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Seki City, Japan - City of Swords

For 800 years, the center of Japanese sword making has been located in almost the exact center of the main island of Japan. Seki City of Gifu Prefecture, about half way between Tokyo and Osaka, was blessed with local sources of iron sand and plenty of timber for charcoal.

The swords of Seki City have been highly valued from about 1200 AD until the present. The Japanese Katana, unknown to the west until about 1860, had by the 1920s grown a reputation of mythic proportions. It was widely believed that a Japanese Warrior of sufficient strength could, with a single blow, cut a machine gun barrel in half. It is true that Japanese swordsmanship was very advanced by the mid 19th Century, largely due to the suppression of firearms in Japan until that time. But the Samurai focus on the importance of the sword also had a major impact.

Today the katana is so highly prized that, while still made in Seki City, it is also made in Spain, Taiwan and Red China, as well as by makers of handmade swords all over the World.



A sword with a slightly curved blade, single edge with a short back edge, most often a sword for use mounted.


Sabre Ground

Blades ground half to two thirds from the edge to the back and the top front third of the blade with a strong false edge or swedge.



Large folder with the butt very swollen, usually a trapper.


Sailor's Antique Knife

Large curved handle with a very blunt blade, could cut but not stab.


Sailor's Knife, Modern

Has a marlin spike and a cutting blade.



A very large, elk sized deer in India and S.E. Asia; the antler is used for knife handles and is commonly called stag or India stag.


Sandvik 12C27

Tool steel made in Sweden, Swedish steel has always been a premium steel for tools because the iron ore is very clean, that is to say it has very little Sulphur (S) or Phosphorus (P) in it. 0.6% Carbon (C), 0.35% Manganese (Mn), 14.0% Chromium (Cr), 0.40% Silicon (Si). Working hardness Range of 54-61 HRC. Knives are typically 57-59 HRC.


Sandvik 12C27MOD

Sandvik 12C27Mod is a martensitic stainless chromium steel developed for the manufacture of kitchen tools with high wear and corrosion resistance properties. After heat treatment the steel grade is characterized by high hardness with very good wear and corrosion resistance. Sandvik 12C27Mod is used mainly for kitchen tools, such as different types of knives and scissors, which need to tolerate dishwashing. Carbon-0.52%, Manganese-0.60%, Chromium-14.50%


Sandvik 14C28N

Sandvik 14C28N is the latest development in Sandvik's knife steel line up. It is a very fine grain steel. It was originally developed for Kershaw/KAI Cutlery, but has since expanded throughout the knife market. It is capable of higher hardnesses than the previoius 12C27 and Mods. It offers a good combination of corrosion resistance, edge stability, and wear resistance. 14C28N is capable of fineblanking, allowing manufacturers to produce blades in quantity and bring the price down. It is capable of a very fine edge.

0.62% Carbon (C), 14.0% Chromium (Cr), 0.11% Nitrogen (N), 0.20% Silicon (Si), a maximum of 0.025% Phosphorus (P), and a max of 0.010% Sulphur (S). It has a working hardness of 55-62 HRC, but knives typically stay around 57-60 HRC.


Satin Finish

A finish that is not mirror polished; the lines from the fine abrasive gives a satin appearance.


Scagel, William

In the 1960s and 1970s, Bill Scagel was virtually unknown to most of America's growing leigons of knife collectors. But Scagel has become a household word to knife collectors today. He was the first truly great knifemaker of the 20th century. It was a Scagel knife that inspired Randall to begin his knifemaking career and it was a handful of Scagel knives in the Randall Musuem that led collectors to begin searching out knives by this great pioneer. Most of Scagel's production is still out there in old trunks and gun cases, as "Granddad's old hunting knife".

In his book, For Knife Lovers Only, Harry McEvoy said "During his 90 years, Bill Scagel produced more real treasures in cutlery than most other knife crafters, before or since. His hunting knives enjoyed such a fabulous reputation that hunters literally beat a path to his door over a period of some 50 years to purchase,... those beautiful, functional, handcrafted Scagel blades."



To knife people the word scale refers to the handle parts on each side of a full tang hunting knife or the parts on the sides of a pocket knife or folder.


Scout Knife

Spearpoint blade, caplifter/screwdriver, can opener, leather bunch bail.



One who performs the art of scrimshaw.



Using a needle or knife point to scratch or cut designs on whalebone or ivory. Sailors on whaling ships made it popular in this country and it has been popular with knife people since the mid 1960s.



The knife or sword of the Saxon peoples.



The sword of the Masai of East Africa, much wider near the point.



Even end pen knife-- for a few years after WWII called the Eisenhauer



Can be swell end or even end or shallow as the premium.



The serrations may vary from saw teeth to wide scallops in the edge; helps in the cutting of seat-belts and plastic rope.


Sgain Dubh

A small single edged knife with no guard that the Scots often carried in the stocking or the armpit.



The sabre of the Persian, the name probably led to the word Scimitar we use for all of the deeply curved eastern sabers.



The sword of the Cossacks. straight or slightly curved without a guard.


Sheepfoot Blade

Has a straight edge with the back of the blade falling in a strong curve to the point of the blade.



see Escutcheon


SK-85 (AKA SK5)

SK-85 is the new JIS name for SK-5. It is a Japanese high-carbon water hardening non-stainless tool steel somewhat comparable to 1085 carbon steel. It's AISI name is W108 steel. It is used in knives, springs, machetes, axes/hatches and other cutting instruments and tools. Its performance  and application can vary quite a bit depending on the heat treatment.
0.80-0.90 Carbon (C), 0.00-0.30 Chromium (Cr), 0.10-0.50 Manganese (Mn), 0.00-0.25 Nickel (Ni), 0.10-0.25 Silicon (Si), 0.00-0.25 Copper (Cu), 0.03 Phosphorus (P), 0.003 Sulfur (S).


The principle element in the new man made rust preventatives.



Larger at one end like a small ironing board



Sleipner is a product of Bohler Uddeholm, and according to them it is a variation of the D-2 Tool steel. It has improved toughness compared to D2, and isn't as likely to chip. Like D-2, it has excellent edge retention, and is easily machined. Can obtain 60-64 HRC.
0.90% Carbon (C), 7.80% Chromium (Cr), 2.50% Molybdenum (Mo), 0.50% Manganese (Mn), 0.50% Vanadium (V), 0.90% Silicon (Si). 

Slim Jack

Not as wide as a standard jack.


Slip Joint

Slip Joint Article

A term that is used for ordinary folding knives that do not lock.


Small Sword

The rapier evolved into the Small Sword and it remained in this form from the end of the 17th century until men no longer wore swords as part of their daily dress. It was still worn as part of diplomatic dress as late as the 1940s.


Smoker's knife

Either cigar or pipe-- For pipe, a tamper, stem cleaner, bowl scraper.



Today some call the serpentine so, incorrectly.



Material layered between the handle material and the hilt or guard of the knife. Generally of contrasting color.



See Artist's knife, has a small flexible spatula for a blade.


Spear Point Blade

The edge and the back of the blade curve to each other and meet in the middle.


Spey Blade

Blade intended for the castration of livestock. The cutting edge curves up strongly to meet a very minor clip. Most often found in Stock knives or Cattleman's knives.


Spey Knife

Two blades, a large spey and a hook that cuts.


Sportsman's Knife

From the 1800s, saw cutting blade, awl, punch, button hook, etc.


Spring Steel

Any tool steel that will remain flexible when properly heat treated.



A specialty knife company formed by Sal Glasser about 1978, introducing the concept of an easily opened knife clipped to the top of the trouser pocket. His patent on a round hole in a hump on top of the blade has made his company a huge success.



Deer antler, generally from one of two deer native to India and S.E. Asia; the Sambar and the Chitel. Recently and historically the antler of American white-tail and mule deer.


Stainless Steel

The only stainless that will not rust is used in sinks and hospital fittings. Any stainless that will hold an edge will be subject to humidity, salt and acid fluids. (Stainless means just that when applied to knives, It stains less).


Standard Trapper

Two blades same end long spey, clip. Curved regular jack with swell center, open side only.



A dagger with a slim blade intended for stabbing.


Stockman (Stock Knife)

Three bladed knife with clip main blade, sheepfoot blade and spay blade.

The Stockman or Stock Knife is a serpentine shaped double end pocketknife that typically has two springs and three blades. Introduced around 1890 as a less bulky and a little bit dressier version of a cattle knife. Designed as a rancher's pattern, it was first marketed in the west. The master blade of a stockman is traditionally some type of clip point, the second usually a spey and the remaining blade can be a pen, a sheepfoot or a harness punch. A typical stockman is made in one of two basic shapes, square end or round end.


Straight back

The spine, or back, of the blade is straight. This blade shape has a little bit of belly, making it a good slicer useful for skinning or for bushcraft. 


Sub Hilt

A second hilt behind the index finger on the lower edge of a fighting knife handle; another R. W. Loveless design feature.



Improves machinability when added in minute quantities. Expressed as S.


Surveyor (handle shape)

Round end, swell center open side only.



Curved jack with a much smaller blade end.



A bevel grind on the edge of the back of a blade. If it were sharp it would not be a swedge but would be a False Edge.

Swell Center

See Coke Bottle. Can have swell both open and closed sides, or both.


Swell End

The butt is larger than the blade end.


Swing Guard

Knife with a guard that folds out as the knife is opened.