Your survival skills and situational awareness are the essentials that will sustain you in an emergency, even in the worst-case one. However, another important point is having the survival gear that can significantly increase your survival chances. Do not forget about properly honed survival skills; also, remember that it is never too late to start developing them. So next time you go to the area of potential danger, pack your survival bag and learn how to set up your survival shelter to be able to withstand any economic collapse or off-the-grid situation. The way you keep your knives and other blades in good shape should also be considered. Thus you will always have a good weapon or an item of cookery ready for anything. Read on to learn more about the ways to grind those things.
To the point
Do you like camping? Or maybe you’re into preparedness and self-sufficiency? Either way, one thing you know for sure: you can’t do without a reliable knife. A high-quality bushcraft knife is something any survivalist or camping enthusiast needs. In this article, we will look at the world-known Scandinavian grind bushcraft knives. We will explore the history behind them, cover their pros and cons, and give you several options to choose from.
What is a Grind?
Before we start talking about Scandi grinds, let us answer one question for those who are not into knives and blades in the first place but are looking for their first bushcraft knife: What is a grind?
A grind is a way a blade is shaped. As you may guess, you achieve a certain grind for your knife by… grinding it. People have been grinding blades in different ways for centuries already. Certain grinds were used almost exclusively in certain regions of the planet. Some grinds are now more common. Some are considered exotic and quite rare.
Some grinds make blades stronger. In contrast, other types of grinds will make your knife sharper. Of course, some grinds would try to get the best of both worlds. So, as you can see, there is no way to actually tell that grind is the best and indispensable one – each grinding method has its pros and cons.
Besides, while many people would still argue on what grind is better, the truth is that the blade’s strength does not depend solely on the way it was ground. Instead, what makes any blade stronger is actually the width of the blade stock and the blade’s grind angle.
Types of Knife Grinds
There are six basic grinds for blades:
- Full hollow grind
- Full flat grind
- Sabre grind
- Chisel grind
- Convex grind
- Scandi grind (short for the Scandinavian grind, sometimes referred to as V-grind)
What is a Scandi Grind?
Scandi grind is one of the four most popular knife grinds. In a nutshell, a Scandi grind blade has the following features:
- A wide flat section of the blade
- No secondary edge bevel
- A zero grind (for stronger cutting edge)
A scandi-ground blade is easy to sharpen. Just drive it over the entire length of a sharpening stone to form a micro-edge bevel.
Scandi ground blades are gaining more popularity these days. They are frequently used for tactical knives and hunting knives. In addition, they fit such tasks as wood carving: making feather sticks and detail carving.
However, you would not find it too satisfying to use a Scandi grind for food preparation.
Food prep is not the same process as woodwork – it has different requirements for a knife. Scandi grind knives will drag through materials like root vegetables or meat, rather than cutting or slicing them no matter how sharp the knives are. So Canid grind knives are not the best choice for kitchen knives.
The History of Scandi Grind
As you can see from the name, the Scandi grind comes from Scandinavian history. Its ancestor is the Seax knife that Vikings used. In the older days, the people who inhabited the Scandinavian region used two main knives for various purposes.
Those were the Finnish Puukko and the Leuku knives:
- The Puukko is a small knife. Its blade’s width is of the palm of the hand. People used this knife for countless purposes, including wood carving, fish cleaning, etc. It was also used as a weapon.
- The Leuku is a larger knife that is best used for chopping. It was frequently used to replace an ax.
Traditionally, the Puukko knife had a Scandi-ground edge at an angle of 17-22 degrees. But the modern version of this knife has an angle of about 30 degrees. That is why today, you won’t be able to use a Scandi bushcraft knife for the same set of purposes as people used the Puukko in the past.
Today’s Scandi grind blades are stronger, but at the same time, they don’t seem to be as versatile as their Viking predecessors were. As a result, the cutting edge of a modern-day Scandi grind bushcraft knife is not the best option if you’re looking for a supreme slicer.
The Pros & Cons of Scandi Grind
Let’s sum up the strong and weak sides of Scandi grind knives to get an idea of what they are best for.
1) Scandis are extremely easy to sharpen. Sharpening a Scandi-ground edge is a task that requires little to no experience. Even if you’re new to knives, you will get your Scandi sharp with almost no effort. All you need to do is get the right angle and drive your Scandi all the way along with the sharpening device. Then, with enough skill, you can get your Scandi knife a razor-sharp edge.
2) Scandi grind is affordable. Unlike several other grind types, the Scandi grind is not that expensive. That is why there are so many Scanid grind knives on the market.
3) Even if a Scandi knife has a thin edge, its blade will still be strong.
These features make Scandi great for wood carving and other closely related tasks. Now, let’s look at the downsides of the Scandi grind.
1) Because of its wedge, the Scandi-ground blade gets stuck in deep cuts.
2) To sharpen the edge correctly, you will need to remove a significant amount of material from it. This means that the blade will get thinner with each sharpening.
3) Some Scandi grind blades may lack support which will result in easy damages.
A High-Quality Scandi Grind Bushcraft Knife?
There are many Scandi grind bushcraft knives out there. The options are virtually limitless. But for this guide, I chose this one:
Morakniv bushcraft knife is a Scandi grind knife made of carbon steel. It comes from a Swedish manufacturer that has been producing Scandi grind blades for more than a century. And this fact is something to be reckoned with.
This Scandi grind knife is perfect for camping and survival. It best suits prepping tinders, making feather sticks, and carving shelter stakes. While not much of a hunting tool, this is a good choice for camping enthusiasts.
- The product comes with an extremely sharp edge. However, over time, the edge will lose sharpness. So don’ forget to sharpen it from time to time to be sure that your Scandi is ready for action.
Other Grind Types
The sections below will describe other grind types. If you’re new to different grinds, our recommendation is to keep reading to find out more about different grinding techniques and the result they offer.
1 – Full Hollow Grind
A hollow grind is easy to tell. You will just need to see how it reflects the light. A hollow-ground blade will bend the reflection as you move it.
What sets a hollow grind apart from other grind types is that hollow-ground blades are better slicers. With such blades, you will be able to slice off many more materials than you would by using other knives.
A full hollow grind stretches from the cutting edge of a blade to its spine. If you need a visual representation of a hollow grind, look at the Black Widow Caper by A.G. Russel. This is a good enough example of a full hollow grind knife. We say “good enough” because – to be precise – this knife is not a 100% hollow grind.
If you take a closer look at the knife’s blade, you will see that grinding does not go all the way to the spine – there is still some part of the blade that is not ground.
Another example of a hollow grinding is a blade of a straight razor.
How do they make a hollow grind?
The hollow grind is quite popular. There are both production and handmade knives that use a hollow grind. However, making such knives may get expensive due to the production requirements – the manufacturer may need to change the diameter of a grinding wheel to relocate the saber line (for more info, check the saber grind below). Usually, such restrictions result in smaller blade sizes.
Hollow grind knives usually use thinner blades. This makes for easier grinding to get thinner a cutting edge.
This, in turn, has two opposing results:
- the blade gets weaker and can be damaged more easily (which is a bad thing, of course);
- a thinner edge makes for a better slicer than thicker cutting edges (which is a good thing if that’s what you are looking for).
The pros & cons
The main advantage of the hollow grind is such blades are easy to sharpen. See, when you sharpen a hollow-ground blade, it will remain as thin as when you first got it. So it does not matter how many times you sharpen your knife – its cutting edge will thin. You cannot expect such results with other grind types.
However, a hollow grind comes with a downside.
Hollow-ground blades are not too strong. This grind type leaves less material supporting the blade. As a result, it can chip or get some other kind of damage. Knife-makers don’t usually choose a hollow grind to make larger bushcraft knives like machetes.
Hollow-ground knives are slicers. That is why they are almost irreplaceable for skinning. Hollow-ground knives make amazing hunting knives.
2 – Full Flat Grind
A flat grind is a thicker type of grind. A blade is ground down from the spine to the cutting edge bevel leaving a straight inclination. This is opposite to the aforementioned hollow grind that leaves a deeper inclination on the blade’s belly, making it thinner.
Flat-ground knives are quite multi-task. Because this grinding method lets a knife-maker decide whether the blade will be thick or thin or will get the best of two options, flat-ground blades vary in designs and purposes.
Making a flat-ground blade
Usually, a falt-ground blade has a thick spine making it strong, and then gets thinner towards the cutting edge for better slicing. When grinding, excess material is removed from the blade’s bellies on a liner slope towards the primary bevel. This is necessary to create a knife that will smoothly move through the material when cutting or slicing. As a result, falt-ground knives are more durable than hollow-ground ones and cut better than knives made with saber grind blades. Because of their cutting properties, flat grinds make perfect kitchen knives.
Pros & cons
Regarding the strong and weak sides of full flat grind, it is actually a victim of its own design. Flat-ground blades are both strong and sharp, which is a good thing, but at the same time, they are not as strong as saber-ground blades and not as sharp as hollow-ground ones. So you may say that flat-ground blades are somewhere in between.
Being the balance of strength and perfect cutting properties, flat-ground blades are among the most blades on the market.
3 – Saber Grind
Next comes the saber grind. Its main feature is that the primary bevel does not occupy the blade entirely. It has a significant slope positioned somewhat at the middle of a blade’s belly. The line where the blade’s belly turns into the primary bevel is called a Saber line. Such blades can use either of the two grinding approaches: hollow grind or flat grind.
Pros & cons
Knife-makers choose saber grind to make a stronger edge. They will often use a thicker spine to make the knife’s blade weather hard use. For instance, you can easily chop with a saber-ground knife.
However, on the other hand, saber-ground knives are not nearly as good at basic slicing tasks as the previous two grinds.
One of the stronger grinds. But not a great slicer compared to other grinds.
A.G. Russel’s Randal Model 1 Fighter is a good example of a saber-ground knife.
4 – Chisel Grind
This is a type of grind that leaves one side of the edge intact. So you will have a blade that is only “half-ground,” having only one primary bevel. Another common feature for a chisel-ground blade is that it may not have a secondary bevel.
A good example of a chisel grind knife is Ka-Bar Becker Tac Tool (see the picture below).
This knife has a chisel-ground blade with a slight accent of a sabre grind. You can tell that because the blade has micro beveling – a bevel is placed every close to the edge. Whereas with a 100% chisel grinding, the bevel would go all the way up toward the blade’s stock.
How to make a chisel grind?
Chisel grinding is actually not a hard task. When grinding an edge, you don’t need to mind the other side of it. And that is the same reason that makes sharpening a chisel-ground blade easier than sharpening most knives that use other grinds.
By the way, since you don’t have to sharpen another side of a knife, you may use a sharpening stone to shape the knife at a thinner edge angle. This way, you will get yourself a neatly sharpened thin edge.
Pros & cons
Chisel blades are best used for cutting fish. This is convenient and safer than using other types of grinds. However, when it comes down to cutting other materials, chisel blades are not the best option. Because of their asymmetric design, they tend to slant towards the primary grind making uneven cuts.
You won’t find chisel knives to be excessively used. In fact, they are quite rare and are regarded as sort of specific tools.
5 – Convex Grind
Convex grind is a type of grind that you will find when using such outdoor knives as machetes. This type of grinding is also excessively used for axes. This makes this grinding the best option to make tools for chopping tasks. The blade weight and its widths make it strong and reliable. It’s immune to damages during hard use.
The distinctive feature of convex grind blades is that there is no bevel. However, sometimes a convex grind may use a micro bevel. As an example, it may be the result of resharpening.
To sharpen convex-ground blades, use the backward stroke method – check out sharpening stone options from A.G. Russel’s store.
Convex grind makes for great choppers like axes, but it’s less useful for other types of knives. However, that might be just my opinion as there are people who would disagree. However, I should note that you can grind a chopper using a wide-angle flat grinding.
Different grinds make for different knives that suit different purposes. In reality, you will hardly find a knife that will suit all the purposes at once. Therefore, your best option is to first think about how and where you will use your knife. Then and only then will you be able to go on with choosing proper grinding.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Scandi grind the best?
Scandi grind is a popular grind type, but it is in no way the best of grinds. This type of grinding has its advantages. For instance, a Scandi-ground edge is easy to sharpen. But at the same time, each new sharpening will damage the blade’s material, making it thinner each time you re-sharpen it. Plus, you can’t use a Scandi-ground edge for effective slicing or cutting because of a wide angle. They are only good for making swallow cuts.
What angle is a Scandi grind?
The Scandi grind’s angle is about 30 degrees. This is a good angle for an outdoor knife, but at the same time, this wide edge will not suit several tasks like slicing or cutting food. This angle is best used for chopping or making shallow cuts.
How to flat grind a knife?
Proper sharpening is something many people dread because it requires knowledge and experience to sharpen most edges with adequate results. To sharpen your flat-grounded edge, you will need to use a sharpening device. Such devices can operate automatically or manually. When sharpening the edge, try to keep it at a proper angle at all times. Otherwise, you may damage it.
How to convex grind a knife?
To make a convex edge, you will need a sharpening machine or a sharpening stone. The main difference is that with a sharpening machine, you will achieve faster results in a short time since it operates automatically, and all you need to do is to hold an edge at a right angle. On the other hand, you will have to sharpen a convex edge manually with a sharpening stone.