting part of the blade.
False edge: A partially sharpened edge on the back of the blade. This is not meant to be a cutting edge but is for utility tasks such as chopping and similar. See also Swedge.
Grip: The part of the knife that one holds. See handle.
Guard: Part of the handle designed to prevent the hand from slipping onto the blade.
Handle: The part of the knife that one holds See Grip.
Heel: The rear part of the edge on a knife where the blade extends below the grip.
Hinge pin: The pin on which the blade or other accessories of a clasp knife pivot on. See also Pivot pin.
Horn: An early material used in clasp knife scales. The colour may vary.
Jackknife: A knife with a blade that folds closed. See Clasp knie.
Jigged bone: A machining process applied to bone scales to give them more grip. Some jigged bone scales can be hard to tell apart from Stag scales.
Jimping: These are grooves in the back of the blade and are intended to provide additional grip and control when using the knife with the thumb along the spine.
Kick: The bottom edge of the protrusion at the rear of the blade next to the choil. The kick is what strikes the backspring, inside the handle, when the blade is closed, preventing the blade’s edge from striking the spring.
Lanyard hole: The hole in the end of a knife or machete grip to facilitate the addition of a lanyard.
Length of a blade: The straight line extending from the tip of the blade to the back edge of the blade or kick in the case of a clasp knife.
Lock knife: A knife that has a mechanism which locks the blade in position when fully extended, the blade cannot be closed without that mechanism being released.
Machete: Is a broad blade used as an agricultural implement for cutting bush and saplings.
Makers mark: The trademark or any mark identifying the maker of the knife. Usually stamped on the Mark side of the blade.
Mark side: The side of the blade upon which the makers mark appears. Generally this is the Left hand side.
Marline: A small usually tarred line of two strands twisted loosely left-handed that was used in rope work on Sailing Ships. The tool used when working with marline was known as a Marline Spike. A similar spike was incorporated in early clasp knives and was given the same name.
Marlin spike: Modern abbreviation of Marline Spike.
Marline spike: A robust pointed spike which folds out of a clasp knife and is used in such tasks as unlaying rope for splicing and untying knots. During WW1 the marline spike was blunted and used as a hoof pick by mounted troops.
Nail nick: Is the groove in the side of the blade by which the thumbnail can get purchase on the blade to open it.
Pile side: Opposite to the Mark side.
Pivot pin: The pin on which the blade or other accessories of a clasp knife pivot on. See also Hinge pin.
Point: The part of the knife where the edge and spine come together.
Pommel: The end of the handle or grip of a knife or sword. See Butt.
Pommel nut: The nut on the end of the tang that holds the grip to the knife.
Pressed leather: A material made of compressed leather used in clasp knife scales.
Ricasso: An unsharpened length of blade just above the guard or handle on a knife, dagger, sword, or bayonet.
Rivets: Are metal pins used to join the scales to the tang to form the handle. Cutlers rivets are in two parts that are compressed together to make a permanent fixing.
Scabbard: A sheath for the blade of a sword, machete or bayonet, typically made of leather or metal.
Scales: Are the part of the knife that creates the handle. One is each side. The scales are typically attached to the tang with cutlers rivets.
Schackle: The metal loop fitted to the end of a clasp knife to attach a lanyard to. See also Bail.
Screw driver stub: The extension of the middle liner in Clasp knives that forms a screwdriver blade.
Serrations: A jagged saw like edge to a blade.
Sheath: A close fitting cover to protect and carry a knife.
Sheepsfoot: A blade style with a straight cutting edge, and a spine that is parallel to the edge and curves convexly downward to meet the point.
Sides of a knife: When a knife is held edge down and pointing away the side on the left is known as the left hand side and the side on the right is known as the right hand side.
Slip joint: Is a folding knife that has a blade that does not have a locking mechanism to hold it open. It relies on the pressure from the back spring on a flat on the blade to hold the blade in the open position.
Spear point: A blade style that has an almost uniform profile of the point, like a spear.
Spine: Is the top of the knife blade.
Stag: Material used in early clasp knife scales and some later fixed blade handles. Made from deer antler.
Stiletto: A slender dagger.
Swedge: A partially sharpened edge on the back of the blade. This is not meant to be a cutting edge but is for utility tasks such as chopping and similar. See also False edge.
Tang: Is the part of the blade that extends into the handle of the knife. It is the surface to which the handle scales attach to the blade. On a clasp knife or folding knife the tang is much shorter. It extends just far enough behind the blade to accommodate a hole for the pivot or hinge pin.
Tanto: A tanto blade has a high flat-ground tip and the edge and back angle toward one another, rather than sloping.
Thumb stud: A device on the side of the blade to give the thumb purchase to be able to easily open the blade.
Tin opener: The device used to open tinned food. See also Can opener.
Tip: The forward part of the knife and includes the knife point.
If any of these terms are incorrect, please
and let me know.