Blade
Overview
 
A blade is that portion of a tool
Tool
A tool is a device that can be used to produce an item or achieve a task, but that is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such...

, weapon
Weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

, or machine
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

 with a cutting edge and/or a pointed tip that is designed to cut and/or puncture, stab, slash, chop, slice, thrust, or scrape animate or inanimate surfaces or materials. A blade may be made from a flaking stone, such as flint
Flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

, metal (usually steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

), ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

, or other material.
Blades are used for utility purposes (food preparation, craftwork, outdoors sport, etc.) and for combat.

When used for food preparation, the main uses are slicing (cutting by drawing the blade across the object, applying light pressure) and chopping (cutting by pushing the blade through object), with some piercing (using the tip to cut through the surface).

In combat, a blade may be used to slash (i.e.
Quotations

Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill.

You better wake up. The world you live in is just a sugar-coated topping. There is another world beneath it - the real world. And if you want to survive it, you better [shouts] learn to pull the trigger!

Say what you want, but I promise you, you will be dead by dawn.

Motherfucker, are you outta yo damn mind?!? [said while cops shoot at HIM after a charred vampire just escaped a hospital]

When you understand the nature of a thing, you know what it's capable of.

You know, my mother used to say: A cold heart is a dead heart.

You may wake up one day and find yourself extinct.

Tonight, the age of man comes to an end.

I need twelve volunteers.

Encyclopedia
A blade is that portion of a tool
Tool
A tool is a device that can be used to produce an item or achieve a task, but that is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such...

, weapon
Weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

, or machine
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

 with a cutting edge and/or a pointed tip that is designed to cut and/or puncture, stab, slash, chop, slice, thrust, or scrape animate or inanimate surfaces or materials. A blade may be made from a flaking stone, such as flint
Flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

, metal (usually steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

), ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

, or other material.

Uses

Blades are used for utility purposes (food preparation, craftwork, outdoors sport, etc.) and for combat.

When used for food preparation, the main uses are slicing (cutting by drawing the blade across the object, applying light pressure) and chopping (cutting by pushing the blade through object), with some piercing (using the tip to cut through the surface).

In combat, a blade may be used to slash (i.e. to cut with the edge, generally in a swinging motion), puncture or stab (the blade is plunged into the opponent, starting with the tip and proceeding as the blade enters more deeply), thrown (i.e. by throwing the knife so the point enters the target) or propelled (i.e. a ballistic knife
Ballistic knife
A ballistic knife is a specialized combat knife with a detachable gas- or spring-propelled blade that can be fired to a distance of several feet or meters by pressing a trigger or switch on the handle.-History and usage:...

).

Blades may be used to scrape, moving the blade sideways across a surface, as in an ink eraser, rather than along or through a surface.

Physics

The ability of a blade to cut arises from the concentration of the force
Force
In physics, a force is any influence that causes an object to undergo a change in speed, a change in direction, or a change in shape. In other words, a force is that which can cause an object with mass to change its velocity , i.e., to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform...

 applied to the blade onto a very small area
Area
Area is a quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional surface or shape in the plane. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat...

, resulting in a high pressure
Pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

 on the matter to be penetrated.

A serrated blade
Serrated blade
A serrated blade is a type of blade used on saws and on some knives or scissors. It is also known as a dentated, sawtooth, or toothed blade.A serrated blade has a cutting edge that has many small points of contact with the material being cut...

 (a blade which has many small "teeth") takes this further as each individual tooth concentrates the force on a smaller area which helps cut through denser materials. A jagged knife can cut through objects solely with a sliding motion with little pushing force, this is useful, for example, in bread knives. Some bladed weapons (and tools) have curved blades.

As a rule the blade must be made of a substance which is harder than (or as hard as) the material it is intended to cut. If this is not the case the blade will either be unable to cut (as it absorbs all the energy and is damaged) or will wear away very quickly (if it is hard enough to transfer enough of the energy to damage the material). The material must also be tough
Toughness
In materials science and metallurgy, toughness is the ability of a material to absorb energy and plastically deform without fracturing; Material toughness is defined as the amount of energy per volume that a material can absorb before rupturing...

 enough to last (e.g. glass is very hard but it shatters
Brittle
A material is brittle if, when subjected to stress, it breaks without significant deformation . Brittle materials absorb relatively little energy prior to fracture, even those of high strength. Breaking is often accompanied by a snapping sound. Brittle materials include most ceramics and glasses ...

 easily and thus is not very effective as a material for a blade).

Heat treatment
Heat treatment
Heat treating is a group of industrial and metalworking processes used to alter the physical, and sometimes chemical, properties of a material. The most common application is metallurgical. Heat treatments are also used in the manufacture of many other materials, such as glass...

s, which increase hardness for better edge-holding, reduce the material's toughness. A balance must be found between the sharpness and how well it can last. Methods that can circumvent this include differential hardening
Differential hardening
Differential hardening is a method used in forging swords and knives to increase the hardness of the edge without making the whole blade brittle. To achieve this, the edge is cooled more rapidly than the spine by adding a heat insulator to the spine before quenching. Clay or another material is...

. This gives an edge that can hold its sharpness and a body that is tough.

Geometry

An ideal blade would come to a perfect edge —not at all rounded— but that says nothing of the angle of that edge. The ideal angle is a function of the material being cut. For example, a tool bit
Tool bit
The term tool bit generally refers to a non-rotary cutting tool used in metal lathes, shapers, and planers. Such cutters are also often referred to by the set-phrase name of single-point cutting tool. The cutting edge is ground to suit a particular machining operation and may be resharpened or...

 for cutting metal may have nearly a 90° edge; it would probably not even be considered a blade. With very rigid materials such as metal, cutting deep into a piece with a blade would be impossible so deep cutting is done with a saw
Saw
A saw is a tool that uses a hard blade or wire with an abrasive edge to cut through softer materials. The cutting edge of a saw is either a serrated blade or an abrasive...

 or grinder which provides kerf
Kerf
Kerf and similar can mean:* kerf, the width of a cut* Kerf, a poetry collection by Peter Sanger* Kerala E.N.T. Research Foundation , a hospital at Kollam in Kerala in India...

 through which the cutting device can pass. With less-rigid materials such as a butternut squash
Butternut squash
Butternut squash , also known in Australia and New Zealand as butternut pumpkin, is a type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It grows on...

, an acute blade prevents the blade from being pinched by the material. When cutting biomaterials such as tomatoes (which tend to have a low elastic modulus
Elastic modulus
An elastic modulus, or modulus of elasticity, is the mathematical description of an object or substance's tendency to be deformed elastically when a force is applied to it...

 but high yield strain
Yield (engineering)
The yield strength or yield point of a material is defined in engineering and materials science as the stress at which a material begins to deform plastically. Prior to the yield point the material will deform elastically and will return to its original shape when the applied stress is removed...

), the angle of the blade is less important since the material will bend, but the sharpness of the edge is important because if too much force is required, the material will be squashed rather than cut (or alternatively a serrated blade could be used).

Material

Material for weapon blades has to be selected to achieve a balance between hardness and toughness and the balance is dependent upon the intended use of a blade. In antiquity, the main metal used was copper, then of bronze and later iron. Perhaps the most well known is pattern welding
Pattern welding
Pattern welding is the practice in sword and knife making of forming a blade of several metal pieces of differing composition that are forge-welded together and twisted and manipulated to form a pattern. Often called Damascus steel, blades forged in this manner often display bands of slightly...

, a technique used for katanas (samurai swords) and blades made to resemble damascus steel blades. This was a very labor-intensive technique - and thus such swords were very expensive.

Techniques may also be employed to make the blade stronger or harder. Copper and bronze can be "work-hardened" by simply hitting the blade with a hammer while it is cold. Blades made of steel with a high enough carbon content (greater than 0.2%) can be heat-treated by heating the steel up to a critical point (most simple carbon alloys become non-magnetic slightly below that point), then quenching it with forced air, oil, or water depending on the steel. Quenching puts an enormous amount of stress on the metal, and often a sword would break into pieces during that step. If the sword survived heat-treating, it would be tempered by heating it to a relatively low temperature for an extended period of time. The tempering process would make it slightly softer, but also tougher and "springier", and thus less likely to break or chip during everyday usage.

Case hardening is a process of increasing the carbon content at the surface of very low carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

 steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

. It is done by placing the object to be hardened in a sealed container along with carbon-containing material; in antiquity, this material was usually horn or hide. The container would then be heated until it was glowing red, and held at that temperature for a while, based on the size of the part being hardened, allowing carbon to penetrate the steel by a few thousandths of a centimeter. At that point, the object would be dumped out of the container into a water bath to quench it, resulting in a very hard surface, but completely unhardened core. There is very little evidence of this having ever been done to swords except, perhaps, the very earliest of iron blades. Due to the inherent weakness of a sword's cutting edge, coupled with the high-impact stresses of combat, such a thin hardened surface over a soft core would provide very little advantage in terms of edge-holding, other than mild wear resistance.

Another important aspect of many blades are so-called "fullers". Despite popular belief, fuller
Fuller (weapon)
A fuller is a rounded or beveled groove or slot in the flat side of a blade . A fuller is often used to lighten the blade, much in the way that an I-beam shape allows a given amount of strength to be achieved with less material...

s were not "blood grooves" that facilitated quicker bleeding of the victim and easier removal after insertion. Rather fullers helped to make a blade stronger and more durable at the core by giving it an I beam cross section, thus reducing the amount of steel needed to keep the spine stiff. This was very important in ancient times when high quality steel was more labor intensive to make, smiths would scrape the fuller with a U shaped tool before hardening and reuse the scraps. Modern day fullers are made by positioning a heated blade over a bottom fuller (metalworking)
Fuller (metalworking)
In metalworking, a fuller is a tool used to form metal when hot. The fuller has a rounded, either cylindrical or parabolic, nose, and may either have a handle or a shank . The shank of the lower fuller allows the fuller to be inserted into the hardy hole of the anvil...

, setting a like sized top fuller on the top side of the sword, and hitting the top fuller with a hammer
Hammer
A hammer is a tool meant to deliver an impact to an object. The most common uses are for driving nails, fitting parts, forging metal and breaking up objects. Hammers are often designed for a specific purpose, and vary widely in their shape and structure. The usual features are a handle and a head,...

.

The most common materials used nowadays are carbon and stainless steel
Stainless steel
In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass....

s, though anything that is fairly hard can be used. This has led to exotic blade materials being used in the past, such as obsidian
Obsidian
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock.It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth...

, flint
Flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

 and bone
Bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

. Joining them now are types such as synthetic sapphire, zirconium dioxide
Zirconium dioxide
Zirconium dioxide , sometimes known as zirconia , is a white crystalline oxide of zirconium. Its most naturally occurring form, with a monoclinic crystalline structure, is the rare mineral baddeleyite. The high temperature cubic crystalline form is rarely found in nature as mineral tazheranite O2...

 and even very hard plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

s.

Dulling

Blades dull with use and abuse. This is particularly true of acute blades and those made of soft materials. Dulling usually occurs due to contact between the blade and a harder substance such as a ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

, stone or a tougher metal. To a first approximation, a harder material cannot be deformed by a softer material at their interface because the stress
Stress (physics)
In continuum mechanics, stress is a measure of the internal forces acting within a deformable body. Quantitatively, it is a measure of the average force per unit area of a surface within the body on which internal forces act. These internal forces are a reaction to external forces applied on the body...

 on both materials is the same at the interface and so the softer material will yield first. One exception to this is when the highest stress is not at the contact point; this is why a steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 paper clip
Paper Clip
"Paper Clip" is a 1995 episode of The X-Files television series. It was the second episode broadcast in the show's third season. Paper Clip concludes the story regarding the agents' possession of a digital tape containing government secrets on extraterrestrials.- Plot :Continuing from the previous...

 can easily be bent even though the end of the same paper clip could scratch the skin.

Knife blade profiles (Patterns)

Some of the most common shapes are listed below.

(1) A normal blade has a curving edge, and straight back. A dull back lets the wielder use fingers to concentrate force; it also makes the knife heavy and strong for its size. The curve concentrates force on a smaller area, making cutting easier. This knife can chop as well as pick and slice. This is also the best single-edged blade shape for thrusting, as the edge cuts a swath that the entire width of the knife can pass through without the spine having to push aside any material on its path, as a sheepsfoot or drop-point knife would.

(2) A curved, trailing-point knife has a back edge that curves upward. This lets a lightweight knife have a larger curve on its edge. Such a knife is optimized for slicing or slashing. Trailing point blades provide a larger cutting area, or belly, and are common on skinning knives.

(3) A clip-point
Clip point
thumb|250px|A [[Bowie knife]] clearly showing the clip pointThe clip point is one of the three most common knife blade shapes used . Clip point blades have the appearance of having the forward third of the blade "clipped" off...

blade is like a normal blade with the back "clipped" or concavely formed to make the tip thinner and sharper. The back edge of the clip may have a false edge that could be sharpened to make a second edge. The sharp tip is useful as a pick, or for cutting in tight places. If the false edge is sharpened it increases the knife's effectiveness in piercing. The Bowie knife
Bowie knife
A Bowie knife is a pattern of fixed-blade fighting knife first popularized by Colonel James "Jim" Bowie in the early 19th Century. Since the first incarnation was created by James Black, the Bowie knife has come to incorporate several recognizable and characteristic design features, although its...

 has a clip point blade and clip-points are common on pocket knives and other folding knives.

(4) A drop point
Drop point
Drop point is a knife blade that slopes on the spine of the blade from the handle of the knife to the tip of the blade. This allows the spine of the blade to continue forward to the tip of the blade....

blade has a convex curve of the back towards the point. It handles much like the clip-point, though with a stronger point less suitable for piercing. Swiss army pocket knives often have drop-points on their larger blades.

(5) A spear point blade is a symmetrically-shaped blade with a point aligned with the centerline of the blade's long axis. True spear-point blades are double-edged with a central spine, like a dagger or spear
Spear
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head.The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with bamboo spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, obsidian, iron, steel or...

 head. The spear point is one of the stronger blade point designs in terms of penetration stress, and is found on many thrusting knives such as the dagger. The term spear point is occasionally and confusingly used to describe small single-edged blades without a central spine, such as that of the pen knife, a small folding-blade pocket knife formerly used in sharpening quills for writing. Pen-knife may also nowadays refer to the blade pattern of some of larger pocket knife blades that would otherwise be termed drop-point designs. Some throwing knives may also have spear point blades, but these are commonly made without a spine, being only flat pieces of metal.

(6) A needle point blade has a sharply-tapered acuminated point. It is frequently found on thrusting weapons such as the stiletto
Stiletto
A stiletto is a knife or dagger with a long slender blade and needle-like point, intended primarily as a stabbing weapon. The stiletto blade's narrow cross-section and acuminated tip reduces friction upon entry, allowing the blade to penetrate deeply...

, and certain dagger
Dagger
A dagger is a fighting knife with a sharp point designed or capable of being used as a thrusting or stabbing weapon. The design dates to human prehistory, and daggers have been used throughout human experience to the modern day in close combat confrontations...

s such as the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife
Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife
The Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife is a double-edged fighting knife resembling a dagger or poignard with a foil grip developed by William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes in Shanghai based on concepts which the two men initiated before World War II while serving on the Shanghai Municipal...

. Its long, narrow point reduces friction and increases the blade's penetrative capabilities, but is liable to stick in bone and can break if abused. When the needle point is combined with a reinforced 'T' section running the length of the blade's spine, it is called a reinforced tip. One example of a knife with a reinforced tip is the pesh-kabz
Pesh-kabz
Pesh-kabz, Pesh-quabz, Pesh-kabj, or Pish-ghabz is the name of an Indo-Persian-Afghan knife used in Safavid Persia, Mughal India, and some nations of central Asia...

.

(7) A spey point blade (once used for neutering livestock) has a single, sharp, straight edge that curves strongly upwards at the end to meet a short, dull, straight point from the dull back. With the curved end of the blade being closer to perpendicular to the blade's axis than other knives and lacking a point, making penetration unlikely, spey blades were common on Trapper style pocketknives for skinning fur-bearing animals.

(8) A Kamasu Kissaki, often referred to as a "Americanized tanto" but actually a Japanese design tip which went out of use in the 15th century, has a somewhat chisel-like point that is thick towards the point (being close to the spine) and is thus quite strong. It is superficially similar to the points on most Japanese long and short swords (katana
Katana
A Japanese sword, or , is one of the traditional bladed weapons of Japan. There are several types of Japanese swords, according to size, field of application and method of manufacture.-Description:...

 and wakizashi
Wakizashi
The is one of the traditional Japanese swords worn by the samurai class in feudal Japan.-Description:...

). The traditional Japanese tantō
Tanto
A is one of the traditional Japanese swords that were worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The tantō dates to the Heian period, when it was mainly used as a weapon but evolved in design over the years to become more ornate...

 knife uses the blade geometry of (1). The Kamasu Kissaki is often straight but may also be gently curved. The point is actually a second edge on the end of the blade, with a total edge angle of 60 – 80 degrees. Some varieties may have the back edge angled to the point slightly and sharpened for a short distance from the point.

(9) A sheepsfoot blade has a straight edge and a straight dull back that curves towards the edge at the end. It gives the most control, because the dull back edge is made to be held by fingers. Sheepsfoot blades were originally made to trim the hooves of sheep. Their shape bears no similarity to the foot of a sheep.

(10) A Wharncliffe blade is similar in profile to a sheep's foot but the curve of the back edge starts closer to the handle and is more gradual. Its blade is much thicker than a knife of comparable size. Wharncliffes were used by sailors, as the shape of the tip prevented accidental penetration of the work or the user's hand with the sudden motion of a ship.

(11 is the same as 12) An ulu
Ulu
An ulu is an all-purpose knife traditionally used by Eskimo women, both Yupik and Inuit. It is utilized in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child's hair, cutting food and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo...

(Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 woman's knife) knife is a sharpened segment of a circle. This blade type has no point, and has a handle in the middle. It is good for scraping, and sometimes chopping. The semi-circular version appears elsewhere in the world and is called a head knife. It is used in leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

working both to scrape down leather (reducing thickness), and to make precise, rolling cuts for shapes other than straight lines. {12) is a popular tool for slicing pizza
Pizza
Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria"...

s. One corner is placed at the edge of the pizza and the blade is rolled across in a diameter cut.

Not pictured is the undulating style found on items like the kris
Kris
The kris or keris is an asymmetrical dagger or sword nowadays most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia, but also indigenous to Malaysia, Southern Thailand and Brunei. It is known as kalis in the southern Philippines. The kris is famous for its distinctive wavy blade , but many have...

 or flame-bladed sword. These blades have a distinct recurved blade form and are sharpened on both sides, typically tapering to (or close to) a symmetrical point.

Sword Patterns

Sword
Sword
A sword is a bladed weapon used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration...

s may have either a straight blade or a curved one. A straight sword was thought to be primarily intended for hacking and stabbing, yet recent studies have shown this to be untrue, as many slicing techniques were used. The difference between a hacking cut and a slashing one is essentially the same as the difference between using a butcher's
Butcher
A butcher is a person who may slaughter animals, dress their flesh, sell their meat or any combination of these three tasks. They may prepare standard cuts of meat, poultry, fish and shellfish for sale in retail or wholesale food establishments...

 knife and a chef's
Chef
A chef is a person who cooks professionally for other people. Although over time the term has come to describe any person who cooks for a living, traditionally it refers to a highly skilled professional who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation.-Etymology:The word "chef" is borrowed ...

 knife; one forces an edge straight into a material while the other is pulled along the material to get more of a slicing action. Hacking cuts were usually followed by a slicing action, where the sword is drawn backwards to maximize the cut. For more information see Western Martial Arts
Western Martial Arts
Western Martial Arts refers to formalized fighting techniques and skills of European or generally Western origin, as distinct from those originating in Asia....

 or kenjutsu
Kenjutsu
, meaning "the method, or technique, of the sword." This is opposed to kendo, which means the way of the sword. Kenjutsu is the umbrella term for all traditional schools of Japanese swordsmanship, in particular those that predate the Meiji Restoration...

.

Some variations included
  • the flame blade (undulated blade, for both psychological effect and some tactical advantage of using a non-standard blade: vibrations and easier parry)
  • the colichemarde
    Colichemarde
    Colichemarde is a type of small sword blade that was popular from the late 17th century to the middle 18th century.-Overview:The small sword is considered to be a descendant of the "transition rapier", which itself evolved from the rapier due to the demand for a lighter sword better suited to...

    , found in smallsword

The #4 picture showing the drop point silhouette is upside down.

Marks and decoration

Blades are sometimes marked or inscribed, for decorative purposes, or with the mark of either the maker or the owner. Blade decorations are often realized in inlay
Inlay
Inlay is a decorative technique of inserting pieces of contrasting, often coloured materials into depressions in a base object to form patterns or pictures that normally are flush with the matrix. In a wood matrix, inlays commonly use wood veneers, but other materials like shells, mother-of-pearl,...

 in some precious metal (gold or silver).

Early blade inscriptions are known from the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, a Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 sword found at Hattusa
Hattusa
Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River ....

 bears an inscription chiseled into the bronze, stating that the blade was deposited as an offering to the storm-god by king Tuthaliya.
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