midflinx wrote:If looks aren't as important as functionality, of the four smooth knives, what are certain blade shapes better at than others?
Some are longer than others. It also depends on what it is you use your knife for, what kind of cutting you do if a very long straight edge is better, or if you're better off with a curved blade.
In general, if you're doing the equivalent of whittling a stick, you're slicing lengthwise along a long object, pushing the knife away from you, the straight blade gives you a consistant angle of attack and better control as the stroke moves along.
If on the other hand, you're doing the equivalent of cutting a steak or paring veggies, a curved blade gives you a continuously varying angle of attack as you pull the blade towards you and increases your cutting effectiveness.
It's a question of control and effectiveness. I prefer short blades for pocket knives and I prefer curves, but it's very personal. I'm in for a drone. My wife wants the straight blade so she got the compound.
If you're wanting a self-defense knife, get the serrated blade, but these are the wrong knives in any event, and if you don't have appropriate training, you're better off just not trying.