Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

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Geno
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Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Geno » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:35 pm

Hello, I have recently started to ponder what the pros/cons and proper uses would be for blades with a belly vs straight blades like a Wharncliffe. I wonder which would be better for stabbing or prodding and which would be better for slicing.

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Blerv
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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Blerv » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:14 am

I'm sure someone better with geometry and metallurgy will comment better, but...

Straight blades give superior ergonomics (tip vs wrist angle) and in draw-cut situations they are superior. They are also extremely easy to sharpen.

Bellied blades allow push-cut carving and rocking cuts. The belly also is a passive "safety" for the tip as if anything people tend to put less aggression into it. With a wharny/sheepsfoot/hawkbill the tip is easily overtaxed as it's being pushed into the cutting material with zeal. I would guess more tips are snapped/chipped/abraded in those knives than the average drop point or leaf blade.

For my light-duty purposes straighter blades are awesome. Drop-points/spear/leaf/clips with less belly are a close second. I adore upswept blades aesthetically but they are a royal pain for most my tasks. The tune would probably change if I did food prep with folders or had to skin a deer on the way to work. ;)

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Blerv
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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Blerv » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:14 am

Same response, x 2 :(
Last edited by Blerv on Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Blerv
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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Blerv » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:14 am

Delete, wow...lag

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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Zenith » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:38 am

To answer your question one needs to look a bit more at traditional knives IMO.

A good writeup on blade style and their uses can be read here:

http://www.theknifeconnection.net/blade-types/" target="_blank

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Evil D
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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Evil D » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:02 am

Unless you're skinning or cutting on a flat surface like a cutting board, there's no scenario that a bellied blade will cut better than a wharnie. However, a wharnie will drive more power through the arch of a cut than a curved blade, giving it an advantage.

Japanese sword smiths believed that curving the blade aided in slicing ability, but I think in a knife you'll see more difference in performance from edge and blade grind geometry than anything else.

I've never used a utility/carpet knife and felt that it would cut better with a belly..

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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Slash » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:45 am

Evil D wrote:
Japanese sword smiths believed that curving the blade aided in slicing ability
I have no idea what their thoughts were/are. But, I think I recall somewhere that the curvature of a katana happened naturally through the forging or hardening?
Last edited by Slash on Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Evil D » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:54 am

Slash wrote:
Evil D wrote:
Japanese sword smiths believed that curving the blade aided in slicing ability
I have no idea what their thoughts were/are. But, I think I recall somewhere that the curvature of a katana happened naturally through the forging or something?
Who knows, I'm only quoting what I've heard through educational TV shows and such. Seems like it may happen due to the hammon they use and the differences in hardness between edge to spine.

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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby elena86 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:30 am

I prefere the best of two worlds, the modified wharncliffe shape as in small sebenza insingo but not as in large insingo which is more of a modified sheepsfoot.I could only hope Spyderco will release a 3" blade folder with a " small insingo-like" shape.Man, oh man, that would be a teriffic user :cool:

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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby JD Spydo » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:02 am

One of my favorite Spyders has a nice belly to it and that being the C-60 Ayoob model. But it doesn't stop there because the Ayoob is one of the most non conventional blade/handle designs I've ever encountered. And I'm sure nobody but Spyderco would have touched that design with a 50 foot pole.

The Ayoob as well as having a nice belly for skinning and slicing also has a well defined point which you could stab with if you needed it for self defense. But I like the belly on that model because it's always in a cutting position as most blades with a belly have.

Most all of your hunter/skinner blades are designed with a very pronouned belly on them as well as a lot of certain types of professional meat cutting knives are.

The advantages of a straight blade are many as well>> most straight blades give you the ability to cut very straight and precise depending on how sharp it is of course.

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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby tvenuto » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:26 am

Slash wrote:
Evil D wrote:
Japanese sword smiths believed that curving the blade aided in slicing ability
I have no idea what their thoughts were/are. But, I think I recall somewhere that the curvature of a katana happened naturally through the forging or hardening?
This was my impression of it as well: the traditional swords all had some sort of what we would now call "clad" construction, and the curvature was basically a controlled warpage during the hardening. This, of course, may not be at all accurate, but it's what I had heard. Probably more likely that a few were made this way, and people liked them so the curvature was emulated even sans warpage.

To the question, I like a little belly on my knives, but don't like upswept tips. My favorite geometry is a low but consistent curvature, which is great because spyderco is fond of the leaf shaped blade. I find the belly helps with push cutting through things, and it may be in my head but it seems to cause me to use more of the edge. I find I get more consistent dulling with my bellied blades, my Yo2 tends to dull more in the first third of the blade (from the tip), but I wouldn't change it from a wharnie. Some of my favorites: R, Delica, Sage/Manix/PM2, PPT. Some that I avoid due to blade shape: Lionspy, manbug, Foundary.

Also, I'm going to disagree with blev a little bit, in that the tip/wrist angle is also dictated by the design. The Tuff for instance has a lot of belly, but the tip is kept in line with the wrist by the angle of the blade when open (see below). But in general, he's correct in that the more belly a knife has, the higher the tip is going to be.

Image

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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby jackknifeh » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:38 am

I don't know much about the good or bad of a given edge shape when used for different tasks. Personally, while a wharncliffe blade is perfectly as good as an edge shape with a little curvature I just prefer the curvature edge shape. This is one of the things I've come across that I have pretty strong feelings about but have no real "reasons" for my feelings. Usually I can explain "why" I like or dislike something. I think mainly my feelings are based only on the use of different edge shapes for EDC and not based on specific cutting situations. For most EDC knives the knife may be used for a multitude of cutting situations. Therefore having a blade shape that has more of a specialized use might not be the best choice. I haven't cleaned any game in a couple hundred years so I can't comment on skinning or anything like that. I'm getting back into fishing now but haven't had the need to clean any fish. All the fish I've caught are so big I couldn't get them into the car so I let them go. :rolleyes:

I have been carrying more than one EDC knife since getting better kinves. Also the knives are of different sizes. So I can carry 3 or more knives if I want. Kiwi 4 for a wharncliffe, and another with a slightly curved blade edge. The Spyderco I've bought with the most dramatic belly is the Manbug. Along with being a short blade it may magnify the features of a blade with more belly. Don't really know. I do know I prefer less belly and when sharpening mine I removed more steel from the belly that the heel or tip so the edge has less curvature. I've found a blade edge with more curvature requires I move my hand or twist my wrist or something to keep the material I'm cutting from sliding off the belly and tip.

Sharpening wharncliffe blades. I don't care for it. Two things I don't like. First, to keep a true wharncliffe I need to sharpen the entire edge even if the only dull areas are right in the middle and/or right at the tip. An edge with a little curve to it you can sharpen only the dull spot. If you change the curvature a tiny bit it's no big deal. Second, when more steel is on the stone during a stroke I think the cutting is slower. It has something to do with physics. Pounds per square inch and stuff like that. This is another thing I don't fully understand but has created a feeling of dislike for.

For EDC knives I don't like a lot of belly nor do I like wharncliffe blades. The worker has a very nice curvature to the edge for my needs. If the spine shape creates a different blade shape (leaf, drop point, etc.), that doesn't mean a lot to me that I'm aware of. While Cold Steel knives are pretty far down on my list for an EDC pocket knife I do like a couple of their models. Here is a picture of the worker and a Cold Steel mini-AK-47. Look at the shape of the edges at the heel.
Image

The curvature on the CS goes beyond being parallel with the straighter, imaginary line that may go through a knife from tip of handle to tip of blade. I can see this would be benificial for rope or things just like a straighter edge or even a recurve or hawkbill. The shape of the edge at the heel of the CS edge jumped out at me as soon as I looked at the knife. Another thing about the CS knife (also on the regular AK-47) is the small section not sharpened between the edge and what I assume is to be a sharpening notch. I may or may not sharpen this area in the future. I think it is probably left unsharpened for manufacturing reasons. However right now I can lay my index finger in the area at the pivot as if it is a finger choil. If I sharpen the edge all the way to the notch I will risk cutting my finger so I doubt if I do that. The value of putting my finger there sometimes is more beneficial than any additional sharp edge I would end up with. Anyway, I thought I'd put a picture of an edge shape that I don't know if Spyderco has ever used. Spyderco's I'm aware of have the curvature end at the heel in what I'll call a straight line. Even if the shape never becomes "straight" the curvature isn't as dramatic as on this CS knife.

Jack

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Evil D
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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Evil D » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:40 pm

This is why the Manix 2 is such a perfect EDC. It has just enough belly to be more versatile than a pure wharnie, but is still shallow enough and has a low enough tip that it cuts very similar to a wharnie. The Delica also has a fantastic edge shape/curve, very similar.

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Blerv
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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Blerv » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:07 pm

Evil D wrote:This is why the Manix 2 is such a perfect EDC. It has just enough belly to be more versatile than a pure wharnie, but is still shallow enough and has a low enough tip that it cuts very similar to a wharnie. The Delica also has a fantastic edge shape/curve, very similar.
Agreed. It's one of those things people rarely mention in comparison to even the Para2. Besides pocket room the Manix2 is pretty awesome.

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Evil D
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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Evil D » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:10 pm

Blerv wrote:
Evil D wrote:This is why the Manix 2 is such a perfect EDC. It has just enough belly to be more versatile than a pure wharnie, but is still shallow enough and has a low enough tip that it cuts very similar to a wharnie. The Delica also has a fantastic edge shape/curve, very similar.
Agreed. It's one of those things people rarely mention in comparison to even the Para2. Besides pocket room the Manix2 is pretty awesome.

Yeah, it could be a little narrower in pocket, but it does have a nice easily accessible thumb hole.

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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby Bill1170 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:58 am

The katana curve is a result of differential shrinkage at quenching. The high carbon tamahagane steel at the beveled faces and edge shrinks much less than the lower carbon at the core and back do. The resulting curve allows more edge to engage the target when making a slashing cut.

I like a little belly because it allows me to work at trimming on a flat surface wider than 2x the blade length. It also let's me sneak the tip under, for example, some tightly wrapped tape and unzipper the tape by gently pushing the knife along the underlying hard surface without the edge contacting anything but the tape.

Edit: lets, not let's.

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Re: Pros/Cons of bellied vs straight blades

Postby JD Spydo » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:32 am

What I'm finding interesting about this thread so far are how many Spyders you guys are overlooking that have a great belly design to them. Take those Ed Schempp Persian models for instance that is a really eloquent design for those who like an upswept blade.

I do like what tvenuto said about liking a knife with a belly but not having a point going upward>> and for that Spyderco's great leaf blades like the Temp 1, Temp 2, Mule Team are spendid designs with just enough belly to do what you mostly need to do with curvature on a blade.

But I still think Spyderco's best blade with a belly is without a doubt the C-60 Ayoob model. To me it's about the most versatile of the entire bunch.

Probably their best fixed blade up till now with just the right amount of belly would have to be that Southfork.


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