Titanium dive knives are a touchy subject. There are people (like me) who love the lightweight little blades, while many of my friends swear by their choice steel-bladed spearfishing knives. Personally, I think a knife is a knife and it doesn’t really matter so long as you’ve got some form of blade when you’re spearfishing, but I’m a big fan of the titanium dive knife.
Titanium knives will not rust
The bane of any spearo’s existence is rust. I hate the stuff. When you live by the beach, as soon as you look away everything starts to rust. I left a spare set of keys in my boat, they rusted. The cheap pocket knife I kept in my tackle box, rusted away to nothing. Heck, even the steel beams on the front of my house eventually had to be replaced because the salt spray got to them too.
When it comes to my spearfishing gear, I’m a big fan of buying it for life. Invest your money in quality equipment that will last more than a single season. And a titanium dive knife will not rust. There’s a reason the Navy SEALs started using them as soon as they became available because they provided one of the best solutions for a dive knife.
But titanium isn’t as good as steel, right?
This is where everyone gets all worked up. The titanium alloy that gets used most commonly in dive knives isn’t as good at holding an edge as steel. So, it can be more difficult to sharpen. Because of this, many people swear off titanium dive knives. But what they’re forgetting is the weight. All things being equal, a steel blade will hold an edge better, but it’ll be 40-60 percent heavier than an identical knife made from titanium.
For me, I’d rather a lighter knife, that’s easier to use underwater.
Hang on, you said titanium alloy?
Sure did. Titanium gets its strength once it’s mixed with other metals, essentially taking the best parts from a number of different elements to form a stronger alloy. What you want to look for in your dive knife is that it’s an aerospace-grade titanium alloy, at least “Grade 5” which is the most commonly used in knives and other parts.
The key benefits of a titanium dive knife
- Strength. You will not find a better combination of lightweight material that has such a high tensile strength, which makes it ideal for prizing open shellfish.
- Weight. Titanium is far less dense than steel, which makes it much easier to forget once it’s strapped onto your arm at the start of a dive. You won’t even notice it’s there.
- Corrosion resistance. Even in saltwater, titanium dive knives will be highly resistant to corrosion, even if you forget to wash it off at the end of a spearfishing trip.
Of course, the biggest drawback of a titanium dive knife is the durability.
Over time, and prolonged use, it will not hold an edge as well as a steel knife. But that’s fine for me, as I only use it to quickly dispatch my fish in the water, and I’ve got a proper filleting knife and setup on my boat that makes it much easier to clean and prepare my catch at the end of a day. I love the weight, and that I hardly notice it at all once it’s strapped to my arm.