AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards

How Well Do You Know Your Knife?

A good knife is typically made up of several parts, each serving a specific purpose. Here's a breakdown of the parts and the materials commonly used for each:

Point: The point of the knife is the very tip of the blade. It is used for piercing and delicate cutting tasks. The point is usually made from the same material as the rest of the blade.

Bolster: The bolster is the thick band of metal between the blade and the handle. It provides balance to the knife and protects your hand from slipping onto the blade. Bolsters are often made from stainless steel or a combination of steel and other materials.

Tang: The tang is the portion of the blade that extends into the handle. A full tang extends the full length of the handle, providing strength and stability. A partial tang is shorter and may not offer as much strength. Tangs can be made from the same material as the blade or a different, often less expensive, material.
 How Well Do You Know Your Knife?
Picture courtesy of Opinel, Australia

Cutting Edge: The cutting edge is the sharp part of the blade that does the cutting. It should be made from a hard material that can hold a sharp edge, such as high-carbon stainless steel or ceramic.

Heel: The heel is the rear part of the blade, closest to the handle. It is used for cutting tasks that require more force, such as chopping. The heel should be thick and sturdy, made from a material that can withstand repeated impacts.

Handle: The handle is what you hold onto when using the knife. It should be comfortable to grip and made from a durable material that can withstand moisture and frequent use. Common materials for handles include wood, plastic and various composites.

A good knife should be made from high-quality materials that are durable, sharp and easy to maintain. The specific materials used can vary depending on the intended use of the knife and the preferences of the user. 

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