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Kitchenware - Knives - Part I

A guide to choosing and buying knives

Anatomy of a Knife

Jump to:-      Anatomy of a Knife |     Types of Kitchen Knives  |  What you need 

Go to:-   Main Cookware Page | Buy Kitchenware

Both professional chefs and retailers often have much to say when it comes to kitchen knives, and one of the things you will often hear is "buy expensive".  However, although the price of a knife may reflect its quality, in particular the way it has been made or the material is has been made from, it doesn't always indicate how easy it will be to use or how useful you will find it in your kitchen. This comprehensive guide will help you to choose and use the most appropriate knives for your particular requirements.



Anatomy of a Knife

Before you contemplate which knives you want or need, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with knife construction. Below is a simple diagram showing the main elements of most kitchen knives.


Blade - The term given to the whole of the metal part of the knife

Tip/Point  - The pointed end of the blade

Spine/Back - The blunt edge opposite to the blade's cutting edge

Cutting Edge - The sharpened edge of the blade

Heel - The rear part of the blade

Bolster - The thick piece of metal between the handle and the blade

Tang - The extension of the blade to which the handle is attached

Handle - the part of the knife which is held when using


Knife styles, blades, types and handles are discussed more fully later, however we feel a special mention about the tang is merited.  The tang is the part of the blade which carries on through the handle, often with rivets which are clearly visible in the handle above.


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It is important that the tang runs through as much of the length of the handle as possible, as this affects the weight, balance and stability of use.  Unfortunately, depending on the type of knife you buy, especially those with pre-formed plastic handles,  it is not always possible to see how far into the handle the tang runs, however you can often gauge this by comparing the weight and balance of several different makes of knives when buying.


Types of Kitchen Knives

Including information on styles, types of blades and handles    

More > > >

Which kitchen knives do you need  

Including individual types and their uses     

More > > >



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