X-ray of a professional grade kitchen knife
Become a cutlery ace with TB Groupe as your guide!
Does cutlery vocabulary confuse you and leave you feeling as though you are in the dark? Don’t worry! We can put an end to these feelings! We are going to walk you through the basics of how professional grade kitchen knives are manufactured. Who knows, maybe you will become a specialist on the subject?
In the prehistoric era the very first knives were made out of stone, flint or bone. The first blades were made out of bronze and later on they were made out of iron. Since then things have certainly evolved.
Today, renowned cutlers such as TB Groupe, still work towards improving these tools, increasing their performance by using innovative manufacturing technologies and using cutting-edge materials.
Today, kitchen knifes are designed for specific daily tasks and functions and come in a variety of forms.
Handle, rivets, bolster, guard, heel and rear quillon
The handle is the part of a knife that is held in the hand. You should think about the two following features when deciding between handles:
- Whether the handle is made of wood, steel or plastic you should look for a model that does not have features that are prone to collecting water in order to avoid bacteria growth.
- The design should be ergonomic, allowing you to cut a wide variety of foodstuffs with ease. Some cutting-edge polymers such as POM and ABS minimize physical effort and maximize efficiency. Kitchen knives used by professionals often have handles with a “soft touch” coating.
A rivet is a small piece of metal that holds together the knife and may be used to fix the handle, guard or bolster. Rivets are also known as pins and sometimes they have a head like a nail.
This part of a kitchen knife reinforces the blade and protects the knife if it falls. It is made up of two parts that are attached to either side of the knife. The bolster is a decorative element and can be made of a wide variety of materials depending on the designer’s ingenuity.
This piece is located between the blade and the handle and its role is to keep the user’s hand from slipping onto the blade. The guard also protects the handle.
The heel of the blade is the part of the blade closest to the handle that is protected by the guard.
The rear quillon
The rear quillon is the portion of the handle that keeps your hand from going off the end of the handle. It can be pointed.
The blade is the most important part of a knife. The blade’s quality is what sets a high-quality professional kitchen knife apart from a low-quality knife.
Depending on the knife’s intended use the blade may be supple (boning knife, fillet knife) or rigid (meat and vegetable knife, bread knife), thick or narrow, flat, serrated or both, hollow-edged, etc.
A knife’s main functional and aesthetic features are determined by whether or not it is cut out or forged and with or without a bolster.
The cutting edge of the blade ends in a point. The blade is made up of several features that should be taken into consideration when choosing an efficient and sturdy kitchen knife:
The tip or point
When it comes to professional grade kitchen knives, the least dangerous part of the knife is the point… that is, if you avoid pointing it at someone! The point can be easily broken. It is important to store your kitchen knives with care so as not to damage them.
The tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle (and is therefore invisible). The different categories are as follows:
- Partial tang: the tang consists of a small piece of metal hidden in the handle; this assembly method is not very sturdy
- Half-tang: the tang stops approximately half way through the handle
- ¾ tang: Slightly more solid than the half-tang
- Full-tang: the tang extends to the end of the handle. Full-tang kitchen knives are considered to be better quality. This manufacturing method gives the knife better balance and makes it more reliable.
This is the part of the blade that cuts. It is located at the end of the bevel or grind and runs the entire length of the blade. This fragile and malleable part of a knife dulls over time due to usage and must be maintained regularly.
The bevel or grind
The bevel or grind runs along both sides of the blade. Its edge is bevelled and the angle is consistent throughout the blade’s length. It supports the cutting-edge. The bevel’s angle is determined during the sharpening process of a professional grade kitchen knife.
TB Groupe’s guide to choosing the best knife blades
Criteria for choosing a quality professional grade kitchen knife
How the handle is mounted
A kitchen knife’s handle may be mounted onto the tang in several different ways:
- Warming the tang of the knife and inserting it into the hollow handle
- Attaching two slabs of wood, plastic, antler or other material to both sides of the tang
- Injecting and attaching it to the tang with rivets
As stated earlier on in this article, there should be no gaps between the blade and the handle. This prevents food particles and other debris from accumulating, ensuring proper hygiene.
A professional kitchen knife with a sharp and sturdy blade
Your kitchen knife must have a blade that is sturdy and easy to handle. The blade’s features (rigidity, flexibility, length and width) must be adapted to the specific function you wish to perform.
In terms of professional grade stainless steel kitchen knives the two most common types of blades are as follows:
- Carbon steel blades (an alloy of iron and carbon) are very sturdy but need to be sharpened regularly
- Stainless steel blades (with a high density of chromium) are completely rust-resistant and have long-lasting cutting edges
Be careful when considering a “low cost” model and keep in mind that you may be better off in the long run if you invest in a high-quality knife that will last longer. For example, TB Groupe created the line of Evercut professional grade kitchen knives that are exceptionally sturdy, have a cutting edge whose sharpness is unrivalled and which is guaranteed to work efficiently for years.
A forged or cut blade?
In general, blades that are forged from a rod of raw steel are considered to be better than blades that are cut. Forged blades are heavier, sharper and more solid than blades that are cut out of a sheet of steel using a press.
Whether the blade is forged or cut the knife’s overall quality depends on the quality of steel that is used to create it.
Smooth blades surpass serrated knives, unless you want to cut bread or shred foodstuffs such as meat.
The quality of steel according to TB Groupe
In the cutlery world the steel’s solidity determines a knife’s cutting capacity and its ability to stay sharp. The Rockwell hardness scale is used to determine a blade’s quality. A blade is considered to be good quality starting at 53-54 HRC and a blade with an HRC higher than 58-60 is considered to be exceptional and may be used to create a professional kitchen knife.
If you decide to purchase a ceramic kitchen knife it is best to choose a high-quality one, as low cost models tend to dull quickly and break easily.
These knives have become increasingly popular over the last few years due to their strength and durability.
Be careful when choosing a ceramic knife and check that it has a high percentage of zirconium oxide (at least 95%). If you want a truly reliable knife TB Groupe advises you to choose a high-end knife!