Today's knife marketplace is overflowing with options when it comes to knife design. Some elements are pure gimmick, while others --although traditional-- are so task-specific that they don't play much of a role in camp and daily carry knives.
Lists typically include hollow, flat, convex, scandi, sabre, chisel, compound, asymmetrical, & s-grind. For the purposes of camp and carry knives, we are going to focus on sabre, scandi, and flat -- the most common grinds for this role.
To determine which grind is right for you, we must first distinguish between these three grind styles. With each of these grind styles there is a sharpened cutting edge, and then one or two bevels or surface angles behind the edge. In the case of the scandi (also known as a zero sabre), the primary bevel and the sharpened edge are one in the same. Take a look at figure one, showing each of these grind styles and their typical bevels.
Notice that in figure one, the cutting edges are all at the same degree of bevel, but all have different angles within their respective secondary bevels above/behind that cutting edge.
Within the main grinds of sabre, scandi, and flat, there are variations that mainly consist of whether they are made with flat, hollow, or convex bevels. Using the bevel sub-category helps to discern between grind styles and bevel styles, which are typically lumped together, creating confusion.
To clarify this, take a look at figure two showing a sabre ground blade with flat, hollow, and convex bevels respectively. Figure two demonstrates that within one grind style --the sabre-- you can have multiple bevel styles.
Each of the grind and bevel choices informs overall cutting geometry. The angle of the sharpened cutting edge as well as the angle of the primary and secondary bevels translate to different points in the spectrum between keen cutting on one end and durability on the other end. Another primary factor in cutting ability is overall blade thickness. With all else being equal, the thinner the blade steel, the finer the cut.
To explore this particular issue more deeply, take a look at this article on how different grind angles can produce knives that have cutting characteristics that cross over between grind styles. It gets really difficult to claim that one grind style is better than another because of this.
Redroot blades produces knives with sabre and flat grinds, as well as our new favorite blade grind--the high, rounded sabre. This combines both the durability of the sabre grind with the keener/smoother cutting of the flat grind, making for an excellent overall camp and carry blade.
We then select blade thickness to match the primary task of each knife. We use 5/32" steel for heavy duty knives like the Dire Camp Builder and Western Kitchen Cleaver, 1/8" steel for mid-range blades, and the thinnest 3/32" steel for small carry blades, Bird & Trout knives, and Western paring knives.
Feel free to contact us if you have more specific questions!