What's the attraction of a sheepsfoot blade?

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Surfingringo
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What's the attraction of a sheepsfoot blade?

Postby Surfingringo » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:41 am

Just curious why so many folks seem to like this blade shape. I don't own any as I prefer pointy tips on my sharp objects but I figure there must be some reasons I see so may of these designs and some folks seem to like them. The only real use I can see is for emergency/rescue use, like cutting seatbelts or clothes off without cutting the victim. What's the attraction aside from that specific area of use? Or to start the day off with a bad pun...what's the point of a sheepsfoot?

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Postby xceptnl » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:50 am

I like to think of a sheepfoot (in both Spydies and other brands) as a wharncliffe type of function with a more stout and robust tip. You are correct that piercing capability is reduced somewhat, but at a huge advantage to tip durability and harder potential use. I like the forward PE of the blue version in my picture. I think it is the best of both worlds.

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Sheepsfoot Blades Are Known for leveraged cutting

Postby JD Spydo » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:01 am

I cut my Spyder Teeth on a Sheepsfoot model>> and that was my very first Spyder which was a GIN-1 Mariner model. To me the sheepsfoot blade doesn't necessarily have any sex appeal or cool looks per se but it does have an aspect of functionality. I like sheepsfoot blades because it seems like they are made for optimal leverage and I have a lot of confidence when using them on rough cutting jobs. They really work well with Spyderedged blades and like "xceptnl" said they seem to have a Wharncliffe type action to them.

It seems like most of the seagoing type blades on the market are sheepsfoot for the most part. Spyderco has really made the best of the sheepsfoot design. The ASSIST I model in my opinion is the best emergency type blade on the market.

Even before I ever got my first Spyder I had 2 blades with marlinspikes>> one was a Ka-Bar and the other was a Buck and they both had sheepsfoot blades. I have no idea where the concept first started but I'm willing to bet that no one has capitalized on the sheepsfoot design better than Spyderco has.
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Postby wrdwrght » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:19 am

It lends itself to avoidance of an inadvertent stab/puncture?
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Postby Evil D » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:09 am

They keep you from getting poked, that's about it. I guess you could argue that the tips are much stronger. I usually just grind them into wharnies.
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Postby v8r » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:52 am

I like them a lot. Can't really say why. I think it is mostly the straight edge, but as Evil said I have turned some of mine in to Wharnies. A Wharnecliff blade shape is my favorite, and seems to work quite well for most of what I need to do.
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More Reasons To Make a Case For Sheepsfoot Blades

Postby JD Spydo » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:01 am

The reason I say that the sheepsfoot blade has a lot of leverage is because you don't have to worry much about slippage or having the tip get away from you while cutting. And with a serrated/Spyderedged blade you can really use a very vibrant sawing action without worry of doing any inadvertent damage.

I think they are the only way to go with those "Rescue" type blades>> as a matter of fact I tend to only like sheepsfoot blades that are serrated. I do have a couple of plain edged sheepsfoot blades but I very seldom ever use them.

Another thing I tend to like about Spyderco's sheepsfoot blades is that they usually have a very thick spine and are very ridgid knives for the most part. I guess the ENUFF is about the only fixed bladed sheepsfoot out there that I know of.
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Postby bornagainprimative » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:20 am

Didn't they start on ships so when it got rough out guys wouldn't inadvertently stab themselves of others
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Postby bearfacedkiller » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:20 am

Start fishing from an inflatable raft instead of a kayak and you'll get it. :D

The pointy wharncliffe style blades are useful when you need a fine tip to get into tight spaces or if you like your knife real stabby but for most other uses a sheepsfoot and wharncliffe blade behave very similar. For me the main benefit is that it focuses so much energy towards the tip of the blade. When cutting rope and such a wharncliffe works well because the rope can't slide off the blade as easy and as the rope slides towards the tip the wharncliffe is still applying a lot of force and still cutting very well vs a knife with a lot of belly due to an upswept tip which can encourage the rope to slide off. When making utility knife style cuts on a table or work surface like you would with an exacto knife it is easier to use the fine tip of a wharncliffe or sheepsfoot blade than say the tip of a blade with much more belly.

If you need to stab or get into tight spaces then the wharncliffe gets the nod.

If you don't and safety is a concern then the sheepsfoot gets the nod.

In the kitchen I prefer a sheepsfoot. The Santoku is sheepsfootish and is what I prefer because I do not do much stabbing in the kitchen and if I do then I grab my filet knife or something.

For EDC I prefer a Wharncliffe because I do like my EDC knives stabby and sometimes I do need that acute tip.

That is just my perspective. :)
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sal wrote:Knife afi's are pretty far out, steel junky's more so, but "edge junky's" are just nuts. :p
SpyderEdgeForever wrote: Also, do you think a kangaroo would eat a bowl of spagetti with sauce if someone offered it to them?

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Postby bearfacedkiller » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:22 am

I heard that sailors were given short sheepsfoot blades to use so they couldn't do as much damage when they were in port getting drunk and disorderly.

Probably started with dulling the tips of existing knives to make them less lethal.

Maybe because of fighting or maybe just because of rough seas throwing people around while they worked. Who knows.
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sal wrote:Knife afi's are pretty far out, steel junky's more so, but "edge junky's" are just nuts. :p
SpyderEdgeForever wrote: Also, do you think a kangaroo would eat a bowl of spagetti with sauce if someone offered it to them?

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Postby Evil D » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:31 am

bearfacedkiller wrote:I heard that sailors were given short sheepsfoot blades to use so they couldn't do as much damage when they were in port getting drunk and disorderly.

Probably started with dulling the tips of existing knives to make them less lethal.

Maybe because of fighting or maybe just because of rough seas throwing people around while they worked. Who knows.
I seem to recall their design originating from sailors not wanting to be stabbed in the feet when they drop their knives, which seems pretty logical to me. I think the sawing motion safety thing is more of a modern benefit, as I'm not sure how far back serrated edges date to (apart from flint knapping obviously).
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Postby yablanowitz » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:42 am

The sheepsfoot blade is the original folding crowbar. The rounded end limits the potential for accidental punctures, both of people and things. The square end works like a utility knife blade where you are not trying to get into a tight area. On a three-blade stockman, the sheepsfoot is often set high so that it can be pinched open wearing gloves, since it was usually the blade most used for rough and dirty jobs. The straight edge made it the easiest blade to resharpen. The sheepsfoot on my old 8OT has seen more use than the other two blades combined.

Bottom left is Old Reliable, bottom right is what it looked like back in 1973.

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The modified sheepsfoot of the C44 sees a lot more use than the plain edge as well, but that's due in part to the serrations.

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Postby Blerv » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:33 pm

Besides non-intentional puncturing:

* "maintains cutting force all the way to the tip" (Mike J on the Yo2)
* Easier to sharpen on a benchstone
* Lowers tip angle helps to maintain proper wrist position when cutting with the tip
* Sheepsfoot blades often have a slight sweeping edge (ie Rock Lobster) which allows additional cutting options and also helps protects the tip in heavy use
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Postby RanCoWeAla » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:50 pm

I like them on slip joint Stockman knives in place of the Spey blade and along with Pen and Clip but that's about it.If you don't sharpen it differently though you will end up with a Spey blade after a while.

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Postby Donut » Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:27 pm

Blerv wrote: * Easier to sharpen on a benchstone
I need to find a good video on this, but I find a perfectly straight edge very difficult to sharpen on a bench stone. It could be just because I am so used to sharpening curved blades.
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Postby xceptnl » Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:44 pm

Donut wrote:I need to find a good video on this, but I find a perfectly straight edge very difficult to sharpen on a bench stone. It could be just because I am so used to sharpening curved blades.
The only problem I find with sharpening on a benchstone is that any imperfection in the stone surface will be evident in the shoulder between the two bevels. I have found this true on the Medium, Fine and Ultra Fine stones. It doesn't bother me, but I have noticed it. My solution was to keep rotating the stone and this distributing that unevenness over the entire blade length.
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Postby Evil D » Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:58 pm

Donut wrote:I need to find a good video on this, but I find a perfectly straight edge very difficult to sharpen on a bench stone. It could be just because I am so used to sharpening curved blades.
It helps if your stone is wider than the blade is long and/or you angle the blade in such a way that the entire edge is on the stone for each pass.
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Postby Blerv » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:13 pm

Donut wrote:I need to find a good video on this, but I find a perfectly straight edge very difficult to sharpen on a bench stone. It could be just because I am so used to sharpening curved blades.
Most my wharnie sharpening is a modded Lava, to be honest. I guess you could turn the blade sideways but that only gives like a 2-3" stroke depending on the stone.
xceptnl wrote:The only problem I find with sharpening on a benchstone is that any imperfection in the stone surface will be evident in the shoulder between the two bevels. I have found this true on the Medium, Fine and Ultra Fine stones. It doesn't bother me, but I have noticed it. My solution was to keep rotating the stone and this distributing that unevenness over the entire blade length.
Like clogged pores or imperfections that cause the blade to snag or skip? If the latter, Cliff mentioned once keeping the stone wet and that actually seems to help with the binding.
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Postby xceptnl » Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:30 pm

Blerv wrote:Like clogged pores or imperfections that cause the blade to snag or skip? If the latter, Cliff mentioned once keeping the stone wet and that actually seems to help with the binding.
Not really pores that cause snags or skips. Just less than ideally flat.
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Postby Laethageal » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:24 pm

In kitchen I prefer the gyoto or Sujihikki shape. I find sheepsfoot clumsy if you need to detail without changing knife.
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