When it comes to picking your next outdoor knife, one of the key components to consider is your grind. Whilst most people won’t notice the difference, serious knife users know the value of having the right grind for the task you need.
One of the most popular outdoor knife grinds is the Scandi grind. In this article, we are going to dive into the Scandinavian-inspired grind style to help you understand exactly what it is, why it’s so great and how it compares to other grind types.
TL;DR – No time for the full article? Here are the highlights:
- Scandi grinds are easy to spot as the blade narrows close to the cutting point. This creates a ‘wedge’ or ‘v-shape’ appearance.
- Scandi grinds are strong and easy to sharpen, making them great for robust, powerful outdoors tasks such as bushcraft, wood chopping and carving.
- But, Scandi grinds may not be for you if you need intricate cutting performance. If you need more finess, shoot for a Full Flat grind or a Sabre grind.
What is a Scandi grind?
A Scandi grind is a short, pronounced grind that starts very close to the cutting edge itself. This creates what many refer to as a ‘wedge’ or ‘V-style’ edge, and it’s super easy to spot as it creates a distinctive, contrasting appearance.
As the name suggests, the Scandi grind originates from Scandinavia, a country with a rich outdoor hunting knife scene.
Here’s how a Scandi grind looks, in relation to other knife grinds:
When we talk about a knife’s grind, we’re referring to how the blade is shaped to create a cutting edge. Whilst in theory, the thinner the blade, the better it can cut, a thin blade from top to bottom can also be a weak blade.
For that reason, most blades are thicker on the spine (the opposite edge to the cutting edge) and become narrower towards the cutting edge itself. This ensures the knife is strong enough to support the cutting force while the blade is still sharp enough to actually cut.
The way a knife is shaped to transition from the thick spine to the narrower cutting edge is called the grind.
When compared to other grand types, especially a flat grind, a scandi grind essentially creates a ‘secondary edge’ which not only helps with cutting performance but also makes it easier to sharpen.
The Casstrom Forrest Knife above highlights exactly what to expect from a Scandi grind, with the very visible grind definition found close to the cutting edge.
Scandi Grind advantages & use cases
The Scandi grind is categorically the most popular grind for those needing a robust outdoor knife. It’s perfect for woodwork tasks, carving, and bushcraft because of these key advantages:
- Strong. Because the grind starts closer to the cutting edge, most of the blade is thicker and stronger. This makes it great for heavy duty tasks such as batoning and carving.
- Short grind angle. Because the grind is short and grinds down to a zero edge, it’s great for robust tasks. The knife can easily be angled for cutting in a particular direction whilst retaining the strength we discussed previously.
- Easy to sharpen. Because of the short grind, and the relatively thick nature of the knife, it’s easy to sharpen. That makes it great as an entry-level knife, but also for those who are using the knife often for heavy duty tasks as it can be sharpened up quickly and easily.
Based on those advantages, a knife with a Scandi grind is best used for the following tasks:
- Wood Chopping
- Wood Batoning
- Wood Carving
- General Survival
- Fire Building
Scandi grind disadvantages
On the other hand, because of that ‘wedge’ style, the Scandi grind isn’t very good for tasks such as:
- Food preparation (especially meat)
- Intricate slicing
- Cutting dense materials (e.g. plastic)
In short, the Scandi grind is all about power and not so great when it comes to finesse.
Scandi Grind Comparisons
To give you a side-by-side view, we’ll compare the Scandi grind against other popular grind types to help you understand if the Scandi is right for you.
Whilst we won’t cover all the grind types below, it’s worth referring back to the chart if you get stuck.
Scandi Grind vs Flat Grind
It’s fairly easy to spot the difference between a Scandi and flat grind, mainly because with a flat grind, you won’t be able to spot that ‘v-shape’ on the blade itself.
As the name suggests, a flat grind knife delivers a consistent grind from the spine to the cutting edge. This gives an impressive, smooth profile to the side of the knife, but it’s definitely a harder grind to achieve if you need to re-sharpen.
When is a Scandi grind better than a flat grind?
If you’re looking for a strong knife for heavy-duty woodwork, the Scandi will be the best buy for you.
It’s also easier to sharpen and will most often be a cheaper knife when compared directly with a flat grind.
When is a flat grind better than a Scandi grind?
If you need a knife that can deliver both strong woodcutting power AND the finesse for intricate food prep, the flat grind might be better for you.
You can expect a like-for-like knife to be more expensive and harder to sharpen, though.
Scandi Grind vs Convex Grind
A Convex grind can be a tricky one to get your head around. Whereas most grind types will come to a triangular point, a Convex grind is more curved and delivers a soft, rounded approach to cutting.
Head onto many popular knife forums, and you’ll find literally hundreds of threads comparing the Scandi and Convex grinds. In the end, it will largely come down to personal preference, but as you can imagine, the Convex grind is harder to achieve than the Scandi.
When is a Scandi grind better than a convex grind?
Scandi knives are a strong, easy-to-grind knife that’s great for bulky outdoor tasks, requiring strength and toughness.
Chances are, a Scandi grind knife will be cheaper and easier to maintain too.
When is a convex grind better than a Scandi grind?
The rounded grind gives a slightly stronger edge and gives better performance if you’re looking for a slicker, more precise cut.
Expect to pay slightly more than a Scandi grind and get used to spending a bit more time sharpening when it comes to maintenance.
Scandi Grind vs Sabre Grind
It’s easiest to think of the Sabre grind as a slightly longer Scandi grind or a slightly short full grind. Essentially, the narrowing of the blade starts about halfway between the spine and the cutting edge.
This is the perfect knife if you were debating between the full grind and the Scandi grind. If you were looking for deeper cutting performance from the Scandi, you’d get that from the Sabre.
But, in the same way, you have the ‘wedge’ effect from the Scandi, you get the same with the Sabre, it’s just a slightly longer and thinner wedge.
When is a Scandi grind better than a sabre grind?
Great for strong outdoor tasks, with that wedge effect meaning it’s strong and great for robust work. Easy to grind and often found at lower prices.
When is a sabre grind better than a Scandi grind?
A sabre grind can be thought of as a longer, thinner Scandi blade. It delivers a smoother experience for those needing to deliver deeper, crisper, and more accurate cuts. Similar in sharpening complexity to the Scandi, just with a little bit more work given the grind is longer!