The Components of a Kitchen Knife
A knife is divided into two main parts, the handle and the blade. Each of those two parts are subdivided into components between the point and the handle.
Tip – The end of a blade which included the point. On smaller knives such as a petty or paring, the tip is used for detailed or delicate cutting.
Cutting Edge – The cutting part of the blade, primarily the middle section, that extends from the tip to the heel. It can have either a rectangular or wedge-shaped cross-section (saber grind vs. flat grind), but may also have indentations the length of its edge, which reduces adhesion of the food to the blade. This is widely found in Japanese knives, and in the West is particularly found in meat carving knives, though also in knives for soft cheese, and some use for vegetables.
Heel – The rear part of the edge that’s The heel is located at the widest part of the end of knife, opposite the point where it meets the handle. This section of the cutting edge is used for chopping hard items like carrots, nuts or even chicken bones (Knives with longer blades produce greater leverage, thus generating greater cutting force at the heel of the blade.)
Bolster – Found only on forged knives. It is a collar or shank where the blades meets the handle. This is typically the sign of a well-made knife, one that will hold up for several years. Stamped may have a collar that looks like a bolster but is actually a separate piece attached to the handle.
Rivets – Metal pins used to join the scales to the tang to form the handle.
Tang (not shown) – The part of the blade that extends into the handle of the knife. It is the surface to which the handle attaches to the blade. A tang is a continuation of the blade which extends into the knife’s handle. There are two tangs lengths: full and partial. A full tang runs the entire length of the handle. Full tangs are typically found on chef’s knives or cleavers. A partial tang does not run the length of the handle and it’s usually found on less used knives such as a Petty knife, bread knife and paring knife, though there are design exceptions in some brands.
Scales (not shown) – The scales are the two halves of the knife that creates the handle. Scales are often made of synthetic material or wood. Two scales are typically attached to the tang with rivets.
Filed under: Kitchen knife anatomy
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