There are a variety of knife blade shapes; some of the most common are listed below.
1. A normal or straightback blade has a curving edge, and flat back. A dull back lets the wielder use fingers to concentrate force; it also makes the knife heavy and strong for its size. The curve concentrates force on a small point, making cutting easier. This knife can chop as well as pick and slice.
2. A curved, trailing-point knife has a back edge that curves upward. This lets a lightweight knife have a larger curve on its edge. Such a knife is optimized for slicing or slashing. Trailing point blades provide a larger cutting area, or belly, and are common on skinning knives.
3. A clip-point blade is like a normal blade with the back "clipped" or concavely formed to make the tip thinner and sharper. The back edge of the clip may have a false edge that could be sharpened to make a second edge. The sharp tip is useful as a pick, or for cutting in tight places. If the false edge is sharpened it increases the knife's effectiveness in piercing. The Bowie knife has a clipped blade and clip-points are quite common on pocket knives and other folding knives.
4. A drop-point blade has a convex curve of the back towards the point. It handles much like the clip-point through with a stronger point less suitable for piercing. Swiss army pocket knives often have drop-points on their larger blades.
5. A spear-point blade is a symmetrical blade with a spine that runs along the middle of the blade. The point is in line with the spine. Spear-points may be single-edged (with a false edge) or double-edged or may have only a portion of the second edge sharpened. Pen-knives are often single-edged, non-spined spear-points, usually quite small, named for their past use in sharpening quills for writing. Pen-knife may also nowadays refer to somewhat larger pockets knives which are often drop-points. Some throwing knives may have spear-points but without the spine, being only flat pieces of metal.
6. A needle-point blade is a symmetrical, highly tapered, twin-edged blade often seen in fighting blades, such as the Fairbairn-Sykes commando knife. Its long, narrow point offers good penetration but is liable to breakage if abused. Although often referred to as a knife, this design may also be referred to as a stiletto or (slender variety of) dagger due to its use as a stabbing weapon albeit one very capable of slashing as well. Credit source link :http://www.the-knife-connection.com/knife-blade-types.html
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The tip of the knife is at the opposite end of the handle and is pointed, sharp and fairly thin. It is typically pointed but there are some knives with ends that are cut off straight, rounded or at a slant. The tip is used for cutting small items, cutting food into thin strips, and carving. It is also used for making incisions, such as would be used when making a slit in the side of pork chops or chicken breasts where stuffing would be added.
The cutting edge is the bottom edge of the blade that runs from the heel to the tip of the blade. It is very sharp and can be straight cut or serrated. The cutting edge is used to slice, cut or chop food items both large and small, with the middle of the blade being used most often.
The blade edges are available with different grinds, which have different purposes. See Blade Cutting Edges for the different grinds that are available.
The spine is the edge opposite the cutting edge on the blade. It is thicker than the cutting edge and adds strength to the blade. It has a smooth, blunt edge to allow the user to grip it with thumb and forefinger or to be able to apply pressure with fingers or the palm of a hand to add control to the task being performed.
The heel is approximately the last two inches of the blade's cutting edge at the opposite end from the tip. It is used for cutting thick or coarse items that require extra pressure or strength. It assists in making faster more efficient cuts when the task calls for it.
A bolster is a thick piece of metal (collar or shank) that is at the end of the blade, just before the handle. It generally runs the full length from the spine of the blade down to the cutting edge. The bolster, along with the tang, gives the knife balance, which provides for better control of the knife when cutting. It also provides a place for fingers to be placed for comfort and also provides protection from the blade. The bolster is an indication that the blade was formed using the forged process rather than being stamped.
The handle is the part of the knife that holds the blade. The tang of the blade extends down in the handle to attach the blade to the handle. The tang is riveted into the handle or is sometimes enclosed in a plastic or metal handle. It is important to get a good feel of the handle before purchasing a knife to be sure it fits your hand properly. If it is too big or small, it can result in inefficient use and can cause tired and aching hands.
The tang is the part of the knife blade that extends into the handle. The better quality knives have a full tang that runs the entire length of the handle. It is sandwiched in between the outside layers of the handle and generally contains several holes where it is riveted to the handle for durability. The tang takes the same shape as the handle and can generally be seen on both edges. A full tang is best for adding strength and balance to the knife but there are also some good quality knives whose tang only runs part way into the handle. Molded handles contain a pointed rat tail tang, which is a long narrow shaft that is completely contained in the handle with which it forms a bond. This type of tang adds balance and strength to the knife but also provides for a little lighter weight knife.
|Metal Rivets||Metal rivets are used to secure the tang to the handle of the knife. To prevent irritation to the hand, the rivets should be completely smooth and lie flush with the surface of the handle. In addition, this will help prevent debris and microorganisms from collecting in the spaces between the handle and the rivets.|
Forged Knife Blades
In manufacturing a forged blade, a hot piece of steel is pressed into a blade mold and then hammered into shape. The blade goes through different processes that enhance its flexibility and hardness. The blade is machined into shape, which typically includes a bolster. The forged blade is generally thicker than a blade that has been stamped. The thickness of the blade and the bolster of the forged blade add strength and balance to the knife. Not all forged blades have a bolster but generally a forged blade can be recognized by the presents of a bolster. Forged blades create better quality knives and are more expensive than stamped blade knives.
Stamped Knife Blades
|In manufacturing a stamped blade, the blade is cut out of a flat sheet of steel. The blade is then ground, tempered, polished and sharpened. Stamped blades are thinner and flatter than forged blades and will have a tendency to make the knife handle feel heavy and off balance. They are easier to sharpen than forged blades and easy to recognize because they do not have a bolster. A knife with a forged blade is thought to be better quality than a knife with a stamped blade but there are also some good quality knives with stamped blades. A stamped blade knife will generally be less expensive than a forged blade knife.|
|Tip: When storing knives with carbon steel blades, lightly coat the blades with flavor free vegetable oil to help prevent discoloration and rust.|
Knife blades with a concave beveled edge created by starting midway or lower from the top of the blade and grinding or tapering each side of the blade thinner toward the bottom or cutting edge by grinding an inward curvature. As the blade is ground the slight curve (concave) grind creates the "hollow" area referenced in the name of the blade edge. Produced with either a fluted pattern or a beveled pattern, a hollow grind provides a very thin and exceptionally sharp edge that can be easily sharpened when necessary. It is a type of blade that is excellent for slicing due to the sharp edge, but not for chopping activities since the higher impact of the chopping action dulls or may chip the thinner blade.
A term used to describe a knife blade that most often contains evenly spaced vertical indentations or "hollows" that have been ground out of the thickness of the steel blade. Often confused with the term "hollow ground blade," which references more of a tapered grind with a thinner cutting edge running the entire length of the blade, the hollow-edged blade is quite different with its evenly spaced indentations running the length of the blade. The hollow edge blade is also known as a Granton blade. A Santoku knife is an example of one type of utensil that is commonly produced with a hollow edge or Granton edge by many knife manufacturers. The purpose of the hollow edge or Granton-style blade is to assist with keeping particles from sticking to the knife edge as it chops small bits of food. It is also a friction reducer to provide less drag when chopping, which enables easier and faster motion.
Convex Ground Blade
|The opposite of a hollow-ground blade, this type of knife blade rounds outward instead of inward such as a hollow grind. Commonly used for larger blades such as cleavers and axes, the Convex Grind provides a rounded cutting surface on the bottom cutting edge of the blade rather than a straight edge or a flat grind. It is similar to the flat ground "V" cut except rounded rather than straight or flat ground. Durable in structure, the Convex Ground Blade can be used for chopping and cutting activities required for thicker textured items such as meats, bones, and fibrous foods.|
Thicker at Spin Edge
Tapers to a Thinner Cutting Edge
The blade of a knife that decreases in size from the handle to the tip and from the spine to the cutting edge. The blade is manufactured from a single sheet of metal and has been ground on one side or two sides of the surface so that it tapers smoothly from the spine to the cutting edge without creating a bevel. Often referred to as a fully tapered blade when ground from top to bottom, the taper grind can also be produced as a partially tapered grind. The partially tapered grind starts midway down the blade and extends to the cutting edge, becoming more like a flat grind or flat ground blade. Unlike the hollow ground blade that has a either a beveled or fluted edge, the taper ground blade is a more stable knife blade due to the rigid structure of a finely tapered, sheet of metal. Thus, the taper ground blade is made to withstand more cutting action as it cuts cleanly through a variety of foods and food textures when slicing or chopping.
The type of blade with a straight "V" cut ground into the steel edge. Varying in depth, the flat ground blade can be made with only a very slight "V" cut or a longer cut that tapers slightly from higher up on the blade and extends downward toward the cutting edge. Knives with a flat grind can be used for cutting as well as chopping activities since the blade is generally very stable.
Angle Ground Side
Flat Surface Side - Not Ground
|This type of blade has a grind that is made on only one side of the blade, which creates an edge that looks like the blade of a chisel and thus the origin of its name. While one side of the blade remains flat surfaced, the other side of the chisel ground blade is cut at an angle. When the blade is viewed from the tip back, it looks like half of a "V" ground blade. Most often used for making blades of chisels, axes, and swords, this grind is also used on some knives but it is not as common as the flat grind or "V" grind.|
A knife blade that is straight along the cutting edge or straight and slightly curved. In contrast, blades that contain serrations such as serrated blades or indentations such as hollow edge blades are not considered to be straight-edged blades. Blade edges, such as hollow ground, taper ground, flat ground, convex ground, and chisel ground blades are all considered straight edge blades. Blades with a straight edge are best for cutting foods that are either soft or firm, such as fruits, vegetables and meats.
Pointed Serrated Edge
Rounded Serrated Edge
A sharp-edged blade with saw-like notches or teeth formed on the cutting edge of the blade that enable it to slice cleanly through foods without damaging delicate or soft textures, such as bread or pie crusts. Serrated edge knives can be found with pointed teeth or rounded teeth on the cutting edge. The rounded serrated edge knife is sometimes referred to as scalloped or wavy. The rounded serrated edge is a little less abrasive than the serrated edge with pointed teeth, but may not work as well when cutting through the top crust of certain breads. It may have a tendency to slip when first cutting through the crust. The serrated cutting edge works well for slicing bread, soft fruits (peaches), soft vegetables (tomatoes), and food dishes such as pies, quiches, sandwiches, and pizza. Some knives made for specific functions will have serrations on both edges of the blade such as double-sided serrated blades formed into grapefruit knives that are used to section fruits and vegetables.
Serrated blades require less maintenance for sharpening than straight-edged blades however, they do become dull after long periods of use. The serrated edges are harder to sharpen typically need to be sharpened by a professional. Therefore, to lengthen the life of the blade, wash serrated knives by hand so that dishwater detergent, which is harmful to the sharp edge of the blade, does not affect the quality of the cutting edge.
Saw and Raker
|Blades built to handle hardened objects such as frozen foods. They are formed with an alternating blade construction containing sets of double-toothed blade extensions separated by curved and serrated blade surfaces. Made from a rigid steel, a saw and raker blade can withstand very cold temperatures and the heavier than normal cutting pressure required to cut through ice hard substances, such as frozen foods. The forward and backward motion required for cutting hardened objects will cause flexible blades to bend or quiver which is eliminated by using a rigid, saw and raker type blade, since the raker helps to keep the blade in the track created by the cutting edge.|
Hardwoods with tight grains are best for making wood handles. Rosewood, Brazilian Ironwood, and Ebony are woods that work well for making knife handles. Wood handles provide an excellent grip, but requires more maintenance than a plastic or stainless steel handle. It is thought that wood handled knives absorb microorganisms and are not as sanitary as knives with handles made of other materials.
Wood Handles Infused with Plastic
A combination of the best attributes of wood handles and molded plastic handles. They have an excellent grip but do not require the maintenance all wood handles require. They are also not as porous as wood handled knives, preventing the absorption of microorganisms.
Molded Plastic or Composition
Molded plastic handles are much easier to care for than wooden handles. They will not absorb debris and microorganisms and are easily cleaned. It is argued that handles made with molded plastics become brittle over time, causing them to break and that they can become slippery if hands are wet, making them harder to handle.
Metal handled knives last longer and add weight to the knife. There are arguments made that stainless steel handles are slippery if hands become damp, making them harder to handle. As with the plastic handles, stainless steel will not absorb debris and microorganisms and are easily cleaned.
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