From the smallest paring knife to the most finely balanced chef's knife, these tools are the most personal of the trade. Chefs have prized these instruments and carried their own with them for years, so choosing the right fit is important.
Choosing a knife. What should I look for?
There are several key factors to consider before purchasing a knife: balance, grip, blade strength, and sharpness.
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Balance may well be a knife's most important piece of engineering. With a good knife, the weight is balanced between the handle and the blade. When the weight is not evenly distributed, the knife feels awkward and is difficult to use.
The portion of the blade that extends through the knife handle is called the tang. On a well-balanced knife, the tang extends to the end of the handle.
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All you want is a handle that provides a comfortable and secure grip so that your hand won't slip.
Over the past few years, great strides have been made in ergonomic and non-slip handles for average kitchen use. These and can greatly reduce injury and fatigue among your staff.
Most knives are manufactured one of two ways: they're either forged or stamped.
Forged blades are produced by placing a heated lump of steel under a drop hammer and compressing the steel under great pressure. The blade is then ground and honed into a finished product. Stamped blades are produced using dies or molds. Several blades are stamped from a single sheet of steel and then ground and honed into a finished product.
Forging is more expensive than stamping and many think it creates a sturdier and higher-quality knife.
The sharpness of a knife blade depends upon the material from which it's made. The higher the steel's carbon content, the sharper the edge. High-carbon, stainless steel alloy has become about the most common metal used in commercial cutlery. Combining the strength of carbon with the corrosion resistance of stainless, these blades tend to be razor-sharp and rust-free.
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