The Blaggers Guide To Kitchen Knives

22 Jan
Kitchen Knives

Kitchen Knives

As you might have guessed, in England a blagger is someone who comes across as far more knowledgeable than is the reality – a useful skill sometimes. Anyway, here are a few esoteric facts to keep up your sleeve for when a knife geek gets within talking distance!

Japanese knives are sharpened to an angle of 15 degrees from vertical or less (12 degrees min.). Use diamond or ceramic sharpeners, as metal steels will damage Japanese knife blades. The ‘neb’ is a rounded downturn at the rear of a knife handle and still features on many European knives such as Wusthofs Classic range. These can be seen on the Wusthof pages at the Cooks&Kitchens website.

Kitchen Knives

Kitchen Knives

Like fish, many traditional knives have ‘scales’! They’re the black plastic or wooden sides of a riveted handle.

Many Japanese knife companies are releasing new models with ‘scalloped edges’, notably Global. This very effective way of reducing the sticking of food to the blade actually originates back in the mists (or smog!) of Nineteenth Century Sheffield when William Grant invented his ‘scallop’ for ham slicing and named it the Granton edge after his knife company. Many European makers still use this name today.

No high-quality knife should be put in a dishwasher. Although it may describe itself as stainless steel, this is not terribly accurate – good knives have c. 5 times the carbon level of ‘ordinary’ stainless steel and this is degraded by dishwasher solutions.

The mist-like layering of top Japanese knives is the result of continuous folding of layers of steel around a very hard central layer. This process is also called Damascening – a reference to its origins in Syria. Good examples of this process can be seen at the Cooks&Kitchens website in the Tojiro section. In the Nineteenth Century, acid-etching was often used to create the appearance of layering on standard pocket knife blades.

A bolster is the chunk of metal that lies between the blade and handle on traditional knives and contributes to the knifes balance and heft. Many modern knives, particularly from Japan , have dispensed with these in order to reduce weight and rely on seamless welds between blade and handle.

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