Common Traditional Knife Patterns
Let’s take it back to the basics with some good, old-fashioned slip-joint knife configurations. If you want to speak your grandpa’s language (or actually figure out which knife will suit you best), you better get to know the difference between your trapper and your Texas toothpick. You’re welcome.
The stockman is a knife configuration traditionally used by ranchers. You’ll notice (from left to right) a spey blade, along with a sheepsfoot and a clip point blade.
You won’t get more than one guess to figure out how the canoe knife got its name, but take a look at the handle and we’re confident you can figure it out. It traditionally has a drop-point blade on each side.
The trapper knife packs two larger blades which hinge from the same side. The clip and spey blades were helpful for skinning hides.
This is one of the most common styles among the slip-joint knives. It traditionally has a small blade on one end (the pen blade, used for sharpening quills to write with) and either a larger drop-point blade or scissors on the other end.
A handle that curves slightly towards the end and has two blades characterizes the copperhead knife style. The two clip point blades make it extremely versatile, and popular among crowds such as soldiers in the mid-to-late 20th century.
Not to be mistaken for the trapper, the muskrat knife style has two blades (one from each end), but is also used for skinning small game. While some prefer having their second blade fold from the opposite end of the knife, everyone loves having a sharp backup for when the first just doesn’t cut it (ba-dum-CHHH).
Swayback knives were used to fix cotton looms, but are said to originate even earlier than mass production US cotton looms. They are unique in the slip-joint space; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a wharncliffe blade on many other classic slip-joints.
We have Buck to thank for decreasing finger mortality rates in the late 1960’s. Buck popularized locking knives around this time, but didn’t patent the design, so others caught on quickly.