1) The carbon count. Carbon adds strength to the stainless steel and helps to make the blade sharper. Carbonated steel knives do not rust and should be sharpened periodically.
2) Stainless steel knives are a great alternative to carbonated steel because they are resistant to rust and strong enough to maintain a sharp edge. Plus, they are much less expensive than the carbonated stainless steel.
3) Feel is everything! Hold the knife in your hand, and see how it feels to you. You'll want it to be comfortable. Make sure it has a good grip and feels balanced. The handle should be riveted to the blade for security.
4) Get a handle on knives! Also, you'll want to look at the handles. Knives will either have a composite or wood handle. Many cook choose knives with plastic or composite handles because they are easier to maintain and are dishwasher safe. Wooden-handle knives, on the other hand, require a bit more maintenance, and need to be hand washed.
5) Heavyweight champs! Another feature to note is the weight of the knife. A heavier knife will have a better balance through the pivot point where the handle meets the blade.
Know Your Knife!
Know Your Knife! To choose the best cutlery, you need to first speak the language. Here are the basic parts of a knife:
Point: the piercing part of the blade where it comes to an end.
Tip: the front part of the blade that does most of the cutting and separating. The point is included on the tip. It works great for cutting small or delicate foods.
Edge: the business end of the blade or the sharpened side.
Spine: the end of the blade, opposite the edge.
Heel: the opposite end of the tip where the blade comes into a square shape.
Bolster: the band of steel that helps to bond the blade to the handle.
Tang: the part of the knife that extends into the handle to give it balance.
Scales: a part of the handle that creates a grip. (also known as rivets).
Butt: the end of the handle.
Types of Knives
Santoku Knife: this knife is quickly growing in popularity because of it's great design. With a cleaver style blade, this oriental cook's knife (also known as a Santoku Knife) features a hollow (also known as granton) edge. The dimples on the sides of the blade form an air-pocket while chopping or dicing, which creates it's nonstick characteristics.
Slicing Knife: is used to slice cooked meat. It works especially well for carving a turkey. It has a rounded tip with a very long, straight cutting edge. This long cutting edge enables you to cut large pieces of meat into clean, even slices.
Bread Knife: just as the name suggests, this knife is great for slicing bread. Because it has a scalloped edge, this knife will cut through soft, fresh bread without tearing or mashing it.
Chef's Knife because it's so versatile, this is probably the most popular knife. It's the one you'd use for everyday chopping and slicing.
Cleaver: is a very large, heavyweight knife that's ideal for chopping through meat and poultry with bones in a single stroke.
Paring Knife: has a blunt tip and straight edge. This knife is a bit smaller, which makes it great for precision tasks like dicing vegetables.
Boning Knife: a narrow-bladed knife that works very well for removing the bone from meat.
Carving Knife: is intended for cutting through cooked meat.
Utility Knife: is good for cutting almost anything. It's a good all-around knife. You can cut fruits and vegetables easily with it.
Tomato Knife: you guessed it - this knife is great for cutting tomatoes. The serrated edge allows you to slice through the tough skin of a tomato without tearing it.
Forged vs. Stamped Cutlery
Forged vs. Stamped Cutlery
Forged and stamped are two different manufacturing processes to make a knife.
Stamped blades are punched out from a thin ribbon of steel, much like dough cut by a cookie cutter. The blades are tempered, sharpened, and finished, but machines handle most of the process. The blade of a stamped knife is fitted into its handle and is not considered one fluid piece of equipment.
They are usually thinner lighter and lack the balance of forged knives; therefore, requiring a firmer grip and more pressure when chopping, mincing, etc. They are usually priced lower than forged cutlery.
This is the top of the line in quality. It's one of the oldest methods of construction using handcraftsmanship, producing the strongest and sharpest blade.
Forged knives are produced when a steel bat is heated to a very high temperature, set into die and hammered to form the blade. It is then tempered sharpened, and finished, sometimes in up to 50 separate steps, most done by hand.
Forged knives will always include a bolster and tang. A bolster is the center support piece between the blade and the handle. This adds weight and balance to the knife and protection for your fingers. The tang is the portion of the metal enclosed by the handle. A full tang is ideal, which means the metal runs the length of the handle. Knives which are "fully forged" are formed from one piece of metal.