What Are The Parts Of A Knife?

What are the parts of a knife? Explanation of the parts of a knife. There are several basic parts of a knife and you can often tell the quality of the knife by the way it is constructed and the materials...

There are several basic parts of a knife and you can often tell the quality of the knife by the way it is constructed and the materials that were used to make the knife. Some knives are not meant to last indefinitely and are made more cheaply while others incorporate long lasting metals and woods that enhance their appearance and efficiency in addition to their longevity.


Karl Pfitzenreiter has been in the business of cutlery for 24 years. He is the president and CEO of J.A. Henckels, a position he has held for the last 20 years. Pfitzenreiter states, "The tip is basically the sharp point at the end of the blade, then you have the edge." The point is used to pierce items to be cut and the tip does the job of cutting the item. Cutting with the tip or point of a knife is often best for delicate foods.




Pfitzenreiter continues, "Then you have the back of the blade, which should not have any sharp corner. It should be smooth. The commercial chef puts part of his hand on the back of the blade and chops and dices them up and down. If the back of the blade is sharp, he would hurt himself." The back of the blade may be referred to as the spine. The front edge of the blade is the sharp part that does the work of cutting or slicing through foods. This central part of the knife will slice through items in large sweeping motions or with delicacy. It is very important to keep your knife blades sharp to prevent injury or damages. The heel of the blade is the furthest part back on the blade and is typically used to cut through tougher or larger items.

Pressure is often placed on this part of the knife to cut through thick pieces of meat or large vegetables. The blade's return is the end of the heel. It allows the user to continue cutting by using a rocking motion as opposed to completely picking up the knife for each cutting stroke. This will prevent fatigue when cutting or chopping items with a repetitious motion.

Pfitzenreiter states, "An upscale knife usually has between the handle and the blade a massive metal part which is called the bolster. This adds to the weight and the balance of the knife but also builds up some protection for your fingers to not slip to the edge." The bolster is a thick steel band found on forged knife blades but is not found on stamped blades. The bolster is a safety feature that helps prevent one's hand from slipping forward across the blade while cutting. Finger guards are considered to be part of the bolster.

"Next you have the handles. And in handles you have basically two categories. You have the traditional handle design. They have a visible tang. A tang is the metal piece of the knife that goes through the handle. In the traditional design, we call it a full tang because visibly you can see inside the handle all around the tang," states Pfitzenreiter. He adds, "And a good knife has at least three rivets in the handle to tie the handle scales to the tang. The second type of handle is the molded handle. They are polypropylene all around. You have no rivets and it's basically fixed to the bolster and the tang is inside the handle, but not visible." The end of the handle is referred to as the butt of the knife.

Rivets are the metal pins that are used to connect the tang to the knife's handle. When rivets are visible they should be smooth and flush with the knife handle. They are often constructed from metal alloys so they do not expand or contract much with heat changes. This helps guarantee a good fit for the lifetime of the knife. The rivets should not become loose or cracked as this may impair the efficiency and safety of the knife.

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