Quick Recipes and Easy

Knife Quality – What to Look For When Selecting Knives

With knives, like any other tool, it is always best to buy
the best quality you can afford. Whatever the purpose you
have for the knife – from cooking to whittling – the
pleasure to be obtained from using a well-made tool
enhances the entire process.

On the other hand, the frustration of using a poorly-made
tool takes away from the pleasure in the job, and therefore
the end result of your effort is often inferior to your

To select the best quality knife, it is helpful first to
identify the main uses to which the knife will be place. A
kitchen knife that is used primarily for chopping
vegetables will have a very different blade and heft than a
knife that is used for gutting fish.

With respect to cooking, the most versatile is the chef’s
knife; the workhorse of the kitchen. If you could only have
one knife, this would be the one to choose. If you are
investing in a knife set, make sure the set includes at
least the chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife.

To choose a excellent quality knife, it is helpful to know the
parts of a knife and what to look for in making your

1. The Point is the part of the blade for piercing.
2. The Tip includes the point, and is the upper quarter of
the blade. It is used for the cutting and separating of
smaller items.
3. The Center is where most of the knife’s work happens,
using long slicing motions. Since it receives the most use,
it dulls the quickest.
4. The Edge is the entire sharp part of the blade.
5. The Spine is the opposite part of the blade, or the un-
sharpened top.
6. The Heel is the lower part of the blade, and is used to
cut through tough items that involve using weight or force.
7. The Bolster is a thicker strip of steel between the
blade and the handle. The bolster has two functions:
balance and protection. The band of steel helps prevent the
hand from accidentally slipping forward and across the
blade. Bolsters are found only on forged knives, and not on
stamped knives. It is one of the elements to look at
carefully when selecting a knife.
8. The Handle or Scales can be made of wood, metal, or
synthetic material. Some synthetic materials are a better
choice than wood or metal because they can withstand high
temperatures or can provide better friction for grip.
Consider these factors as you make your decisions.
9. The Tang is the part of the blade that extends into the
handle. In cheap knives, this part of the knife is often a
cost small-cut because it isn’t always visible. But the
Tang is an vital part of the knife, not only for
balance, but also for durability. In excellent knives, the Tang
usually extends all the way to the butt of the handle.

A final suggestion. Keep your knives sharp. Not only is it
more elegant to use a properly maintained tool, but sharp
knives are safer than dull knives (which are perilous);
with a dull knife, you must apply more pressure, and your
hand is more likely to slip.

Daniel Lebarge, journalist and internet publisher, is a
contributing writer for knifeli.com/ Knife
Line, offering valuable free information about the care
and selection of knives. Articles by Daniel are also found
at aboots.com/ All Boots and

About the Author

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