The Best Wharncliffe Options


The Wharncliffe Is An Interesting Blade Design With A Captivating History. Over The Years It’s Grown Into A Desirable EDC Blade. These Five Wharncliffes Stand Out From The Pack.

There aren’t many blade styles like the wharncliffe. The wharncliffe stands out from many other blade designs thanks to its long, straight cutting edge and spine that tapers to the point. This allows for a variety of shapes of wharncliffe blades, with some being more squared off with a sharp taper and others being more rounded with a more gentle taper.

Regardless of the taper or size of the blade, the wharncliffe has grown into a beloved blade that has evolved to meet the needs of knife lovers over the last 200 years.

Where Does The Name Wharncliffe Come From?

If you guessed that it was named for a person you’d be correct, or at least almost correct. The name for the blade dates back to the 1820s and British Colonel James Archibald Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie, the first Lord of Wharncliffe. 

One night, while having dinner with his cousin, Archdeacon Corbett, Wharncliffe was lamenting how staid and tired the cutlery industry in Britain had become. The two then worked on a new type of knife to present to the Joseph Rodgers & Sons cutlery company in Sheffield, the epicenter of the cutlery trade in the UK.

Rodgers liked the blade so much that the company put it into production and named it the wharncliffe in the Lord’s honor.

What Is The Wharncliffe Used For?

The wharncliffe initially was used mainly as a whittling knife. The long, straight edge made it perfect for long strokes on a piece of wood. Over time, the blade has evolved with the rest of the knife industry and is now a quality all-rounder EDC. The straight edge is excellent at transferring energy from the hand into the material being cut. Not great at puncturing, it’s very good at most other cutting tasks.

5 Wharncliffes You Should Look Into Buying

Today, the wharncliffe has become a standard blade design by makers around the world. These are five that you should take a look at.

Spyderco Salt 2

Few companies have dived deeper into wharncliffes than Spyderco. The Salt 2 is a prime example of how the company has smartly developed the blade style, although there are many knives on the company’s roster that utilize it as well.

The ergonomic green FRN handle makes this knife easy to use, especially considering how it was designed to be used near water. The H-1 steel is highly corrosion resistant, which makes this knife the perfect choice to use near water. You can choose between a plain edge and a serrated edge, and the lockback keeps everything secure even when drenched. 

Spyderco is beloved because of the quality of its knives, and the Salt 2 shows many things the company can do.

MSRP: $124.25

CRKT Inara

A simple, elegant design from Richard Rogers, the CRKT Inara is a perfect example of a quality, affordable wharncliffe EDC. 

The framelock is strong. The deployment is smooth. The G-10 stands firm even in extreme conditions. This little flipper really does it all and looks good while doing it. The stonewashed 8Cr14MoV stainless blade is 2.78 inches long and the whole construction weighs just 1.8 ounces.

A small, nimble knife, the Inara showcases why the wharncliffe has become a regular EDC blade.

MSRP: $56

Emerson Knives P-Sark

If the last knife was for day-to-day use, the Emerson Knives P-Sark is for the most extreme situations. This is the standard issue knife for U.S. Navy Rescue Teams, according to Emerson Knives. It’s a thick, beefy blade designed to extract people in severe situations.

The 3.5-inch blade is made from 154CM stainless steel with a chisel grind. The G-10 handle is waterproof and perfect for the type of intense moments this knife was built for. The blade comes in both black and stonewashed varieties.

Sure, this could be used as an EDC, but this knife is designed for much more than just opening boxes and stripping wires, and is priced accordingly. If you want a strong, physical knife, then this is the one for you, but you’ll be able to find good EDC wharncliffes at more affordable prices.

MSRP: $226.95

Kershaw Leek

Kershaw has them all, and it’s no surprise that it offers a solid EDC wharncliffe. The Leek line of knives runs 16 deep, but we are concentrating on the original. 

The whole construction is stainless steel with a 3-inch blade made from 14C28N stainless steel. The Ken Onion-designed knife is a sleek, sturdy flipper held in place with a framelock. At 3 ounces it’s a bit heavier than some of the other knives on this list, which is good because it helps the piece feel better in the hand and more secure in use.

The assisted-opening flipper, the tip lock to keep it secure when closed, and the reversible pocket clip are all features on the knife that elevate it from just a good knife to a high-quality EDC.

MSRP: $79.99

Cold Steel Tuff Lite

Small. Tough. Durable. Three ways to describe the Tuff Lite from Cold Steel. This little wharncliffe is a rugged little beast. Made from Japanese AUS-8A stainless steel, the Tuff Lite’s blade is just 2.5 inches long with a relatively squared-off tip that makes it perfect for deep cutting tasks.

The handle is made from Griv-Ex which, when paired with Cold Steel’s Tri-Ad lock, provides a rock-hard construction when deployed. This is the most affordable knife on our list, but it may be the highest value thanks to how the knife was put together.

MSRP: $40.99

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