Choosing and Using Knives: Overview of Steel Types, Intended Use, Craftsmanship, Size, and Style for Making a Wise Decision

in life •  last year

If we're talking about real survival scenarios, wilderness survival, and bushcraft, the most valuable tool to have is a good knife.  

Survival situations aside, even in day to day life, it's still one of the most practical and useful things, yet generally speaking most people don't really carry knives anymore. Most people still use a blade of some kind on a semi-regular basis, but they are relegated to using an exacto knife at work or a razor in the shower.

We seek to reconnect the humanimal to practical knowledge, tools, and resources. 

We recently added a selection of our master crafted EPIC HANDMADE KNIVES to the Peerhub marketplace to support this community and elevate the value of Steem. On top of that, we are now going to share our extensive knowledge on choosing and using these important tools. Regardless of when/where/if you choose to get a knife, you can utilize this valuable information.

    

A knife is empowering because it has endless uses--some of them literally the difference between life and death.

Familiarize yourself with knives and carry one about your person (along with a bottle of colloidal silver, a paracord bracelet, and firestarter) to be prepared for any scenario. If you don't have a knife, you can't use it!

You have countless uses for a knife throughout your average day, so it's definitely worth investing in a quality tool. The practicality factor is a great place to start a discussion of EPIC HANDMADE KNIVES.

There are some considerations when selecting a useful blade:

  • What is the intended purpose? You're not going to kill a wild boar with a butter knife. Quinn can, but you can't. The intended purpose determines appropriate shapes and features.
  • What materials is it made of, and how is it crafted? Again, your intended purpose dictates an appropriate material. High quality craftsmanship yields high quality knives. 
  • Why does size matter?  You definitely don't want to get caught with your pants down with an inappropriate blade, so to speak.
  • Does it match my outfit? Seriously, some of y'all can really stand to step up your style game. Why sacrifice your look when you can be epic at the same cost?

What is the intended purpose of your knife?

You can't utilize the endless uses for a knife unless you're carrying the knife! Here are a few thoughts:

Do you need something lightweight and agile, or something big and heavy with a lot of power?

                                                       

Will you be exposing your blade to moisture? In that case, you want something that won't rust as easily. 

                               


Will you be chopping or throwing? A steel that's too hard will chip; you want something with a little more flexion for these heavy-duty tasks.

Do you need to skin or scrape something? The best skinning knives are ones that don’t have points, because you’re much less likely to puncture or cut the hide. 

                   

Do you need a razor's edge? You either need to be able to sharpen the blade frequently, so you'd go with a softer steel, or you could get something double sided or with multiple cutting edges. 

                    

We could go as deep as you like into the many uses of a knife, and we'll give you as much as you can take in upcoming posts, but this is a good starting point for a topical discussion. The intended purpose determines the next consideration:

What material is it made of, and how is it crafted? 

Our EPIC HANDMADE KNIVES come in varying types of steel. We'll look at 4 types in this post: stainless steel, D2, Damascus, and 1080 high carbon, and each has pros and cons.

Stainless Steel

This is the most common steel for knives these days, and while there are MANY types of stainless steels, what all stainless steel have in common and WHY it is so desirable for most modern consumers is that it is more water resistant than say damascus or 1080 high carbon steel. 

Just because it is called stainless does not mean it does not rust. If you leave almost any stainless steel knife in a bowl of water or expose it to the ocean, it WILL rust. It will rust much slower and less dramatically than 1080, but it WILL rust.

Almost all kitchen and pocket knives are made of some kind of stainless steel (most commonly 440 SS). This is because the modern human doesn't like to take care of things and likes for things to be easy and maintenance free. As far as blade steels go, SS is where it's at for that!

However, as we mentioned all steels have their pros and cons. The cons to SS is that it is a more brittle and less durable steel in comparison to say 1080, and it's also harder to sharpen. A high quality 1080 master craft blade can literally cut a high quality SS blade in half with little damage to the 1080 blade. So the benefits are it is lower maintenance and requires less care to use and keep, and the drawback is that it is an inferior steel as far as pure blade power.

      


D2

D2 is a high grade tool steel alloy. It's very hard, which makes it difficult to sharpen, but it does hold a sharp edge for a long period of time in comparison to almost all other steels. It's also more resistant to rusting than say a 1080 steel.

Too hard has its downsides, however. If it's too hard, it's more brittle and prone to chipping. Plus, if you’re using a flint to start a fire, D2 steel is too hard to get a spark. 

When you’re using  flint and steel to start a fire, what’s actually happening is that the stone is really sharp/hard, and striking the steel is causing the metal to combust. Just like when you’re burning leaves or wood, it’s the carbon that’s actually burning. You need something with high carbon content that is soft enough to get a spark with flint.

        


1080 High Carbon 

High carbon steels like 1080 are softer than D2, but they have more strength. There is more flexibility to the metal. Because the carbon content is high but its not as hard as say D2 1080 steel is combustible. However,  1080 steels and damascus steels are more prone to rusting than D2. 

If your blade is exposed to moisture, you want to consider something rust-resistant or even a waterproof coating.  You can apply your own waterproof coatings, something like epoxy or even spray paint on a tool like an ax. There are chemical coatings available on some of our 1080 high carbon steels that are bonded to the metal. They give the blade a beautiful dark finish.

                      


Damascus

Damascus originates from Japanese masters who bend and fold, bend and fold, bend and fold layers of steel over and over again in their legendary katanas. Even today these master forged folded katanas are considered the best blades in the world! It's beautiful and strong, but again it's very prone to rust. You have to constantly keep it dry and oiled. 


         


Tang

The highest quality knives are full tang, which means the steel runs the length and width of the handle. Rat-tail tangs are weaker because they don't run the width of the handle; they taper off into a skinnier portion. I would never consider any blade that is not at least a rat-tail tang! Of course, all EPIC HANDMADE KNIVES have a full tang for superior quality.

                                 

Smithing, forging, and tempering are vital to the quality of the blade. 

You can start with a high quality steel, but if it is improperly crafted the entire knife is compromised. 

When you do a forge-crafted blade, all the bevels and all the angles and the whole shape are pounded. It takes a mass amount of skill and a mass amount of time and a mass amount of strength; it requires a lot more experience and expertise to do it properly. The metal has to be the exact right temperature every time you strike it. If it's not, you actually damage the integrity of your blade.  Potentially, you can get the most superior blades doing hand forging, but it takes a lot more time and is therefore a lot more expensive.

So if you don’t know what you’re doing, if you’re not a master forger, you’re going to create an inferior blade to say a grounded kiln-tempered blade. Even though it’s not forged, in this case the kiln-temper is gonna be way better because it’s homogenous.

If you have any weaknesses in your blade at all, then the blade itself becomes almost worthless because that one weak point is going to compromise the whole thing. If you have an improper part of your blade within the useable part of your blade and you put it to the test, then your whole blade will be ruined--it’s gonna break. That's certainly not what you want if your life is on the line!

You definitely want a knife that is well crafted to be of high quality, and your intended use will determine the materials and features of the blade. The next point to consider is: 

Why does size matter?

For everyday carry, you may want something light and agile that's easy to pull in and out of a sheath. In a survival situation, you might want something more substantial that can chop wood or kill things. (By the way, you can cut trees with small blades, but it takes more skill and knowledge or a lot more time than using say a machete or a kukri.) 

In addition to the intended purpose of the knife, legality is an issue to consider for those wishing to refrain from run-ins with the mafia. If you live in a city or out in civilization, there are states and countries that have all sorts of regulations on carrying knives. It’s ridiculous; obviously we don’t live in a free country. You are at risk of being put into prison or having men with guns come after you if you carry knives over certain sizes. 

In Texas, it is unlawful to carry these blades in public:
(A) knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;
(B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown;
(C) dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard;
(D) bowie knife;
(E) sword; or

(F) spear.

So in weighing the practicality of a high quality blade to carry every day, we've considered your intended purpose, which determines the appropriate materials and features of the knife in addition to the size. The last thing to think about is totally worthwhile:

Does it match my outfit?

If you can look epic for the same cost and effort as it takes to look like a standard, boring Babylonian, why wouldn't you choose to express your style?? Carrying a blade is not only fully functional and practical, but it takes your dress to the next level!

                             

Carrying a knife is like wearing a functional piece of art! It’s a conversation piece; it’s got a good story. If you love knives, and it’s one of the best investments you can possibly have, why not get some show blades, some fun art blades, that are still practical, useable blades? 

EPIC HANDMADE KNIVES offers a variety of styles to complement every occasion for the wise and well-dressed gentleman and lady. 

                              


We are dedicated to sharing sustainable options for thrival. As with all of our operations, 100% of proceeds from our EPIC HANDMADE KNIVES line are devoted to our social outreach and humanitarian works. We will continue to release our collection on Peerhub to offer by SBD donation towards our cause of feeding, clothing, housing, and educating more people than ever before, AND it will strengthen the Steemit economy! 



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OH such beautiful knives!!! I never knew how much I needed one until I actually had one. All of the sudden I realized all the opportunities I had to use a really good knife. Grateful to be well equipped. These knives are really gorgeous. Very tempting!

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If you don't carry a knife, you can't use the knife! They're super useful every single day, but you don't really see how many ways they are valuable until you have one all the time. Plus, the thing about survival situations is that you never know when you'll find yourself in one--it only makes sense to be prepared at all times!

Have you posted about how to best method to sharpen different types of knives? That would be interesting.

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There are many many many topics that can be covered regarding knives. They are absolutely fascinating, from crafting to using them!

I care about sustainability and self-sufficiency, so I always carry a knife.
In fact, I have one to match every outfit, because I care about style too!
Knives are practical investments that more than pay for themselves with just a few uses, and they can potentially even save one's life.
I prefer to be prepared!

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You are the most sustainable, self-sufficient, stylish man we know! You are certainly an expert on survival and THRIVAL!

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Grateful to inspire!

Great post.

Man has become so far removed from basic survival skills and it concerns me.

To survive (in order and climate dependant) we need:

  • Oxygen
  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Love, family, friends, community

Everything else is a luxury.

Did I miss anything?

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Thank you! We strive to reconnect modern man to the practical wisdom of our ancestors. We present actual life skills and knowledge to prepare humanity for real freedom! Oxygen is by far the most important factor for survival, as one can only live a few minutes without it. @quinneaker has a great saying: "In this breath, I am fulfilled. Anything else is bonus."

Water is the next most important, but food is arguable. There are hardcore yogis in the Himalayas who have gone years without eating; they are called breatharians or pranarians and subsist on sungazing. Further, hermits prove that life goes on without social interactions, but love, family, friends, and community can potentially make life more enjoyable!

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It's great that our conversation has elevated. One never knows how far we can push the boundaries without losing the masses but you have pushed and I get it, bravo.

I would argue that if you were in e.g. the Arctic Circle (little sun) shelter and food becomes increasingly important for survival but I digress, and am happy to be proven otherwise.

I have read about, and seen YT vids about Prahlad Jani and Ram Bahadur Bomjon (Buddha Boy). I came across them some time ago and it did grab my attention and while I have occasionally re-visted the topic over the years I know that I have merely skimmed the surface.

We strive to reconnect modern man to the practical wisdom of our ancestors.

Awesome, the ancients were much wiser than us in so many ways.

hermits prove that life goes on without social interactions

No doubt about that. Few get it.

Have you tried living on air and if so how long have you lasted? I'm yet to attempt it but I'd like to.

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Grateful for the continued conversation; thank you!

We regularly practice sun gazing. It really feels great to watch the sunrise and sunset each day; it's a calming and grounding activity that encourages connection to the entire universe. Even if one doesn't subscribe to the many physical and metaphysical benefits of this activity, they can still feel relaxed and give thanks for nature which feels really great!

Many members of our community fast, some more frequently than others. Some practice weekly, and others use it a few times a year, and still others don't fast at all. Some people choose to fast for a day, but many of us have gone 10 days, 30 days, and even multiple months.

We highly recommend the practice. It's a great detox for the body, and will definitely make you rethink your relationship with food! Many who fast for the first time become aware of just how obsessed they are with feeding themselves and notice how many times a day they think of it, or even how often they use food as a distraction.

For anyone who wants to be self-sufficient, a knife is a priceless tool! For anyone who cares about style, an Epic Handmade Knife is a sensible investment.

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Self-sufficiency is true sustainability, and a knife is very important to a self-sufficient lifestyle.

I love how informational this post is. Knives are one of the most useful tools of all time and its great to be able to make an informed choice about the best blade for whatever uses I need it for.

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Thanks! Once you start carrying a knife and recognizing its importance in everyday tasks, you don't go back.

I have never thought of knives this way. I am excited to learn more and choose appropriately! Thanks

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There are many ways to look at knives! Modern man has been so disconnected from survival basics that knives are often overlooked as the important and truly vital tool that they are. We're here to re-educate!

Hey this article is great, well structured and easy 2 understand for non-professionals.

Great post! In fact, it was so good that we decided to feature it in our latest newspaper. Read it here: https://steemit.com/steemplus/@steemplus/steemplus-friday-october-21-the-daily-newspaper-that-pays-you-to-find-high-quality-content

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