What You Need to Know About That Cutlery Knife

Understanding What Makes a Good Quality Kitchen Knife

Not every kitchen knife is constructed the same, hence why prices are so variable for quality cutlery. A quality knife has several essential parts, and once you understand why that component is important, you'll find it much easier to shop for a set of knives or a single sharp kitchen knife. Some of these explanations will in themselves, be the answers to your frequently asked questions.

  • 01 of 12

    Knife bevel and why it matters

    Knife and sharpener
    Knife and sharpener.

    Photo from Mifflin

    The knife's bevel refers to the blade's ground angle and shape. This is an important design feature and one to understand, especially when the knife requires sharpening.

  • 02 of 12

    What's a knife bolster?

    Knife bolster
    Knife bolster.

    Photo from Mifflin

    A knife bolster is a thick junction between the handle and the knife blade. It provides a smooth transition from the blade to the handle. Besides the safety aspect, it strengthens the knife, adds durability, and provides a counter-balance. Since the handle is lighter than the blade, the bolster contributes to better balance and improves control.

    The bolster can extend all the way to the bottom or may be ground to enable full use of the knife-edge when chopping, as well as, allow a complete sharpening of the blade. Because of the shape, it's easy to spot a knife with a bolster, so it's a good starting point when it comes to selecting good knives.

  • 03 of 12

    Granton Edge - a popular knife design feature

    Saber Chef's knife with Granton edge
    Saber Chef's knife with Granton edge.

    Photo from Mifflin

    The term Granton® is a copyrighted trademark of the original Granton® Company knife design. However, many knife companies tend to use the term 'Granton' to describe a particular knife blade edge, as illustrated on this featured Saber Chef's knife.

    A Granton® type of knife blade has a row of identical dimples or scallops that have been ground into each side of the blades of certain knives.

    Unlike a serrated edge, a Granton knife has a typical honed sharp blade edge, that can be refreshed with a knife steel or sharpened as needed.

    A Granton edge does not hinder blade quality, but rather enhances the knife's cutting and slicing performance. Once popular mostly on Santoku knives, this blade edge is now being used on many types including Chefs and paring knives.
    A Granton knife does look beautiful, but it's the enhanced slicing ability (reduced shredding), ease of cutting and better food release that makes this particular knife design so popular with professional chefs and home cooks alike.

    Knife manufacturers continue to look for ways to build on the smart Granton edge design, by applying it to different knife types and varying the angle of the dimples. A Granton edge is a great knife blade feature to look for when you're shopping for kitchen knives.

  • 04 of 12

    Serrated knife edges - why it matters for certain foods

    Serrated bread knife
    Serrated bread knife.

    Photo from Mifflin

    You'll find a serrated edge of certain knife designs, including bread knives and utility knives. It's not so much that you shouldn't cut other foods with a serrated blade, but rather that it slices through certain food items much neater and easier.

    When it comes to slicing baked goods, a bread knife is the best. The serrated edge doesn't shred it and a long length is preferred especially for large loaves.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    A knife steel isn't really a component

    Knife steel
    Knife steel.

    Photo from Mifflin

    Though most kitchen knives are steel, a knife steel refers to a specific tool for routinely maintaining the edge of your kitchen knives. It is however considered an essential for keeping quality knives sharp. If you're equipping your kitchen with professional knives, you need on.

  • 06 of 12

    Knife tang - the length is what counts

    Full tang kitchen knives
    Full tang kitchen knives.

    Photo from Mifflin

    It's not so much a matter of whether a knife has a tang or not, but rather how long it is. A knife 'tang' is the continuation of the steel from the very tip of the blade to the end of the handle.

    The tang can be either 'full tang' meaning that it extends all along the length of the knife, or 'partial tang' extending only part way into the handle as a socket or file end. How long of a tang matters.

    The 'full' tang extension not only provides the best way of attaching the handle, but improves the weight and balance of the knife, plus adds strength and durability. When looking for quality kitchen knives, a full tang is a knife must-have. It's easy to spot a knife with a full tang, but viewing from the top, as shown.

  • 07 of 12

    Know what to look for if you have problem hands

    cutting board and knife
    cutting board and knife. Getty images

    There's a vast array of knife handles on the market and not all will fit every hand, nor will they provide a good, safe grip for every user. It's not so much about the blade, though a sharp edge does help, it depends on your hands and the ease with which you handle the knife. So the key is to find a knife that best fits your hand, needs. Learn more about what makes a good knife for those with arthritis or problem hands

  • 08 of 12

    Knife essentials specifically for the young ones

    Kuhn Rikon KinderKitchen Dog Knife
    Kuhn Rikon KinderKitchen Dog Knife.

    Photo from Amazon

    A child needs a nice properly suited for their small hand and equipped with special safety features. There are options available for the small fry and having an appropriately-sized knife is a great way to learn early, how to cut their food.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Ceramic knives - a different design

    Ceramic and steel knives
    Ceramic and steel knives. Photo © Mifflin

    A ceramic knife is a completely different breed of a knife and as such, does not have the same parts as a steel knife. Though this type of knife is excellent for cutting and slicing through some foods, it struggles with hard ones. Care is also altogether different. This is an important read before buying a ceramic knife.

  • 10 of 12

    Knife points, grinds and hollow grind

    Steel knives
    Steel knives.

    Photo from Mifflin

    When shopping for quality knives, you'll often see specifications about the shape of the point and details on the grind. Here's what you need to know about these knife construction elements.

  • 11 of 12

    Practical kitchen knife care tips and what to avoid

    Man putting garlic into nonstick pan

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Though everyday use will eventually dull a knife blade, certain things will be hard on these steel blades. Be proactive with care and your knives will serve you well for years.

  • 12 of 12

    Santoku knives explained (why they are popular)


    Photo from Mifflin

    A Santoku is more about a knife design than a component, and since this type of blade is a consumer favorite, you should know why. They come in different sizes; you just may want one or two.