Know Your Knives

What You Need to Know About Sheepsfoot Knives, and One to Buy Now


September 21, 2019 Deals By

There’s a reason why knife blades come in various shapes — intended use is the primary one. Take Au Sabot’s L’Armor, a folding pocket knife with a somewhat blunted tip, for example. That shape is called a Sheepsfoot, not only because it resembles, in a way, an ovine hoof, but also because it’s a shape that has historically been used for farm work.

Au Sabot’s sheepsfoot knife references sailors though, not shepherds — specifically, 19th Century sailors embarking from England with a similar looking tool called The London. Characterized by a straight cutting edge and a spine that curves down to meet it at the point, sheepsfoot blades were ideal for seamen because the wide angle of the point helps prevent accidental puncture while, say, working on rigging while floating on an undulating ocean. The flat edge is ideal for slicing and straightforward cutting tasks. Sheepsfoot knives are practical by design, a fact that hasn’t changed in over two hundred years — today, the shape is often favored by emergency response teams.

Au Sabot’s L’Armor pocket knife still has that function at its heart, but it adds an appropriate amount of flair too. The four-inch blade is made of Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel, a well-rounded Swedish steel known for its hardness and toughness (it’s often used to make ice skate blades) and is available with handles made of palo santo and olive. Both are currently available at Huckberry at a 50 percent discount.

Gear Patrol also recommends:
Gerber Sharkbelly ($39)
CRKT Pilar ($28)
Spyderco Techno 2 ($215)

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