A lexicon of knife terminiology

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A lexicon of knife terminology: Section P
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Pakkawood:  Layers of wood veneers that have been sandwiched together using phenolic thermosetting resins.  See laminates.

Palm Skinner: A short fixed blade skinning knife with a wide blade normally between three or four inches long and a handle often only two to three inches long. The blade often features a large finger hole to aid in holding the knife. This fixed blade pattern is also known as an Ulu Skinner.

Parang:  An Indonesia equivalent of the machete, normally designed to cut through heavier vegetation than a standard machete. The front are of the blade is normally heavier and sometimes upswept or simply wider.  The blade is also beveled more obtusely to prevent it from binding in the cut. (compare to kukri, machete, bolo)

Pattern Welding:  See Damascus Steel

Peanut: A traditional pattern folding knife; a small knife normally with two blades, a larger clip and smaller pen blade both located on the same end of the knife. Peanuts tend to be less than three inches long in the closed position. (Normally 2 7/8 inches) Peanuts normally have bolsters on both ends but this is not always the case. (See pen knife and jack knife for comparison)

Rough Rider Peanut
Rough Rider peanut with stag scales

Pearl: Pearl normally refers to Mother of Pearl.  A translucent material used for scale or handle material and  harvested  from pearl oysters (genus Pinctada).  It comes in a variety of colors.

Peasant Knife: A type of friction folding knife in which the blade is opened and closed via a lever. The lever is an extension of the spine and the blade is held up by holding it pressed against the back of the handle. As the knife is a friction folder it has no spring. It is probably the eraliest type of folding knives. Compare to opinel and Okapi knives.

peasant knife

Pen Blade: Originally A small spear point blade used on pen knives for sharpening quills, hence the name pen. They have become a popular secondary blade on many multi-blade traditional pattern folders. Today most pen blades have tip more inline with droppoint or almost a hybrid wharncliffe style blade because the point will usually drop well belown the center line of the blade.

Newer Style Pen Blade

Older Style Pen Blade

Penknife: A small traditional pattern folding knife normally with two blades, a small spear master and secondary pen blade. they are normally around  three inches or smaller when closed. Penknives were first used to sharpen writing quills, hence the name. They may or may not have bolsters and single blades penknives are also quite common. Also written as two words, pen knife.


Peoples Republic of China:   Mainland or Communist China.  A major manufacturer of both inexpensive and high-end cutlery. Knives made here are normally marked China or PRC.   Some knife companies tend to make this mark quite small so you will need to look carefully. The savvy buyer will buy from known and respected brand names and avoid unbranded knives or knives sold by unknown brands.

Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a contaminant which reduces the quality of the steel.

Picnic Knife: 1) A large frame folding knife that has a corkscrew built in the spine of the handle. The frame is often a powder horn frame. (Compare to powder horn, toothpick, Lady's Leg and Melon knife.

Pig Sticker:Specifically, the term refers to a simple thrusting knife used to cut the jugular vein of swine and other large animals. In general, any type of thrusting knife, a dagger. As the word pig is used in a derogatory manner for law enforcement personnel, this knife is often just called sticker by retailers as it is deemed more socially acceptable.

Pig Sticker

Pile Side:  The reverse side of a knife’s handle; the side without the mark or shield.

Pins: Small pins used to attach the scales to a knife’s liner/handle.

Pin lock (Pinlock): A small protrusion on top of the tang of a folding blade that will catch in a hole located at the front of the knife's backspring use to the lock the blade open. This is common locking feature in Italian made switchblades and lock-back stilettoes.


Pipe Knife: A folding knife used by Pipe Smokers used to the care and maintenance of Pipes. The knife normally features a tamper, reamer, and pick. The tamper is normally on the end of the knife while the reamer is either a sharpened or unsharpened pen style blade. the pick is normally a long thin blade.

Plain Carbon Steel:  See Carbon Steel

Pocket Clip:  A clip placed on the side of a knife designed to keep the knife near the top of the pocket for easy access. Pocket clips are most common among tactical knives.

Pocketeze:  A line of knives made by Robeson that had the blade backs ground flush with the knife’s frame, eliminating sharp corners and reducing pocket wear. Most, but not all such knives have a nickel-silver “POCKETEZE” shield with a red background. (Later made Robeson’s from the Ontario factory are not made in this manner.)

Pocket Knife: And type of folding knife, often designed to be carried in a pocket.

1) The end cap on a fixed blade knife handle; also called a butt cap. 

2) The end of a folding knife that does not contain the main blade.

Powder Horn or Powderhorn: A curved knife handle that is wider at the top and comes to a point at the pommel. The shape is reminiscent of a bowder horn used with older muzzle loading rifles, hence the name. Today The name is also used for the folding toothpick but many other knife patterns have used it. See also, Toothpick, Navaja, and Okapi

Pull: A groove cut in a blade to aid opening. Also called a nick, or nail nick.

Punch: Same as an awl. Used for making holes in a leather or wood.

PRC:  Peoples Republic of China or Mainland China

PROV. R.I.:  A tang stamp on knives made in Providence Rhode Island.  These were normally made by Imperial but sometimes do not list Imperial as the manufacturer.

Pruner:  A traditional pattern knife used for pruning bushes that normally has a hawkbill blade. Compare to Hawkbill and Rope Knife.  The knife may have a fixed or folding blade.

Pyralin: A Dupont trademark for a type of celluloid plastic used on knife handles in in the 1920-1960s. The name was often associated with Schrade and Western Cutlery. 

Pyrelite: A trademarked name for a celluloid type of plastic often used on Remington, Camillus, Camco and other knife brands from the 1920s-1960s.  

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