Last updated on February 7th, 2024
When To Use The Serrated Edge On A Survival Knife?
While going on an adventure or packing your emergency kit, it is advisable to carry your survival knife. While some prefer to use a plain-edged knife as a survival knife, others prefer a serrated knife. The key factors that differentiate between both knives are the design and model.
As the name suggests, a plain edge knife has one of the sides of its edge plain, whereas, a serrated edge knife, has one of its edges jagged. This end is not smooth; rather it’s rugged and irregular.
A serrated knife is usually employed to cut through harder materials.
Purposes Of A Serrated Edge On A Survival Knife
As different knives serve different purposes, both knives are helpful in various kinds of cuts. The way we cut an object is of two types broadly:
- Push cut- In this method of cutting, the edge of the knife is pushed through the object to be cut. A few of the examples of push cuts that we come across in our day-to-day activities are peeling an apple, shaving, chopping wood, trimming nails, etc. Plain-edge knives are usually employed for push cuts. They give clean cuts, high accuracy, and extreme control, regardless of push cuts or sliced cuts.
- Slice cut- The cutting is usually done by dragging the edges of the knives across the object to be cut. Slicing tomatoes or meat is a few examples. Sawing and slicing come under these cuts. Serrated knives are used to cut tough surfaces and are employed for sliced cuts.
Serrated knives are used to grip the surfaces of the objects being cut. This provides rigidity and control as the serrated edges meet the objects initially and the pressure per area increases at these points. As serrated knives have chisel ground, they possess greater slicing abilities and thinner edges.
Knowing that both plain-edge knife and serrated knife have their advantages, one tends to ponder which knife is potentially the better survival knife. A survival knife can save your life if used properly, or it could be hazardous, otherwise. The knife has to be kept clean and sharp at all times as it can cause infections, otherwise, when used.
It is also important to note that the knife should not be moved in erratic manners. The default blade length must be around four to six inches. A shorter blade provides you with more flexibility to do small tasks, whereas a longer blade gives durability and more power.
A good survival knife must possess the following qualities:
- Fixed blade
- Blade thickness of about 0.125-0.25 inches.
- Full Tang
- Useful sheath
- Lanyard hole
- Decorative Milling
- Survival but not tactical
A serrated knife is very helpful in tearing through any thick rope, dressing animals, cutting through hard surfaces, etc. They also cut through synthetic fibers and nylon webbings easily. A serrated knife is quite intimidating and is preferred by many as a primary defense. Hence, many people consider the serrated knife fit for the job of a survival knife.
Serrations can also be of various types like shallow and wide like Ontario Tak-1 or narrow and pointy like Booker plus Steel Mariner. Each one is used for different purposes, yet their essence remains the same. A serrated knife can be used in the following ways for survival:
In the wilderness environment, it might seem that a simple pocket knife is sufficient for basic food-gathering tasks, but a serrated knife can come in handy while hunting or creating more hunting tools by cutting and sharpening through them.
Without proper shelter, a person is prone to dying faster out in the wild. A rugged knife can be used to cut saplings, and limbs and strip barks. In the absence of ropes or strings, one can cut through the fibers of plants to extract cordage useful for the construction of a shelter. This is usually employed by a serrated edge knife.
A serrated edge knife with its rugged properties can come in handy while gathering wood and making a fire. Fire-building tools can also be constructed with a serrated knife.
A knife is used for making a small incision, cutting through bandages, and making slings.
NAVIGATION AND TRANSPORT
For navigation purposes, a few knives are specially built with mini compasses in them. While crossing through a water body, a knife is especially used in building watercraft.
The benefits of a serrated knife are:
- These knives require less maintenance as compared to plain-edge knives.
- The serrated edges stay sharp for a longer time, so the sharpening of the knife need not be very frequent.
- These knives work best for downward cuts.
A serrated knife must always be sharpened to get the most out of it. Various tools are available for sharpening purposes-
- Oil stones: They can either be natural stones or abrasives like silicon carbide or aluminum oxides. Coarse stones can be helpful in quicker removal of material
- Water stones- They use water as a lubricant in the place of oil. They cut faster and are less expensive than oil stones.
- Diamond stones- They contain microscopic-level diamond crystals tightly bonded to the surface of steel plates.
- Ceramic stones- They can produce extremely sharp edges and are more expensive than oil stones. Their durability is quite high compared to oil stones.
A serrated knife is also known as a saw-toothed knife. With its cutting-edge properties, it has a smaller surface area compared to a smooth knife. In general, they are employed when the materials to be cut are tough and fibrous.
Most self-defense professionals prefer serrated-edged knives as they easily cut flesh compared to other knives. Cuts made by a serrated knife are more precise than the ones made by a smooth blade. Though it’s a matter of preference, both plain-edge and serrated knives come in handy at different times.
Why do combat knives have serrated edges?
Combat knives have serrated edges primarily to increase their functionality and versatility in the field. The serrated edges, unlike smooth blades, are specifically designed to cut through harder materials. They act like a saw, allowing the user to apply less force when cutting through tough or fibrous materials such as rope or bone.
In survival situations, these serrations can prove invaluable, facilitating tasks such as building shelters or processing food. Furthermore, the serrations on a combat knife also serve a tactical purpose. When used defensively, the serrated edge can inflict more damage than a straight-edged blade, making it a formidable tool in a combat scenario.
Why are rescue knives serrated?
Rescue knives have serrated edges primarily because of their superior cutting power. The serrated design allows the knife to cut through tough or fibrous materials more efficiently, which is critical in rescue situations where time is of the essence.
These knives are often used to cut through seat belts, ropes, or heavy clothing to free individuals in distress. The serrations on the knife also stay sharp longer than a straight-edged knife, making it more reliable and durable.
Hence, the rescue knives have serrated edges to ensure quick and efficient performance during critical rescue operations.
Is a tactical knife serrated?
A tactical knife is a versatile tool designed for a wide range of applications, including self-defense, outdoor survival, and everyday utility. One frequently asked question about tactical knives is: do tactical knives have serrated edges? The answer is, that it depends on the specific model and intended use of the knife.
Some tactical knives feature a fully serrated edge, others may have a partially serrated edge (also known as combo edge), and some come with a plain edge. Serrated edges are excellent for cutting through tough materials like rope or branches, thus, making them an integral part of the knife’s functionality in certain situations.
However, they can be harder to sharpen than plain edges. Consequently, the choice between serrated and non-serrated tactical knives largely depends on the user’s preference and required tasks.
What is the difference between a serrated knife and a carving knife?
The key difference between a serrated knife and a carving knife lies in its design, intended use, and cutting technique. A serrated knife, characterized by its saw-like edge, is designed to cut through soft or tough foods without damaging their interiors.
It’s excellent for slicing bread, tomatoes, or other foods with a hard exterior and soft interior. On the other hand, a carving knife, with its long and thin straight blade, is primarily used for slicing thin cuts of meat. This knife provides precise control and makes cleaner cuts compared to a serrated knife.
Therefore, the difference between a serrated knife and a carving knife is based on their specific culinary uses and design features.
Understanding when to use the serrated edge on a survival knife is crucial for anyone venturing into the outdoors. The serrated edge of a survival knife is primarily designed for tasks that require aggressive cutting, sawing, or ripping through materials. It is particularly effective when dealing with fibrous materials like ropes, branches, or animal hides.
The serrated edge works by applying pressure on the points of the serration which pierces through the material, and then the gullets (spaces between the points) saw through it as the knife is pushed or pulled. This makes the serrated edge an excellent choice for cutting through hard exterior and soft interior materials such as wood or bone.
However, they are not suitable for tasks requiring precision or clean cuts like skinning games or slicing food, where a plain edge would be more appropriate.
In conclusion, understanding when to use the serrated edge on a survival knife can significantly enhance your efficiency and safety in survival situations. Knowledge of its specific uses can help you leverage its benefits while avoiding potential drawbacks.