How the Evolution of Knife Design Shaped Today’s Blade

How the Evolution of Knife Design Shaped Today’s Blade

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Looking to the past is an incredibly effective method to understanding the advancement of blade structure and to rethink how to best move ahead with knife design. The essential focal point of this blog post will be to generally outline the history of blades and how that history has impacted the design of the knives we use today.  Are you ready to own a quality set of culinary knives? Shop DFACKTO for high-carbon stainless steel chef’s knives, tanto knives, santoku knives, and more. 

The Reason Knives Were Invented

To the best of our knowledge, blades were first utilized as tools 2.5 million years ago. Archeological discoveries point to the Oldowan as the most established known stone tool makers. First found at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, Oldowan relics have now been recovered from various areas across Africa. The oldest kind of knife was known as a chopper which was made out of stones that were crafted into a sharp blade. These choppers were believed to be utilized for cutting plants and butchering animals. One can just envision what this crude kitchen scene resembled. After some time, these fundamental materials for tools would develop and incorporate bone, rock, and obsidian.  In the beginning, a blade was a tool used in three essential parts of human existence: planning, development and battle. The discovery of fire paved the way for making blades that were framed instead of chipped, scratched, or cut. Stone as an essential blade material would give way to metal as newly created techniques of softening and fashioning opened new doors for creating blades. Blades made from bronze were not long lasting as they got dull and were vulnerable to corrosion. The bronze blades were incredibly sharp, as they could be framed into a long and thin shape. Unexpectedly, the word blade is accepted to have originated from an old Norse word – knife – which was utilized to depict a cutting edge.  As hundreds of years passed by, bronze blades lent way to iron and eventually steel. With each new material, the toughness and strength improved. During Medieval Europe, blade forging progressed from little single or twofold knives to much bigger sizes and more modern blades including swords, lances, and tomahawks. In the mid fifteenth century, those with riches started conveying double use blades intended to be utilized for both eating and battle. These blades had sharp cutting edges and tips for puncturing. At dinners, visitors utilized their own blades for eating. The propensity for utilizing smaller blades at suppers proceeded even as forks were routinely utilized in late seventeenth century Europe. 

Blades and Culture

As the blade grew more common, it became an essential part of civilization and of different cultures all over the world. For example, stone knives fitted with wooden grips covered in animal skins and plumes were often used by warriors and seniors some time before the beginning of the Bronze Age.  With the use of metal, came the ability and desire to include aesthetically appealing aspects into knives like carvings in the handle or implanting gems in the blade. The subtleties added to the blades past their crude shape were images of riches, influence, respect, and advancement. Both the exceptionally regarded warrior of medieval occasions, the knight, and his ruler or lord owned profoundly enriched manufactured blades and swords. Toward the beginning of battle, it was a visual image of prevalence. In function, the blade was an indication of status and significance in the public eye.  In conclusion, the blade assumes a significant role in some inception rituals and customs; for example, the stately penance of creatures to a divinity. Books also mention a 1646 superstition of laying a blade over another bit of cutlery as a sign for black magic. 

Early Knife Types

Early knife forms include a fixed cutting edge blade – known as a sheath blade. This was more common than other types of blades because the tang stretched into the handle and it did not require moving parts. Collapsing blades were another type of knife, and bent where the blade and the handle met. These two styles of blades are still being used today with the collapsing blade being the favored knife for open air exercises like chasing and searching. The sheath blade is now the standard for both expert and home kitchens. 

Japan — The Sword and Craftsmanship

For some, the sword is the blade that comes to mind with Japanese craftsmanship. There are three steps to the production of these swords that give Japanese blades their exceptional quality. The blade is first fashioned, then connected to wooden handles, and lastly honed. Each progression requires a different set of skills and abilities and – must always be finished by hand.  Blades are formed from pieces of liquid steel by continued pounding until the blade takes the ideal shape. This is very different from the current steel blade production methods in which blades are just cut from a steel sheet. The work required of making a specialty blade is time consuming and exceptionally physical. Shockingly, the cost of the blade doesn't generally mirror this. After a pattern of warming and shaping the blade, the blade is cooled into its final shape. This is the thing that allows it to hold its edge. The time and skill that it takes to create one of these blades is the reason that it is known as an art. If the technique isn’t followed correctly, it may result in a blade that is prone to chipping or breaking.   Today there are 219 items assigned by the Minister of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) as "Customary Craft Products". One of those is Sakai Forged Knives. There are, as of now, 26 certified Master Craftsmen in Sakai who can make a blade with this traditional method. There are three kinds of steel, called blue, white and yellow steel — arranged according to quality. The shading names are believed to be gotten from the way that blue and white papers were utilized to pack the completed steel for distinguishing proof.  A last thought on the blade in Japan is the astounding assortment of shapes accessible — each having been intended for an unmistakable cutting application. There are three fundamental kinds of blades: Usuba, Deba, and Yanagiba. We’ll save the details of every blade type for another article. In conclusion, the evolution of Japanese blades is essential in understanding the knives we have today and how they might continue to evolve and change. 

Present Day Knives 

Present day knives are made with a wide scope of materials including iron, steel, titanium, bronze, and copper. Normally they have either a collapsing or fixed-blade. Knives have developed through the years with many different styles coming out of different countries and cultures. Are you searching for a high-quality culinary knife? Look no further than the tactical kitchen knives at DFACKTO. Our knives are made from high-carbon stainless steel and designed to be used in the kitchen or by the campfire. Shop DFACTO today.