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Old 11-04-2005, 08:25 PM
Rocket_Jason Rocket_Jason is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: East Tawas, MI
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When does a knife become a sword?

Hi All-

This evening I had a friend as me, "At what point does a knife become classified as a sword?" I didn't have an answer for him other than taking into consideration the design of the item. Is there more to it than that? Is there a length at with a knife becomes a sword? Think of a really big dagger. I consider a dagger a knife, but are not some swords just really big daggers?

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Old 11-05-2005, 01:03 AM
Andries Olivier's Avatar
Andries Olivier Andries Olivier is offline
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Location: Lydenburg
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but are not some swords just really big daggers?


No, some big daggers are really short swords.
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Old 11-05-2005, 08:27 AM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nampa, Idaho
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Excellent question.

Some would say length is the primary factor, but I don't think so. A roman sword may in some cases be a bit shorter than a mountain man's bowie, but the bowie is still a knife and the gladius is still a sword.

I'd say it's best answered by identifying the intended use.

A sword is a 'primary battle weapon'. A knife is a utility tool or a back-up/stealth weapon.

Andy Garrett
Charter Member - Kansas Custom Knifemaker's Association

"Drawing your knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:49 AM
AwP AwP is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Cleveland, OH
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I think it has to do more with proportions and handling charactistics. If you take a knife and just make it identical but bigger, it wouldn't look or handle right as a sword, same thing if you reduce a sword to knife size. I think the line tends to fall near 20ish inches, but it will really depend on the particular piece in question.

~Andrew W. "NT Cough'n Monkey" Petkus
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Old 11-09-2005, 02:58 PM
Jason Cutter Jason Cutter is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I recently made a 14inch Bowie that someone asked if it was a sword. I think the classification is arbitrary, and based on opinion. And everyone's got one of those...

Intuitively, I'd think it has to do with proportions. Long and slender tends to scream sword but a wider blade tends to reduce this impression. An extreme example is if you were to build an extremely large cleaver, say 3 foot tall and 2 foot wide. No matter how big, it would never look or seem like a sword.

I think the "legal" classification is more relevant to our purposes and it depends on your individual jurisdiction. Where I live, police are given discretion in the classification. That worries me a little. Jason.

Jason Cutter @ Dr Kwong Yeang
Knifemaker, Australia
(Matthew 10.16)
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blade, knife

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