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Maximus
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my question, does a thin knife cut easier than a thick knife if they are sharpened at the same angle?

I was thinking about knife thicknesses today.

It seems that a lot of people like thicker knives that are 1/4 inch of steel and things... I personally like thinner knives.

It just seems to me that a thicker knife will have more work to cut. There is more surface area to drag and a wider area to slice apart a object. Am I wrong on this?

Here is what I am talking about, both these angles are identical. The brown is a "thinner knife" and the purple is a "thicker knife". It seems that the thicker one would not cut and slice as well as the thinner one because of the width. I know it would be more "robust" but in terms of cutting.

Am I wrong in my thinking?
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Think of a wedge and how much force is needed to drive it deeper and deeper into any given material.
 
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Maximus
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A thick spine gives weight and strength. If your chopped wood or butchering this is needed.

A thin spine will be lighter.
Yep, agreed. That is why splitting mauls are thicker than felling axes. I understand that different jobs call for different knife designs. But I wouldn't classify chopping or butchering as cutting or slicing.

I mean really, I think the difference between a thick blade slicing/cutting and a thinner blade is very very very miniscule. It could be all just theoretical. I just seem to recall that my thicker blades, that were not hollow ground, were lousy cutters compared to a thinner blade. Generally speaking of course.
 

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Custom User Title
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There is a reason why so many people love mora knives. They just slice sooooooooo good. I liked thinner knives so much that I went with a mora/hatchet combo instead of just a thick knife.
That being said, always use something that is thick enough to be durable against whatever you are cutting. Moras have a tendency to be damage by knots and extreme hard wood.
Thick knives, they just don't cut as deep into wood. There is too much knife there for the wood to ramp up. A thin knife can slice kindling size pieces with a stroke because there is very little steel in the way of it.
 

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Contego Libertas
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Right, but if you had two knives of the same steel and angle edge, the thinner blade should "cut" better right?
Yes. The thinner blade produces less drag. Try making feather sticks with an axe and a Mora. It can be done with an axe IF you really practice and learn the nuances, But the Mora would do so more easily.

Sorry Forestbeekeeper but there is all that blade behind the edge that can get in the way. There is more to a knife than just the edge. If it were just the edge we'd all just use thin wires instead.
 

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Comrade
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Get the right tool for the right task.
Thinner cuts better than thicker, hence why surgeons use scalpels.

For something like EDC, a Kershaw Skyline has a very thin blade but cuts through things like boxes, cardboard, and plastic packaging with ease.

The first time you try to hack through a stick with a Skyline, you'll be SOL, and there's a good chance such a thin blade will bend, get stuck, or break.
That's when you get a thicker blade, such as a BK-2.
 

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Maximus
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
No.

The cutting is done by the edge.
Right, but does friction start to impact the cutting edge and to what degree? I can have a 1/16th inch bevel on an "Edge" or I can have a 1/4th inch bevel on it. Both at a 20 degree angle.

The edge does the cutting. If you are talking a sheet of paper then it doesn't matter since the sheet of paper is much thinner than the edge of the knife. Let us say leather for example; or meat where the material is much thicker than the edge.

Slicing a back-strap into medallions for example.
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Yes. The thinner blade produces less drag. Try making feather sticks with an axe and a Mora. It can be done with an axe IF you really practice and learn the nuances, But the Mora would do so more easily.

Sorry Forestbeekeeper but there is all that blade behind the edge that can get in the way. There is more to a knife than just the edge. If it were just the edge we'd all just use thin wires instead.
Good luck shaving with a thin wire.

:)

Of course there is more to a knife then the edge. But the edge cuts. The sharper the edge the better a knife cuts.
 

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Contego Libertas
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Good luck shaving with a thin wire.

:)

Of course there is more to a knife then the edge. But the edge cuts. The sharper the edge the better a knife cuts.
I fully agree. :D:

But a thicker blade can cause drag and/or bind in a cut, depending on what you are cutting. A thin blade cuts cardboard easily, but a thick blade will either bind or create so much drag that it actually bends the cardboard after the edge passes.Then it requires more force to go through the cardboard. This, I believe is basically what Vic was getting at with his question. Not many thick blade knives in a kitchen as you mostly slice the food. Not many thin bladed axes either.
 

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Maximus
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good luck shaving with a thin wire.

:)

Of course there is more to a knife then the edge. But the edge cuts. The sharper the edge the better a knife cuts.
Funny, that is actually what got me started thinking about this. It was with shaving. I always wondered how people say that they shave with their BK-5's or whatever.
 

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Contego Libertas
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Funny, that is actually what got me started thinking about this. It was with shaving. I always wondered how people say that they shave with their BK-5's or whatever.
NOW we revert to what Forestbeekeeper was saying originally, as in this case only the edge is doing the cutting. I once sharpened an axe that you could shave the hair off your arm. Just wanted to see if I could do it. :D:
 

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Maximus
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
NOW we revert to what Forestbeekeeper was saying originally, as in this case only the edge is doing the cutting. I once sharpened an axe that you could shave the hair off your arm. Just wanted to see if I could do it. :D:
Right, not to mention razors are usually at a much finer angle than a utility knife. That is why I presented these other scenarios. I also know that with a thicker knife there is more metal behind the edge making it stronger in general. It was just scrambling my brain a little thinking about the same angle on different thickness knives.

I know there are knife makers here so I wanted to see what the actual impact would be.
 

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The European Outdoorsman
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675 Posts
I will explain as most others have.

A tough 1/4" thick knife usually will be a good camp knife for general purposes, but it will be way too big for whittling or skinning game. It could be done, if it is all you had, but other knives are better suited for those tasks. I have a few 1/4" thick knives and I only bring one when I go and it depends where I go and for how long that makes me decide to bring a certain knife.

This being said, two knives both with a full flat grind will cut differently, or can. This is because blade geometry is different. The angles of the grinds will be different.

My opinion:

A hollow grind is a good EDC shape IF you are using it for only cutting boxes, opening packages and so on. It may even bee good for skinning, but I have never used it that way so I don't know. A hollow grind is weaker that a flat grind, but usually, sharper, at least if purchased from any reputable maker.

A flat grind is good for all around utility and it is my favorite because it is a good balance between toughness and cutting ability.

That being said, know that what you are cutting is going to be dependent on the entire blade shape, not just the grind. I recommend a full flat grind for every situation as it will work well and last long if made right.
 
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