How much do you know about knives? Knives are one of the most important tools in the kitchen. Whether you are cooking at home or in a three-star restaurant, buying quality cutlery is one of the best investments you can make.
Knowing a little more about the anatomy of a knife and all the different components will help you become better acquainted with your tools, and it will help you to better understand cutlery in general.
The point at which the spine and the cutting edge come together.
The spine is the top line of the knife blade, opposite the cutting edge. The thickness of the spine determines the overall weight of the blade (thicker the spine the heavier the blade & vise versa.) The spine can also have different styled edges, from sharp and squared to soft and rounded.
The handle is, as expected, where you position your hand while using the knife. Handles come in molded plastics, hollow metal, and in natural materials like wood. Many times, as in the picture above, the blade extends deep into the handle near the butt, and this is referred to as the tang. This full extension often times creates a better-balanced knife.
The back end of the handle.
Many knives have a bolster, which is a thickened metal portion of the knife, where the blade meets the handle. Most common in forged knives, (knives that have been hammered from a piece of metal), they are thought to bring balance to the knife while protecting the user’s hand from slipping. Others find that the bolster gets in the way and makes sharpening knives more difficult. It’s a personal preference!
Opposite from the tip, on the cutting edge of the knife, is the heel. Heels can be both rounded or squared, and they are useful for more forceful, heavy cutting.
The cutting edge is the part of the blade, opposite the spine, that does all the work. It’s difficult to understand much about the quality of the cutting edge just by looking at it, but if studied very closely, you will see that there is a precise art of bevelling (or filing down either side of the cutting edge to a specific angle) that creates a fine balance between durability and sharpness.
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