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A hacking knife is almost exactly what it sounds like — a knife used to hack through the hard outer sheath on electrical cables or remove old putty from windows.  You’ll find them mainly in England, but they’re also available state-side and can come in handy in lots of projects around the home and shop. We’ve particularly used them to scrape and cut stubborn sheilding from cable.

The steel blade is 1⁄4″ thick with a full-tang.  (The “tang” is the back side of the blade.  Blades with a “full-tang” are almost wedge-shaped at the back, whereas knifes without a “tang” are thin all the way back.)  It’s crafted with enough heft to take a hammer pounding from the backside and force the edge through all manner of materials such as PVC, bricks, wood, and even sheet metal —  though if you’re using it for sheet metal you’d better bring a large hammer.

Street pricing for a set like this one starts at around $18

Hacking Knife [Garrett Wade]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


2 Responses to Finds: Hacking Knife

  1. Myself says:

    A smaller version of a similarly durable blade is common in the telecom industry: We call it a “splicer’s knife” and mostly use it for removing the insulation from large power cables. The blade is about 1/8″ thick, 1/2″ deep, and 1 1/2″ long. The handle is five or six inches of rubber? Find ’em for $10 at any well-equipped electrical supply, or try Graybar.

    The splicer’s knife doesn’t have any inertia for machete-style hacking, but it’s beefy enough you can “encourage” it with a hammer and not worry about breaking it. Of course, you’d always wear safety glasses anyway, just in case!

    The snips that come with the knife in a “splicer’s kit” are easily my favorite tool ever, they just come in handy all over the place. If you’re looking for a good sharp pair of general shop scissors, pick some up. Klein is the traditional favorite brand, but I’ve never met a set I didn’t like.

  2. craig says:

    when telephone cable had a lead sheath the full sized hacking knife was used.

    mine had a bolster at the tip for percussive persuasion.

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