Choosing the Right Kitchen Knife

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The Basics of Knives

Don’t get to excited and overdo it yet by going out and purchasing a new set of knives. It’s time to take a look at some of the basics of choosing your knives so that you know what you are doing before purchasing one. The first and foremost thing you need to consider is the feel of a knife rather then what the ‘chefs’ are saying.

Typically high end knives are made extremely well and will hold their sharpness and hold an edge, oh and size does matter! People with smaller hands are going to want to be working with smaller knives, not a 12 inch chef knife. Some materials provide a lighter feel, while others are heavier for those with stronger hands.

Parts of the Knife

Most knives consist of the following parts, the front of knife, tang, bolster and handle. Let’s take a closer look at these sections individually:

The front of the knife contains the blade, spine, tip, and heel. The sharp part which does the cutting is known as the blade. While the spine is opposite teh blade and adds weight and stability.

The tip of the knife allows for delicate and fine cutting of small items, cutting open package and other similar uses.

The tang of the knife, is the piece of metal which extends from the blade to the back of the knife and handle that it attaches to. Not all knives come with tangs but the good ones do, the tang also gives a knife balance and weight or the knife woudl be off balance due to the front being too heavy.

The bolster is the part which seperates the blade and the handle. This part adds strength, balance and most importantly prevents you from cutting your finger off if the knife slips while cutting. The bolster typically runs from the spine to the edge, or just part of the way. Again typically most of the better made knives have a bolster.

The handle or the portion which you hold on to can be made out of wood, plastic, composite, and or stainless steel. The handle is single handily one of the most important aspects of the knife as its the part which you will ahve the most contact with and what makes a knife ‘feel good’.

Construction

Knives are either blocked, forged or sintered.

Blocked knives are created from sheets of metal which they are cut from. The blades are created by grounding the block and handles are added to the tang. They usually don’t have bolsters and are less expensive to make and therefore a cheaper buy and not usually of high quality. These won’t have the balance, quality or feel of a forged knife.

Forged knives are the made the way ancient swords are made. The manufacturers take a large part of metal, which heats up and then pounds it into hte correct shape using forge machine. Forged knives typically have bolsters, more weight, thicker bolsters and cost a heck of a lot more. The added expense is well worth it, you get a better made and balanced knife that you can have forever if taken care of properly.

Sinter is a knife in which they take seperate blades and fuse them together to seperate a tang. It’s a less expensive process than forging and allows you to create beautiful Eastern style knives like global wehre the blades are flat and have tubular handles.