|[ Buying a Set of Knives ] [
Choosing the Right Knife ]
[ The Chef Knife ][ The Paring Knife ]
Serrated Knife ] [ Other Knife Types ]
What's in a knife?
Quite a lot, actually. A knife is the most important and most often used utensil in the
kitchen. The first question in choosing a quality knife is "Which knife should I
buy?" The second question, usually is "Which knife should I use?"
We'll try to help you answer each question.
information email us
BUYING A SET OF KNIVES
Buying knives is not a small decision because the knives you choose should last a
lifetime. Once you own a quality set of knives, the only time you will have to buy
another set of knives is to give them as a gift. Speaking of which, knives are among the
most popular wedding gifts.
When you are ready to buy a set of knives, a good rule of thumb is to buy
the best quality knives you can afford, because they can easily
last you a lifetime.
Open Stock or a
Knives are usually much more affordable if purchased as a set. Buying a set will provide
you with the general tools to start your knife collection and, often, contains a storage
system in which you can keep them safe. Additional, more specific knives can be purchased
at a later time.
Most major cutlery manufacturers, also sell knives in "open stock,"
which means you can buy one knife at a time. Buying knives in "open stock"
usually makes sense if:
- You want to add a knife to your collection. Two people may frequently prepare meals
together and find it easier to have two paring, utility or chef's knives.
( In our home, we have duplicates
of several knife patterns)
- You may need to replace a lost or stolen knife.
- You want a particular knife. For example, a person with small hands may prefer a smaller
chef knife than the one provided in
the set. Or, your cooking style may frequently call
for a specialty knife, such as a cleaver.
- You want to buy top quality knives but can't afford the full set
in a single purchase.
Otherwise, a set of knives probably makes more sense.
always add more knives to your set later.
Fine Edge or "Never Needs
Most cutlery fall into one of these two categories.
Fine edge knives are the classics of cutlery. They are the
choice of chefs and accomplished cooks because they usually have a good weight and feel.
The blade is also much sharper which allows for finer more precise cuts. However, fine
edge knives do require some maintenance, such as
This is a very minimal task that when performed regularly and properly,
will keep your knifes healthy.
"Never Needs Sharpening" knives are a
misnomer (means: not true) but......may be
choice for some people who cook for themselves and their families everyday. The blades are
not able to make as precise of a cut as fine edge knives as they tend to
tear the food more than cut
smoothly through it, but they will
(more or less) hold their edge
through ordinary daily use.
These knives are often an ok choice for the value-conscious
Keep in mind......THERE
IS NO SUCH THING AS A KNIFE THAT
NEVER NEEDS SHARPENING
We are a professional knife maker shop with over twenty years of
experience. We recommend Messermeister's two forged series of knives; San
Moritz Elite and Meridian Elite.
SHOP FOR THEM HERE
Marks of a
Steel Blades -
The type of steel used in the blade is one of
the most important considerations in buying a knife. Most of our kitchen knives are
manufactured from a special blend of high carbon stainless steel that resists rust, stains
and corrosion. A multitude of operations and techniques are used to shape blades and
create a sharp edge.
A Full Tang -
The tang is the portion of the metal that
continues through the
handle and to which the handle is attached. Best quality knives will
have a full tang, which means that the portion of the blade that extends into the handle
is visible on all sides of the handle.
A Tapered Edge -
Knife blades are usually ground in one of
two shapes: flat & hollow ground. Many knives use a tapered edge so they are easy to
a fine edge. Tapered edge knives are also the easiest to sharpen.
Top quality knives feel good in the cook's hand.
The appeal is somewhat subjective so it is important to handle the knives you are thinking
of buying. The knife should feel solid and easy to handle. Chef knives should have enough
clearance to allow a full rocking, chopping motion on a cutting surface without smashing
your fingers between the knife handle and board. You may also look for a cambered edge to
facilitate the rocking motion. Balance does not mean the blade and the handle weigh the
same. It means your knife feels so comfortable it will become an extension of your hand.
Stamped or Forged -
THE RIGHT KNIFE
Forging is the process of heating a
single piece of metal and then hammering and grinding it into the shape of a blade. This
usually involves high heat and tons of pressure. Stamped blades, on the other hand, are
pressed out of solid sheet of metal. Forged knives are typically heavier when
compared to stamped knives. The forging
also creates a superior knife in the end.
Now that you have purchased your knives, placed them in your kitchen, and
are ready to start cooking, which knife do you reach for?
The answer depends on what job you are going to do. Knives are made differently for
different functions. You could slice a roast with a paring knife, but it will be much
easier and you'll do a better job if you use the right knife. With three multi-purpose
knives, you can perform almost every cutting job; while other types have more specialized
THE CHEF KNIFE
The chef knife will have a triangular blade from 6 to 10 inches long
(with the most popular being 8"), usually at least 1 1/2" tall which
gently tapers to the point. French chef knives will have thinner, longer blades to better
slice thick items, while German-style chef's knives
will be wider across the blade and
shorter in length for better chopping. The chef knife often seems too large to novices,
but with some practice it becomes the knife of choice because it is efficient for large or
Use this knife to chop, slice and mince; the side of the blade can be used for crushing
garlic and some spices. The chef knife is best used in a rocking motion for chopping.
Santoku knives have been very popular
over the past few years. You will see many TV chefs using them. They
are basically, an Asian version of our chef's knife and can be used
Another knife to consider in this genre is the
knife. While they may look like a cleaver, the Chinese knife is thin,
balanced and made for chopping and
They are often called "the Chinese
Chef's knife" and are never used
to chop through bone.
THE PARING KNIFE
The paring knife has a blade of about 2 1/2" to 4 inches that is only
about 3/4" wide at its widest point. It can be used to peel vegetables and fruit,
trim meats, and cut pastry dough - any job that requires some delicate cutting work.
THE SERRATED KNIFE
The long serrated knife is often called a bread knife because it is
particularly good for slicing breads that require a back and forth sawing motion.
Beyond breads, the serrated knife can be good for tomatoes
and peaches and other fruits
that have a skin that can bruise easily. The serrated knife must be sharpened
and should not be used on a sharpening steel. However, the properly cared
for serrated knife should not become dull quickly
because it is rarely drawn across a cutting
board or other surfaces.
OTHER KNIFE TYPES
Beyond the three most popular knives,
you may have a need for one of these:
These are smaller than a chef knife and larger than a paring knife, usually with about a 6 inch blade.
Utility knives, as the
name implies, are used for many jobs and often serve as an extra knife for a kitchen
helper to use. Sometimes it is called a sandwich knife, although now, most makers have an offset knife pattern that is more suitable as a sandwich knife.
The boning knife is used to cut meat off of bones, hence the name. The blades may be
5" or longer and are usually quite narrow. They are available in
straight, curved, stiff or flexible.
This is a long, thin knife, up to 8 to 10 inches, that is used for slicing roasts, hams,
and turkeys. These are
commonly available in either straight or serrated
This knife is similar to a chef's knife with a
blade of up to 8 inches but is usually a bit heavier.
These are used to do heavy chopping and cutting of meats and for cutting through bone. They will either have a straight
or slightly curved edge. A Chinese Chef's knife will look like a cleaver in profile but
will be lighter because it is used for chopping vegetables rather than meats.
The steak knife is a dining knife used at a table setting when meats are served. However,
it can function in the kitchen as a paring or utility knife.