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Intro to Knives. Anatomy of a Knife Types of Knives Knife Cuts. Anatomy of a Knife. Knowing the parts will help you familiarize yourself with proper cutting techniques and can help you in finding good knives.

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intro to knives

Intro to Knives

Anatomy of a Knife

Types of Knives

Knife Cuts

slide3
Knowing the parts will help you familiarize yourself with proper cutting techniques and can help you in finding good knives.
slide4

Tip - The tip of the knife can refer to the point at the very end, or the last third of the cutting edge. The tip of the cutting edge is often used for delicate work such as slicing and scoring.

  • Heel - The heel, or the lower third of the cutting edge, is used for more taxing duties such as chopping, especially dense objects like carrots or potatoes.
slide5

Bolster - The bolster is the thick part of the knife where the blade meets the handle. A knife with a bolster is a sign that a knife has been forged versus stamped or last cut (both of which have no bolster). Bolsters add weight, strength and balance to a knife. Look for knives with bolsters over those without a bolster – it is typically an indication of a better product.

  • Tang - The tang is the metal extension of the blade that extends into the handle. The tang adds strength and balance to a knife. A full tang refers to a tang that extends all the way to the butt of the knife. Always buy a knife with a full tang.
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Rivets – Rivets connect the wood or plastic portions of the handle to the tang. Be sure they are flush with the handle. Avoid knives without rivets (this could lead to a handle popping off down the road).

  • Blade - The blade is everything from the bolster (or handle) up.
  • Cutting Edge – The cutting edge is just that, the portion of the blade you use to chop, slice, mince, etc. The more rounded a cutting edge, the easier it is to chop and mince with a rocking motion. Straighter cutting edges support slicing and sawing motions.
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Spine - The spine gives the cutting edge strength and helps balance the knife. Depending on the type of knife this can be as thick as or much thicker than the cutting edge.

  • Handle - Next to the cutting edge, this is the most important part of a knife because this is the portion you will be handling. Choose a knife with a handle that is comfortable, fits your hand well and helps balance the knife
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Blade Material – There are four basic materials knives are made from:

    • Carbon steelhas a very sharp edge though it dulls easily and can stain.
    • Stainless steeldoes not get a very sharp edge but can hold the edge much longer than carbon steel.
    • High-carbon stainless steelcombines both of best worlds; it allows for a very sharp edge and can hold that edge fairly long. High-carbon Stainless knives can be expensive though.
    • Ceramic knives, while incredibly fragile and inflexible- they can chip or snap in half if dropped and are not made for rough chopping – are incredibly sharp knives that hold an edge up to 10 times longer than any metal alloy.
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Length: 8-12 inches

Blade: broad

Tip: pointed

Rigidity: rigid

Uses: all purpose, specifically chopping, slicing & mincing

Alternatives? Japanese Cook’s (Santoku) or Chinese Cook’s knife

slide13
Length: 5-8 inches

Blade: narrow

Tip: pointed

Rigidity: rigid

Uses: All purpose, specifically slicing, peeling, carving and cutting; great for cutting lettuces; sectioning citrus fruits

slide14
Length: 2-4 inches

Blade: narrow

Tip: pointed

Rigidity: rigid

Uses: delicate work, specifically peeling, trimming & paring vegetables/fruits; cutting/slicing small fruits & berries; decorative cutting

Alternatives? Tourné, Clip Point & Sheep’s Foot

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Length: 8-12 inches

Blade: narrow

Tip: rounded

Rigidity: rigid

Uses: slicing delicate items like bread & cakes

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Length: 8-14 inches

Blade: narrow

Tip: rounded or pointed

Rigidity: rigid or flexible

Uses: slicing and carving cooked meats, esp tough and sinewy red meats. Offset serrated slicer (or deli knife) perfect for cutting

slide17
Length: 6 inches

Blade: narrow

Tip: pointed

Rigidity: rigid or flexible

Uses: removing raw meat from bone or filleting fish. Filleting knife typically thinner and more flexible

slide18
Length: 2-4 inches

Blade: narrow

Tip: pointed

Rigidity: rigid

Uses: Tournéeing, peeling, slicing, removing blemishes & delicate chopping; Sheeps Foot has flat edge – useful for peeling and slicing small items

slide19
Length: 5-10 inches

Blade: very broad & heavy

Tip: rectangle blade

Rigidity: rigid

Uses: cutting through bone, raw meat

basic knife cuts
Basic Knife Cuts

Uniform Cuts

Irregular Cuts