In the following we describe some basic terminology of the knives we make and love. The first image (#1) depicts a through-tang chef knife. The key features which differentiates it from the full-tang chef knife (#2) is the steel tang is either visible throughout the handle or encased within the handle material.
The edge is the cutting surface of the knife. In both outdoor knives and kitchen knives a blade is broken down into three parts: the tip, the belly, and the heel. The tip is simply the pointy end. The belly is the underside, typically curved on a chef’s knife to allow the blade to roll back and forth. The heel is the thickest part of the knife’s edge, and therefore the strongest.
The bolster is the transition between the blade and the handle of the knife. Handles come in a variety of shapes and materials. We source ecologically sustainable harvested wood, antler and bone products as well as use synthetic material such as carbon fibre, G10 and wood composites.
Outdoor knives (#3) often include a finger guard and lanyard hole.
Belly – a deep curve in a blade. This is desirable for skinning or extra rock in a chef knife.
Bevel – the shape of the cutting edge of the blade. The finer/shallower the bevel the more acute the angle and greater cutting efficiency of the blade.
Bolster – metal transition between the blade and handle, often of dissimilar metal as the blade but not always (ie. Integral knives). It can be riveted, soldered, forge-welded, welded or integrally forged or machined from a solid billet. Helps balance the knife and prevents the user’s hand from slipping across the blade.
Butt – end of the knife handle.
Edge – sharpened part of the knife blade that extends from the heel to the tip.
Guard – usually only on a full-tang construction and is a piece of metal separating the blade from the handle.
Handle – Also known as the scales, the handle provides the knife’s gripping surface.
Heel – The heel is the rear portion of the blade and is most often used to cut thick or tough products where more force is required.
Integral – Blade, bolster, tang and sometimes pommel are created from a single seamless piece of steel. The integral can be created through forging or machining. The advantage of forging an integral is that the grain of the steel remains uninterrupted, creating a stronger knife construction as well as an exceptionally beautiful knife if forged from a single billet of Damascus.
Lanyard hole – hole used to tie a piece of cord.
Mosaic pin – decorative pin used to secure scales (handle)
Point – This functions as the piercing tool of the blade.
Pommel – the piece of metal at the end of the knife.
Tang – The tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle and helps provide balance.
- Full-tang– Blade metal continues through the handle to the pommel and is visible along the top and bottom edge of the handle. A full-tang is often tapered for reduced weight and improved balance depending on the size of the knife. Full-tang knives have the option of a handle, bolster, or pommel but are not necessary.
- Through-tang– Metal tang of blade is hidden within the handle material. Through-tang can be partial (extends only part way through the handle) or full (extends through the entire handle and is fused to the pommel).
Tip – Front quarter of the blade that does most of the cutting and separating. Pointed tips are ideal for piercing and cutting small portions. Rounded tips are ideal for cutting or slicing thin portions.
Ricasso – An unsharpened length of blade just above the guard or handle on a knife
Rivet – Permanent mechanical fastener to secure scales (handle). Used largely on full-tang knife construction.
Scales – Two pieces of handle material that are attached to the sides of full-tang knives.
Spine – The spine is the top of the blade opposite the edge and can be embellished with decorative file work or thumb grip